Over a decade ago, while perusing my local Best Buy, I came across a game called “Rayman 2: The Great Escape” for the Nintendo 64. The box sported a bizarre looking dude with a big nose that I actually mistook for a rather odd dog (I later found that he is, in fact, you know what, I don’t know what the heck Rayman is). The game looked quite appealing, and so I bought it, my gaming instincts once again proving to be right, as I ended up having a blast with this game, right from the start.
Everything about it was just awesome. The graphics were quite lovely, the landscapes lush and beautiful, while the characters were strange and whimsical, and I couldn’t help but love the way they spoke in their strange gibberish language. In the end, I just fell in love with this game. I loved Rayman and his rain-dancing pal Globox, not to mention Rayman’s lack of limbs and his awesome helicopter hair and his ability to shoot balls of energy from his fist. This game, actually, is still one of my all-time favorites, and with my great adoration for this game, I got it into my head that the “Rayman” series was one that…people had actually heard of.
Until I told everyone I knew about this fantastic game, and every single person had no idea what I was talking about. Well, that’s not entirely true. One person did, and she bluntly stated that she didn’t like the series. When I asked her why, she apparently didn’t know. She just didn’t like it. Saddened, I realized then that “Rayman” was not very popular at all, as far as I could tell. And while that in no way took away from my enjoyment of the game, of course, I still like when games I enjoy get the praise they deserve. Because this game really was something, and yet no one I could find had the opportunity to enjoy it like I did.
For the longest time, I found “Rayman 2” to be the highlight of the series. I bought “Rayman Advance” for my GBA, which was the handheld version of the original “Rayman” game, and to be honest, I wasn’t a fan. I’m not very good at a lot of old platformers, and so I really sucked at this game. It literally took me probably a good 7 or 8 years before I ever even got through all the levels (except the last one, which I think requires me to find all the Electoons, and you know what, that’s just not happening). I was then greatly disturbed by the release of “Rayman 3”, which I was hugely excited about until I played it and found it to be nothing like “Rayman 2”. Don’t get me wrong, the game is quite fun, but after my love for the game that came before it (which was also much darker, which I like), I was disappointed by the lighter tone of this game and the sometimes…not very funny humor. And then Ubisoft kept making those weird games with the rabbits….
And so, for the longest time, while I still remained a steadfast “Rayman” fan, I had given up hope on the series a little bit. Both on getting any new, good games for it, and in my strangely personal desire for the series to get the attention it deserves. And you know what, it finally happened. Just a few years ago, Ubisoft finally made a “Rayman” game that didn’t involve those wacky and probably a bit mentally-disturbed rabbits that the company had been apparently obsessing over throughout recent years. And while it was not in any way like my beloved “Rayman 2”, at least it was finally a game that could actually compete with it, and that game was “Rayman Origins”.
This game, very much unlike “Rayman 2”, is a sidescroller. With no plot. But, that doesn’t matter, because it manages to still incorporate many of the things I loved about “Rayman 2”. Not only is it a lot of fun to play, but it involves the same unique beauty that I loved about “Rayman 2”. The landscapes, once again, are absolutely gorgeous, the characters bizarre, with a soundtrack that is one of the best and most creative that I have ever heard.
But, I’m not getting into all that right now. My point is, finally a “Rayman” game came out that actually caught the public eye. Maybe I’m wrong about how unpopular I thought the series once was. All I know for sure is that this was the first time where I actually met people that had either played the game or had heard of it and were seriously considering it. And I was just so pleased that my precious “Rayman” series was finally getting the love from others that I had felt for it since over ten years ago. Finally, I could, in a way, share this series with others. And this only got better with the release of “Rayman Legends”, which even managed to top the already fantastic “Origins”.
So, while I’m not sure why this matters so much to me, it is just so wonderful to finally see this series really making a name for itself. It was always great, but I just never understood why it didn’t seem to garner the attention it so deserved. I wondered for the longest time why there were so few “Rayman” fans out there, but that’s finally starting to change. And maybe, now that people are starting to take their first steps into these games, “Rayman 2” will get the love it’s been missing out on this past decade, as well. Seriously, it’s a good game…. Check it out….