Genre: Platformer - Publisher: Ubisoft - Release Year: 1995 - For: PlayStation
20 reviews from the community
Review of "Rayman (PlayStation)"
Journalling more for myself than anything else now, so I don't expect reads or rates!
The original Playstation was what I would call my first real gaming console; oh, I’d had a Megadrive and an even older thing I can’t remember the name of, and I’d even had a SNES but by the time I was old enough to truly understand gaming, I really got into the Playstation. This was the theme to much of my childhood and there are some games I recall fondly with equal amounts of entertainment, frustration and extreme screaming at the computer screen. Rayman is most definitely one of these definitive childhood memories for me. Released in 1995, we have now moved forward from the 1991 16-bit era of Mega Drive into what I believe was known as the 32-bit era. At the time I just saw it as great fun so don’t quote me on that…Rayman is what is known as a side-scrolling platform game and the central character is (surprise, surprise), Rayman himself. There are six lands to travel through and in the first five of these there are multiple levels that Rayman has to travel through, breaking cages which hold trapped Electoons. It is these cages which are crucial to the game as it is only when all of them have been broken that Rayman is able to reach the final land (Candy Chateau) in which he takes on the final big boss at the end. In typical platforming style, you have a set amount of lives and once you lose all your lives then it is game over. On the plus side you can gain extra lives by collecting 100 ‘tings’ which are small, blue spheres that you collect as you go through each level. You can also use these tings to reach bonus levels where you can earn an extra life.
Gameplay is simple but challenging and if it doesn’t make you swear at some point then you have the patience of a saint. You start off with virtually no powers unoless you count walking as a power… but as you progress through the levels you are given additional powers; a telescopic fist is one of the first allowing you to attack enemies from a distance, but others include gliding, running and holding onto ledges. You also get power ups which increase crucial aspects of your character such as speed or power of punches and other different ones that it’s best for you to find out on your own. There are also some powers that are only temporary for a specific level and then disappear so you can’t use them throughout the game. This is all fairly standard for a platforming game, but somehow the implementation of this particular offering makes it something that little bit more special.As a child, I ploughed hours into this game. As an adult… I have rivalled that and then some. Rather than really annoying my poor, long suffering fiancé by dragging the PS1 downstairs along with the Mega Drive and, shortly to be reunited with its mummy, the N64… I downloaded this to the PS Vita as an original PS One classic. Same game, no funny business, but without adding yet another console to the downstairs clutter. It is both entertaining and infuriating, great fun and yet extremely frustrating and I haven’t managed to beat it yet. I’ve got pretty darn close but never quite succeeded.
It is really quite a difficult game. There isn’t a difficulty curve as much as a difficulty mountain that the game hurls you into at speed. There are many, many ways to die and you will likely have found all of them personally yourself by the end. It can certainly be a frustrating game; between falling from great heights, trampolining into spiky things that murder you instantly, timed jumps that leave you careening to your death with a slight misstep and platforms that disappear beneath your feet, there are more than enough aspects to try to get a handle on. Somehow though, even as a child it was a game that kept on drawing me back into it, regardless of how many times I was killed.It’s also frustrating in another way as well; you can ‘complete’ the game and not complete the game to the extent that it will allow you into the final level. You can get all the way through the game but unless you have managed to break every single box and collect every single Electroon you are not permitted to enter that final level. Needless to say this is both ingenius and infuriating by turns. The game tasks your memory and your mastery throughout and working through a level once is almost never enough. You will have to come back with a later mastered power and do it again until you have all of those elusive boxes. You learn the levels and the timings and how to best aim and move, jump or hang. It’s genius in its complex simplicity.
There are niggles. As I mentioned in another review, I can find niggle in modern contemporary games, so in a game over twenty years old it is no surprise that niggles can be found. Other than the frustration of repeatedly dying, it’s a slower game than many platformers; you don’t learn to run until a significant way through the game for example and the movement can be rather slow and clunky because of this. Likewise, back tracking is required. It isn’t just a completionist thing; if you want to get to the final level then you have to back track. You have to go back over levels to get to boxes that you did not have the skills to open first time round. That is not a flaw as such as it was clearly a design choice, but it will be a niggle for many.Likewise, it was originally released with a 3+ age rating and whilst I can see the logic in that nothing would scare a three year old, the control levels required to manage this game make it a 7+ minimum rather than a 3+. The fact that it requires patience to die so many times learning the patterns of the levels means that a young child simply wouldn’t last long, even with the cheat to give yourself more lives. I’d have been eight when this originally came out and probably ten by the time I was determined to complete it. I can see younger players just getting frustrated.
In terms of graphics and sound, allowances have to be made for the fact that it is twenty odd years old. You cannot expect a PS1 game to compete on a graphical level with the consoles now, three generations and two decades later. At the time there were issues with it not being 3D on a console that allowed for 3D, however the detailed backgrounds, bright and popping colour spectrum and wide range of background sounds mean that it’s not unattractive even now.Getting hold of this game now isn’t difficult. If you have an original Playstation then you can pick up a used copy on Amazon or eBay for under £5. If you don’t or if you don’t want the hassle of plugging old consoles into new technology then it can be downloaded on the Playstation One Classics store for the PS3, PS4, or Vita for £3.99. For a game with well over fifteen hours gameplay without getting all Electroons…this isn’t bad going at all! Of course, there is also the opportunity to find it on an emulator and get it completely free of charge, but shhh, don't quote me on that.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, even now I recommend this old gem. I now have it on PS Vita and the original Playstation (of which I’ve hunted down the box and disc for Ciao’s photo) and still enjoy playing it now. It’s frustrating but enjoyable and it is still taxing now to play even several decades on. One of these days I will complete it. One of these days I will get every last Electroon. Today however, is perhaps not the day.
Product Information : Rayman (PlayStation)
Manufacturer's product descriptionGenre: Platformer - Publisher: Ubisoft - Release Year: 1995 - For: PlayStation
Release Year: 1995
Listed on Ciao since: 12/07/2000