Rayman (video game)
Original cover art
|Developer(s)||Ubisoft (Atari Jaguar, PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color & DSiWare)
Ubisoft Montpellier (Sega Saturn)
Digital Eclipse (Game Boy Advance), France
Rayman is a French platform video game published, produced and developed by Ubisoft and is the first game in the Rayman series of videogames. Originally designed for the Atari Jaguar in 1995, a PlayStation version was developed and released around the same time, and further ports were created for MS-DOS and Sega Saturn in 1996. It has appeared in various other formats, such as Game Boy Advance, PlayStation Network and DSiWare. A version was planned for the Sega 32X, but was canceled due to the system's short lifespan. The game was also canceled for the following platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Mac OS, Amiga & Gizmondo.
In Rayman's world, a mystical object known as the Great Protoon maintains the planet's harmony and balance. One fateful day, the evil Mr. Dark steals the Protoon, causing the world to fall out of balance and scattering all the Electoons that gravitated around it across the world, where they are captured by the strange creatures that appear due to the phenomenon. With Betilla the Fairy defeated in her attempt to stop Mr. Dark, Rayman must travel through six worlds to reach Mr. Dark's lair freeing the Electoons in the process.
Rayman is a side-scrolling platform game in which the player character is the titular Rayman, who must travel through six worlds (Dream Forest, Band Land, Blue Mountains, Picture City, The Caves of Skops and Candy Chateau) to free all of the caged Electoons, of which six are located somewhere on each level. Only when all the Electoons are freed will Rayman be able to reach and confront Mr. Dark at his lair in Candy Chateau. Each world has one of Mr. Dark's boss minions which Rayman must also defeat. The player must traverse the levels and reach the end goal, a signpost with an exclamation mark on it. Since all of the game's levels in the game are divided into several parts, the goal post also acts as a transition to the following part of a level. The player is given a certain amount of lives, which are lost when Rayman is hit by an enemy or falls into water or a pit. If all lives are lost at any point, the "Game Over" screen will appear, in which the player can continue or quit playing. Scattered around each level are small, sparkling blue spheres called Tings. If Rayman picks up 100 (50 in the DSI version), he gains an extra life and the counter resets to 0. When Rayman dies, he loses all of the Tings he collected. The player will come across a variety of other power-ups and bonuses, such as a golden fist, a faster punching fist, a power to restore Rayman's lost life energy, and flying blue elves that will shrink Rayman down in size to access new areas. Tings can also be used to pay a Magician found on certain levels to enter a bonus stage, in which Rayman can win an extra life if he collects all of the Tings within a certain amount of time.
In early stages of the game, Rayman has the ability to walk, crawl and make silly faces. He obtains additional powers during the game (telescopic punching, holding onto ledges, grappling onto flying rings, flying with his hair as helicopter blades, and running) from Betilla the Fairy, while others are given temporarily from his friends that are used for a specific levels only.
The Rayman character came from sketches in 1994 made by Michel Ancel under the influence of Russian, Chinese and Celtic fairy tales. Ubisoft decided to support Ancel's project, and funded everything they had into it. The absence of limbs on Rayman was due to various technical limitations encountered. In its early development, Rayman was produced for the Super Nintendo console which featured a two-player mode. Ubisoft decided to move the project to a CD-ROM console, and the developers hired animators from a cartoon company that considerably improved the graphics. When Super Nintendo's CD-ROM feature was canceled however, the game moved to the Atari Jaguar for its superior hardware. The PlayStation version came later in the development, developed by Ancel's team.
Character and art design
Versions and re-releases
Original Atari Jaguar version vs. CD-ROM versions
The Atari Jaguar version, which was the original version but eventually arrived a week later than the PlayStation one, features some unique/absent areas and absent gameplay mechanics compared to the (themselves largely identical) PC/PlayStation/Sega Saturn CD-ROM editions. For example, in Blue Mountains, the level Mr. Stone's Peaks is missing the second area entirely (where Rayman has to cut 2 ropes with his hair before a stone ceiling pushes him into the water). Also, in Picture City, the level Eraser Plains' third area has been changed to a completely different place, and one of the last bosses (Space Mama) is completely absent,but the only absent part is actually the space background. The last world, Candy Chateau, was also largely restructured for the other versions. Rayman's ability to shrink (with the help of creatures called Flying Blue Elves), and to slide on sheet music bars in Band Land or ice in the Blue Mountains, were absent on the Jaguar, only being added in later versions. However, for both ports, there are some extra things, there is a pong minigame, Moskito shoots blue fireballs, bomb explosion have a glow-effect and smoke, and Mr. Skops' lava has glowing/smoke effect. Finally, since the Jaguar version was stored on a cartridge, not a CD, it featured considerably lower-quality music than the Red Book audio of the others, which also received similarly enhanced sound effects.
PlayStation/Saturn vs. PC
Most PC versions of Rayman had the music and backing SFX tracks for each world combined into one CD audio track, which was repeated throughout most levels within those worlds; including the data track, this made for a total of 20 or 25 (multi-language versions) tracks. In contrast, the PlayStation and Saturn versions contained each track as a separate CD audio track, and changed the track played depending on the sub-level and its intended atmosphere; this totalled 51 tracks.
There were also differences in sound effects and levels between the games; for example, Rayman's exclamation of "Yeah!" upon reaching the exit sign and thus completing a level is simply a vocal sample on the PC, a vocal with a musical backing on the PlayStation, and possesses a slightly more developed backing on the Saturn.
Later, on September 28, 1997, Ubisoft released an updated version of the game for the PC. This bundle had the original Rayman in its entirety, as well as a level editing package, known as Rayman Designer. The package contained 24 original levels, with the same gameplay but a few new concepts: now Rayman has to collect 100 Blue Tings in a level before he can finish it. A few other features were added, like colored tings that trigger special events, additional objects and a timer to show the player how fast they can complete this level. With Rayman Designer, players could make their own levels and share them with others via the Internet, a feature that did not particularly catch on.
The British Focus Multimedia edition of Rayman Gold does not include the music tracks at all, because said company does not have the original source of the music tracks; the game should have redbook audio tracks. Since the soundtrack was quite popular with fans, this is a significant error of omission.
Around a year after that, Ubisoft released Rayman Forever. It contained everything from Rayman Gold, plus a bundle of 40 new levels designed by fans, a video entitled The Making of Rayman 2, and a fridge magnet. However, various sections of the soundtrack were erased to save space on the CD.
Another compilation, entitled Rayman Collector was released in late 1999, exclusively to France. It featured all of the levels from Rayman Gold and Forever (i.e. the levels from the original game, Rayman Designer's 24 New Levels, and 40 levels from Rayman by His Fans), as well as 60 new levels by Ubi Soft themselves (titled 60 Niveaux Edits, "60 new levels"). It also includes the video The Making of Rayman 2. A bundle with the same configuration of levels was released in the Netherlands, titled simply Rayman. This version is not rare, unlike Rayman Collector. Lastly, the collection, or at least the latter two bundles of levels[clarification needed], were also released as Rayman 100 Niveaux.
Running PC versions of Rayman on modern operating systems
As it was designed for IBM PC-compatibles running MS-DOS (and Microsoft Windows in the case of Rayman Designer aka Mapper), the game does not run natively on non-Windows systems, or computers running a non-DOS based version of Windows (Microsoft Windows NT and its successors 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and family). However, the open-source DOS emulator DOSBox provides one way to remedy this; and to save users having to configure said program themselves, downloadable patches have been released that allow the game to be played on various other OSs.
Rayman was ported to the Game Boy Advance with similar qualities to the PlayStation and PC versions (there are a few missing levels). The music, however, is of lesser quality, due to the GBA's limitations. The game was edited to be easier. Examples are: Rayman has an extra life point, which gives him four from start. His sprite is big, so things cannot harm him from above, flickering time is longer, and any items collected are also retained on death instead of resetting to zero on each death.
In 2005 Rayman Advance was bundled with the GBA version of Rayman 3 on a single cartridge entitled Rayman 10th Anniversary.
PSP and PS3 version
On May 20, 2008, the original PlayStation version of Rayman became available on the UK PlayStation Store for £3.49. This is the same as the PS1 version and runs on the PlayStation Portable under emulation. It runs on the PlayStation 3 as a PlayStation game.
Rayman was ported to DSiWare for the Nintendo DSi handheld console. This version featured reduced difficulty, implemented via an increased number of health points and bonus items, and also had the in-level music edited to loop rather than simply end and begin again (though some music tracks were removed).
Game Boy Color version
Ubisoft also released Rayman for Game Boy Color, which contained all the Rayman 2 music and worlds, but had the storyline of Rayman. It was later re-released on the Virtual Console for the Nintendo 3DS on May 31, 2012.
Rayman is highly acclaimed for its animated 2D graphics, atmosphere, and soundtrack. It has also garnered praise, as well as criticism, for its high difficulty level. It was awarded both "Best Music in a CD-ROM Game" and "Best Animation" in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 1995 Video Game Awards. The game sold 900,000 copies in two years. It is also the best-selling PlayStation game of all time in the United Kingdom, with around 5 million copies sold, beating Tomb Raider II and Gran Turismo in the country.
The original Rayman is famous for its extremely high difficulty level. Rayman was followed by many successful sequels that do not continue the original story. Rayman 2: The Great Escape was released followed by Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge and Rayman Origins. Several spin-offs have also been released, including Rayman Arena and the Raving Rabbids series.
- "Rayman Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- "Original" Rayman Game Playing Basics
- Rayman's Worlds
- History of Rayman at Rayman Zone.
- "Rayman Greatest Hits". Ubisoft. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- Patches for running Rayman on modern OSs
- Mobygames: Rayman Gold
- Rayman 1-II Fan Project
- Rayman 1-II Other Details
- RayEngine (Game Maker)
- Rayman PSP Homebrew
- Rayman: Revenge of the Dark
- Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide. 1996.
- Malaval, Philippe; Bénaroya, Christophe (2001-01-31). "Strategy and Management of Industrial Brands" (Malaval, 2001) pp. 297-8. ISBN 978-0-7923-7970-6. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
- PlayStation's last hurrah