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Nostalgia Hit: Rayman

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Not ready to let go? Revisit the classic topsey-turvey world of original Rayman!

If you were to picture a retro game, what immediately springs to mind? It’ll probably be some sort of side-scrolling platform title. Three dimensional games took their place as technologies improved, but they still have a unique quality which just isn’t matched by their modern counterparts.

Whether you owned an older console such as the SNES or something more contemporary such as the Playstation, these titles were rife and can still provide hours of entertainment today.

When it comes to classic side-scrollers, they don’t come with more character than the original Rayman. As soon as you begin your adventure, the vibrant colours immediately grab your attention.

The luscious grass and flowers provide an air of tranquillity and provide a false sense of security – Rayman gets tough, fast! Before you’ve managed to learn completely the ropes, hoards of enemies of all shapes and sizes spring up throughout the levels. You’d better grab those attacking power-ups and energy orbs. You’re going to need them if you want to progress anywhere!

The game follows Rayman’s attempts to save his vibrant world from the grasp of the villain, Mr Dark, and his army of enemies. Throughout Rayman’s travels he must break free the native Electoons who have become trapped in cages. These cages are often precipitously placed in the most awkward of places, so re-runs through the levels are vital.

The initial jungle levels aren’t too challenging – just avoid the hunters, spiky plants and the water and you’ll be fine. However, once you’ve progressed into the second world, ‘Band Land’, this is where you’ll need your concentrating cap on! You have far fewer static platforms to rely on. Instead, you’re faced with clouds which disappear after impact, drums which fall away and shiny orchestral tubes with little friction. Watch out, because all of these will put you into the spikes if you’re caught off-guard. Beyond these worlds you’ll also progress into mountainous terrain, caves, a stationery city and, finally, candy land.

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The variety of environments and enemies in this game is what makes it such a delight to play. While it can get pretty tough in places,  the satisfaction after clearing a level is great! There are six different worlds to explore, each with a certain number of levels to complete and a boss battle at the end of each world. The choice of music also evokes the mood of the level, with cheery tunes in Band Land but much more sombre tracks in the caves.

Out of all the games I owned for the original Playstation, Rayman is certainly one of the most enjoyable. Sure, it didn’t boast 3D graphics and often caused me to yell at the television in pure aggravation, but this was the game that ruled my earliest gaming years. Many games have come and gone since, but Rayman still holds its own against a multitude of 3D titles. If you’re looking for the definitive 2D, side-scrolling platform experience, then Rayman is definitely up there with the very best.

 Chris Passey

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