Rayman (video game)
Ubisoft Italy (handheld)
|Designer(s)||Michel Ancel (lead)
Serge Hascoët (lead)
|Artist(s)||Alexandra Steible (characters)
Sylvaine Jenny (backgrounds)
Rayman is a 1995 side-scrolling platform game developed by Ubisoft Montpellier and Ubisoft Italy and published by Ubisoft. The first installment in the Rayman series, the game follows the adventures of Rayman, a hero who must save his colourful world from the evil Mr. Dark. Originally designed for the Atari Jaguar in 1995, a PlayStation version was developed and released around the same time, and further ports were created for MS-DOS and Sega Saturn in 1996. It has appeared in various other formats, such as Game Boy Advance, PlayStation Network and DSiWare.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Development
- 4 Versions and re-releases
- 5 Reception
- 6 Legacy
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The cosmic balance and harmony of Rayman's world are maintained by a mystical object known as the Great Protoon. One day, the mysterious Mr Dark steals the Great Protoon, defeating Betilla the Fairy as she attempts to protect it. As a result, the Electoons – benevolent creatures which gravitated around the Great Protoon – are scattered across the world. In this now-unbalanced world, hostile creatures appear and imprison the Electoons in cages. The Magician, a benevolent wizard, calls upon the hero Rayman to free the Electoons, defeat Mr Dark and recover the Great Protoon.
Rayman starts in the Dream Forest, a surreal jungle. He encounters Betilla the Fairy, who grants him the power to punch enemies. The first boss encountered is a giant mosquito. After being defeated, the mosquito breaks into tears. Rayman takes pity on him and they become friends, with the mosquito giving Rayman a ride across a lagoon. Betilla gives Rayman the ability to hang on ledges. In a swamp, Rayman encounters Tarayzan; when Rayman retrieves his clothes, Tarayzan gives him a magic seed which he can use to escape a flood. In Moskito's Nest, Rayman defeats a more powerful mosquito named Moskito and Betilla gives him the power to swing from flying rings.
Rayman arrives in Band Land, a region composed mainly of music and musical instruments. He encounters Mr Sax, a malevolent giant saxophone. Betilla the Fairy grants him the power to use his hair as a helicopter to glide. Rayman later arrives in Mr Sax's lair and defeats him.
In the Blue Mountains, a cold mountain range, Rayman encounters the Musician, whose guitar has been crushed by a rock. After Rayman carves a new guitar from the stone, the Musician gives him a potion that lets him fly through a cavern of spikes. Rayman encounters Mr. Stone, a rock monster. After he defeats Mr. Stone atop a mountain peak, Betilla gives Rayman the ability to run at great speed.
Rayman arrives in Picture City, a land composed of art supplies. On the stage of a pirate-themed play, he is attacked by Space Mama, an actress in a Viking costume, and defeats her. Later, Rayman encounters her again, this time in the guise of an astronaut. After defeating Space Mama a second time, Rayman learns Mr. Dark has kidnapped Betilla the Fairy.
Rayman reaches the Caves of Skops, where he meets Joe the Extra-Terrestrial, an alien who owns a restaurant. Joe's business is in trouble because his lights are out; with Joe's firefly to light his way, Rayman travels deep into the caves to reinsert a plug that has fallen out, restoring the restaurant's power. After using Joe's buoys to cross a lake, Rayman encounters Mr. Skops, a giant scorpion who attacks when awakened. After Rayman defeats Mr. Skops, the kidnapped Betilla calls out to him for help.
In order to progress to the final land, Candy Château, Rayman must smash all 102 Electoon cages scattered throughout the previous five lands. In this landscape of sweets and crockery, Rayman encounters Mr. Dark, who attacks with various spells – creating a deadly doppelgänger, reversing the player's controls, and forcing Rayman to run uncontrollably. Finally Mr. Dark steals Rayman's telescopic fist. Rayman arrives in the château's hall, where Mr Dark traps him with walls of fire. At the last moment, he is rescued by the Electoons, who retrieve his fist. Mr. Dark attacks, transforming into various hybrids of Moskito, Mr. Sax, Mr. Stone, Space Mama and Mr. Skops; after a three-part battle, Mr. Dark flees.
The Magician congratulates Rayman for saving the world. An epilogue image shows that Betilla and the Great Protoon have been recovered, and the credits show Rayman holidaying with friends and former enemies.
Rayman is a side-scrolling platform game. The player character is the titular Rayman, who must travel through six worlds (The Dream Forest, Band Land, Blue Mountains, Picture City, The Caves of Skops and Candy Château) to free all of the caged Electoons, six cages of whom are located somewhere on each level. Only when all the Electoons are freed will Rayman be able to reach and confront Mr Dark at his lair in Candy Château. Each level is divided into several maps, each of which is completed when Rayman reaches the "!" sign at the end. The player is given a certain number of lives, which are lost when Rayman is hit by an enemy or falls into water or a pit. If all lives are lost at any point, the "Game Over" screen will appear, and the player can continue or quit. Scattered around each level are small, sparkling blue spheres called Tings. If Rayman picks up 100 (50 in the DSI version), he gains an extra life and the counter resets to 0. When Rayman dies, he loses any Tings he has collected. Tings can also be used to pay the Magician, a character found in certain levels, to enter a bonus stage, where Rayman can win an extra life. Rayman's "telescopic fist", an ability gained early in the game, allows him to punch enemies from a distance; most enemies can be defeated with a certain number of punches. At the end of each world, Rayman must defeat a boss enemy. The player comes across a variety of other power-ups and bonuses, such as a golden fist (which increases punch strength), a speed fist (which increases the speed of Rayman's punches), a power to restore Rayman's lost life energy, and flying blue elves whose touch shrinks Rayman down in size to access new areas.
In early stages of the game, Rayman has the ability to walk, crawl and make silly faces. He obtains additional powers during the game (telescopic punching, holding onto ledges, grappling flying rings, using his hair as helicopter blades to glide, and running) from Betilla the Fairy, while others are given temporarily from his friends that are used for a specific levels only.
The Rayman character came from sketches in 1994 made by Michel Ancel. The designer was influenced by Russian, Chinese and Celtic fairy tales. Ubi Soft funded Ancel's project. Early in its development, the game was intended for the Super Nintendo console and featured a two-player mode. Ubi Soft decided to move the project to a CD-ROM console, and the developers hired animators from a cartoon company that considerably improved the graphics. When Super Nintendo's CD-ROM feature was canceled, the game moved to the Atari Jaguar for its superior hardware, and advertisements in late 1994 announced the game as a Jaguar exclusive. The PlayStation and Saturn versions came later in the development. 32X and 3DO Interactive Multiplayer versions were also announced, but never released.
Character and art design
Versions and re-releases
Original Atari Jaguar version vs. CD-ROM versions
The original Atari Jaguar version features some unique/absent areas and absent gameplay mechanics compared to the (themselves largely identical) PC/PlayStation/Sega Saturn CD-ROM editions. For example, in Blue Mountains, the level Mr. Stone's Peaks is missing the second area entirely (where Rayman has to cut 2 ropes with his hair before a stone ceiling pushes him into the water). Also, in Picture City, the level Eraser Plains' third area has been changed to a completely different place, and the space background in the Space Mama fight is completely absent. The last world, Candy Chateau, was also largely restructured for the other versions. Rayman's ability to shrink (with the help of creatures called Flying Blue Elves), and to slide on sheet music bars in Band Land or snow in the Blue Mountains, were absent on the Jaguar, only being added in later versions. Also there are some extra things that are not seen in some of the ports, there is a Breakout clone minigame (though this can also be found in the PC version) and Moskito shoots blue fireballs. Finally, since the Jaguar version was stored on a cartridge, not a CD, it featured considerably lower-quality music than the Red Book audio of the others, which also received similarly enhanced sound effects.
PlayStation/Saturn vs. PC
Most PC versions of Rayman had the music and backing SFX tracks for each world combined into one CD audio track, which was repeated throughout most levels within those worlds; including the data track, this made for a total of 20 or 25 (multi-language versions) tracks. In contrast, the PlayStation and Saturn versions contained each track as a separate CD audio track, and changed the track played depending on the sub-level and its intended atmosphere; this totalled 51 tracks.
There were also differences in sound effects and levels between the games; for example, Rayman's exclamation of "Yeah!" upon reaching the exit sign and thus completing a level is simply a vocal sample on the PC, a vocal with a musical backing on the PlayStation, and possesses a slightly more developed backing on the Saturn. The PlayStation Store version is exactly the same as the PS1 version and runs on the PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita under emulation. It runs on the PlayStation 3 as a PlayStation game.
Later, on September 28, 1997, Ubi Soft released an updated version of the game for the PC. This bundle had the original Rayman in its entirety, as well as a level editing package, known as Rayman Designer. The package contained 24 original levels, with the same gameplay but a few new concepts: now Rayman has to collect 100 Blue Tings in a level before he can finish it. A few other features were added, like colored tings that trigger special events, additional objects and a timer to show the player how fast they can complete this level. With Rayman Designer, players could make their own levels and share them with others via the Internet.
The British Focus Multimedia edition of Rayman Gold does not include the music tracks at all, because said company does not have the original source of the music tracks; the game should have redbook audio tracks.
Around a year after that, Ubi Soft released Rayman Forever. It contained everything from Rayman Gold, plus a bundle of 40 new levels designed by fans, a video entitled The Making of Rayman 2, and a fridge magnet. However, various sections of the soundtrack were erased to save space on the CD.
Another compilation, entitled Rayman Collector was released in late 1999, exclusively to France. It featured all of the levels from Rayman Gold and Forever (i.e. the levels from the original game, Rayman Designer's 24 New Levels, and 40 levels from Rayman by His Fans), as well as 60 new levels by Ubi Soft themselves (titled 60 Niveaux Edits, "60 new levels"). It also includes the video The Making of Rayman 2. A bundle with the same configuration of levels was released in the Netherlands, titled simply Rayman. This version is not rare, unlike Rayman Collector. Lastly, the collection, or at least the latter two bundles of levels[clarification needed], were also released as Rayman 100 Niveaux.
Running PC versions of Rayman on modern operating systems
As it was designed for IBM PC-compatibles running MS-DOS (and Microsoft Windows in the case of Rayman Designer aka Mapper), the game does not run natively on non-Windows systems, or computers running a non-DOS based version of Windows (Microsoft Windows NT and its successors 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and family). However, the open-source DOS emulator DOSBox provides one way to remedy this; and to save users having to configure said program themselves, downloadable patches have been released that allow the game to be played on various other OSs.
Game Boy Color version
Ubi Soft Italy also released Rayman (Rayman: Mister Dark no Wana in the Japanese release) for Game Boy Color, which contained all the Rayman 2 music and worlds, but had the storyline of Rayman. It was later re-released on the Virtual Console for the Nintendo 3DS on May 31, 2012.
Rayman was ported to the Game Boy Advance with similar qualities to the PlayStation and PC versions (there are a few missing levels). The music, however, is of lesser quality, due to the GBA's limitations. The game was edited to be easier; Rayman has an extra life point, which gives him four from start, his sprite is big, so things cannot harm him from above, flickering time is longer, and any items collected are also retained on death instead of resetting to zero on each death. Also, event-triggering areas which, for example, spawn enemies when Rayman though walks them are marked with a small, sparkling point.
In 2005 Rayman Advance was bundled with the GBA version of Rayman 3 on a single cartridge entitled Rayman 10th Anniversary.
Rayman was ported to DSiWare for the Nintendo DSi handheld console. This version featured an even easier difficulty, implemented via an increased number of health points and bonus items, and also had the in-level music edited to loop rather than simply end and begin again (though some music tracks were removed).
Rayman is highly acclaimed for its animated 2D graphics, atmosphere, and soundtrack. It was awarded both "Best Music in a CD-ROM Game" and "Best Animation" in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 1995 Video Game Awards. The game sold 900,000 copies in two years. It is also the best-selling PlayStation game of all time in the United Kingdom, with around 5 million copies sold, beating Tomb Raider II and Gran Turismo in the country.
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the PlayStation version a score of 8.625 out of 10 and their "Game of the Month" award. They highly praised the originality, animation, and musical score, and remarked that it firmly disproved the rumor that the PlayStation cannot do side-scrolling games well. GamePro likewise praised the animation and music, as well as Rayman's many acquired abilities, and commented that "Rayman is a dazzling delight and ranks as one of the most visually appealing games of this or any year."
Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Jaguar version an 8 out of 10, assessing that it is an outstanding platformer on its own terms but pales against the PlayStation version due to the lower sound quality of the music and most especially the slow responsiveness of the controls. GamePro also rated it slightly less than the PlayStation version. However, both magazines noted it as one of the best Jaguar games to date, with GamePro remarking "Finally, a game that shows off the Jaguar's capabilities."
Sega Saturn Magazine gave the Saturn version a 78%, remarking that "if you were just watching somebody else playing the game you could be easily fooled into thinking this was the best thing to appear on the Saturn for quite some time. However, in reality, it's a bit too dull a bit too often, and at times, it's just plain irritating and damned difficult."
GameSpot gave the PC version a 7.4, complaining of several issues such as the infrequent save points, but summarizing, "Take any good scroller like Donkey Kong or Pitfall, add scintillating colors, wonderfully clever gaming elements, engaging and humorous characters, terrific music, and heaps of whimsy and you have Rayman."
The original Rayman is famous for its high difficulty level. Rayman was followed by many successful sequels that do not continue the original story. Rayman 2: The Great Escape was released followed by Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman: Hoodlums' Revenge, Rayman Origins and Rayman Legends. Several spin-offs have also been released, including Rayman Arena and the Raving Rabbids series.
- "Rayman Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- "Original" Rayman Game Playing Basics
- Rayman's Worlds
- "History of Rayman". Rayman Zone. Ubisoft. Archived from the original on November 20, 2010.
- See for example GamePro (64) (IDG). November 1994. p. 185. Missing or empty
- "Rayman". GamePro (IDG) (68): 142. March 1995.
- "Rayman Greatest Hits". Ubisoft. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- Patches for running Rayman on modern OSs
- Mobygames: Rayman Gold
- "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1996.
- Malaval, Philippe; Bénaroya, Christophe (2001-01-31). "Strategy and Management of Industrial Brands" (Malaval, 2001) pp. 297-8. ISBN 978-0-7923-7970-6. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- PlayStation's last hurrah
- "Review Crew: Rayman". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (74): 34. September 1995.
- "ProReview: Rayman". GamePro (IDG) (85): 42. October 1995.
- "Review Crew: Rayman". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (74): 40. September 1995.
- "ProReview: Rayman". GamePro (IDG) (84): 64. September 1995.
- Hickman, Sam (November 1995). "Review: Rayman". Sega Saturn Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 74–75.
- Sengstack, Jeff (June 11, 1996). "Rayman Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 7 July 2014.