AGH Jaguar Review: RAYMAN

by Ubi Soft

Many of the third party Jaguar titles up to this point have merely been ports of existing 16-bit and PC games. Furthermore, the translation has often been rushed, with no special enhancements to take advantage of the Jag's superior hardware capabilities. Ubi Soft is one of the first to design a game - from scratch - that harnesses the graphical prowess of Atari's 64-bit machine. It's a jewel of a platformer with some of the most vivid colors found on any title to date.

As with just about every Mario-esque game out there, you run, jump and collect items (jewels in this case) as you romp through each level in an attempt to clear each stage and finish the game. Rayman adds a few new twists to the genre by giving players the ability to punch and stick your tongue out. You'll also find the obligatory bonus stages scattered throughout some of the levels, which gives you a chance at extra lives. Nothing groundbreaking in the gameplay department, but that's not where the beauty of Rayman lies.

The graphics are truly stunning. It's the first title to utilize the entire 65,000 color palette on-screen, and it shows. The hand-drawn sprites are highly detailed. The characters move with incredible fluidity. And like in good Disney films, the animation is liquid smooth. Layers and layers of parallax scrolling rounds out the exemplary resume of Rayman's visual treats. The sounds don't quite measure up to the graphical quality of the game, but it's still good. I'm guessing that there was only so much data that Ubi Soft was able to cram into a tiny cartridge. The crystal clear sound effects and redbook audio found in the Playstation version is an indication of how the sounds in Jaguar Rayman might have been had more storage space been available. Nevertheless, the music is appropriate to the game, and sound effects compliment the game nicely.

If there's a gripe to be had, it's in Rayman's high level of difficulty. It's not littered with "cheap shots" found in other games that are meant to keep things challenging, but Rayman is no cakewalk. The levels are very long, and one slight mishap and you're all the way back to the beginning of the level. On the plus side, you can save your game in progress, and control is spot-on. No floaty controls here; you can stop on a dime.

Players who have long since tired of two-dimensional side-scrolling platformers won't find anything here to bring them back to this genre. But Rayman has filled in a large gaping hole in the Jaguar library, and subsequent developers can now move onto making a good Sports or Racing game. Recommended.

Title Rayman
Publisher Ubi Soft
System Atari Jaguar
Graphics 10
Sound 8
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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