That jointless vigilante from France is heating up the world of 2D platformers again, this time on Game Boy Advance.
Although the game is already out in North America, we’ve got a couple quick things to add to the Rayman preview.
First off, a quick anecdote about Rayman’s fantastic looking graphics taken from a recent story on Canadian developers… Namely, since the game looks so good, it’s worth telling the world that Ubi Soft had to completely re-do the graphics, after an early build of the game (constructed on early GBA dev hardware) didn’t work due to changes in the final hardware. The graphics were far too dark and Ubi Soft had to do everything over. We’d like Ubi Soft to know we appreciate their effort! (Especially when other GBA launch titles are “too dark” and could have benefited from similar extra attention…)
That said there’s also a small correction. In our original preview, we mentioned that Rayman Advance would have a two-player “Capture the Flag” mode for gamers with two GBAs & a link cable. Although this mode was being talked about prior to the game’s release, now that Rayman is available, for whatever reason, it seems that the multiplayer has not been included. Bummer to be sure, though Rayman games have always been a single-player experience delivering fantastic platforming action. Fortunately, Rayman Advance still has plenty of that to offer!
Last updated: 06/10/2001
When asked to name the best European developer, most console gamers would probably choose Rare (in England). However, beyond Rare there is one other European developer with an almost equal reputation for quality and excellence: Ubi Soft. Though they aren't nearly as prolific as the boys up in Twycross, these French code-monkeys have definitely made a name for themselves with the 2D platformer Rayman, and its ubiquitous sequel Rayman 2, which brought the same fast-paced gameplay into three dimensions.
Rayman has made the rounds on quite a few consoles, including the Sega Saturn, Atari Jaguar, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Playstation, PC and the Game Boy Color. Now, he’s hitting the Game Boy Advance. Even though the game is a modified version of one of his earlier adventures, there’s a lot to be excited about now that Rayman is hitting the GBA!
Despite an impressive GBC showing and the GBA's incredible 2D prowess, it's hard to believe that a series as graphically lush as Rayman could be brought to life on Nintendo's new hardware without making any unseemly compromises. That's okay though, because you don't have to imagine it at all; Rayman Advance is an extremely faithful and visually jarring port of the PC/PSX classic. Ubi Soft had to jump through hoops to get the colors looking so great on GBA's little screen, but their hard work speaks for itself. Just look at the screenshots closely...then imagine them in motion. There's more life pulsing through those environments than seems possible on a handheld.
Is Rayman Advance all about graphics though? Certainly not. The developers actually tweaked the original gameplay quite a bit, easing down the frustration that many players felt with the old version (adding more save points & making some jumps easier), while maintaining all the action and speed. The Rayman gameplay falls somewhere between Mario and Sonic...it's fast-paced, but not so much that you can't tell what's going on. (That's why Rayman 2 was so popular: each stage had the linearity and action focus of a Crash Bandicoot game, but with all the 3D freedom and technical expertise of Banjo-Kazooie.)
Amidst all that platforming is a nutty story, full of genuinely entertaining characters and dialogue. It's here that the French influence really shows, as much of the humor has the sort of dry, kooky flavor found only across the Atlantic. The story is simple but effective; the notorious villain ‘Mr. Dark’ has captured Rayman’s friends, the ‘toons.’ Now it is up to him to save them! The game includes over 68 levels of puzzle solving, enemy killing and oversized bosses to deal with.
Along with There will also be a multiplayer mode in Rayman Advance for 2 players. Using a link cable, you will be able to play a game of ‘Capture the Flag.’ Wotta bonus!
If you were introduced to Ubi Soft's internal development team with Rayman 2, checking out Rayman Advance would be a great way to see how the franchise got started...plus you can now play it on the crapper. Rayman Advance will be available at the GBA launch.