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Preview By: Roger Taylor
Developer:   Ubisoft
Publisher:   Ubisoft
Genre:   Platform
Est. Release:   Fall 2001
Posted:   2-28-01

The year 1999 was one hell of a year for N64 platformers, as it saw the release of the long-awaited Donkey Kong 64, the brilliantly designed Rocket: Robot on Wheels and my personal favorite, Rayman 2: the Great Escape.  All three were fantastic, but Rayman 2 rose above the rest with some of the best graphics seen on the N64, a slightly more mature storyline, very challenging gameplay, great use of humor, and a setting in an original world that is both strange and involving.

That is why Rayman for the Game Boy Advance is perhaps the most exciting third-party game yet announced for Nintendo’s new handheld system. The game is based on the 2D platformer of the same name, which first appeared on the Atari Jaguar, and later on the Saturn and Playstation. The earlier versions were not huge financial successes, but they did receive high critical acclaim and were good enough to convince UbiSoft to try and turn Rayman into a major franchise. Rayman’s first, and hopefully not last, outing on the GBA is certainly not worth a purchase if you’ve played the previous versions of the game, as it is essentially the same thing. You assume the role of Rayman (of course) a limbless, dog-like superhero of sorts. It is extremely difficult to describe Rayman as he looks unlike anything ever seen before, so you’re better off looking at the pictures instead.

Anyway, as Rayman you have the abilities to float using your helicopter-like ears, shoot enemies using your fist, and latch on to floating rings. However, you will have to unlock each of these abilities as you navigate through more than 30 levels of 2D platformer heaven. The game is also reported a have a two-player "Capture the Flag" mode via use of the link cable.

The story seems to be a very basic one. Mr. Dark, one of the evil villains of the Rayman world, has kidnapped all of the Toons, and Rayman must find and rescue them.

The Rayman world is a very colorful one, and it all comes through perfectly on the GBA, which holds an enormous amount of colors, most of which are used in every level of Rayman. When you take a look at some of the screenshots and realize that this is a first-generation title you realize exactly how big of a step the GBA is over the Game Boy Color.

Rayman is a great reminder that SNES games and early Saturn and Playstation titles should port to the Game Boy Advance with no trouble at all and you can be sure that this will not be the last title to do so.

If we are lucky, Rayman will come out with or soon after the launch of the GBA on June 11 here in the States.

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