Those of us in UK universities (OK, well, a lot of us) are lucky enough to benefit from Reading Week: a week in which students are advised to hit the books in order to brush up on their skills, acquire more knowledge, and basically, NOT procrastinate over looming deadlines. Um, oops….
Of course, I just had to catch up on the important studies. And a Warcraft guide came in just fine. But even so, like many other students, I found myself at the PC wondering what to do next after I’d consumed two cans of Red Bull. Result? A few hours of sitting in front of the TV and console in the living room, clad in PJ bottoms (just like the old days—only now my pjs are silk) playing…
Call me sad, but frankly, I care not. This game is amazing. This game is thoroughly addictive. This game is, in fact, what started me off with game-related anger (“I’m not MOVING until I damn well COMPLETE this thing!”) which inevitably turned into real-life anger (“YOU’RE not moving until YOU damn well complete this [insert cuss word of choice] thing! Got that?!”).
Moving swiftly on…
For all those who are children at heart and love things that are cute and colourful, check this out if you haven’t already. Though as far as I know, practically everyone has played Rayman at some point in their lives, and like the infamous Marmite ads state, you either love it or you hate it. Yup, it’s one of those games. Me? Well, what can I say? I’m a sucker for all things bright and simple, so this was a sure-fire hit back when I got this on the PS2. I tell you, it was nice to relive the moment.
So, onto the game in detail. To start off, our wonderful hero Rayman is…well, what actually is he? A little guy with a shining smile, freaky blonde ‘do, and nothing that connects his feet to his torso. Granted, he’s fab. In this game, the first installment of the series, we have a world full of forests, clouds and deathly musical notes. All very childlike, though quite easy to control.
The point of Rayman’s entire quest is to set free little creatures known as Electoons. Unfortunately, Rayman’s once-peaceful word has been taken over by a dark and powerful enemy named, scarily (or not) Mister Dark. As weird and nasty creatures walk freely, ridding the world of the Electoons, Rayman’s goal is to set free every one he can find. With the aid of Betilla the Fairy (really going somewhere with these names here, aren’t they? Oh…wait…it’s aimed at kids. My bad.) who frequently provides Rayman with new skills, he will stop at nothing to save the Electoons whilst defeating anything which may stand in his way, thus returning his world to its usual state of never-ending bliss. Jeez, someone hand this guy a tiara—he WILL go to the ball, people.
Ahem. You pretty much get the point.
Of course, Rayman is a platform game, and such games are usually quite enjoyable if you’re into that sort of thing. There are some parts in this that can seriously get you irritated if, like me, you suffer from a lack of patience (yep, sometimes you have to press “jump” at one exact spot before you can complete the level…and by then, after having tried it ten times already, you’re breaking out into a manic sweat and swearing at the nearest relative. Oh yes, we’ve all been there.) Miss a jump, and you’re done for. Sadly, you’re unable to save on a constant basis like you can in other games, so that’s another downside (albeit one of the major ones!)
However, the game progresses nicely as you move up the levels. Betilla appears every now and then to grace you with her presence—and to offer you a new “magical power” that you’ll eventually need, such as Rayman’s ability to put his hair to good use and become a helicopter, thus climbing up to those hard-to-reach places. But take your finger off the button for one second and that’s it—Rayman falls to his death. And you have to start again.
I’ve moaned about it enough, though. This really is a great game and I recall rather a few lazy afternoons on it as a teen. Despite the overly-cute and colourful graphics and the childlike “feel” of it all, it’s really quite fun. But be warned: It can get you easily hooked. Not on a “cheaper-than-crack” WoW level of hooked, but hooked for a good hour or two nonetheless.
As I said, it’s one of THOSE games.