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Rayman 2: The Great Escape is the second major game in the Rayman series. It is the first sequel to the original Rayman game, and the series' first 3D game. Rayman 2 introduced many brand-new major characters, though it featured almost none from its predecessor. Rayman 2 was first released in 1999 for the Nintendo 64 and PC. It was followed by ports for the Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation in 2000. Each version is different in its own way due to the specifications of each console.
Rayman 2: The Great Escape is often abbreviated as Rayman 2 or (to avoid confusion with the similarly named Rayman Revolution) R2. The Sony PlayStation version of Rayman 2 was later released as a PSOne Classic on the North American PlayStation Network, on December 18, 2008. On March 1, 2010 and March 25, 2011, two versions based on the Dreamcast incarnation of the game were released; one for the iOS devices, and a similar version for the Nintendo 3DS, under the title Rayman 3D. The PC version joined Rayman Forever on the digital distribution service Good Old Games on the 27th of May, 2011.
Set in the Glade of Dreams, Rayman 2 begins shortly after Rayman is captured by the Robo-Pirates. Details from the opening sequence and manual explain how the Glade had come under attack by the Robo-Pirates, having historically destroyed over one hundred planets prior to their invasion. They attacked with the intent of enslaving the Glade's inhabitants, and were battled against by Rayman, Globox and other allies. After some battles, Rayman's capture occurs after the explosion of the Primordial Core. Ly the Fairy telepathically communicates with Rayman explaining the consequences of the damage, with the Core's shattering into 1000 Yellow Lums, and the capture of many fighters. Rayman's powers are also lost due to this, and he finds himself captured by the Pirates, and calls on Globox to flee and find Ly.
After the opening sequence, it is revealed that Globox was captured by the Pirates, and reunites with Rayman aboard the Buccaneer, the Pirate's Prison Ship. Having fallen to despair, Rayman's hopes are restored when Globox gives Rayman a Silver Lum given to him by Ly. The Silver Lum gives Rayman the ability to shoot with his fist, which Rayman uses to destroy a nearby vent, and escape with Globox. The two become separated after falling from the ship, and Rayman eventually finds himself in the Woods of Light.
Rayman decides the best course of action is to find Ly, and travels through the Woods. He comes across Murfy, who serves as Rayman's guide throughout the game, and three baby Globoxes. Rayman sadly informs them of his separation with Globox, much to the babies' dismay. Rayman promises that he can find them, but stresses his need to find Ly, the babies then inform Rayman that Ly had been taken deeper into the Woods by the Pirates. Traversing deeper, Rayman frees the Grand Minimus Teensies locked in a cage at the end of the area. After bickering amongst themselves about who among them is their King, they tell Rayman of the Pirate's locking of Ly in a stronghold within the Fairy Glade. They will allow Rayman access to the Hall of Doors (Isle of Doors in the Dreamcast and 3DS versions), for the cost of all the Yellow Lums contained within the Wood. Once collected, a Grand Minimus creates a Spiral Door, and Rayman exits the area through it.
Using the Hall, Rayman traverses to the Fairy Glade, and makes his way to the Pirate Stronghold. It is here where Rayman first encounters Robo-Pirates since his capture, and the first time a player must combat them. Eventually, Rayman finds where Ly is held, in an energy prison powered by a machine within a nearby chamber. Rayman destroys the machines, freeing Ly. Rayman tells Ly of his separation with Globox, and his loss of powers. Ly is unable to restore Rayman's powers however, due to the explosion of the Primordial Core. Ly then tells Rayman of the Four Masks of Polokus, through which Polokus can be awakened, and whose power is sufficient to destroy the Pirates. Ly finally gives Rayman the power to swing on Purple Lums, allowing Rayman to progress further. Rayman then sets out to collect the masks, exiting the Glade.
The first mask
Rayman next finds himself in the Marshes of Awakening, where he frees Ssssam the Watersnake. While Ssssam is unable to aid Rayman in locating the masks of Polokus, he does know where the Pirates took Globox, and aids Rayman in crossing the Marsh by allowing him to water-ski across. There is also a side-path that the player may go through, where they will encounter Jano, who is guarding a Spiral Door. At this point in time, he will refuse access to the door, as Rayman does not know where it leads, which is the requirement for passing through.
The next level is the Bayou, a similar swampy location that Rayman must traverse on foot. Admiral Razorbeard is concerned by Rayman's progress, and despatches several Warships to destroy him. Razorbeard eats a Yellow Lum, reducing the number of extant Yellow Lums from 1000 to 999. At the beginning of the level is a side-path where Rayman can find a hologram of Ly the Fairy. If he has enough Yellow Lums, she will teleport him to a side-level called the Walk of Life. Although the Bayou is beset with Robo-Pirate Warships and dangerous obstacles such as helicopter bombs, Rayman makes it through the area unscathed.
Obtaining the first mask
Rayman approaches the entrance to the Sanctuary of Water and Ice, the location in which the first of the Four Masks of Polokus is contained. He reunites with the Grand Minimus, who inform him that he will not be allowed to enter without collecting a specific amount of Yellow Lums, a requirement which is repeated in the entrances for the three other locations of the masks. Once he has enough Yellow Lums, Rayman is able to enter, and after fighting past some Robo-Pirate soldiers, and solving the puzzle to enter the Sanctuary, he finds himself inside. Within the Sanctuary, Rayman encounters the guardian of the first Mask; Axel. Using a chain of Purple Lums to swing across the battle area, and dodging icicle projectiles thrown by Axel, Rayman eventually triumphs over the guardian by causing an icicle to dislodge and impale Axel's head.
With Axel dispatched, Rayman obtains the first mask, which teleports him to the realm where Polokus slumbers. Polokus congratulates Rayman on his find, but urges him to move forward in his quest and collect the second mask. He then creates a Spiral Door to take Rayman back to the Hall of Doors, allowing Rayman to continue.
The second mask
Beginning the search for the second mask, Rayman finds himself in the Menhir Hills, where he learns to tame and ride walking shells. Moving further in, Rayman meets with Clark the Giant in the Elite Troop Training Center, who has become ill after accidentally swallowing a Robo-Pirate part during a battle. He asks Rayman to retrieve the Elixir of Life from the Cave of Bad Dreams, and stresses to Rayman that he needs to remember the name in order to enter.
Rayman then returns to the Marshes of Awakening, where Jano now allows Rayman to enter the Spiral Door. Rayman is hypnotised by Jano and then transported to the Cave of Bad Dreams, and is challenged to find the treasures within before Jano can catch him. Jano eventually meets with Rayman as he nears the treasure trove and gives chase, leading Rayman into a large corridor where he must avoid Jano's attacks and use the skulls he emits to progress through. Eventually, he makes it to the treasure, where Jano congratulates Rayman, and offers it to him. The player is then given the choice to accept or decline Jano's offer, accepting will lead to a short cutscene depicting an overweight Rayman lounging on a small island, and an alleged "end" to the game. The cutscene ends by cutting back to the choice. Declining the offer will cause Rayman to be returned to the Marshes, and Jano will reward Rayman with the Elixir of Life for making the right choice and not succumbing to greed.
Rayman then returns to the Menhir Hills, and gives the Elixir to Clark. Clark is reinvigorated, and helps Rayman progress further through the facility. Rayman then parts ways with Clark at the exit of the facility, and finally leaves the Menhir Hills via a walking shell.
Freeing Globox and Carmen
Rayman reunites with Globox from within the Canopy, which, true to its name, takes place within the higher levels of a deep forest. Rayman frees Globox from imprisonment by the Robo-Pirates operating within the area, and Globox aids Rayman in traversing through the area, using his rain-dance to destroy laser barriers or grow fauna that can aid Rayman in progressing. Globox also reveals that he received another Silver Lum, which gives Rayman the ability to charge his magic fist, greatly enhancing his offensive capabilities. After fighting past a Warship and tricking a Robo-Pirate into opening the exit by hiding within a bush, Rayman is able to leave the area. Globox remains behind, stating that his spouse, Uglette, wishes to see him.
The next level is Whale Bay, a watery location infested by Robo-Pirates and piranhas. The benevolent whale, Carmen, has been imprisoned in a laser cage by the pirates, who plan to use her blubber to oil the engines of the Buccaneer. Rayman frees her, and she releases air bubbles which allow him to accompany her underwater. Unfortunately the local piranhas want to steal the bubbles to ease their heartburn, so Rayman must frighten them off with his magic fist so that he can continue to breathe. Eventually Rayman completes his underwater passage and comes to the end of the level.
Obtaining the second mask
The next level is the Sanctuary of Stone and Fire, the second of the game's Sanctuaries. This is a long and labyrinthine level, filled with secret passages, wrong turns and optional areas, including an entire temple which has no discernible purpose. Rayman spends a great deal of time on plums, which can be used to cross the many lakes of lava. Eventually Rayman comes to a chamber containing a large blocky stone statue: this is Umber, the guardian of the Sanctuary of Stone and Fire. Unlike Axel, Umber is pacifistic; he allows Rayman to stand on his head while he walks across a pool of lava, taking Rayman to the final chamber. It is shaped much the same as the chamber in which Rayman found the first mask, with a raised platform on which sits a stone container. Rayman's symbol once again connects to the stone; it slides open, and the second mask emerges. Rayman takes it and once again is transported to Polokus's domain. The god congratulates Rayman, takes the mask, affixes it to his stone, and sends Rayman back to the Hall of Doors.
The third mask
Now making his way to the third mask, Rayman arrives at the Echoing Caves, after activating four switches in a non-linear area, he enters the caves themselves. Due to the large amounts of toxic liquid within the caves, Rayman lights kegs, and uses them to fly across the caves to solid footing. Rayman may also encounter an entryway, leading him into a secret area within the Fairy Glade, where he can break a cage that cannot be broken by normal visit. Rayman returns and finally exits the Echoing Caves, with a Warship flying in the background, preluding the events of the next area.
Admiral Razorbeard learns of Rayman's progress, and has Warships sent to stop him. Rayman encounters and must flee the Warships from within the Precipice, a mountainous region that can succumb to flooding, and can contain vast caverns within. Rayman is able to elude the Warships, and moves on to the Top of the World. The area contains a Pirate Fort, but it cannot be accessed via conventional means, as such, Rayman rides upon a rollercoaster-esque transport, dodging obstacles which are within the path of the coaster which can cause Rayman to despawn. Making it into the Fortress, Rayman fights past many Barrel Pirates, and eventually exits the area.
Obtaining the third mask
Much like the prior masks, the third mask is contained within a Sanctuary, this one being the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava. Rayman finds himself in a marshy area, which he must traverse through in order to reach the Sanctuary itself. Within the marhy area is the entrance to the Walk of Power, a bonus level that can be accessed if the player has obtained enough Yellow Lums, much like the Walk of Life. After traversing through the marshes, Rayman finds himself within the Sanctuary itself, and progresses forward. However, the mask isn't located within the area, and Rayman moves on to beneath the Sanctuary.
Ly meets with Rayman beneath the Sanctuary, and tells Rayman that she has gathered enough energy to grant him the Super helicopter ability, allowing him to fly as opposed to simply gliding with his hair. She informs Rayman that traversing through the area will be difficult, and tells him to use the Super helicopter to move through the area. Using this ability, Rayman is able to reach the end of beneath the Sanctuary, and encounters Foutch. Foutch promptly hits Rayman, causing him to lose the Super helicopter power, and fall. Rayman finds footing within a circular pathway, and is chased by Foutch, who wishes to burn Rayman by throwing flames at him. Rayman is able to use spiderwebs to bounce high enough to reach stalactites positioned in bridges above the pathway. These stalactites will impale Foutch when shot at, allowing Rayman to triumph over the guardian. A Purple Lum then appears, allowing Rayman to reach the bridges, which lead to the third mask. Rayman is transported to Polokus and gives the third mask to him, and Polokus creates a Spiral Door to allow Rayman to move on and locate the fourth and final mask.
The fourth mask
Reuniting with Clark
Rayman next enters the Tomb of the Ancients, where a sign alerts the player to the capture of Clark and his imprisonment in the Technical Check-up, which is located within the area. The Tomb of the Ancients is notable for having secret passages, with one leading to the 1000th Yellow Lum, another allowing the player to skip through a large section of the level, and another that can only be legitimately accessed in the Dreamcast and Nintendo 3DS version of the game, nicknamed the Tomb of the Ancients secret. Once the player has reached the end of the level, it is revealed that the Robo-Pirates have been able to bring Clark under their control using a device implanted into his back. The Spyglass Pirate is shown demonstrating his control over Clark, before control is returned to the player, who must break the device. Once the device is broken, Clark lifts Rayman high enough to break the cage containing the Teensie to exit the level, and consequently exits the area.
Obtaining the fourth mask
Finally, Rayman makes it to the Iron Mountains, where he traverses through various Robo-Pirate installations contained within the area. The area itself contains areas of differing themes, including swamps, rapids, an island and finally some mines. During his travels in the area, he comes across the Reformatory for Disturbing Children, guarded by a Robot Dinosaur. Rayman infiltrates the facility and frees the captive baby Globoxes within, before using a walking shell to reach the mines.
Within the mines, Rayman encounters Uglette, who is in despair over the loss of her babies, who are being used as labour in the mines, and Globox, who in the defense of their babies has been captured and sent to the Pirate's Prison Ship. Rayman calms Uglette and promises to free her children, making use of a nearby Warship to travel to each mine and to allow the babies to leave. Once he has visited all the mines, Rayman returns and reunites the babies with Uglette. Uglette and her children then board the Warship to leave, but one of the children passes off the fourth mask to Rayman, stating that they had found it within the mines. Rayman says his goodbyes to the Globox family, and departs to Polokus.
Polokus congratulates Rayman, takes the mask and attaches it to the remaining side of his four-sides stone column. The stone begins to spin rapidly, blurring until it is transfigured into a transparent, glowing portal. Polokus tells Rayman that, now that he has been awakened, he can destroy all of the Robo-Pirates in the Glade of Dreams, but says that he has no power in the air – Rayman himself must confront Admiral Razorbeard on board the flying Buccaneer. Rayman steps into Polokus's portal; his health is increased to maximum, and he is transported to the Hall of Doors.
Infiltrating the Prison Ship
A Salesman visits Razorbeard, and pitches the Grolgoth as the solution to the Pirate's problem with Rayman. After some consideration, Razorbeard accepts the Grolgoth, setting the circumstances for the final confrontation with Rayman. In the meantime, Rayman infiltrates the Prison Ship, the largest of the Pirate Vessels and fortress in its own right. Rayman initially finds himself sliding through floors and tunnels within the bowels of the ship, but is able to acquire a flying shell, which he uses to progress even further through the ships' interior chambers.
In most versions, excluding those based off the PC and Nintendo 64, a cutscene will play once the level is completed for the first time. It shows Rayman freeing the captives within the Prison Ship, who are then urged to leave, while Rayman makes his final approach to Razorbeard himself.