This game is simply delightful. Delivering on all the promise of Super Mario 64, and taking full advantage of the polygon-pushing power of Sega's new machine, Rayman 2 is everything a 3-D platformer is supposed to be, and perhaps more than you remembered one cou
The hallmark of the game is the ingenuity employed in creating intesting physical problems for Rayman. There's one instance in which you must carry powder kegs a distance in order to blow up a machine of the enemy. As you carry it towards the destination, explosive projectiles are launched from the machine to stop you. You must then throw the powder keg into the air, handle the projectiles with your ray-shooting fist, and then catch the powder keg so that you might continue. It's cute, it's clever, it's what gaming should be about. There's also an enormous room (with no pop-up) where you ride staggered air currents to a distant opening near the roof. Kinda like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You know, the kind of stuff that inspires wonder, and invites you to make some physical association with the character. Trust me, by the time you're water-skiing with the help of a lonely swamp snake, you'll be hooked and ready for anything.
As I mentioned earlier, the graphics are a wonder. Having a platformer with expansive environments run at 60 frames-per-second and high resolution is almost more than one could hope for. It's gorgeous. The textures are very impressive, and remain so, even when you get close to them (look, ma... no chunks!). The character animation, the water and lighting effects, the details (mushrooms that bounce and stack up on one another just for fun), it's an awesome package. Before I gush myself into incredulity, let me just say that I'm reminded of a quote from Miyamoto, about how he was trying to make cartoons come to life in his games (or something like that... I'm paraphrasing). I think they've done a good job of that here, creating a world that will envelop you, the result of the right intentions, game design, and hardware coming together at the right time.
If you like platformers at all (and maybe even if you don't), I wholeheartedly recommend this game. It'll give you a bit of the feeling you had when you (I'm assuming shared experience here) first fired up Super Mario 64, and realized that everything you'd known about videogames had just changed. Rayman 2 isn't going to revolutionize gaming necessarily (though I'd love for it to serve as a wake up call), but it makes good on the promise SM64
made. Viva la platform!
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