Rayman: Rising Out of Obscurity

Image from Flickr User: Tamer Yesildag
Image from Flickr User: Tamer Yesildag

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….

Rayduck

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    Rayman 2 should be made available on the downloadable game services so that the new generation that got into him with Origins and Legends can see him in full 3-D glory!

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      It certainly should. All “Rayman” fans (well, actually, all people, really) must experience the awesomeness that is “Rayman 2”!

      Like

  2. Hatm0nster says:

    It could happen. An HD-upscaled Rayman 3 is already available on Xbox Live. Regarding its popularity, the Rayman series seems to be what I like to call a “shadow classic”. It was too popular to be a cult classic, but still never made it to mainstream attention (until recently that is.)

    It’s a little surprising that you never found anyone else who heard of it though. For me those games were always those that we all knew of but nobody had actually played. Weird how that can happen eh?

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Ooh, HD “Rayman 3″… Hopefully “Rayman 2” is next.

      I always assumed the series was popular because of how much I loved it, but then I found almost no one else that I knew had heard of it. Then, again, my friends at the time were mainly “Mario” people and didn’t really seem to play as wide a variety of games as I did.

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  3. I’m sorry, I know this is an old post, but I had to mention (in case Rayman never comes up again on this blog!) that the original Rayman on PS1 is actually the best selling PS1 game of all time in the UK. Stuff your Final Fantasies, your Metal Gear Solids… Rayman was that true shit (as Chad Warden might say).

    I had Rayman 2 on N64 and loved it too… I also didn’t know anyone who had it, but I do remember when Rayman 2 came out on Dreamcast and was being touted as the ultimate version, that seemed to be a pretty big deal. So you’re not alone… I think. At least you can be fairly certain a large number of people played/cared about Rayman in the UK back in the day 😛

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      Wow, I had no idea Rayman was so popular. Probably because every friend I spoke to claimed they had never heard of him. Considering they were Nintendo people and not PlayStation, maybe that explained it. That’s good. Rayman deserves the love. That first one was hard, though. I have the GBA version.

      Rayman 2 is still one of my favorite games ever, but it bothered me a bit that there were several versions. I always worried I was missing out on something. I will still always claim the N64 version was the best, though. Just because it’s the one I owned. Did you ever play Rayman 3? If so, what were your thoughts on that?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The original Rayman is very tough but I had a great time with it. I can’t see how anyone could possibly beat it without using the cheat code that gives you extra continues! But, cheats aside, I’m extremely proud of seeing the credits for that game (yes, I’m a masochist). My brother got the GBA version and it’s actually easier than the original game, if you can believe it…well, easier and harder. You have more life/lives/continues on the GBA one, but the viewing area is quite a bit smaller. Rayman is so big you have to take a lot of blind leaps.

        Also, Rayman 3… I was excited to get it on PC, but 10 minutes in there was something off about it and much like Donkey Kong Country: Returns, I stopped and didn’t go back to it. Shame.

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      2. duckofindeed says:

        I need to use that cheat code. That game is hard. I wasn’t a big fan of Rayman 3. I loved Rayman 2. It was charming and magical and beautiful, and Rayman 3 just got rid of all that and replaced it with humor that wasn’t that humorous. It was fun, I suppose, but it was a disappointment, too.

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      3. Mmm, I don’t know what it was about Rayman 3. Since I was put off it so quickly you’re probably right about the tone – it just felt wrong and weirdly generic. It’s funny really because the first two games are wildly different in tone but they’re both excellent games in their own right. Reading your post and these comments has made me so nostalgic!

        Clearly Ubisoft are nostalgic for them too, they’re so damn fond of porting/remaking the first two games it’s absurd! Who else has the gall to release Rayman 2 as a launch game for the original DS AND then re-release a new port again at launch on 3DS?!

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      4. duckofindeed says:

        Rayman 3 just doesn’t have any of the charm of the first two games. It’s quite a shame. Generic is the right word for it, indeed. It was just another platformer. Rayman Origins and Legends comes closer to the feel of the earlier games. They’re a bit different, but they feel more “true Rayman” than Rayman 3.

        Liked by 1 person

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