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Rayman 2 Revolution
Platform:  Playstation 2
# of Players:  1
Developer:  Ubi Soft
Publisher:  Ubi Soft
Features:  Analog Control, Vibration Function, Hidden Mini-ga
Ratings:  Everyone
Memory Req.:  PS2 Memory card, 261 KB
You really have to give Ubi Soft credit- they've gotten almost Capcom-style mileage out of their Rayman character, but at least each version gets better and better. The current incarnation, Rayman 2 Revolution for the PS2 is the best yet, and the first PS2 title that hints at the untapped power of the console. I'm sure a lot of people who've already played this on the N64, Dreamcast, Playstation or PC versions will probably skip this one or wonder if it's any different than the game they've already played. The answer to that depends on how much you enjoyed the game in its previous incarnations. As the saying goes- "It's the small details", and the game doesn't disappoint, if you're looking for gorgeous visuals, sound and music.

The gameplay's no slouch either- Rayman is quite a versatile character, and the game has a few helpful tutorials sprinkled throughout to help out those of you who haven't done this sort of thing before. The controls have been optimized for the Dual Shock 2, and are far better than the Dreamcast's, in my opinion. Rayman's helicopter move is easier to pull off, and other actions are a bit more fluid. Without a doubt, this is probably the best all-around platform game to date. The game's story is the same as the other versions- Ray's gotta rescue his mates from the evil pirates; but things have been moved around here and there so that it seems fresh if you've played any of the other versions to death. The game is pretty long but it's never dull with something new and exciting to see in each area. There are also new English, Spanish, and French voices added, if you want to play the game and understand what everyone is saying. Personally, I think it makes the game sound too much like a Saturday morning cartoon, but some people are into that sort of thing, so that's all good, I suppose. You can switch between voices in the options screen, just to hear the different voice actors strut their stuff. Most of them are OK, but Murph, Rayman's whispering, hint-giving buddy, sounds like he's lurking in an alley no matter which language you select. That, and the fact that his constant grinning gets really spooky after a while.

As I said before, the game is visually amazing- there's an amazing amount of life in the environments, like the swarms of butterflies that look as if they've been cut from paper and brought to life, or the mushrooms that jump out of the way when you pass by. Every time you enter a new area, you'll spend time running around just looking at stuff- that is when you're not battling enemies or finding a way to reach those out of the way Lums. While the DC version has a brighter look to it, and maintains a tight framerate, there's a tiny bit of slowdown here and there when things get really hectic. The sounds and music are excellent as well- very atmospheric and moody stuff, and it gives the game a truly cinematic feeling. If someone walks into the room as you're playing, they'll think you're watching some sort of computer-generated movie. The game is one of the few all-ages games on the PS2, so it's a must purchase for anyone out there looking for a family game for the system.

There's absolutely nothing bad I have to say about this game (which is why this review is so short). Altough I do hope that Rayman makes his next appearance in a true sequel and not something like a prettied up x-Box or Game Cube version of the same game we have here. Again, if you've already own or have played this game on any of the other platforms it's been on, it's not an essential purchase, but if you're a PS2 owner and want something different, Rayman 2 Revolution is worth a trip to your favorite game shop. If anything, it's a great weekend rental that you'll go back to again and again.

Greg Wilcox

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