By: Roger Taylor
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.
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
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.