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The Limbless Wonder

Rayman is a video game series created by Michel Ancel. Rayman is a strange, limbless individual of various origins, who fights to save the Glade of Dreams from a variety of antagonists.

The first game in the series, simply titled Rayman, is a 2D platformer, in which Rayman must defeat the evil Mr. Dark, a sinister individual who has stolen the Great Protoon. Along the way, Rayman must rescue the many Electoons, who have been held captive by Mr. Dark's minions.

The second game, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, is his first 3D title, and the most popular among fans. Darker and Edgier, although still wacky and cartoony, it features an evil group of sinister Robo-Pirates, lead by the Admiral Razorbeard, who enslave the people of the Glade of Dreams and split the Heart of the World - the planet's Primordial Core - into 1000 beads of light, the Yellow Lums. In order to defeat the pirates and restore the Heart of the World, Rayman must gather four legendary masks, which will summon Polokus, who created Rayman's world. This was followed by Rayman 2: Revolution, a Playstation 2 exclusive remake of Rayman 2, which made several significant changes to the level design and featured improved graphics.

The following game, Rayman M (Known as Rayman Arena in the US) was a multiplayer-focused game consisting of racing and battle segments. It introduced a few new characters but it didn't have a storyline.

The third game in the main series, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, was the first Rayman game without Michel Ancel, and featured a more detailed storyline involving Andre, a Black Lum, who seeks to use the power of the Heart of the World to spawn an army of Hoodlums, hooded Mooks shaped like potato sacks. This game was controversial for introducing a points system and a humorous (at times subversive) script. It also employed voices from well-known actors, including Jason Marsden, Billy West, and John Leguizamo.

There have also been several handheld adaptations and a Party Game spin-off series, Rayman Raving Rabbids, featuring Rayman's attempts to do battle in various Mini Games with a horde of bizarre rabbit-like creatures, which was very well received by the majority of critics. The Rabbids later spun off into their own franchise, breaking ties with Rayman and following its own agenda. A little-seen Rayman CGI TV Series was also made, but only lasted four episodes and was never finished due to lack of funding.

For a while it seemed like Rayman would be Ubisoft's answer to Nintendo's Mario, becoming its mascot. But recently, his status as the star was abandoned by the company, considering that 1.) Ancel moved away from the line-up after The Great Escape to work on other titles, such as Beyond Good and Evil, making the series lose its luster, 2.) the rabbids themselves stole Rayman's spotlight to the point that he's basically become a minor character, and 3.) the series was never popular enough to become a cash cow anyway.

However, after years of waiting for news on the state of the next 'proper' Rayman game, one was finally announced in the form of Rayman Origins. While originally intended to actually be a prequel of sorts to the series, it instead takes place sometime after Rayman 2: The Great Escape and combines plot and world elements from the first 2 games. The game follows Rayman and up to 3 friends (Globox and the Teensies) as they battle through a beautifully detailed 2D world in order to save the Glade of Dreams from the evil Darktoons who have invaded, in a throwback to the great 2D platformers of old. Oh, and the game was developed by series creator Michel Ancel in his return to the series after Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Needless to say, the fandom rejoiced and so, in fact, did the critics, who gave the game rave reviews, with many calling it not only the best in the series, but one the best platformers of recent years. Even Yahtzee loved it.

If you were looking for the Rayman Raving Rabbids games that were originally a part of this series, see Raving Rabbids.

Rayman is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in Rayman include:
  • Adventure Couple - Rayman and Globox.
  • Arrow Cam - In Rayman 3, you've got the missile fist, and in Rayman Arena there's the Buzz Rocket weapon.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • According to The General in Rayman 2, the Grolgoth can kill, crush, destroy, torture, and pull ears.
    • In one area of Hoodlum Headquarters in Rayman 3, the lady's voice over the intercom warns the Hoodlums of the Leptys' sensitive nature, advising that they not drink in its presence and to avoid verifying the room temperature.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level - A few, most notably in Blue Mountains.
  • Belated Backstory - Rayman's origin was treated as a mystery in Rayman 2's Omniscient, and is finally being explored in the aptly named Rayman Origins. From what was shown so far, it at least follows the revelation that Rayman was not a being Polukus dreamed up, and that Rayman is the only individual to receive powers from faries.
  • Benevolent Architecture - Floating rings and platforms that are uncannily useful, or objects/switches that coincidentally allow you to use them only with a specific power you happen to have acquired… yeah, this is in essentially every single game.
  • Bottomless Pits - In the original Rayman and Rayman 2. Averted in Rayman 3, in which falling off of a high ledge that looks like a bottomless pit tends to result in landing in an area that allows you in some way to make your way back to where you were. Heck, falling into a supposed bottomless pit is even required at one point in the game to avoid death.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall - In Rayman 3.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp - There's at least one area like this in every game.
  • Camera Lock On: The 3D games.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Globox. He's also quite stupid.
  • Collision Damage - Played straight in Rayman, and in Rayman 2 one type of Mook will charge towards you(surprisingly fast given their appearance) in order to squash you flat. Even more annoying in this game is that small creatures like ordinary-sized spiders and innocent-looking crabs will hurt you if you touch them. Luckily, they aren't encountered very often.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience - Alternate skins in Rayman M when multiple players choose the same character, and of course the lums in almost every other game.
  • Convection, Schmonvection - The fight with Mr. Skops in the first game. You can be hanging off a ledge with your feet dangling inches above the lava and not die. And there are entire levels in Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 that feature tons of lava and overall scorched settings... the only hint that there's heat rising at all is that in Rayman Revolution you're allowed to keep your flying power indefinitely as long as you're over lava, in which the rising heat could help you stay airborne.
  • Cool, Clear Water - Starting in Rayman 2, Rayman is able to swim in clear, "clean" water, but ugly water kills or damages him.
  • Cowardly Sidekick - Globox.
  • Cranium Ride - In Rayman and Rayman 2, knocking a plum onto the heads of certain Mooks allowed you to jump onto their heads in order to reach otherwise unreachable areas and items.
  • Critical Existence Failure - Every single game. What's funny here is how crazy Rayman's deaths tend to be, ranging from him turning into Antitoons and flying away to him disappearing into glowing balls.
  • Down the Drain - Both Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 had underwater levels.
  • Defeat Means Friendship - In the original Rayman, Bzzit begins to cry after being defeated by Rayman. Rayman then consoles his opponent and befriends him, and proceeds to ride the mosquito right in the next stage. (No relation to Moskito, a Palette Swap of Bzzit who tries to kill Rayman a few stages later.)
  • Floating Platforms - They're everywhere, and in all sorts of different varieties.
  • Follow the Money - In the first game tings are almost always a dead giveaway to bonus powers and secret areas that feature the Magician's hat or hidden Electoon Cages; in general, if you see a ting, it means that you can find something good if you go to it. Lots of these even form paths or arrows, while some go as far to write out 'YES' or 'NO' in some levels to indicate whether you're going the right way or not. In the second and third games, Lums tend to be scattered around paths that you need to follow to progress in the level.
  • Four Episode Wonder - The series had a very little-known TV show that did not last long.
  • Fungus Humongous - A repeating element in the series.
  • Gang Plank Galleon
  • Grimy Water - Many levels in Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 have several variations of this. Pretty much all water encountered in the first Rayman qualifies, as well.
  • Hammerspace - Where else could Rayman stash all of those lums he's running around collecting? And don't forget tings in the first game. Oh, and how about Rayman 2's raindance mask and elixir of life? He pulls them out of nowhere; he doesn't even have a Bag of Holding for an excuse.
  • Helicopter Hair
  • Heli Critter - Rayman himself, using his hair.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners - Rayman and Globox, who, if what we can tell of Origins' plot, have pretty much been best buds forever.
  • Humongous Mecha - The Grolgoth in Rayman 2, Celoché in Rayman 3.
  • Idle Animation - Each game has this to some extent. Besides Rayman in the first and second games, all characters in Rayman Arena have a unique animation if they're left idle. Globox has his own idle animations in Rayman 3 as well.
  • Laughably Evil - Pretty much every Mook in the series could be classified as this, though it is most notable in the first game.
  • Lava Pit - Tons of 'em...
  • Lethal Lava Land - If the names 'Sanctuary of Rock and Lava' or 'Sanctuary of Stone and Fire' aren't a dead giveaway, there's something wrong with you.
    • Also, the Hoodlum Headquarters in Rayman 3, combined with Eternal Engine. The voice over the intercom even states, in a rather sultry voice, "Interior temperature: 98.6 degrees and rising" - the Foundry itself is built entirely over a lava pool!
  • Levitating Lotus Position: Ly from Rayman 2 does the floating variation of the Lotus Position.
  • Life Meter - All of them.
  • Malevolent Architecture - Especially in Razoff's mansion in Rayman 3... and the Tower of Leptys. You know what, scratch that, there are tons of places with this everywhere.
  • Mercy Invincibility - Unmercifully short compared to other games, and in the first game it tends to push you into something that's going to kill you anyways.
  • Mind Screw - In Rayman: Raving Rabbids, if you wear the disco outfit, you can clearly see knees in the pants, even though Rayman has no legs. This hints that he might have limbs after all, but they're just invisible. But then again, if he does have invisible legs, then why did he need a walking stick to help him walk when he lost his shoe in Rayman 2, if he could try to walk using his invisible leg?
    • And then the US marketing for Rayman 3 hints toward him having a penis, especially the magazine ad.
  • Mini Game - In Rayman Revolution, collecting enough Familiar Spirits will unlock a multitude of mini-games, which will increase Rayman's health bar upon winning. In Rayman 3, miscellaneous assortments of short, single-player minigames are rewards for achieving higher scores. Rayman Raving Rabbids is completely comprised of mini games.
    • A cheat code in the original Rayman started a Breakout-style minigame.
  • Multiple Choice Past - Rayman has always lived in a valley populated by other limbless beings and creatures, and his lack of limbs is completely normal.
  • Our Fairies Are Different - Rayman's world has practically become the universal meeting place of every single freakin' type of fairy ever heard about.
  • Plot Coupon - Electoon cages in Rayman and the four masks of Polokus in Rayman 2.
  • Power Fist - Golden Fist in Rayman 1 and 2; Heavy Metal Fist in Rayman 3.
  • Raymanian Limbs - The Trope Namer.
  • Ribcage Ridge - The Cave of Bad Dreams in Rayman 2, and the Desert of the Knaaren in Rayman 3.
  • Rise to the Challenge - In Rayman, Rayman 2, and Rayman 3.
  • Rocket Punch - Well, it's Rayman's standard attack. It isn't used in Rayman 2 or Rayman Arena, but returns from the first game in Rayman 3.
  • Sentient Phlebotinum - The lums. They're glowing orbs of energy with enough intelligence to float towards you. The Backstory in Rayman 2 reveals that They created Polokus by combining their collective thought, and Polokus created the world.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness - Overall it's closer to the silliness end, but it's also got elements of seriousness in it— especially in Rayman 2.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World - One part of a Blue Mountains level in Rayman features slippery rocks slicked over with icy snow, part of 'The Sanctuary of Water and Ice' in Rayman 2, and The Summit Beyond the Clouds in Rayman 3 is completely covered by snow and ice.
    • Band Land from Rayman has slippy, slidey musical staff bars. Later on, Picture City features a few slippy, slidey erasers covered in ink.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience - Especially important in the first game, where a very short, specific sound indicates that you triggered something to appear. It's also possible to recognize what kind of enemy is just off-screen with this, since some of them make specific sounds when they idle or initiate an attack, like the hunters and zooming antitoons. And in Rayman 3, different types of hoodlums have varying voice files that you can learn to instantly differentiate between the different types without looking at the hoodlum themselves too closely.
  • Sphere Eyes
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Rayman Advance (The original game on Game Boy Advance), Rayman DS (Rayman 2 for... well, you know.), and Rayman 3D (actually a second port of Rayman 2. Guess which console).
  • Temple of Doom - Several levels in all of the games have temple themed levels. Rayman 2 even focuses on this.
  • The Chosen One
  • The Wiki Rule - RayWiki and the Rayman wiki [dead link].
  • Utopia - When it's not under some sort of attack, Rayman's world is this.
    • This is explained in several ways, such as The Great Protoon causing balance and harmony to the world, and all evil dreams (part of the series' fictional mythology) being locked away in The Cave of Bad Dreams.
  • Wackyland - The series is full of this, especially the first game.
  • White Gloves - In Rayman's case, it may or may not actually be White Hands, seeing as he doesn't have any opening to get the gloves on or off... then again, some of the alternate costumes in Rayman Raving Rabbids features him with differently-colored gloves, and a few of the fingerless ones imply that he has skin underneath them. But try not to think about it too hard...
  • WTF Series
  • Womb Level - The Organic Cave in the GBA version of Rayman Raving Rabbids. The same location was planned to appear in Rayman 4...
    • And it has recently been announced that Rayman Origins will have a bonus level that takes place inside the stomach of a dragon.

Rayman provides examples of:

"You're doomed, Rayman..."

  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower - it's easy to miss, but in the final fight you retain your golden fist even when you die.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You - Giant mosquitoes and crickets? Check. Pointy shards of rock with eyes that fly towards Rayman if he crosses their line of vision? Check. Music notes and giant drumsticks? Thumbtacks and pencils? The game is full of this.
  • Evil Counterpart - The Antitoons to the Electoons, and possibly also Bad/Dark Rayman to Rayman himself.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams - Space Mama and her dreaded rolling pin the second time you fight her. Also one of the parts in the Final Boss Rush, which is even worse since it's a Dual Boss.
  • Gimmick Level
  • Heal Thyself - The red 'Powers.'
  • Hit Points - Defaulted as three, but can be temporarily increased to five with power-up that lasts until you die.
    • In the D Si edition (not sure of Rayman Advance), the default is six and can be increased to ten. You'll need it.
  • 100% Completion - Required in order to enter the final level.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun/Punny Name - The "Electoons" that orbit the Great "Protoon" and whose evil counterparts are called "Antitoons". Okay, that last one is less obvious (it's most likely a reference to anti-matter, though "anti-electrons" are more commonly called positrons), but still...
  • Interface Screw - Halfway through the final level, Mr. Dark reverses Rayman's controls, and then forces him to run constantly.
  • Instant Win Condition - Reaching a sign and initiating the victory jingle will stop incoming attacks or hazards like rising water or lava, enemies or bosses chasing you, or airborne attacks of any variety. And if you grab the last ting in a bonus stage, you'll win even if you jumped off a cliff to get it.
  • Large Ham - "The Electoons, who used to gravitate around it, lose their NAT-ural stability and scatter ALL OVER THE WORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRLD!! "
    • Troublesome, isn't it?
    • And untidy, too.
  • Last Lousy Point - in order to reach the last level, you need to find every single cage in each level. Frequently you'll have only two or three after passing the level for the first time, and only five after a thorough search. Time for an even more thorough search.
  • Law of One Hundred - Tings.
  • Level Ate - Candy Chateau.
  • Marathon Boss - the final boss.
  • Marathon Level - Nearly all of the levels have multiple segments of varying lengths, but some of them are notorious for being extremely difficult and long compared to the the others. Eat At Joe's and Bongo Hills are infamous for this.
  • Meaningless Lives - Surprisingly averted, even though the game uses both saving and extra lives. Playing from a saved game won't reset the lives scattered around the levels; the ones you've taken aren't respawned. The only way to get more lives if you've already picked up all the physical 1Ups is to collect 100 tings in a row without dying. Oh, and you only get 5 continues per game. When you use them up, you can't get them back, period. Given the overall difficulty of the game, it's easily possible for a player to use up every life and continue they have in some levels, most commonly at "Bongo Hills" or "Eat At Joe's."
  • Mirror Match - Dark Rayman in the last level, though you don't have to fight him. He copies everything you do, and touching him causes both of you to die instantly. The only way to win is to beat the level, at which point he collapses and "dies" like Rayman does.
  • Misguided Missile - An interesting form of this is used in the fight against Mr. Skops.
  • Muzzle Flashlight - The first stage of the level "Eat At Joe's" involves using a magical firefly attached to your fist to light up a small area around wherever Rayman's fist happens to be at the time. Since Rayman shoots out his fist as a projectile to attack, it's quite possible to throw a punch and learn more about the surrounding area by watching its path. Note that since the light follows the fist, however, you won't be able to see Rayman himself until the fist returns to him a moment later—which can cause a lot of accidental deaths if you're not paying attention.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands - In one level, you are given a magic seed that lets you grow plants to use as platforms. Also featured is magic potion that lets you fly indefinitely, only seen for four level segments in the entire game. And the first part of the dreaded "Eat at Joe's" gives you a magic firefly.
  • New World Tease - Twilight Gulch, if you don't have the grabbing power yet.
  • Nintendo Hard - Just try to play through the entire game without ever using up a continue or getting a game over. Even with dozens of one-ups all over the place.
    • Hell even the easiest version of the game, the Game Boy Advance, port of the game is still plenty hard, it still doesn't feel as if there was a drop in difficulty even in that version.
  • 1-Up - In the form of Rayman-shaped trophies... and by collecting 100 tings.
  • Palette Swap - In some versions of the game, Moskito and Bzzit look identical other than their colors. But in other versions they look completely identical. Naturally, this has led to some confusion and some players have believed them to be the same character. They're not.
  • Pixel Hunt - Just TRY to find all of the Electoon cages by yourself.
    • Especially nerve wracking since half the time they appear out of thin air.
  • Rise to the Challenge - There are at least two levels where you have to go up and up to avoid rapidly rising water, and the first part of the Mr. Skops boss battle does a rather similar thing with lava.
  • Selective Gravity - Tings and miscellaneous power-up items found in the game are a perfect example of this. Also, the floating rings.
  • Super Drowning Skills - Falling into water—heck, even touching the surface of any body of water—instantly causes Rayman to sink under the surface and drown.
  • Temporary Platform - A variety of them, including rocks, plants, pencil sharpeners, and clouds.
  • The Unfought - Mr. Dark

Rayman M provides examples of:

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer - Begoniax the witch is one to Razoff.
  • Ambiguously Gay - Globox. He is attracted to the other sex, though (demonstrated in "The Hoodlums get organized", where he wants to meet whoever's behind the intercom.), and he does have 650 children.
  • All There in the Manual - Referenced in-game near the beginning, where Murfy actually takes out a manual to the game and reads from it in order to tell Rayman what to do next. (Yet the real manual for the game doesn't actually say anything that Murfy read.)
  • Anticlimax Boss - Andre. He does nothing at all, and you defeat him with one move.
  • Book Ends - The game begins with Rayman and Globox taking a nap as black lums swarm over the land. The game ends with Rayman and Globox settling down for a nap, during which Rayman's hands wander off to scare a red lum into becoming Andre.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service - The Teensie Highways, in which a Teensie in a helicopter is shown to be carrying Globox, who catches Rayman and drops him off at a checkpoint if he falls off. Also, in one particular boss fight, falling off of one of the narrow pathways results in one of the long-necked creatures trapped in the dungeon down below lifting Rayman up and placing him back onto the path.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall - Most of the characters stick to the script, but Murfy completely avoids it, and Globox is guilty of it on the occasion too. Examples: "It's only a video game, it's only a video game..." "You were nicer in Rayman 2." "We're gonna be rated PG-13!" "Quit it, the manual says you're my best friend!" "Just 'cause you're on TV doesn't mean you have to show off!"
    • The manual breaks the fourth wall too, both by being there in the first place and by what it says.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer - All of the doctors.
  • Chasing Your Tail - The fight with the witch around the cauldron in the Bog of Murk.
  • Colossus Climb - The final boss fight does this in one phase.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience - In trailer cinematics and box art, using the power-ups only changes the appearance of Rayman's fists in a way that would be reasonable for the power-up itself (spikes, missile launcher, lockjaw, etc). In-game, however, picking up any power-up will also give Rayman a differently-colored appearance to more easily show to the player which power-up they're currently using. This is Lampshaded when Globox scolds Rayman for 'dressing up in silly costumes' in several parts throughout the game.
  • Create Your Own Villain - During a nap, Rayman's hands go and scare an innocent Red Lum into André.
  • Crosshair Aware - Some parts of the fight with Razoff have you looking through Razoff's crosshair while he's trying to shoot at Rayman.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Murphy plays this role in the first level.

" This manual just blows my mind. It explains that switches trigger mechanisms. Duh. Oh Geez, who's responsible for this garbage?"