Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to tell you the story of RAYMAN! Rayman and his world consist of people with floating feet and hands having no arms or legs (or neck), and were living in harmony. The “Great Protoon” a mystical orb keeps RAYMAN’s world in balance keeping the piece, the creatures called Electoons gravitate around the orb keeping the energy of the world in place. But one fay the evil Mr.Dark, a dark wizard, goes to the land where the Great Protoon is held, and steals the Great Protoon, battling Betilla the fairy, a Guardian of the orb, and defeating here causing the worlds balance to shift into chaos. On top of that, Mr.Dark has sent out henchmen to cage the Electoons and scatter them around the world, while also mind controlling inhabitants to do evil! Getting hum from his hammock, Rayman vows to save the day, defeat Mr.Dark, free all the Electoons, and recover the Great Protoon!
Does Raymans adventure from 1995 hold up today? Let’s find out!
The Goal of the game is to defeat all the bosses and complete every level in the game and freeing all the cages containing the Electoons to unlock the final level and challenge Mr.Dark. There is a password, and memory card (PSX) save system to resume your progress later. Rayman will be helped by Betilla the fairy and others on his quest. You select levels with a map, which will show how many cages you have unlocked, and you can go back to stages any time. The map is seen through the binoculars of Mr.Dark.
Raymans gameplay is very unique and can at times be a bit TOO challenging. Rayman has multiple abilities, a large portion are given to Rayman from Betilla the fairy. During certain areas of the game as you progress, Betilla will give you new powers from simply hanging off cliffs to flying with your hair in helicopter fashion.
Rayman starts off each level (without power-ups) with 3 Yellow dots next to his life count representing his health showing he can be hit three times, a basic fist, which holding the punch button can wind it up to launch further across the screen, and a basic jump. When you see a “P” orb with 2 yellow dots surrounding it, it will recover two of your health. If you find a large red “P” orb, it will increase Raymans hit points to 5 until you lose a life indefinitely. Getting it afterwards recovers all health.
There are also power ups for the fist, a Gold fist item in the stage will increase the strength, while one shining will increase distance. Trophies of Rayman, found during stages and during the Wizards bonus levels will grant you an extra life. The Wizards bonus stages will always give a life the first time you complete them. The Wizards hat will tell you how many orbs you must pay him to activate his stage. Orbs are the games currency in a sense, due to this. You also gain a life every 100 orbs you collect.
The game is designed around the powers Rayman receives or items Raymans friends give him during levels. A friend will give Rayman a magic seed to plant in the grows to create platforms to climb up away from a raging flood. Or Levels will be designed to take account for Rayman having the ability to helicopter glide.
Rayman also has natural objects to take advantage of. From swinging vines, floating plants, and even riding enemy projectiles.
Rayman is a very challenging game that requires taking advantage of your powers and the elements surrounding the level to get thorough. However there are some hit box issues that make this more challenging than normal. Band Land being infamous for it’s incredible difficulty spike, being the second area you access in the game.
Rayman is a game that has a large variety of environments, from a land where musical instruments attack, to a rugged mountain, to an Artland that will have Rayman bouncing on erasers and slipping on paint, to the standard forest, a Crystal cave, candy land, and so on. Each Area has a name such as “Blue mountains” or “Band Land” and that theme will translate into the level design. From the giant trumpets and orchestral like music in Band Land, to the more serious rugged tone of the Blue Mountains.
Level design is a bit of a mix. The games does a great job often having you use your abilities to progress as you earn them. But there are quite a few spots, especially too early on in the game where the difficulty will spike due to odd stage decisions or glitches such as hit box detection for grabbing ledges in Band Land which are slippery (in the PSX version). While the Jaguar has a few similar problems but is a bit more manageable.
Rayman has amazing music, some of the best quality sound you will hear out of the PSX from the CD. The music direction is amazing, and you wil be amazed at how well the soundtrack is produced and how variety it is. One issues though is to have sound that clean sounding on the PSX takes a lot of space. A good chunk of Raymans tracks are short and don’t quite last long enough. Some levels will have a different song play in between loops to mix it up. But while short, still some of the best music you will here out of the PSX.
The Jaguar is a bit different, a few of the sounds are the same, but you are not getting the quality you get from Iron Solider, Atari Karts, Super Burnout, or Tempest 2000. While the soundtrack is fine, and impressive in many areas, they went the basic route for the music, sounding more like a higher quality Sega genesis game soundtrack. While the Jaguar was the original version it’s clear they development team started focusing more on CD as it was available.
For the most part, the PSX and Jaguar versions of Rayman 1 are not too different. There are changes, such as the Band Land slopes being slippery causing you to slide in the PSX version, cutscenes, and the soundtracks. Gameplay elements are more significant as that PSX version seems to have hit box issues, glitches, and generally more difficult than the Jaguar version, while the Jaguar is not easier due to increased difficulty, but due to the lack of issues. The Jaguar version also focuses more on using your earned abilities to progress providing a challenge. While the PSX’s difficulty spike in just the second area of the game is really irritating.
Rayman is an amazing game with a wonderful soundtrack, variety themes, fun characters, and an epic adventure. It also has a few downsides depending on which version you play be it the lack of quality music on the Jaguar version or the gameplay issues in the PSX version. Overall the game is a classic that millions have played. Rayman is a unique adventure that I’d recommend to any Video Game fan.
“Aside from different problems, both versions of Rayman are great! Good music, challenging gameplay, and variety, along with generous replay value (required to get to the last boss) keep gamers coming back!” -Verzu Chase