- This article is about the video game. For the character, see Rayman. For the series as a whole, see Rayman (series).
Rayman is a 2D platformer and the first game in the Rayman series created by Michel Ancel. It was originally released in September 1st 1995 for the PlayStation and Atari Jaguar on the 8th. Two months later it was released for the Sega Saturn.
Rayman was very well recived for its gorgeous 2D graphics, well composed soundtrack and solid gameplay, despite receiving some criticism torwards its high difficult and level design.
The game also sold quite well selling around 5 million units for the Playstation console in the United Kingdom, becoming the best selling title for that console in that region.
Since its original release, the game has been rereleased in multiple sytems and services including PC, Game Boy Advance, DSi Ware and Mobile Devices.
At the beginning of it’s development, Rayman had a very different plot. This prototype version followed Jimmy, a boy who created a world on his computer called Hereitscool. When Hereitscool becomes infected with a virus, Jimmy enters his virtual world and takes on the persona of Rayman in order to defeat the virus.
Two-player gameplay was clearly planned, as screenshots show a female Rayman-like character being played alongside Rayman. Rayman’s shirt is red and the girl’s shirt is blue.
The heads-up display is very different from the final, and shows both characters heads, with their own “shield” and “power” status bars, and what appears to be an item slot.
Michel Ancel originally developed the game using an Atari ST, with intentions of being released on the Super Nintendo and its upcoming CD-ROM add-on developed by Sony. The graphics, originally done by Ancel, would later be redone by professional cartoonists in order to take advantage of the CD's capabilities. However, Nintendo's cancellation of the CD add-on in favor of a contract with Philips, led to these versions being cancelled in favor of upcoming consoles with CD support. The development team felt that the Atari Jaguar was the first console with the capabilities necessary to handle the game, despite still being a cartridge based console, with intentions of releasing the title as a Jaguar exclusive. Despite this, the development focus later shifted to PlayStation due to its superior hardware and massive success in comparison to the Jaguar.
Versions for the Sega 32X and 3DO were also planned but were cancelled, most likely due to the commercial failure of both systems.
PlotIn Rayman's world the Great Protoon provides the balance and harmony in the world. However, one day the evil Mr. Dark steals the Great Protoon and defeats Betilla the Fairy. The Electoons are scattered around the world and Rayman must find them and defeat Mr. Dark in order to restore balance to the world.
Rayman is a traditional side-scrolling platform game. The objective of the game is to free all the Electoons and defeat Mr. Dark's minions across five worlds: Dream Forest, Band Land, Blue Mountains, Picture City, and Cave of Skops. The player must free 6 electoon cages in each area; these areas are split up into various levels, which can have 1, many or no cages. Rayman will only be able to acess the final world of game, Mr. Dark's hideout in Candy Chateau, if he breaks all 102 Electoon cages. The first area of each level has a return signpost that Rayman can use to return to the world map (known as the Glade of Dreams in later games). By doing so, Rayman loses the tings that were collected before returning- but cages and extra lives are kept. Once Rayman finishes the first level of any area, he cannot return to the map.Scattered around each level are little blue spheres called Tings. If Rayman picks up a hundred of them, he gains an extra life and gets all of his health points back, but they can also be used to pay The Magician 10 tings, and enter a bonus level where an extra life is rewarded if Rayman collects all the tings before the timer runs out. When Rayman dies, he loses a life alongside all of the Tings he collected up to that point. After losing all lives, Rayman will be taken to the game over screen where he can use a total of 5 continues. Once a continue is used, Rayman will always start off at the beginning of the the level- any checkpoints taken previously will be reset- with 3 lives and 3 points of health and no powerups.Throughout the levels, Rayman will be able to learn new abilities from Betilla the Fairy to help him progress through tougher levels. These abilities are gained in small tutorial levels where Betilla explains the controls and features a short practice course through which the exit can only be reached by using the ability. The abilities include:
- Telescopic fist: Rayman can attack enemies, break open cages, destroy obstacles and punch down bouncing platforms at a distance by launching his fist (gained half way trough "Pink Plant Woods")
- Hanging on ledges (gained after completing "Anguish Lagoon")
- Grabbing power: Rayman can grab extra lives from a distance and swing from purple Lums by punching them (gained after completing "Moskito's Nest")
- Helicopter: allows Rayman to hover after jumping to reach far off platforms (gained after completing "Allegro Presto")
- Sprint: Rayman can travel faster, but not by much. It is more useful for making long jumps. (Gained after completing "Mr. Stone's Peaks")
In addition, Rayman will come across a variety of other power-ups and bonuses, among which are:
- Red "P's" that refill Rayman's lost health (large red P's can maximize health to 5 points)
- Extra lives that are in the form of small figurines of Rayman which can either be collected by touching or grabbing them. They also refill all Rayman´s lost health to its current maximum
- A golden glove that allows Rayman's punches to deal 1 more point of damage except on Bosses. Upon dieing you lose the powerup
- A speed glove that allows punches to be thrown faster and further. It works cumulative and can stack up until you collected the powerup three times. Upon dying your fist loses two of these stages (e.g. The fastest fist would be as fast as a normal fist with one speed glove)
- A potion that will allow Rayman to fly indefinitely (although this is featured only in certain levels that require flying around obstacles)
- The Musician in the Blue Mountains gives him the potion as a reward for helping him to get his guitar back. It is used to fly though a maze of spikes and traps in the first level, and in the second level to stop a slab from drowning Rayman by cutting the ropes
- At the end sign of the first level of Eraser Plains, a part of Picture City there is a sparkling which gives Rayman the same power as the potion when touched
- In the second level through Pencil Pentathlon, an area of Picture City, Rayman will find another potion on the ground at the start of the level
- Flying blue elves that will shrink Rayman down in size to allow him to squeeze through tight platforming sections.
- A magic seed that spawns platforms, given by Tarayzan after Rayman retrieves his leopard skin that was stuck on a tree branch. Rayman uses this powerup to escape a flood (featured only in the first level of Swamp's of Forgetfulness)
- A fist powerup that lights up dark places (only featured on the first level in the Caves of Skops area Eat at Joe's, given by Joe)
- Pink Plant Woods
- Anguish Lagoon
- The Swamps of Forgetfulness
- Moskito's Nest
- Bongo Hills
- Allegro Presto
- Gong Heights
- Mr. Sax's Hullaballoo
- Twilight Gulch
- The Hard Rocks
- Mr. Stone's Peaks
- Mr. Dark's Dare
- Short Livingstones
- Tall Livingstones
- Green Bug
- Lightning Eyes
- Spike Balls
- Purple Notes
- Spike Man
- Stone Dogs
- Drawing Pin
- Dark Rayman
- Water Boy
Ports and Versions
The PlayStation version was the original debut release of the game. It unique in that it had an extended soundtrack, which featured drum beats and a Boss Victory theme that was absent in other releases of the game, that instead uses the Rayman menu theme. It had a feature called erroneously "password saving" that allowed players that didn't have a PlayStation memory card to unlock and continue a certain point in the game through the use of a password, which could easily be exploited and skip entire portions of the game.
The PlayStation version was re-released for the PlayStation Network Store as a PS1 Classic. It is a digital download version of the original PlayStation title.
The Atari Jaguar port was where initial development was made for the game prior to its release (in fact, a few prototypes for the game exist for the console). However, Ubisoft decided to shift focus on the PS1 port of the game due to the PS1's success as a console and its more capable hardware, as opposed to the Jaguar; they may have considered that making a debut release of the game on the Jaguar (at the time a failing console) was not a wise investment.
Because of its abrupt cease in development, the game that was released was largely unfinished: game mechanics such as ice physics were not yet implemented; platforming sections where Rayman was required to shrink by shrinking faeries have been removed; certain levels are absent and the final area, Mr Dark's Dare, has a completely new level layout- presumably because the game was already finished on the PS1 and the developers did not have time to port the original levels to the Atari Jaguar, meaning that some sort of "filler" had to have been made before the final rush to release the port a week later after the game's debut.
As a result, the original debut of the game that was planned to be released on September 1st 1995 was the PS1 version, the date that was initially planned for the Jaguar release. Instead, it was released a week later on September 8th.
A port for the Sega Saturn was released in October 30th, almost 2 months after the game's debut. It is largely the same as the PS1 port, the only differences being minor: sound effects are oddly high pitched, certain environment effects are missing such as fog or glowing lava and loading times were longer. However, 3D transition effects were added and played when loading levels. Unlike the PlayStation version which required a memory card for saves, the Saturn version had on-board saving, and so the password system was removed.
A PC port of Rayman was released several months after the game's debut, in 1996. There are key differences the PC version has from other ports of the game that make the game much easier: the pause screen has a menu that has settings and has an option to exit the game at any time- other versions' pause screens does not have a menu; Rayman has now up to 10 continues, twice the number of continues of other ports. Most notable of differences are changes to level design:-
- Challenging platforming sections have been simplified to be easier
- 2nd last level of Moskito's nest has been redesigned, and the first level of Bongo Hills has been replaced with a new level- both with newer textures
- Cage and extra life locations have been changed- either they have switched places or put in new secret areas. Cages however are now much more difficult to find.
- More extra lives can be found easily
- Rayman Gold was an updated version released in 1997. It featured an expansion called Rayman Designer which allowed players to design their very own Rayman levels, and came with 24 pre-designed levels to play. The levels are played in a time attack mode: the player has to collect 100 tings to unlock the exit at the best time possible.
- Rayman Forever was an updated version of the previous expansion. There was also a contest in which the fans of Rayman could make and play their own levels and submit them to UbiSoft. So the creators took the best 40 levels the fans made and turned it into Rayman By His Fans which they put on Rayman Forever. It also included a sneak peek of Rayman 2. Unfortunately some of the soundtrack had to be deleted. This was supposed to save space but the total track time ended up being six minutes longer than Rayman Gold's.
- Rayman Collector was version released in 1999 that had 60 levels plus all of the extra levels from Rayman Gold and Forever and 3 small minigames. It was a French exclusive release.
Rayman Advance is a port of the original game for the Game Boy Advance which celebrated the 5 year anniversary of Rayman. It was a direct port of the PC version, albeit with watered-down graphics and sound because of the GBA's inferior hardware. The game was made slightly easier to play: Rayman starts off with 4 health and can gain up to 6, as opposed to the original 3 with 5 on full. Most notable of differences are changes to level design:
- Second last level of Moskito's nest has been redesigned, and the first level of Bongo Hills has been replaced with a new level- both with newer textures.
- The first level of Bongo Hills has been replaced
- The Storm Screen of Space Mama´s Crater has been simplified by adding a lot more solid ground
- The game can be beaten without fighting the final boss
A version released on the Game Boy Color in 2000. It had levels and music based on those found in Rayman 2: The Great Escape but had almost the same storyline as the first game. The final boss of the game remains Mr. Dark
One the game is complete, the player will be taken to the world map where they'll be able to replay previous levels. The world map shows which levels have any cages remaining, as well as how many. Here is a list of the levels:
- Spellbound Forest
- Airy Tunes
- Rainy Forest
- Rocky Peaks
- Ancient Forest
- Fiery Depths
- Arcane Forest
- Dark Legacy (Bonus)
DSi Ware Version
The DSi Version was released on December 24, 2009. Less of the soundtrack was included and many graphical effects had to be modified.
Android and iOS versions
In 2016, the game was released to download on App Store and Google Play for iOS and Android devices, respectively. This version is mostly based on the PC version. It adds to the game a difficulty option, allowing players to select Easy (Rayman has infinite lives and 5 health points), Original (set up like the original difficulty on the PC version), or Hard (the player begins with only one life). The game is currently available for free.
- All of the characters in the first game appear limbless. Early in development, Rayman was originally designed (in concept) with limbs. Due to hardware limitations of the Jaguar, they had to remove Rayman's limbs; however, the developers were pleased with Rayman's limbless design and stuck with it, making it a key character design feature.
- According to an interview about Rayman Origins, the reason why the original Rayman is so difficult is because the game was never play tested by anyone else besides the development team, leading many players to consider the game unfairly difficult and never finish it.
- Unlike later games in the series, enemies cannot be defeated by stepping on them.
- Rayman's punches are more powerful when jump-punching, even when wearing no gloves. This can be useful when dealing with enemies after losing a life.