Rayman 2: The Great Escape
|Rayman 2: The Great Escape|
|Developer(s)||Ubisoft Montpellier (N64 & DC)
Ubisoft (PC, PS, PS2 & GBC)
DC Studios (DS)
Ubisoft Casablanca (3DS)
|Engine||RenderWare 3 (PS2)|
Rayman 2: The Great Escape is a platform video game, developed by Ubisoft and first released on 29 October 1999. It is considered to have raised standards regarding 3D, level design and game play, being praised by numerous reviews. It was first released for the Nintendo 64, PC, Dreamcast and PlayStation, and was later adapted for the PlayStation 2 as Rayman Revolution (Rayman 2: Revolution in North America), the Game Boy Color as Rayman 2 Forever (Rayman 2 in North America), the Nintendo DS as Rayman DS, for iPhone/iPod Touch, and as Rayman 3D on the Nintendo 3DS. The game has been mentioned on several "Best Games Of All Time" lists.
The game centers on the invasion of the Glade of Dreams, the world where the game takes place, by robot pirates from outer space. In order to repair the damage to the world and defeat the invasion force, Rayman has to collect 1000 pieces (800 in the PlayStation and Game Boy Color versions) of the world's core (called Lums) and reunite four magical masks which will awaken Polokus, the world's spirit. Polokus has gone into hiding a long time ago, however as he is the creator of "all that is and will be," he is the world's last hope.
Rayman 2 takes place in a world called the Glade of Dreams. An army of Robot Pirates, led by Admiral Razorbeard, invades this world and destroys the Heart of the World, the world core. This greatly weakens the resistance's power and disables Rayman's powers, leading to his capture.
Globox, a friend of Rayman, is later also captured and put in the same cell as Rayman aboard the Pirates' prison ship. Globox gives Rayman a silver lum given to him by Ly the fairy, which restores his powers. Rayman escapes the prison ship, and is separated from Globox again. He learns that in order to stand a chance against the Pirates, he needs to find four ancient, magic masks to awaken Polokus, the spirit of the world. He travels through the Glade of Dreams via the Hall of Doors, a magical place linked to various locations in the world, controlled by the ancient Teensies.
In the course of the game, Rayman frees Globox who had been captured again, and they continue together for a short while until Globox departs again to go find his family. Later, Rayman finds Globox's wife Uglette and learns that he has been imprisoned on the Prison Ship. Rayman also encounters his friend Clark, a strongman who has stomach problems due to eating rusty pirates; to continue through the level, Rayman has to cure Clark by means of an elixir.
Eventually, Rayman recovers the four masks and awakens Polokus, who makes quick work of the pirates on land. In the air however, he has no power, and Rayman is tasked to dispose of the Pirates' Prison Ship, where Admiral Razorbeard also has his headquarters. In a final battle Rayman fights Razorbeard, who is controlling a giant robot, the Grolgoth. Eventually Rayman destroys the robot and while Razorbeard escapes in a small escape pod, the Prison Ship explodes. Rayman is presumed dead and only one of his shoes is found, but during his funeral, he appears again, walking on a crutch.
The game is played from a third-person perspective and the player has control over the camera, though in some situations this control is limited to only certain angles. At several points in the game the player loses control during cut scenes, which typically show dialogue between characters. The gameplay is also interrupted by a cut scene taking place in Admiral Razorbeard's room aboard the prison ship several times. During these scenes, Rayman is not present.
By collecting lums, the player unlocks more information about the game world and its back story, which can be read by standing still and pressing a specific button for some time. Some back story is also obtained through (optional) instructions from Murfy, a "flying encyclopedia" who provides explanations on all kinds of gameplay elements.
In contrast to its predecessor, which was a 2D platformer, Rayman 2 is a 3D platformer. The player navigates through a mostly linear sequence of levels, fighting enemy Robo-Pirates, solving puzzles and collecting lums. Collecting enough lums gains the player access to new parts of the world. Part of the lums are hidden in small cages, in which other freedom fighters or Teensies are imprisoned, and can be obtained by breaking the cages.
Rayman starts the game with minimal abilities, and he can gain more abilities as the game progresses. The main weapon available in the game is Rayman's fist, with which energy orbs can be shot. The orbs can be charged before shooting them, making them more powerful. Rayman can also enter a strafing stance allow him to easily aim orbs whilst avoiding enemy attacks. Rayman later gets the ability to swing across Purple Lums to clear large gaps. Rayman is also able to use his helicopter hair to slow his descent while jumping, with some segments later in the game allowing him to fly with his hair. There are also various items Rayman can use throughout the game, such as explosive barrels he can throw, giant plums he can ride on to carry him across dangerous surfaces, and rockets he must ride on in order to access new areas.
In addition to the main, story-based level sequence, there are also several levels in which the player can gain bonuses in a time trial. Additionally, by collecting all lums and breaking all cages in a level, the player unlocks a bonus level in which one of Globox's children races against a robot pirate. When the player controlling the child wins the race, Rayman gains health or a powerup.
Rayman 2 was released on a wide variety of platforms, with several differences and name changes between the versions.
Nintendo 64 and PC
The Nintendo 64 version of Rayman 2: The Great Escape was released first, followed by a PC release later that year, with slight improvements to the PC version (including graphics and music). The PC version is compatible with computers ranging from around the year of 1999 to the present day, although it can sometimes be difficult to get an original retail copy of the game to run on Windows XP or Vista. Fan-made patches have been released to correct some of the problems that occur on more recent configurations. The game cannot be installed on 64-bit computers, because the DRM in the installation disc is 16-bit. However this seems to be fixed in Windows 8 x64 operating systems.
On 26 May 2011, GOG.com re-released Rayman 2: The Great Escape, alongside Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc and Rayman Forever, made to be compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, along with a digital version of the game's soundtrack as bonus content. On 26 January 2012 Ubisoft announced that Rayman 2 will be added as a bonus for preordering the PC version of Rayman Origins.
Entitled Rayman 2: The Great Escape, the Dreamcast version has various changes from the original Nintendo 64 and PC versions, including several 2D sprites being replaced by 3D models, and a slightly zoomed out camera angle (which was also used in Rayman Revolution). The Dreamcast version also has exclusive mini-games, playable by finding hidden crystals and changes to the world map (the Dreamcast version uses The Isle of Doors instead of The Hall of Doors as the world map) and final battle. Many features in the Dreamcast version are retained in Rayman Revolution, such as the camera angle and the 3D models. This version has received the highest average reviews, winning 'IGN Dreamcast Game of the Year 2000', and a 9.6 score from IGN.
The PlayStation version was developed by Ubisoft Shanghai, and is the first version to have the characters speaking real languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian), replacing Raymanian. Numerous level design changes were made, and some levels were removed altogether. The entrance to "The Cave of Bad Dreams" is no longer in "The Marshes of Awakening", but instead, in "The Menhir Hills". There are only 800 Yellow Lums in this version and the number remains the same all through the game (the scene with Razorbeard eating one of the Yellow Lums was changed so that he would eat a Red one instead). Some exclusive characters are present in this version, including the pirate assassin Ninjaws, and characters that did not have speaking roles in the other versions, such as the guardians Axel, Umber, and Foutch, now speak to Rayman in their own exclusive cutscenes when he confronts them. In this version Axel and Foutch are misguided and think Rayman is a thief but Umber is not. It is no longer possible to choose between the treasure and the elixir in The Cave of Bad Dreams, since the player is given no interaction in the respective cutscene, and Rayman automatically chooses the elixir. Additionally, this version features an exclusive mini-game for players who collect 90% of the Yellow Lums (which is actually a 2D prototype of Rayman 2). This port was later released on the PlayStation Network on 18 December 2008 in North America and on 28 July 2010 in Europe.
This version, titled Rayman: Revolution (Rayman 2: Revolution in North America), was released a year after The Great Escape. It features some enhancements including new levels, some level revisions (although Ubisoft somehow got the names of The Sanctuary of Rock and Lava and Beneath The Sanctuary of Rock and Lava in the wrong order, and omitted the “Rock and” parts of their names whilst doing this), new music tracks, three new bosses, Yellow Lum redistribution, and even Bzzit, the mosquito boss from the first "Rayman" makes an appearance. And like before, he's needed to progress further. The Hall of Doors was replaced with three central hubs (The Minisaurus Plains, Globox's House and The Rainbow Creek) in which to walk freely and discover the game, along with purchase upgrades and mini games with the Yellow Lums they have. Players can now also save when they've beaten one part of a level instead of having to go through them in one sitting, although like before, it's a manual save.
Also, this is the only version in which the 1,000th Yellow Lum can be obtained normally, and hence actually changes the total back to 1,000, as opposed to being a super-secret hidden Lum in the Tomb of the Ancients, which did the exact opposite. Instead, the player obtains the 1,000th Lum the minute they get the Lumz Radar after beating Clark, a Revolution exclusive gadget that helps the player find any Yellow Lums they missed (the game never tells players if the Lum Razorbeard ate early in the game was a fake or if the Pirates tested the radar on him and he coughed it up as a result before storing them away). English and other voices also return, but they are optional in this version, so the player can choose between the gibberish present in most versions of the game; Raymanian, or the real languages in the main menu options. However, the frame rate is lower than the 60 frames per second rate of the Dreamcast version. And for whatever reason, Ubisoft decided that whenever the player revisits levels for fun or missing collectables, some ambiance tracks will replace the music in most areas of them (For example, when you go back to The Fairy Glade, you'll hear this instead of this in the first area), nor are players allowed to revisit The Woods of Light and The Cave of Bad Dreams outside of making a new game. This port was later released on the PlayStation Network on 1 May 2012 in North America.
Game Boy Color
Titled Rayman 2 Forever (Rayman 2 in North America), this version is a 2D side scroller, and follows the story of the other versions. It was released in June 2001 in North America and December 2001 in Europe. It has two boss fights which are exactly the same, but apparently the last one is Razorbeard, even though the sprite for a common Robo Pirate is used for it. Ly and Globox appear only in cutscenes (which are still images, nothing more). Like the PS1 version, Rayman has to collect 800 Lums instead of 1000, and this game is also a bit easier than the Game Boy Color version of the original Rayman, for example, cages are put in front of Rayman while he walks through each stage.
The Nintendo 64 version of game was ported to the Nintendo DS under the title Rayman DS. Very few changes have been made to the game from the Nintendo 64 version. Parts of some music tracks have been taken out and some graphical textures have been simplified, both likely due to storage limits on the Nintendo DS cartridge. The port also added touch screen controls.
Using the engine of Rayman 2 for the Dreamcast (despite this, all three minigames and the Globox Village in the DC version were removed) another port was released for Apple's iOS-based portable devices on 1 March 2010. It features landscape touch-screen controls, with a figurative analog stick on the left and two on-screen "buttons" on the right-hand side of the screen. This and the PlayStation version are the only two versions that do not have the Baby Globox minigame.
At a Nintendo event held in Europe on 19 January 2011, Ubisoft revealed several titles in development for Nintendo 3DS, which included a port of Rayman 2 titled Rayman 3D to be released at the system's launch. Ubisoft confirmed that this version is a port of the Dreamcast version (and like the iOS version, the 3DS one also has no minigames nor the Globox Village) with "major updates on key game play elements such as accessibility, progression and learning curve." With this release, versions of Rayman 2 have been launch titles for two Nintendo handheld consoles.
Very early into the development of Rayman 2, it was a 2D game for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. This was later scrapped for the 3D game that Rayman 2 became. Pictures of the 2D version and concept art (a green villain with a chainsaw) and mentions of powers such as the platform fist were published in gaming magazines such as EGM. A stage of this beta version was unlockable in the PlayStation version of Rayman 2.
Rayman 2 received acclaim from both critics and fans, scoring a 9 on Nintendo 64, 9.2 on PC and PlayStation and 9.6 on Dreamcast from IGN. It also received 'IGN Dreamcast Game of the Year 2000'. It was praised in most aspects including gameplay, audio, graphics and controls, praising the colorful, vibrant worlds, the soundtrack, and the varied gameplay. IGN's Brandon Justice called it "the most impressive feat of game design and execution the platforming genre has ever seen."
The reception for Rayman DS was mixed, citing graphical flaws and camera problems, While it did support controlling the game via the touchpad, this was regarded as sloppy and awkward, partly caused by the game being a direct port of the Nintendo 64 version. Rayman 3D has also gotten a similar reception due to being a direct port of the Dreamcast release, with no true usage of the 3DS's capabilities except for stereoscopic 3D.
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