Review by n fan

Reviewed: 11/02/02 | Updated: 02/28/03

An amazing platformer!

Rayman 2 is a platformer made by Ubi Soft in 1999. It was released on all major consoles: The N64, PSX, Dreamcast and PC. There is no doubt that of all these machines it was the N64 who had the best platformers, and it would be particularly hard to get people’s attention on it. And with the highly anticipated Donkey Kong 64 being released in a few months’ time, it was clear that Rayman 2 had to be a blinding game to survive.

Graphics: To call Rayman 2 beautiful would be the understatement of the year. Mario 64 and Banjo Kazooie don’t come close to matching Rayman 2 when it comes to looks. I actually find Rayman 2 to be one of the best-looking games on the machine, only surpassed by Majora's Mask in my eyes. Using the Expansion Pack the graphics are razor sharp, with absolutely no fogging or pop ups at all. The game is also fabulously colorful and the levels are almost competing with each other in being the prettiest of the lot. As they stretch for miles, you can’t help but be impressed by the way Ubi Soft has used the N64, a console considered to be difficult to develop for. To top it all off, there are no slowdowns or graphical glitches in the game whatsoever. Quite simply marvelous to look at, it’s a graphical masterpiece.

Sound/Music: The sound effects in Rayman 2 are good, though they lack a bit ''punch''. The characters speak in a sort of cartoony gibberish style, which works very well indeed, bringing them to life. The music is really great, with lots of different tunes that are the kind you still remember years after you beat the game and that fits the mood like glow. Really great stuff!

Story: Unlike many other platformers (cough, Mario 64, cough) Rayman 2 has a good story. It starts out as the simple «rescue your friends from the bad guy» kind of story, but you soon learn that there are some cool surprises around this time. There are also a lot of cut-scenes (I wish Mario 64 could have included some)in the game which help the story feeling interesting and alive. The story makes you want to keep playing, just to find out what happens next, even though it is pretty simple at its core. Surprisingly good story here.

Gameplay: You can have awesome looks and brilliant sound, but if the gameplay is boring, the game itself is not worth your money. But Rayman 2 has wonderful gameplay. The control feels right and the camera works remarkably well thanks to the Z-Targeting borrowed from Zelda. Rayman himself has lots of different abilities, like his spinning hair which makes him hover above the ground. He can also fire rays with his hand, which makes combat with enemies more entertaining and exciting than in other platformers.
You won’t find anything like Mario 64’s open-spaced worlds in this game, as the levels are linear with mostly only one way to go. But they don’t feel generic or dull because of the incredible variation each and every level can boast of. You never know what what will happen next, but you do know it’s going to be a whole lo of fun. The game’s only problem gameplay-wise is that it is to easy, but I know some people who would see that as a good thing. Overall awesome gameplay.

Lifespan/Replayability: Even though the levels are pretty huge and plentiful, you're likely to finish the game rather quickly. But that is not the end of it, as there are several things to collect in here. 80 hidden cages that you have to break (which also gives you more life) and 999 yellow lums for you to find make sure you won’t stop playing it for quite some time yet. And even after getting all that stuff, you’re still likely to return for a quick blast on one of the beautiful and well-designed levels.

Pros and Cons:

Awesome, stunningly colorful graphics
Very good music
Surprisingly interesting story
A lot of well-made cut-scenes
Excellent camera
Great control
Superbly varied levels
Several secrets to discover

Rather weak sound-effects
A pretty easy game
Doesn't take long to finish

To Rent Or To Buy?
Without a doubt I’d say buy. If you have an N64, you really need this game in your collection as it is the best platformer on the system (alongside to Banjo Tooie). Awesome graphics, great sound and brilliant gameplay makes Rayman 2 an essential purchase for all who love platform-games. Buy it now!

Overall: 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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