Soapbox options allow our particular person writers and contributors to voice their opinions on scorching matters and random stuff they have been chewing over. At this time, Francisco shares his love of Rayman Legends because it celebrates its tenth anniversary — but additionally laments that it might have been a sufferer of its personal success…
I’ve all the time had a mushy spot for Rayman. Whereas Nintendo and Uncommon duked it out for the N64’s platformer crown, I had no regrets about ignoring Tremendous Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and Banjo-Kazooie to helicopter my manner by The Glade of Desires’ robotic pirate dystopia in Rayman 2: The Nice Escape.
Within the years that adopted, I used to be crestfallen to see Rayman’s undeserved fall from grace — not as soon as, however twice. The primary time was after the marginally disappointing Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, after which he was deserted as Ubisoft’s family-friendly mascot, and was then brutally changed by the Wii’s Rayman Raving Rabbids. However then as a courageous new world of platforming — each HD and 2D — was ushered in by indie darling Braid and puzzle platformer Trine, Rayman was welcomed again to the world.
2011’s Rayman Origins was an excellent return to kind, in addition to an exquisite throwback to the collection’ 2D roots. Michel Ancel and his skilled Ubisoft Montpellier staff — the identical builders now engaged on Prince of Persia: The Misplaced Crown — schooled the indie upstarts with their bustling ranges and luxurious, painterly backdrops.
Two years later in August 2013 got here Rayman Legends, the Wii U follow-up so good it merely blew my thoughts. All the pieces Origins did beautifully, Legends did higher.
Don’t Name It A Comeback
Rayman, Globox, the Teensies and crew have been deservedly again within the limelight, and so they’d by no means seemed higher. Rayman Legends has merely sensational visuals throughout its six worlds, and every degree looks like French surrealist cartoons delivered to life. Accessing every degree by a portrait gallery, that Mario 64 nod was additionally a testomony to the professional craft and creativeness that made each degree a murals.
Gamers of the Swap model are nicely conscious that Rayman Legends: Definitive Version absolutely deserves its spot on our record of probably the most stunning Swap video games in addition to being the most effective 2D platformers on the console. You could possibly body any second from this sport, with its watercolour backgrounds and comedian guide environmental particulars, and cling it on a wall to show that two-dimensional doesn’t must imply flat.
Even in the present day, the sport’s shapeshifting environments stay a rollercoaster of spectacle and crafty surprises. Nathan Drake would die for its virtuoso setpieces, Ubisoft making use of Naughty Canine’s aptitude for the dramatic sequences to the 2D platformer with exhilarating panache.
All of the set dressing on this planet wouldn’t matter a jot if the sport by no means imbued Rayman, Globox, Barbara or the Teensies with a way of springing motion, delicate weight and exact momentum. Rayman tears by ranges, his scurrying steps increase puffs of mud, and he pleasingly arches right into a somersault on the peak of every bounding leap. At occasions he reaches a tempo nearly matching Sonic’s rocket-speed earlier than these clunky yellow sneakers come to a sublime halt.
And it’s all tied along with a rollicking soundtrack that by no means fails to shock with its unending stream of eclectic devices. Add in a way of bodily comedy Charlie Chaplin can be happy with, and it combines into a busy good-time occasion environment the Rabbids merely can’t match.
Maintain On Operating
Ubisoft borrowed quite a lot of concepts from pared-back autorunners of the time like Bit.Journey Runner with Rayman Legends’ music ranges. In these, all you do is soar and punch to lusciously rearranged covers of fashionable songs as you tear by elaborately staged obstacles at breakneck pace.
Identical to in Cadence of Hyrule, you’re inspired to lose your self to the beat and faucet alongside to the rhythm; the second if you develop into one with the music and are sucked into your environment is solely spellbinding. It was an unimaginably satisfying thrill, and I nonetheless get a shiver reliving the melodious tinkling whereas scooping up rising scales of Lums, or the way in which a guitar solo anticipates you smashing by a precarious tower of enemies. These songs and their spectacular environment get higher and higher as you dash by a heavy metallic fort siege in Citadel Rock, or by dungeons and volcanic chambers away from hovering dragons in Dragon Slayer.
In the event you requested me what Rayman has in frequent with Sylvester Stallone earlier than 2013, aside from a penchant for fixing their troubles with a punch, I’d draw a clean. However now they’ve one factor in frequent: Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’.
Rayman Legend’s model was the soundtrack to one in all my high 10 gaming moments, with Mariachi Madness’s version of the iconic track as you race by a desert’s escalating hazards and away from a fiery inferno. You clatter by skeletons donning high hats throughout fields of flowers to the strums of a Spanish guitar and the rasp of kazoos (who got here up with that kazoo solo?). It’s joyful, ludicrous nonsense that captures the sport’s wild, uninhibited spirit at its best possible.
Rayman Legends wasn’t meant to be a multiplatform title – it was destined to be a Wii U unique till Ubisoft received spooked over considerations that the sport would not promote nicely sufficient on Nintendo’s console. Regardless that it did come to different platforms, the Wii U was designed with a fifth native multiplayer slot and the complete suite of GamePad options with the grinning bug Murphy and his touch-control help.
No matter platform the sport got here to, Rayman Legends was a merely pleasant gem that wowed the critics — together with Nintendo Life, in fact — and may have absolutely rehabilitated the ’90s “least cool” platforming hero. In the event you ask me, the sport’s the joyous peak of a department of pure 2D platforming earlier than all of it went only a bit Metroid-y.
But it surely was pretty much as good because it ever received for Rayman, Ubisoft foolishly determined that as a result of their big-nosed limbless hero didn’t promote as a lot because the grizzled Assassins Creeds and frat-house Far Crys of this world, his peculiar fantasy world filled with charming oddballs wasn’t value a brand new entry. Ten years later, I’m nonetheless heartbroken about it. His look within the third Mario + Rabbids DLC ought to have given followers a spark of hope for the character’s return forward of his thirtieth birthday in 2025, however as a substitute, he nonetheless looks like an afterthought.
The identical succesful staff is now entrusted with reviving one other beloved property in Prince of Persia. Ubisoft Montpellier have already confirmed their expertise for reinvention, I’m positive what they’re engaged on is ready to blow my thoughts but once more. Simply spare a thought for us disillusioned Rayman followers. We loved our Rayman-issance whereas it lasted; benefit from the Prince of Persurgence when you can.
Do you like Rayman Legends? Do you need to see a direct sequel to it? Be part of us in The Glade of Desires within the feedback.