Review by sloevenh1

"A "fantastic" escape"

The original version of Rayman 2 - The Great Escape, meaning that all other versions including this one are based on, was released in later 1999 for the Nintendo 64. It turned out to be one of three most preferable Christmas hits - the other two titles were Turok 2: Seeds Of Evil and Donkey Kong 64. All three games supported the new Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak, meaning they all featured awesome hi-res graphics. As this game is a port of the Nintendo 64 version I will refer to this version sometimes, seeing a important factor in knowing the differences before considering to buy the game.

The Story: 6 out of 10
While 5 should be considered as mediocre, I still guess the game has pretty much being a Jump'n Run. But seeing the ''recent'' Sonic Adventure and it's ''cinematic'' like story development, Rayman 2 looks a bit poor against. Givin' more than 6 wouldn't be fair against other titles, so stay with that though the game has a continuing plot throughout the game.
To give you a idea of what the story's like: bad robo-pirates invaded and conquered the peaceful world our neck-less hero Rayman lives in. While in mid of battle, he gets finally caught by the pirates and they throw him into prison. But he soon finds a way to flee and now has to find a way to free the world again of the robo-pirates. But as this wouldn't already enough challenge for Rayman, the pirates accidentally crushed the Heart of the World that split into 1000 Lums. To save the world he either has to collect the 1000 Lums or *spoiler*. Ok, why it's like it is isn't explained, but that won't bother us much.

Gameplay: 7 out of 10
The game would have got more if it wouldn't be that linear. I mean, playing one stage after the other w/o any possibility to ''change the route''? Of course, you can go back to already finished stages on the map, but this doesn't replace what we saw in games like Super Mario 64 or Castlevania - Symphony of the Night, I mean movin' free in an environment and letting the player decide on where to go next. Ok, Rayman stays on the ''classic'' side, what some players may even enjoy. As for me, I take that as something different from games that try to set standards with each sequel.
Other than that, Rayman 2 has a constant gameplay that is very well balanced. You move on until you get to a point you get trouble making it. But it won't get frustrating most of the time, as most parts can be easily mastered by keeping trying. As for me, I don't think that games like this should only count on the player's reaction, and I prefer some strategic requirement. Again, this could be rated as retro-style, so I try to tolerate this.
Again, to get more specific, you play one stage after the other, jumping over platforms, elevators and other things, throwing balls of lightning on baddies and doing some ''mini games''. Mini games in this case means riding on rockets or navigate a air ship through close cliffs.
Different from many other Jump'n Runs, fighting enemies kinda splits from the else gameplay. It's pretty comparable to The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time, as the game also uses the Log-On system that let's you track the enemies movements and don't needs you anymore to aim. Further, when hurting an enemy, a health bar shows up above his head, so you know what enemies only need a few more hits and what are still ''fresh''. Yet, you mostly fight one enemy after the other rather than fighting a bunch of them. In fact, you fight a maximum of three enemies at one time.

Graphics: 8 out of 10
Seeing the Nintendo 64 graphics as the best on the system up to it's release, expectations for the Dreamcast port were of course also high. Using the Dreamcast's more advanced hardware, the game has a much higher framerate, meaning 60 frames or 30 screen-refreshes per second very smoothly. I never encountered a framedown or slowdown. Also, most textures are of much higher resolution and light effects looks a bit more intense than on the Nintendo 64. Also, some details and gimmicks were added here and there, so you see a bit more flies in the air, bats flying out of the caves and such. But what really surprises me is that they haven't changed the textures that already looked bad on the Nintendo 64, so the textures of the water, the rocks and such. Compared to the PlayStation 2 clone of this game, Rayman Revolution, DC stands not so bad against. Except for Rayman's 3d model, the graphics are ''surprisingly'' pretty much the same.

Sound: 7 out of 10
I just can't stand that: the PlayStation port of the game gets speech and this stays with the Star Wing/Banjo Kazooie-like sample compositions? Except for this, the game features all tracks of the ''original'', but of course in a remixed cd-quality arrangement that sounds pretty good. Although, they don't stay with you for long.

Port: 8 out of 10
The game is one of the best ports I have seen so far. The reason I didn't gave it 10 (hah!) is 'cause of the lack of ''real'' synchronization the Playstation version has and the fact that the water still looks as poor as it did on the Nintendo 64. Other than that, excellent job!
The Dreamcast version even has some exclusive contents, like download-able mini games and it gives you access to Globox' village where you can play multiplayer mini-games! Pretty, but of course doesn't stand against single player.

Replay Value: 5 out of 10
If the game's over - it's over. Well, you can go back to the levels and try finding all lums, but there is no real motivation except that your initials will appear in the credits if you own 999 lums. I gave it 5 anyway, 'cause you can play the multiplayer mini-games now and you have to find these crystals or whatever the game calls it to access them.

Overall: 8 out of 10
The game's fine with me! I'm happy with almost everything! I can tolerate all of the disadvantages, so if you can as well, you will have a pretty, though short time with Rayman 2 - The Great Escape. Renting the game first may be wise, but I don't think any places are renting Dreamcast games anymore :/.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/18/04

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