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Podcast: Legends of Rayman

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This week Fred is joined by Chip Cella of the B-Team Podcast to discuss one of the few colorful platformers born completely from the 3D generation, despite the first game playing on a 2D plain.  Ubisoft’s Michel Ansel all but saved the then struggling developer/publisher and gave way to a challenging but fun series starring a character with no limbs.

Opening Song – Rayman Theme from the original Rayman on PS1

Closing Song – Madder by Groove Armada (Fred incorrectly refers to this song as Hoodlum in the show)

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Rayman 2: The Great Escape (Ubisoft)

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Four years after the release of the original Rayman and plenty of celebrated success, Ubisoft released a sequel that changed the concept of the series entirely.  Unlike the original cartoon-like platformer that was tough as nails, we were greeted with a dark, 3D rendered platformer.  While the jump to 3D was hit or miss for various gaming staples, Rayman found a welcome home with Rayman 2: Great Escape, touted by many (myself included) as one of the best 3D platformers ever developed.

If I mention a cutesy 3D platformer that stars evil robots and pirates it would be hard to tell if I was talking about a Ratchet & Clank, Rayman, or even Conker because the idea is so recycled.  While the plot may remain the same, that’s where the comparisons end.  Instead of the aggressive worlds that had one goal – to kill you – of the original, we are now given fully rendered open environments that crave exploration.  For the most part you are tasked with going from the beginning of any level to the end, but along the way you also collect the glowing lums from the original.  For the lums that are on your path and along the way this is no big deal and it will surely get you to end of the game, but if you want to unlock everything you will have to find all 1,000 lums.  That is where the game goes from a simple level-to-level game and becomes a test of platforming abilities and risky gameplay.  It felt a lot like the convention we saw in Super Mario Galaxy, where the game can literally be as hard or as easy as you like, but back in 1999 this was a new concept.  Rayman 2 is also much easier as a whole, which allows you to appreciate the game and environment instead of threatening to destroy your controller with every new turn.  It’s just a fun ride with enough levels to secure a 6-10 hour campaign.

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Written by Fred Rojas

April 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm