September 22, 2000
When the gaming world was first introduced to Rayman on the Playstation several years ago the game received great reviews, although it was somewhat overshadowed by the 3D graphics found in games such as Ridge Racer, Tekken and Toshinden. Fortunately, UbiSoft, impressed by sales of well over a million units for the first game, have decided that a sequel was needed for one of video games most lovable characters. The release of Rayman 2 : The Great Escape just around the corner.
The story behind Rayman 2 is interesting to say the least. Rayman and the other inhabitants of his world have been captured by space pirates who plan to sell them to an intergalactic circus. Rayman is released from his prison by Globox and has to free the enslaved inhabitants. To defeat the space pirates Rayman has to travel through 21 different worlds and defeat the many bosses along the way.
Rayman 2 was released on the Nintendo 64 towards the end of last year. The game received positive reviews from the press and it become one of the biggest selling titles over the Christmas period. But don't expect a direct port of the game to the Dreamcast. Ubisoft are working hard to ensure the Dreamcast gets the best version of the game available. As well as a much higher resolution, better textures and lighting, Rayman 2 will run at a constant 60fps as opposed to the N64's rather sluggish 20fps.
Of course the sound in Rayman 2 will also be improved. The Dreamcast's GD-ROM has allowed Ubisoft to include a Dolby Surround soundtrack which will sound a lot better then the limitations set by Nintendo's cartridge format. The sound effects are also varied and suit the mood in the game perfectly.
Perhaps the best news for Dreamcast owners is that UbiSoft are adding several totally new features into the game. Rayman 2 :The Great Escape will include 3 new maps, 5 new bosses and a multi-player mode. But the most interesting news is that UbiSoft are including internet support. It will now be possible to connect directly to the Rayman 2 web site and download new maps and other goodies. Just how this will work without a mass media storage system on the Dreamcast is unknown, but is certainly feasible when the Zip Drive is released.
Gameplay is varied and a lot more fun then most other platform games. As well as the usual platform moves such as running, jumping, shooting and flying (using his hair), it is also possible to ride vehicles such as surfboards and rockets among others.
After many delays, and a shift into the 3rd dimension, development is coming to a close on UbiSoft's Rayman 2. If the Dreamcast is short on one genere it's platform games so Rayman 2: The Great Escape will be a welcome relief for Sega and Dreamcast owners alike. Fortunately, the game promises to be a lot of fun for both young and old and will probably be the closest game to the classic Mario 64 to date. The Nintendo 64 version of Rayman 2 was good, but with the improvements promised on the Dreamcast this will be one game that you can't live without.