Review by ANelson_

"You've done and seen it all before, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun."

Sony is certainly no stranger to the 3-D Adventure genre, as the Playstation has been filled with these titles from its release to this very day. Each game, from the more popular games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon and Gex to the lesser acclaimed platformers like Jersey Devil, has had a fair piece of the vast gaming market. Now that the Playstation 2 is up and running, it's safe to say that having Rayman 2: Revolution as one of the first 3-D platformers is quite a good sign for the future market.

Make no mistake, this is indeed the same Rayman 2, virtually identical to the previous N64 and Dreamcast incarnations. Naturally if they're going to tack ''Revolution'' onto the title, there must be something unique to it, right? Well yes, the coveted 1,000th lum is available this time around! Just trust me though when I say that all the differences are minor, and hardly enough to warrant a purchase if you own or have beaten this game on another platform. But for all of you first time players, I'd certainly recommend a rental.

Graphics: 10
Pretty, vibrant, bright, you name it. Rayman is cute and colorful, all of his friends are, even his enemies are well decorated. If all the graphics in Rayman are trying to tell you one thing, it is that this is a lighthearted romp through a lush world (this isn't Tomb Raider, folks.) I just can't imagine any real complaints in this department, other than the fact that everything's so flamboyant and cutesy that it could sicken those with weak stomachs. If this is the case, go play Silent Hill for a bit and come back later =)

Gameplay: 9
You run around with the analog stick, shoot with square/circle, jump with x, and use L2 to lock onto targets. Other than a few abilities Rayman learns and some scattered modes of transportation, this is all you'll need for the game. It's simple, and that's all it needs to be. Response time is good, fighting is easy to master, and swinging from purple lums is hideously fun. I give this a 9 because while mastering Rayman's actions and using them through normal environments is simple, the difficulty increases quickly in the race-like environments. Whether water-skiing or flying on the flaming barrel, things suddenly become fast, and take more effort. It doesn't hurt the game by any means, but it's the sort of inconsistency that could easily annoy some players.

Sound/Music: 8
In a word: fitting. Though none of the music scores are particularly memorable, they all fit quite nicely with the surroundings. Sound effects are just fine, nothing to complain about, nor anything to erect a shrine to UbiSoft for.

side note
I encountered a semi-frequent glitch with my game when it came to the sound department. The CD seemed in good condition, and the PS2 works fine, but there were a few occasions where things went awry. For instance, Rayman's helicopter noise wouldn't always stop when it should have, and there were times the sound effects or music would completely shut off and never return until I reset. Hopefully this was just a bad copy, I'd hate to know that glitches such as that were common.

Storyline: 5
The cliché is strong with this one. Let's see, we have a happy-go-lucky hero who gets stronger throughout the game with the help of friends. We have a villain who fits the oft-explored world of ''He's the bad guy because he looks mean, and decided that he wanted to do bad things.'' The bad guy imprisons the good people, is harsh to underlings, and even turns a friend of Rayman against him! There's a wise man who knows enough about the world to help you beat the villain, and even friends who need to be saved!

If you haven't seen this sort of thing twenty times over, you obviously haven't been playing video games or watching Disney movies very much. I'm not saying this part of the game is wholly unentertaining as you go through, but the more you look back, the more you'll wish they'd tried just a little harder. Sigh....

Difficulty: 10
The quest is not really very short or extremely taxing, sans a few tricky parts. If you're familiar with run-jump-shoot games, 80% of this game will be a breeze. To be fair, it's not because it's too easy, it's just formulaic enough not to threaten you. Each level poses a new little danger to you, figure out how to deal with it and move on to the next one. It works, and there's enough variety that may slip up occasionally, but will never have to throw the controller down in frustration. The other 20% is filled with more annoying or difficult parts to it. Parts like bouncing down the hill of lava, or flying through it at high speeds fit this category, as the premises and execution are just tough enough that you'll find a brief challenge or two along the way. Areas with events like water-skiing or especially the flying shell just might take a few continues from you as well. Basically you go through something at high speeds until you die from an obstacle, do it again until you dodge that one and die at the next one. Repeat until finished.

Extras: 9
Buying the cutesy multi-player minigames and playing through the challenge courses along the way can give a welcome and enjoyable distraction, even with a few rewards in the latter case. On top of that, typical to most 3-D adventure games there's also the quest-inside-quest goal to get all 1000 lums and rescue all of the familiar spirits. This is hardly a new concept, but they did really but some thought and effort to the aforementioned extras, and I have to give them credit for it.

Replay Value: N/A
Not really important here. You can access everything in the world along the way, the only thing actually starting a new game would do is refresh your memory about what it was like to fight and explore the world with less abilities and restrictions on where to go. Sure, you can see Rayman's friends in their bouncy antics all over again, but the gimmick will likely have worn off.

Rent. Most video stores seem to have 5-day rentals these days, and 5 days is enough to get through the game without delving into every little crevice. That's not to say that there isn't satisfaction in getting all 1000 lums and beating every extra game in it, but with little to reward you for doing it, the majority of players will be left with a ''Well, now what?'' feeling once they're through. There is plenty to get into if the game is purchased, and those not familiar or skilled with the genre may need a bit more time with it.... but most serious players will get all the enjoyment they need from the rental instead of shelling out another 40+ bucks to own it.

Overall: 9
What we have here is a great game. Not an original game, not an overly unique one, and certainly not a ground-breaking one, but a great game nonetheless. No matter how much can be said about the cheesiness of the plot, the overly cartoonish characters and the lighthearted nature of Rayman 2, anyone who lets these aspects corrupt their opinion of it is missing out on a fun, challenging and entertaining game. Don't expect a short little action game, or an involving quest.... just give yourself a few days and enjoy Rayman and all that it has to offer.

Oh, and good luck on the last stages =)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 07/10/01, Updated 07/10/01

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