Review by The Duff Man

"Rayman, the little guy with no legs, arms, or neck, has one lengthy adventure..."

Rayman, the little guy who has no connections to his head, arms, and legs from the main torso. They just float around, and for some reason they don’t drift away. His adventures take him through colourful lands, and usually with only his throwable fist as a weapon. How does he survive against impossible odds? No one knows, but you can’t help but root for the poor demented guy.

The environments in the game are stunning. They are so colourful, it’ll amaze you. For being a launch title for the GBA, it does a superb job of showing off graphical capabilities. Levels are detailed, and you have the ability to jump on different levels of ground and run around. The general colour scheme of the game is green grass and bushes, brown for exposed dirt, and pink and purple colours for flowers and plums you can jump on. It may seem wacky, but once you see it, it looks good.

When going through the game, a map menu lets you choose which area you would like to play in. In each specific area, you have to collect seven Protoons to fill a gold circle. To my understanding, Protoons are friends of Rayman’s that have been locked up in cages by Mr. Dark, the boss of evil in the land. One Protoon icon that goes towards filling a gold circle is gained by unlocking a cage of Protoons, and it can be done by simply punching it with your wrist. The Protoon cages will not be easy to find, so don’t think you’ll breeze through this game. All of the Protoons must be found in order to get 100% and complete the game. The game uses the new abilities given to make you go back to past levels and look for the Protoons, which is a great idea. You will know where you could have gone, but didn’t have the ability. As you beat areas, a fairy-type creature will talk to you and give you some sort of new move. First, you get the ability to throw your fist. Then, you get to hang off of edges and so on.

The sound in this game is above average for this type of game. When winding up your arm for a punch, it is accompanied by a swishing sound. The plums also make bouncing noises and the so do other interactive objects in the area. Speech is simply done by text, and I guess you can’t expect voice acting on a portable console. Other then that, the background music is mediocre, which is nothing more then expected.

The level variety is great here. As soon as it starts to feel repetitive, having to run through the level simply searching for the ending sign, they throw in something new. Whether it be having to quickly go up a level as you’re being chased by water, or getting chased by a giant red spike that makes you run through the level. A really fun level was where you’re riding on top of a mosquito, and going through the air. It starts to really speed up, and the challenge of the level goes up as well. Each area consists of a few levels, usually consisting of a boss. Once they are completed you are done the area, and can move on to the next. Or if you feel like it, you can go back to previous levels and try and get more of the Protoons unlocked. I’d like to note it’s fairly easy to actually unlock all of the levels in the game, but you won’t particularly be getting all the Protoons unlocked needed for 100%.

The health system is slightly different in this game, but by all means nothing revolutionary. As with other games, you have lives. The lives are fairly easy to stock up on, and can be found in hidden areas or by collecting 100 blue spheres. To determine how long you have until you lose a life, little circles under the number of lives you have represents just that. Normally you will have four available circles, but after getting a power-up you have six. Taking a hit from an enemy will reduce one circle, and they can be refilled by finding a certain power-up or completing an area.

A great contraption in this game is the plums, that bounce around. They’re very ingenious, and continue bouncing around the level. Punch one off the tree and it starts bouncing. If it’s on a hill, it will progressively get faster and bounce down the hill. If the plum isn’t going the direction you like, punch it with your fist to send it the other way. The harder you hold the punch button without releasing, the harder the punch is that sends the plum farther. When standing on a plum, it will bounce a lot lower then normal. Pushing a plum into the water and then standing on it, can make it into a raft to travel to other parts of the level. And one of the funniest things to do with the plum is punch it towards the enemy, and it can land on their head and get stuck. You can then use that as a standing point to jump to otherwise impossible to get to areas. It’s the little things in the game that makes it fun and entertaining.

One problem with the game is the difficulty level. Granted, it does get a bit tougher as you progress to different areas, but still there isn’t anything that will stop you for days, making you dislike the game. The challenge is still low, even when facing bosses. Simply running through the level, trying to find the ending sign that finishes the level gets a bit easy. Even the levels that are different from the others, still are fairly easy. The enemy’s in areas are very easy to kill except the lil’ buggers that duck when you try and hit them with your fist. The only way to kill them is to get up close to them, and continuously punch hoping that they can’t touch you. There’s also little short things that are too short to be hit by your fist, which can get annoying. Perhaps the hardest enemy in the game isn’t even really an enemy; it’s part of the scenery. Moving spikes can get hard to deal with when theirs many of them, with the addition of the small guys and the guys who duck all the time. But if you just keep on running through the level you shouldn’t lose much life. When fighting a boss it can be hard at first, but once you get the hang of the their pattern, then it gets easy. Some bosses are possible to kill without even letting them attack, which should have been changed so you can’t do that.

It’s disappointing that this game is simply a copy. If you didn’t know, this game is a direct copy of Rayman for the PSone. Okay, so that’s not a bad thing because the game itself is pretty good, but personally I think that’s laziness on the developer’s part. New levels could have been designed easily, and so could new enemies. That’s the problem these days, companies will quickly remake a game for any system, as long as it will bring in more money.

Rayman has been trying to get some recognition over the years. He’s slowly getting more popular, but nothing like Spyro or Crash Bandicoot. Unfortunately it seems like the developers are giving up on new games with Rayman, so he’s fading away. His current games will last however, and this game for GBA is great if you’re looking for a casual, lengthy adventure. With 60 levels in six different worlds, this game will bring around lots of fun for a very long time.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 03/26/02, Updated 03/28/02

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