No arms? No legs? No problem.
Don't you just hate those days when Robo-Pirates come from deep space and ruin your best outfit? Don't you hate it when they're intensely determined to enslave all of your Teensie and Globox friends? And doesn't it just irk you when those same inconsiderate jerks break the heart of the world you live in, shatter its primordial core into 800 pieces, and steal away all of your powers? Well, that's just the beginning of Rayman's bad day, and now he's flippin' his lid like he's gone cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape is the latest 3D platformer from Ubi Soft. It stars that second string, college mascot-looking Rayman in an adventure to save the world from… you guessed it, the Robo-Pirates of deep space.
You, of course, are Rayman, that funky little yellow guy made up of a torso, a head, hands, and feet. The bad news is that he's got no arms, no legs, and hell, I'm not even sure that there's really a torso in that little purple shirt of his. The good news, though, is that his hair is just the right size, has the perfect shape, and the precise amount of mousse to act as a propeller, giving him the power to hover around like a helicopter.
Another bonus is that he has the ability to generate energy balls in his hands and hurl them at the baddies. Hopefully, these powers will be enough to get Rayman through the 50+ levels of sheer robotic madness. Jeebus, that's worse than being forced to watch a Real World marathon!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to collect the 800 pieces of the primordial core that are scattered among the levels. These fragments of the core are known as "lums" and look a lot like little fireflies. As the game progresses, a certain amount of lums are needed to unlock the levels and eventually destroy the Robo- Pirates.
While the PSX version doesn't look quite as good as the Dreamcast version, it isn't expected to. The graphics are still pretty good with a decent framerate and clean textures.
The environments in R2: TGE are fun. Ranging from the eerie to the comical, they create a cool world that is fun to explore. The enemies also have a very creative flair. Admiral Razorbeard, flying Zombie Chickens, and the other bizarre creatures that the programmers pulled out of Darwin's grab bag will have you dying with laughter.
Rayman's path isn't an easy one and often he is forced to discover alternative modes of transportation. You'll find yourself water-skiing, swimming, and even rocketback riding on your travels to save the world. Being a hero is tough, ain't it?
Rayman 2's control is responsive and smooth, making it easy to navigate the levels. However, my biggest gripe is that the camera isn't always friendly. Quite often you'll find yourself taking leaps of faith, just hoping that you'll land where you need to be. Grab all the rabbit's feet and four-leaf clovers you can because it's all up to lady luck to save your ass. (errr...does Rayman even have an ass? - Ed.)
Like most platformers, R2: TGE can be quite challenging at times. Learning the intricacies of each level or finding the rhythm for a series of jumps will easily use up several of your infinite lives. Even the bonus levels are nearly impossible. For the most part, though, some good old-fashioned persistence will get you far and leave you with a great sense of accomplishment at the end.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape is another 3D platformer competing for your hard earned bucks. This game brings cool level design, silly characters, and some really challenging levels to the table, but in the end, it's just a different cut of the same platformer meat. If you liked the first Rayman, then you'll definitely want to see the next chapter in his adventure.