(GBC / Game Boy Color)

Rayman (GBC / Game Boy Color)

Game Review

Rayman Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Philip J Reed

Rayman, fighter of the Night Man

In 1995, the platformer Rayman was released to great critical acclaim on the PlayStation. It was the first entry in a hugely successful franchise that also spawned an entirely separate sub-franchise along the way. Rayman had charm, class and above all a tremendous sense of fun. Five years later, the game was still popular enough that the Game Boy Color received a port, called simply Rayman, and that port is now available on the 3DS Virtual Console.

The GBC game hews closely to its source material, but due to the space and technical limitations of the platform some pretty large sacrifices were made. As in the original, Rayman is tasked with defeating the evil Mr. Dark, who has imprisoned the magical creatures known as Electoons and thrown Rayman's homeworld into chaos. In this version of the game, that's all you'll get for plot, however. This will leave those familiar with the original's somewhat more expansive storyline feeling somewhat slighted, especially since this port does away with many characters, locations, levels, and every single boss fight... barring that with Mr. Dark himself.

It makes sense that the Game Boy Color would fail to provide an experience as rich as what players were getting from a PlayStation game, but bear in mind that the eShop already contains Rayman on DSiWare that isn't quite as butchered. Both releases have their associated pros and cons, of course, but that's worth considering when deciding which of the two to buy.

As you guide Rayman along on his abbreviated and simplified journey, you'll mainly be navigating treacherous platforms and obstacles. You begin the game with the ability to punch and jump, and that's about it. As you progress, however, Rayman will learn new moves — some of which are temporary and stage-specific — which will allow you to reach areas you could not reach earlier.

The game controls well enough, but movement feels stiff and sluggish. Similarly, the hit detection can be a little bit strange, with enemies dealing damage even when they clearly don't touch your sprite. Landing on platforms can sometimes be a crapshoot as well, as Rayman sometimes seems to pass through ledges that his feet should have connected with.

Overall, though, the main issue when progressing through the game is figuring out where to go. Most levels are straight forward, but others require you to activate switches that are literally invisible, and hidden throughout the stage. You'll hear a small chime when you trigger one, but even then you won't necessarily know that you just opened a passage somewhere. Additionally, elements that look like they should be part of the background sometimes end up impeding your progress, which is a big problem when you think you can leap from one platform to another, but end up striking a wall that looked to be in the distance and you end up falling to your death.

Graphically, the game isn't all that pretty. It certainly is impressive that Ubisoft managed to retain as much of Rayman's physical bearing as it did, but the game can look a little dry and muddy, as though it's attempting more than it strictly should. Musically there are no issues, as the tracks sound crisp and enthusiastic. One interesting thing to note is that the music actually comes from Rayman's sequel, and not the original game. It would have been nice to have the proper tracks, but these tunes are by no means inferior.

We should bring up a glitch that occurred several times for us, however, which caused the sound effects to turn off at random during gameplay. Since several stages rely on sound effects to let you know that you've hit invisible switches or that you're nearing a cage that needs to be broken, this was a significant problem.

Levels end when you find the exit sign, and along the way you can find bonus stages and free Electoons from their cages. There are seven locations to explore — with one additional, secret location — and that should occupy a newcomer for around three hours. Completionists will be able to revist old stages to collect items and Electoons that they couldn't reach the first time around, which is a nice incentive to play again.

Unfortunately one of the game's original features has been disabled, which allowed two players to exchange data and unlock secrets. It's understandable that this wouldn't be included, but it's still another feature chiseled away from an already slimmed-down experience. Also, be warned that this version of the game does not allow you to continue after you lose all of your lives; it relies on a cumbersome password feature instead, so restore points are a must.

Overall, Rayman's exploits on the Game Boy Color are a fun diversion, but the gutted experience and plentiful gameplay issues prevent it from being a universal recommendation. Those who played this version as children are still likely to enjoy it, but newcomers might do well to consider Rayman's fuller DSiWare port.


Rayman's Game Boy Color port absolutely has its charms, but it also has its share of irritations. Stiff controls, confusing layout and a few trouble glitches mar an otherwise fine experience. It's still a lot of fun, and it offers some incentive to play through it again upon completion, but it's a port that sacrificed a lot of its content in order to make the transition, and that leaves it feeling rather slight.

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User Comments (44)



CanisWolfred said:

Glad to see another positive review from you, ChickenBrutus, even if the game in question is far from perfect.



Whopper744 said:

Was hoping for better for this one but I can sort of agree with you here. First real Rayman game I've played so it's good to hear there are better....not saying that it's bad...stiff and a bit confusing...yes.



Whopper744 said:

"Additionally, elements that look like they should be part of the background sometimes end up impeding your progress, which is a big problem when you think you can leap from one platform to another, but end up striking a wall that looked to be in the distance and you end up falling to your death."

This is a big one for me.



Raylax said:

I actually bought both versions yesterday, the GBC and DSiWare games. I consider the GBC one different enough to merit as its own title rather than a port. I agree with the review though; whilst I enjoyed it enough to think it deserves a slightly higher score, I have to put that down largely to nostalgia, having played the game to death as a kid.

"Also, be warned that this version of the game does not allow you to continue after you lose all of your lives; it relies on a cumbersome password feature instead, so restore points are a must." Restore points are definitely a recommendation with no save file system in place, but perhaps not quite for the reason here - iirc, upon being booted back to the title screen after a game over, the password to continue from where you were is automatically entered into the password screen. If you reset the game though, restore points are definitely useful.



RR529 said:

Glad I waited for your review. The Rayman series never has been my cup of tea (heck, I didn't even care for the Origins demo, and that's good), so I knew I wouldn't be getting this unless it got an exceptionally good review, and that didn't happen, so I'm going to skip.



ueI said:

The DSiware version isn't particularly good either, judging from Jon's review. Does this game have any great ports?



irken004 said:

I never did like the side-scrolling Rayman games (except Origins which is great), the 3D platformers were much better to me.



sonic_brawler95 said:

I like Rayman, but Im not sure if I'll get this or not.
Love the It's Always Sunny In Philidelphia reference!



chewytapeworm said:

Was well up for getting his til I watched the video on the eshop. Looks like it wouldn't hold a candle to the other DsiWare one, which is also on eshop, and which I also do not have...



JustAnotherUser said:

Great review.
Despite the flaws I'll be buying this soon anyway.
I love the Rayman franchise, I even had the official magazine (I don't think they made more than 1 issue).



Rensch said:

No, that's a 3D game, but there is a Game Boy Color version of it as well, which acts as a sequel to this game and follows the plot of the console and PC versions, but within a 2D side-scrolling environment.



TheDreamingHawk said:

6/10?!? I think this game deserves a 7 or 8. It plays smoothly for me, and I like the challenge. The only difference is that you must use the password system. But it saves them when you die, it only doesn't save when you reset or shut your 3DS off. Even Ign gave this a 9/10 when it first came out. (that's a little high, though). Then again, I agree with everything else, so I can't really complain. But strangely I never encountered the sound glitch in any level. Are you sure you turned the SFX on a few times? That helps put it in place.



shonenjump86 said:

Nice review, still getting this since I enjoyed it so much when I was younger. Theres also glitch to make the evil/dark Rayman disappear if I remember correctly.



RPGShaymin said:

Good to see another GBC game, though if they wanted to sell a platformer, they should have just put in Shante.
I mean the whole point of the Eshop VC (Other than making money) is to put classic games that some of us never had the chance to play back, right?



Geonjaha said:

It never feels right to me how a GB(C) game can be criticised for not having as much as an original version on a home console. Bringing a game to a handheld means having to lose a bit of content along the way. Yes, this may make the game inferior to the home console version - but it doesnt seem fair when comparing it to other GB(C) games.

Mega Man 1 was another case of this - which was cut down a lot, but is still one of the most fun GB games on the VC. Disregarding other versions - Mega Man 1 was a great GB game, despite not being as long as the others.

Not to say the other issues werent the cause as well though - The amount of glitches sounds unfortunate. Good review Nonetheless.



FonistofCruxis said:

I'll definitely get the DSiware version at some point and seeing as this is meant to be a very different version, I might get this too. Also, I know the DSiware version got a 5/10 from NL but most other opinions I've heard of it have been very positive.



Philip_J_Reed said:

Are you sure you turned the SFX on a few times?

Yep. The sound effects would just stop occurring in the middle of a play session. One second working fine, then gone. It happened twice out of the four sittings it took me to play through the game, so it might have something to do with playing it for too long at a stretch...I can't say that for certain though.



warioswoods said:

I've still yet to enjoy any 2D Rayman game. They're just... off somehow. Not my kind of platforming evidently. And despite the praise, I even found the latest HD one to be lackluster. I just hate that flash-animation style they used for it, it feels cheap in movement no matter how colorful or crisp in screenshot form.



FriedSquid said:

Thanks for the review, I wasn't sure if I should skip this one or not. And nice Sunny reference.



GeminiSaint said:

That particular review isn't exactly a good reference point. The DSiWare port of Rayman is actually much better than what that "review" would lead you to think. It is, in fact, a pixel-perfect port of the original PS1 game, save for the slightly smaller screen size, a couple of missing tracks and more hit points. Also, I never once encountered any of the problems mentioned in that review. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot, and I would recommend it to anyone who happens to like a good 2D platformer.



Chris720 said:

I'll probably buy it for the nostalgia factor alone. I played this to death when I was younger and still remember that devilishly hard mirror level...

I'll probably hate it now but I found this game really easy when I was younger, I remember beating it 2 or 3 days after I recieved it.



TeeJay said:

@Wariowoods ....what? I found Rayman Origin's animations to be the most fluent I've ever seen. The smooth presentation is just beautiful. This of course is based on the demo version I played.



DarkEdi said:

Only a simple question. Is it the same than DSi version or not? what are the real differences? resolution? or both are different games?



warioswoods said:


It's smooth, but only in the style of Flash animation. That means that they're using very few unique frames then simply bouncing and stretching them in various ways to produce movement.

That approach has dominated iOS and mobile games for the past couple of years (because it's super cheap compared to drawing multiple frames of animation for every action), and I absolutely hate it. Sure, you can end up with a super high refresh rate, but that's because you're not really animating the characters, you're just bouncing, rotating, and transforming the same small set of images. I hate the look. Compare Mighty Switch Force's animations--which are old-school in the sense of consisting of many drawings per actions--and you'll see the huge difference.

(some people like that style, but I do hate it)



retro_player_22 said:

@DarkEdi It's a different version, in fact it's not actually a port but more a tie-in between part 1 & 2. The DSiWare version was actually a port of the PS1 game which the superior GBA version was based on.



TeeJay said:

@DarkEdi Did you read the article at all?

@wariowoods Oh I see. Well, traditional animation or not, the end result looks great and I like it. So, just a matter of preferences, I guess.



DraculaX said:

@warioswoods Yeah I didn't really like that style of animation either. However you have to admit that the backgrounds of the stages were amazing.



warioswoods said:

@DraculaX Agreed, the backgrounds and colors are indeed very nice. I just had the exact same experience I always have with iPad games: gorgeous screenshots that disappoint terribly in motion, because it's all built on a flash-like system of movement and feels artificial, with the objects and characters animating like weird stretched cutouts and everything lacking weight or substantiality.




To be honest, I wasn't really expecting much on a game like Rayman on the GAME BOY COLOR. The game is OK if you want to go ahead and play through it just to beat it. But to me, GBC version of the game or not, this game looked like it tried to do too much on the GAME BOY COLOR. I'd be more comfortable playing the DSiWare version any day than this one. But all in all, I had to at least give this one a try for the heck of it seeing as how I missed out on it back in the day.



XD375 said:

The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference made me very happy.



KeeperBvK said:

The review makes it sound as if Rayman first came out on the PSX, but I hope you know that it made its debut on the Jaguar.



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

the review should have been comparing it to other GB games or other eshop titles, NOT the PS version. It was never going to stack up.

Can someone give an opinion based on the game on its own? Also does anyone have both the dsi version and this? which is better? Also is the dsiware worth 30% more in terms of cost?



Bass_X0 said:

Good to see another GBC game, though if they wanted to sell a platformer, they should have just put in Shante.

Ubisoft can only sell Ubisoft games. WayForward games can only be sold by WayForward.

This week was Ubisoft's turn at a release. They have very few games they can release.



Philip_J_Reed said:

the review should have been comparing it to other GB games or other eshop titles, NOT the PS version. It was never going to stack up.

Since a few people have brought this up, I'll chime in.

I agree with this sentiment. In fact, I say the very same thing in the review! This version is compared to the original in order to give readers / buyers some background information on what it is...it's not a comparison point for determining the score.

It's compared more directly to the DSiWare version, which does have all of the levels and boss fights and such intact. Both of these are available through the eShop, so that does warrant a comparison. Otherwise, the issues mentioned in the review itself all do focus on this release as a title on its own merits...not as compared to its obviously bigger and bulkier original.




I must say for me, Rayman Origins Wii was preferable to DKCR and equivalent to NSMB wii! I even prefered it to Wario Land Shake Dimension! All brilliant obviously, but that's how I see it.



stocko said:

Ahh i remember when i had this, such a awesome game, may buy it in the future.

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