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Rayman Revolution

Developer: Ubisoft | Publisher: Ubisoft
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 01/30/01 | Genre: Platform

Rayman Revolution is actually a slightly enhanced version of Rayman 2: The Great Escape previously released for the N64, Dreamcast, Windows, and PSOne. Like the earlier versions, Revolution follows the adventures of the limbless hero Rayman as he saves his planet from an invasion by the evil "Robo-Pirates."

Limbless? Yep. Rayman's arms and legs aren't physically attached to his body. That slightly offbeat style carries over to the rest of the game's art. In fact, Ubi Soft has done a nearly perfect job of converting the lush, cartoony world of the original 2D Rayman into the 3D world of Rayman Revolution. Colors are rich, vibrant, and shift subtly with excellent lighting and shadow effects. Characters are smooth and rounded, showing no signs that they're constructed out of polygons. Everything from flying pirate ships to marshes and lava flows look as good as they did in 2D. Unfortunately, the graphics are marred somewhat by the often frustrating camera angles which sometimes seem to be picked randomly.

Even the music is surprisingly good. Platform games typically have cheesy "happy" music (for lack of a better term), but Rayman's is more frequently moody than silly, and matches the environments well. Good environmental effects and decent voice acting (selectable between several languages) make this one of the best sounding platform games ever. While the graphics really stand out, gameplay is fairly standard 3D platform fare. Rayman can cling to ledges, climb, swim, float to the ground slowly with a helicopter spin, and shoot enemies with energy spheres. In earlier versions of the game, Rayman starts out with most or all of his powers, but Rayman Revolution requires players to purchase new abilities with the lums (yellow spheres of energy) collected in every level. It's a minor change, but adds a welcome extra dimension to the gameplay. Control is usually very precise, except it's sometimes difficult to tell whether you can grab on or jump to a ledge, or it if it's just part of the scenery. Bad, sometimes hard to adjust camera angles can make it difficult to judge distances, leading to unnecessary deaths. Luckily, the game usually restarts close to where the death occurred with only a slight reduction in stamina as penalty, making it less of an issue.

Levels are more linear than most 3D platform games like Ape Escape or Super Mario 64. There's almost no exploration, and very little emphasis on collecting items, giving the game al faster pace than most 3D platformers. You just use Rayman's basic abilities to keep running, jumping, and climbing to get through a level. Occasional segments such as Rayman riding a missile, using a giant blueberry to cross lava flows, or water skiing behind a giant serpent help add variety, as does the occasional mini-game. Boss battles also show some originality. For example, destroying a boss by shooting rain clouds together, rather than using direct attacks.

It's worth noting that I encountered several bugs while playing Rayman Revolution. On several occasions I noticed sound effects or music either not playing at all, or else continuing to play when they shouldn't be (the helicopter sound effect continuing to play even after Rayman had landed, for example). The graphics displayed some minor errors with some distant objects flickering slightly, as if the graphic engine couldn't decide what order to draw them in. A duplicate copy of Rayman was even left in place on one level. I jumped to a platform, and another copy of Rayman was left behind. I never encountered anything that made the game unplayable, however the number of bugs I saw makes them worth mentioning.

Despite the name, Rayman Revolution is anything but revolutionary. If you've played nearly any platform game before, you know what to expect here. What you do get is a great looking, fast paced action game. Worth a look if you have 10+ hours you'd like to fill.

Note in regards to other versions of Rayman: Overall, I judge this to be the best version of Rayman available by a slim margin, primarily because of the new gameplay elements (such as having to purchase abilities). Graphically, the Dreamcast version has better textures in some places and no visual glitches, while this version has better lighting and slightly higher polygon counts. In other words, both versions look excellent. Rayman Revolution and Rayman 2: The Great Escape are both nearly the same game, so I would recommend buying whichever version you can find cheaper. I do recommend the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 versions over the other editions, simply because they look so much better. However, if you've played an earlier version, there's no real reason to play Revolution. Save your money for a new game.

By Jonathan Hull - 08/01/00
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Screenshots for Rayman Revolution

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