Rayman—which Rayman? There are a billion games with the name Rayman in them! I’m talking about the Rayman—the one that started it all. It was made in 1995 for the Sony Playstation and—best of all—it’s 2D! Although 2D games aren’t highly accepted as of any importance at all these days, its simple controls and superb gameplay make it a great game. Although it may seem like too cartoony a game for gamers over five, kids younger than that would be unlikely to make it past the first two levels—you older gamers, give this a shot! Rayman is a member of a world where no one has arms, which is a good thing—it allows Rayman to punch by throwing his fist into the oblivion. As you progress through the game, Betilla the fairy grants Rayman new abilities: for instance, the telescopic fist (that allows Rayman to punch), the grabbing fist (that lets him grab onto flying rings), and others. As you can see, Rayman is not one of those ‘darker is better’ games. It’s cute, but it is smooth, very difficult, and fun to play. In summary, you have to go (actually, I think the word is ‘survive’) through the seven worlds—The Dream Forest, Band Land, The Blue Mountains, Picture City, The Caves of Skops, and Candy Chateau, picking up lives and tings to help make it, then come back when you have the necessary powers and experience and find the Electoon cages scattered throughout the seven worlds.
Rayman for the PS1 is very smooth. Most of the time, especially in Band Land and Picture City, you are jumping around on platforms—big, small, slippery, bouncy, moving, falling, and other conditions. These include pens, lilies, bongos, clouds (very common), sliding stones, etc. It’s made very interesting with the varied scenery; also, each section has a certain theme, e.g. standing on a moving cloud while it carries you past obstacles that you must jump, helicopter, or duck. It’s all made more amusing by Rayman’s smiling, doo-dah face grinning (with his eyes closed!) as he jumps over a bottomless pit onto a miniscule, moving platform. Another thing that I like about this platforming is that Rayman falls slowly—so slowly, in fact, that you will probably never miss a platform unless it either moves or you just jumped off something really slippery. To aid you in your quest, the developers have included extra hit points and things that temporarily expand them (which, by the way, increases your hit count from three to four and completely heals Rayman). And of course, there are the tings and gendors. Tings are little blue balls that you use to get lives or give to the magician in exchange for a life-giving bonus world. Unlike other games, if there’s a ting leading over the edge, jump for it! It will either lead to a secret passageway, or something will appear … that leads me to my other point—the gendors. A gendor is something that makes something else appear, and Ubi Soft has perfected this art. Finally, the enemies, few though they are, make the game more interesting—either by being obstacles to dodge or opponents to combat. (By the way, I like the way they used the former.) There is one con that I have to name—repeating a stage can get annoying if you just can’t make it. However, this should be nothing from deterring you gamers who think you’re just too good for this game. The first time you play this game, it will last a very long time, owing to how you must get used to its extremely difficult gameplay. Now (and I’ve played this a few times), I can beat each level very quickly and get all the cages in short order. Then again, I do that with most games now (Sonic Heroes, Spyro, etc.). I wouldn’t consider this an issue, seeing that you could get by with paying less than $3 for it and I still get about seven hours of gameplay out of it. That is, $0.43/hour, and that’s replaying it. By the way, one of those $30 games, if it had the same length, would be approximately $4.29/hour, which is again a replay value.
These are perfect and simple. To start out, you can jump (X), walk (D-pad), crawl/duck (D-pad down/L1 [L2] and R1 [R2]), and climb on vines. Also, you can make a silly face by pressing O that scares some of the beginning enemies and makes them run into the water … very amusing. As I already said, Betilla grants you more abilities as you go on, most of which will allow you to get things you weren’t able to before, namely Electoon cages. As for the menus, they are efficient. Annoyingly enough, and this is the one fault in this section (though I don’t find it a problem anymore)—you can’t exit a stage using the pause menu. That means that you either have to reset your Playstation, finish the level, or die and load your game again. In other words, SAVE EVERY TIME YOU BEAT A LEVEL!!!!! However, there is a back sign at the starting point of each stage that allows you to go back to the level select screen if you accidentally went to the wrong stage.
For starters, you have basic sounds: punch-slap-pop, helicopter hair noise, and ting sound—all superbly mastered. For such an old game, it’s very adequate. Also, in one part of the game, there is a trail of tings that plays a little tune, since tings each have their own tone. But the REALLY good part of it is the music. While the game is cute, the caves have a truly haunting soundtrack. It is completely masterful and quite fun to just listen to. (In fact, if you like it so much that you’d be willing to listen to it without actually playing, it surprisingly also functions as its own soundtrack when put in a CD player.)
The graphics 2D but you can’t really see the individual pixels. It is pretty much flat though. For being so old, they aren’t that bad, but almost anything 2D is quite outdated. There’s nothing to be distracted by—I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, but they won’t be much to look at just after you’ve played your PS3.
I’ve had no problems with stability—ever. The game has never crashed, and it only runs slowly in one part that takes up approximately three seconds of your gaming career.
The violence rightfully classified as comic mischief. It’s quite amusing actually; when Rayman gets his telescopic fist, he can punch by winding up his (unattached) fist and letting it fly at enemies! When enemies are sufficiently bonked, they fly straight up into the air, off the screen, with a cartoon sounding noise. Pretty harmless. Also, players are sometimes encouraged to just run right past enemies without whacking them—after all, you reason, would it really be the brightest idea to attack that enemy and lose one of my hard-earned lives? The violence is not something I would worry about. The only other issue that’s even present in this game is magic. I’ve pretty much already outlined it for you: fairy tale-type silly poofs and fzzts. It’s more other characters that use it, but the only thing on the grading template was ‘used by player,’ so I had to do that instead.
This is a great game for a (now) great price! It raises extremely minimal issues from a Christian standpoint, so that’s why I concentrated seemingly very little on the first part of this site’s name—again, a Christian’s view. Rayman’s superb gameplay raises a few questions on why the new games are getting all the attention, and its sound quality represents the PS1’s true capabilities. Don’t get it in your head that I just am biased against everything new or I don’t think that new releases aren’t better as a whole than old ‘trial runs,’ as some games could very rightfully be called. However, I both have approved this game from the viewpoint of a Christian and of a gamer who wants something fun and difficult to add to my collection. Finally, even if you generally don’t like platforming games, buy this for less than a tenth of the cost of the newer releases and let yourself be surprised.