Rayman is a 2D platforming game developed by Ubisoft and has appeared on a range of different systems. It was first released on the Atari Jaguar and DOS in 1995, then released on the Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn two months later. The game marked the debut of the Rayman series of video games.
The game was later released for the Game Boy Advance under the title of Rayman Advance. It is also available on the US and UK PlayStation Store and on the week of 7th December 2009 Rayman was released for DSiWare.
Rayman lives in a peaceful world where the magical creatures and nature coexist with one another. It’s not until Mister Dark, a cloaked villain claims the Great Protoon for himself and destroys the balance and harmony in Rayman’s world. The electoons that orbited the Great Protoon were scattered across the land and locked in cages. It’s up to Rayman to free the electoons and reclaim the Great Protoon stolen by Mister Dark so the world can live in harmony once more.
Rayman is a traditional 2D platformer that involves the player having to reach the end of each side-scrolling stage. Rayman has a health bar that can be increased from three hearts to six by collecting a special power up. If all of his health bar is depleted, Rayman will lose a life.
At the beginning of the game, Rayman can’t do anything besides walk and jump, but at certain points in the game he is given new abilities by Betilla the fairy. He will eventually be able to use his fists to punch at enemies, hang onto ledges and grab onto various objects, including swinging from floating loops in the air. He can also learn to fly for a short amount of time and also run when a button is held down.
As Rayman explores each stage, he is able to collect small blue objects called Tings. He can offer them to the Magician, who can give Rayman access to special bonus stages. Collecting one hundred Tings will also award Rayman with an extra life.
The main aim of the game is to collect every single electoon in the stages throughout the game. Every stage has six electoon cages hidden, which need to be found in order to access the final stages and the final boss battle.
There are many different versions and releases of Rayman. The game’s development goes as far back as the Super Nintendo. Due to a shift in technological advancement, the 16-bit platforms were becoming financially unfeasable and bieng overshadowed by newer platforms, giving way for more advanced hardware. After skipping platforms such as the Sega 32X, Rayman would finally make its debut on a cartridge based system.
The very first version of Rayman was released on the Atari Jaguar has several differences and features not seen in any other version of the game ranging from level design, presentation and more. For example the Moskito flying stages were shoot-em-up stages where the Moskito shot a laser from its beak to defeat enemies. While it was altered for future versions of the game, this gameplay design would later be seen in Rayman Origins years later. Story elements were told through still images and artwork but still carried the same basic plot featuring Mr. Dark and the protoons. This is also one of two versions of Rayman that features a breakout clone. During development, the game also featured artwork and sprites representinglimbs for Rayman but were cut from the final version due to technical limitations and cartridge space which became an important factor in Rayman’s character design.
Rayman (Playstation 1, Sega Saturn and MS-DOS)
Due to the failure of the Jaguar platform, Ubisoft was quick to release the game for the launch of disc based systems. Because of the additional space and longer development time, the developers were able to add in higher quality sound and CD based redbook audio for the music giving way for speech, orchestrated music and even full motion video. Levels were refined and in some cases made even harder than the original version. This version would become the base for future releases of Rayman on modern consoles and handhelds. The MS-DOS version also saw various re-releases usually bundled with a level designer. The Playstation 1 version is currently available for purchase for Playstation 3, Portable and Vita systems through the Playstation Store.
Rayman Gold (MS-DOS)
The game was released on the PC on 28 September 1997. Along with the original game, this package contained the Windows-based Rayman Designer, allowing players to design and create their own levels and then share them with others via the internet. The game also contained 24 new, original levels; these had the same gameplay, but featured some new concepts and gameplay elements including collecting differently colored Tings that allow Rayman to progress in a level by opening paths. Other features were added such as event-triggering Tings, additional objects and a level timer to see how fast the player can finish the level.
Rayman Forever (MS-DOS)
Around a year later a second PC version was released. Featuring the same content as Rayman Gold along with with 50+ new levels over the original and a fridge magnet. Various sections of the soundtrack were erased to save space on the disc. This version is also available through GOG.com.
Rayman Collector (MS-DOS)
A final variation of the DOS version with 60 additional levels.
Rayman Advance (Game Boy Advance)
Digital Eclipse and Junglevision Software developed Rayman Advance which was released on the Game Boy Advance at the system’s launch to capitalize on the system’s 32-bit processor. The game was made easier to accommodate for the smaller screen by giving Rayman an extra hit-point and making certain sections easier to progress through. The game also did not reset the Ting score once a life was lost giving players better chances at obtaining extra lives. Because of the limited cartridge space, the game’s graphics were compressed, music was adapted into a midi-like format and sound effects became tinny or non-existant in the port.
Rayman (Nintendo DSi)
Making Fun and Junglevision Software developed the Nintendo DSi version for Nintendo’s DSiWare digital download platform and also available in the eShop for Nintendo 3DS systems. The game was made even easier by using the same alterations as the GBA port received excluding graphical and audio compression, and Rayman is given between six to ten hit points depending on conditions and thirty continues. Some of the audio tracks taken from CD versions of the game, sound effects are low in pitch, and the game makes use of several features of the system. The inner Nintendo DSi camera will take a picture each time a checkpoint is used. The touch screen displays the entire map that can be seen by dragging the stylus in any direction and highlights key objects through the level such as Rayman’s position, checkpoints and end level signposts. It also includes an achievement system that determines when a world is completed, when all the Electoons are freed and if the player has not used a continue.
Game Boy Color Version
Rayman for Game Boy Color, while similar in plot and environments, is actually a different game, however it also borrows elements from Rayman 2 as the game was released well after the original Rayman. The game follows a similar, linear progression where Rayman must free Protoons, some of which that cannot be found until Rayman has located power-ups. The only way to go back to free cages in previous levels is to complete the game which unlocks a world map. The game is also one of the few to feature the Ubi-Key which makes use of the Infrared sensor that is cross compatible with other Ubi-Soft published Game Boy Color titles. Keys found for Rayman would unlock hidden levels that cannot be obtained otherwise.
- 486/33 (minimum);
- Pentium (recommended);
- Windows 95;
- DOS version 5.0 (minimum);
- 2x CD-ROM drive (minimum);
- 4MB RAM (minimum);
- 8MB RAM (recommended);
- VLB Graphics card 256 colors (minimum);
- Sound Blaster compatible sound card;
- 700MB free hard drive space;
- Mouse & Keyboard.