Rayman 2: The Great Escape

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Rayman 2: The Great Escape, originally released in 1999, is the first 3D title in the Rayman franchise, bringing with it a fully 3D world, a wide variety of skills that the player character could do, and a much more fleshed-out and consistent backstory, to the point of (until the Arc Welding sequel Rayman Origins 12 years later) essentially being set in an Alternate Continuity from the first game altogether and setting the stage for the rest of the series to build upon.

The story begins when Rayman's homeworld, the Glade of Dreams, is suddenly invaded by an evil armada of Robo-Pirates from space, kidnapping the world's inhabitants en masse and using them as slave labor – including Rayman himself, who has lost all his strength after the Pirates destroyed the Heart of the World, shattering it into a thousand pieces. All hope is not lost, though, as Rayman's froglike friend Globox winds up captured too, smuggling a Silver Lum into his and Rayman's cell aboard the Pirates' prison ship, giving the two a chance to escape. Now Rayman is the Glade's inhabitants' only hope for defeating the Robo-Pirates, but he'll have to regain all his strength first – and to do that, he'll have to find the four magic masks that will awaken Polokus, a magic being who dreamt the Glade into existence.

If the above paragraph didn't clue you in, Rayman 2 is significantly Darker and Edgier than its predecessor, but most players will agree that the tonal shift was done particularly well, resulting in a game that's more or less split evenly between fantastical whimsy and dark, spooky bits. Combine that with sublime art design, tons of gameplay variety and a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, and you can see why Rayman 2 still pops up on the occasional Best Games Of All Time list.

Rayman 2 is also particularly infamous for having been ported to countless platforms following its release: The game was originally released on the Nintendo 64, and since then has seen versions on PC,[1] PlayStation, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Apple iOS and Nintendo 3DS, each version bringing at least some new features with them. Out of all these ports, the most comprehensive is the PlayStation 2 version, retitled Rayman Revolution and featuring a whole new hub-world to explore, along with a graphical update and a slew of new minigames.

Rayman 2 (and any port or re-release thereof) contains examples of:
  • Adventure Duo: Rayman and Globox.
  • Air Vent Passageway: It's how Rayman escapes his cell on the prison ship.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the game's backstory is told through a telepathic history of the world that can be accessed through the Lums.
    • And the PlayStation 2 manual tells you how Rayman ended up getting captured, and told Globox to go to Ly for help.
  • Already Done for You: Well, not in Revolution...
  • Alternate Continuity: There are few references to the previous game at all and reconciling them is very difficult, although Rayman Origins appears to be trying to do this.
  • Ancient Tomb: Literally called "Tomb of the Ancients."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to The General, the Grolgoth can kill, crush, destroy, torture, and pull ears.
  • 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…
  • Boss Subtitles: The Guardians get this.
  • Bottomless Pit
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: The Marshes of Awakening and the Bayou.
  • The Cameo: The General from Tonic Trouble shows up near the end of the game to sell Razorbeard the Grolgoth. Rayman himself likewise shows up during the end credits of Tonic Trouble.
  • Camera Lock On
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: Ubisoft seem to be intent on releasing Rayman 2 on every new platform that comes out. It's saying quite a bit that Rayman 2 was a launch title for both the Nintendo DS and its successor system, the Nintendo 3DS.
  • Captain Color Beard: Admiral Razorbeard.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Most of Rayman's friends that appeared in this game didn't appear in later entries, aside from Globox.
  • Collision Damage: 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: The Lums, natch.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Rayman can swim in clear, "clean" water, but ugly water kills or damages him.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: Globox.
  • Cranium Ride: Knocking a plum onto the heads of certain Mooks allows you to jump onto their heads in order to reach otherwise unreachable areas and items.
  • Critical Existence Failure
  • Down the Drain
  • Energy Ball: Rayman's primary method of attack. It can be charged up for more damage once the Silver Lum for it is collected.
  • Everything's Better with Chickens: Subverted with the zombie chickens, which are introduced in this game and are far creepier than their name would imply.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: This installment adds a lot of zombified mooks to the Rayman universe, including zombie chickens, zombified arms that try to drag Rayman to his death, and the zombie henchmen in some of the versions.
  • Exploding Barrels: You can also fly on some of them.
  • Exposition Fairy: Murfy. How annoying he is tends to depend on whether he's speaking English or "Raymanese".
    • Or French. In fact all the characters tend to sound better with their original French voices in Rayman 2.
  • Floating Platforms: Propeller-powered ones!
  • Follow the Money: Lums tend to be scattered around paths that you need to follow to progress in the level.
  • Fungus Humongous
  • Game Breaking Bug: The PC version bugs out at the start of the 'Top of the World' level on some copies, smacking a big 'no CD' alert that obscures the action, making the level impossible to beat unless you're a psychic.
  • Giant Spider: You get to fight a couple of these. They're pretty tough.
  • God's Hands Are Tied: Polokus is nigh invincible on land, but extremely vulnerable when airborne.
  • Great Escape - The game is named after this, so...
  • Grimy Water
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: To the point that Rayman actually repeats a button command to himself right before he continues his adventure.
  • Helicopter Hair
  • Heli Critter: Rayman himself, using his hair.
  • Hub Level: In Rayman Revolution, anyways.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Grolgoth
  • Improbable Weapon User: Kegs of gunpowder. Besides throwing them, you can hold them up to a torch, turning them into a portable jet/missile.
  • Indy Escape
  • Jaws First Person Perspective: A slightly terrifying chase sequence in "The Cave of Bad Dreams"
  • Juggle Fu: A quite famous part of the game requires you to carry a powder keg towards a machine, in order to destroy it. Flying bombs move towards you while doing this, so on the way you have to throw the keg into the air, shoot a bomb and grab the keg again, multiple times.
  • La Résistance: Rayman and co. If not in The Great Escape then at least in Rayman: Revolution.
  • Last Lousy Point: Last Lousy Lum, to be more specific...
  • Lethal Lava Land: If the names 'Sanctuary of Stone and Fire' or 'Sanctuary of Rock and Lava' aren't a dead giveaway, there's something wrong with you.
  • Magic Mushroom: Entertainingly enough, a certain mushroom in Rayman Revolution that you can trigger to appear from a raindance prompts an onscreen message that says "Eat Me." Rayman can choose to eat it, which will cause him to shrink down to minuscule size. This allows him to enter a hidden area through a small opening that contains a cage. And of course, another mushroom in the area will bring him back to normal size again.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Robot Pirates.
  • 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.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Of the big-nosed bush variety.
  • Mythopoeia: One of the defining new elements in this game was creating the myth of Polokus, spirit of the world.
  • My Nayme Is: Ly, pronounced "Lee".
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Almost word for word. The main enemies are Robot Pirates, there are a couple of Ninja Robot Pirates as Elite Mooks, and some ports feature Zombie Robot Pirates, and they also descended to Rayman's world from space, so they could be classed as aliens too.
  • Non Lethal Bottomless Pits
  • Nonstandard Game Over: Telling Jano you want the treasure at the end of the Cave of Bad Dreams results in one of these.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The "head start" Jano gives you tends to put you on edge. In reality you can leave Rayman standing there for hours and nothing happens...
  • One Hundred Percent Completion: After a Lum is eaten by Razorbeard, it says there's only 999 to find, there's actually one more, in a location that makes perfect sense in hindsight: The Tomb Of The Ancients, where dead creatures walk freely, as spirits or otherwise.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Produced by Carmen the Whale. In addition, Revolution replaces Blue Lums with Bubble Vents.
  • Oxygen Meter: It can be refilled by grabbing blue Lums in Rayman 2 and by finding air bubbles in Rayman Revolution.
  • Plot Coupon: The four masks of Polokus.
  • Portal Network: The Hall of Doors.
  • Psycho Strings: Used in the PS 2 version for the Spider's theme.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Rayman's got a lot of friends that never appeared in the first game. This will be solved in Rayman Origins, at least with Globox.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The Cave of Bad Dreams.
  • Rise to the Challenge
  • Rocket Ride: The shells. Some of them run around on legs and the other ones can just plain fly.
  • Scenery Porn: There are a lot of unnecessary details and additions to the environments that have no purpose other than to look pretty.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: An arguably necessary one after the first game
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: The Lums. They're glowing orbs of energy with enough intelligence to float towards you. The Backstory reveals that They created Polokus by combining their collective thought, and Polokus created the world.
  • Ship Tease: Some of the concept art of Ly and Rayman, although it never made it into the game.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Flip-flops about fifty-fifty on each side.
  • Speaking Simlish: The voice-acted dialogue is spoken in a fake gibberish language called "Raymanese". The PS 1 port, however, included new voice acting in English, French, etc. ThePS2 and Dreamcast versions also include the dubs, but the gibberish option still exits, and is arguably far more fun.
  • Sssssnaketalk: Oddly averted with Sssam. He only uses it once and speaks normally the rest of the time.
  • Stomach of Holding: Globox in the opening, and how he sneaked in the Lum that gave Rayman one of his powers back.
  • Storming the Castle: At the end, Rayman invades the prison battleship of the pirates to free their prisoners.
  • Suddenly Not Voiced: The 3DS version has the characters speak Simlish.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: Rayman DS and Rayman 3D
  • Take Your Time: There's no penalty for just goofing around instead of going to the final level and fighting Admiral Razorbeard.
  • Teleport Spam: One of the ninja pirates quickly teleports and launch projectiles as one of his attack strategies.
  • Temple of Doom
  • That Russian Squat Dance: Rayman and a Teensie indulge in this when completing a level, for some reason. Probably a ritual that enables the portal.
  • Updated Rerelease: Apart from the PC and Nintendo64 versions, no two versions of this game are the same.
  • Where It All Began: In the final act of the game Rayman returns to the prison ship where he was at the start of the game.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: The game starts with Rayman and Globox reuniting in a cell on the prison ship.
  • Zero Effort Boss: One would expect Umber, one of the four Guardians (in this case, of the Sanctuary of Stone and Fire), to put up quite a fight. Instead, he simply waits for Rayman to jump onto on his head and then walks along the lava corridor and eventually is submerged completely, but not before enabling Rayman to jump off onto the platform bearing the mask Umber is supposed to protect. Umber explains this in Revolution: Ly contacted Umber, telling him about Rayman and his efforts to defeat Razorbeard. He knew Rayman was the chosen one without a doubt, and willingly gave him passage to the mask, where Rayman then met Razorbeard's robot pirates waiting to ambush him.
  1. Two PC versions even, because Technology Marches On --- the original 1999 release flat out doesn't work on 64-bit OSes; an issue that is the main fixing point of the 2011 digital re-release by Good Old Games.