March 31, 2000
|VMU Game||Difficulty||Save Size||Vibration||60Hz||50Hz Border|
When Rayman first appeared on the Playstation jsut after its launch it became one of the early hits on Sony's new system. Even though the reviews weren't that great sales of over 1 million units guaranteed that a sequel was certain to appear at some stage. Four years later it has. Rayman 2: The Great Escape is that sequel, and although the game was released on Nintendo 64 before Christmas, Dreamcast owners have had to wait an extra 4 months for the game.
Rayman 2 is set in a cartoon world and begins with Rayman trapped in a cell in a floating prison. Fortunately, Rayman's friend Globox is put in the cell with him and returns enough power to help him break free from the cell ad escape through a sewer drain. Once Rayman has escaped he learns that many of the other inhabitants of his world have been captured by space pirates who plan to sell them to an intergalactic circus. To defeat the space pirates Rayman has to travel through 21 worlds to defeat the many bosses along the way.
Rayman 2 is a 3D platfom game similar in style to Mario 64. Rayman is controlled via the analogue stick and has a variety of abilities such as flying through the air using his ears as propellers and shooting from his hands. Fortunately, the in-game camera is also fairly intelligent and in the rare case of a bad angle it is possible to rotate the view to directly behind the characer via the top left button underneath the controller. Like most 3D games there are some limitations with the camera movement, particulary when you are stanting with your back to a wall and the camer can't move behind. In the grand scheme of things this is a very minor problem.
One area with Rayman 2 which many people may complain about is the length. It is possible to complete the game in under 15 hours, although I guarantee it will take a lot longer to find all the lums to complete the game 100%. While Rayman 2 isn't an epic game like Square's Final Fantasy RPG series or other adventure/platform games which require 100+ hours to complete I can guarantee that this game packs just as much, if not more, humour and enjoyment into the game.
One area where Rayman 2 positively shines is with the graphics. Put simply, they are amazing, even, and easily, outshining Sega's own flagship title, Sonic Adventure. The levels are richly detailed with the best graphics ever seen in a console game. The worlds are heavily populated with both interactive and non-interactive characters which are varied in their design. The first time you meet the baby Globoxes you can't help but be amused. The game runs at a constant 60fps with none of the sluggisness of the Nintendo 64 version.
Rayman 2 excels in another area as well. With the added space provided by Sega's GD-ROM Ubisoft has created the most amazing musical score. The orchestrial music is easily of the quality found in a multi-million dollar film. So many games are ruined by meaningless or repeatitive music, not so here. While none of the character speek English (Rayman is French), the characters all have distinctive personalities. Ubisoft have also spent quite a bit of time on the sound effects which are also brilliant and make great use of the stereo sound.
UbiSoft have been very kind with the extra's on offer for Dreamcast owners. Not only did they spend time improving the frame rate and graphics for the Dreamcast version but have added in a 60Hz mode as well as a widescreen 16:9 TV option. New levels can be unlocked by going online and Ubisoft have also incorperated some bonus mini-games and a multiplayer map for up to 4 players.
Rayman 2 is the best game on the Dreamcast so far, and could arguably be the greatest platform game ever, and that includes the Shiguru Miyomoto's legendary Mario 64. Anyone who is foolish enough to look past this title is doing themselves a disservice. The 3 years it has taken UbiSoft to develop the title was well worth it, and Rayman 2 deserves every award and praise that it receives. It's a classic.