February 25, 2001
It's little wonder that UbiSoft is quickly becoming one of the worlds top publishers. With games such as Stupid Invaders, Speed Devils and certainly Rayman 2 on Dreamcast leading the way anything new deserves a lot of attention. Rayman Revolution is an updated version of the PSOne, PC, Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast game. This was set to be one of the big launch titles on the Playstation 2, but sadly suffered some delays to polish it off, and the game slipped into 2001. Is this version of the game the best one as promised, or were the delays an indication of development problems?
Rayman Revolution has an interesting storyline, and it definitely helps set up a lot of the humour which is, at times, brilliant. Space pirates have captured Rayman and the other inhabitants of his world and are planning to sell them to an intergalactic circus. Rayman is released from his prison by Globox and has to free the enslaved inhabitants by completing the levels and collecting lums, which give him extra powers during his journey. To defeat the space pirates Rayman has to travel through 25 different worlds and defeat the many bosses along the way. As with previous games in the series humour plays a major role in Rayman with many amusing characters discovered during your journeys.
There are some games which, while you are playing, make you loose all sense of reality. Rayman Revolution is one such game. Its beauty, intensity and gameplay will suck you in and won't let you go. On more then one occasion I found myself staying up way after acceptable hours, which in my case is pretty damn late. Controlling Rayman is an absolute joy through the Dual Shock 2 controller and he responds exactly to your commands. The games levels are extremely well developed with careful consideration goint to the placement of every object, wall, ledge and enemy. You won't be taking any blind leaps of faith and hoping there is a ledge off the screen somewhere. Rayman's array of moves is impressive and includes flying, swimming, shooting, jumping, climbing rocks, riding rockets and much more. The enemies are intelligent although the bosses follow set patterns when attacking making the game difficult, yet somewhat predictable. Still when Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty comes out later this year the computer AI in Rayman Revolution will pale into insignificance. For now, this is more then adequate.
Rayman Revolution isn't the longest game ever, in fact it will likely only take you 15 hours or so to get to the end. Completing the game with collecting all the lums and unlocking the 3 multiplayer maps will take considerably longer. UbiSoft have promised that this game will be a lot less linear then the Rayman 2 games. This is true but it doesn't work too well. At times I found myself confused as to which areas I should go into and complete next.
This may sound strange, but before I begin criticising the graphics I will say that Rayman Revolution has some of the most beautiful graphics ever seen in a video game. The developers have used Criterion's Renderware 2 to port the game so the game doesn't use custom libraries for the Playstation 2. As a result the game includes some slowdown in places that never occurred on the Dreamcast and the textures within the levels also seem to be a lower quality then the Dreamcast game. While the game falls behind with the textures the lighting has been vastly improved form the already impressive Dreamcast game. The number of enemies on screen also seems to have been bumped up a little as well while the animation of the characters throughout the game is superb with some brilliant visual humour littered throughout the game.
The music in Rayman Revolution is very impressive. Ubisoft have created some great orchestral music to accompany you along your journey and it suits the game perfectly. The sound effects are also impressive with some great cartoony sound effects throughout the levels. One interesting thing to note is that Rayman now speaks in several different languages. Thanks to the DVD format UbiSoft have been able to include English, Spanish, French and even the original Rayman-speak.
When I reviewed Rayman 2 on the Dreamcast I said that it "could arguably be the greatest platform game ever, and that includes the Shiguru Miyomoto's legendary Mario 64". Rayman Revolution is equally impressive and should be in every Playstation 2 owners game collection. Don't be fooled by the title however. This isn't a revolution, it's merely an evolution to the series. If you have played Rayman 2 on either the Dreamcast, Nintendo 64 or PSOne there won't be much new on offer here. If you've never owned Rayman 2 you are in for some of the most enjoyable gaming ever.