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Rayman 2 (PSOne)

The first Rayman was probably the best adventure game of its time even though it competed with many three-dimensional contenders. Not only did it excel in areas of sound and gameplay, it featured lush graphics, and innovative levels. The sequel of Rayman stays true to the first, but this time around with it has been updated with 3-D graphics.

Rayman 2 is an adventure game, a title that is not to be taken lightly. There are countless imitators that use the title adventure yet don't follow any of the rules that make a true adventure game. Foremost, an adventure game has a story. Rayman 2 takes this concept to the next level almost seamlessly blending its cinematic elements into its game play without any slowdown. Adventure games allow you to explore a massive world. Rayman 2 allows you to go back a forth between each themed section of its world. In a real adventure game, exploration leads to discovery, and these discoveries help move the game along and help the character on his journey. In Rayman 2, you collect 800 energy sprites called lums, these help you open doors that lead to the big prize, the 4 masks of Polokus. Rayman 2 is a real adventure game and better than most others made today.

In Rayman 2 you are put into the white tennis shoes of an odd creature named Rayman, a sporty little character who has no appendages attaching his feet or hands to his body. The world in which he lives has been overrun by robot pirates and the general population of innocents have been enslaved to further Razorbeard's, the leader of the pirates, evil designs. Now Rayman is the only hope for the planet, and with a bit of help from a cast of his quirky friends, he must find 4 of the masks of Polokus in order to defeat Razorbeard. The story can't stop here--of course -- that would be too easy. Razorbeard, along with his cronies, is also looking for these masks and will stop at nothing to get them before Rayman. Enter the lums. In order to impede Rayman from getting the masks, Razorbeard has engineered magical doors that can only be opened after collecting a certain amount of magical energy units called "lums" that are scattered throughout the levels.

The levels in Rayman 2 are of unmatched beauty. The lush, vibrant environments of the first are recreated in 3D with stunning accuracy, although it wouldn't have hurt the designers to make some of the levels a little brighter and diverse like those in the first. What makes Rayman 2 graphically stunning is not only the big picture, but also the little touches like the swamps full of sad-looking flowers. Level design is first class as expected with variety being the focus of the levels. Not only do you do the standard jump, run and punch of the adventure genre but Rayman also has time to water ski, foot race with a friendly elf, and fly of the back of an exploding bombshell.

The Bottom Line: Rayman 2 is seconded only by the Spyro series in fun and design, but it is number 1 in beauty and originality. Buy it if you know what's good for you, and don't hesitate to the original, too, if it's in the bargain bin.

SOUND: 9/10
- Rayman 2 features some of the same atmospheric sounds from the first that gave the first its character, from the feeble yelps of little animals trapped inside cages, to the rustling leaves by restless forest inhabitants. The little yelps of the forest creatures and tropical birds are so cute.

GRAPHICS: 9.5/10
- Gorgeous levels.

- The camera rarely makes an odd turn; analog control works perfectly.

- Unlike other adventure games, you never get tired of this one.

FUN: 9/10
- This game is full of surprises and will hook you in, guaranteed.

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