NINTENDO DS REVIEW: RAYMAN DS

Rayman DS is basically a port of the classic N 64 version of Rayman 2 which is arguably the best Rayman version to date but I think the PSP would have done this game more justice than the DS. Graphically the game is good but it's far from perfect. The screen is too small and certain details are difficult to make out such as some pitfalls and traps. The experience is best left to a newcomer. It's not recommended for a trip down memory lane since you may not recognize the old neighborhood.

Rayman DS utilizes the touch screen control system to replicate the control of the N 64. It comes very close, even replicating the touch-sensitive analog stick that would make Rayman tiptoe, walk and run as you pushed forward on it. Moving the stylus at various speeds will result in Rayman moving at these various speeds.

Memorable characters and a real off-beat sense of humor are traits that separate Rayman from a host of generic action platformer games. He's not exactly popular enough to be a flagship mascot like Mario but to many of us gamers he's even better. His personality is nicely captured in Rayman DS though all of it is text based. The voiceovers are cartoon jibberish which does work to some degree since it would be impossible to store all of the dialog in this game without it somehow affecting the gameplay or graphic quality.

Ray and his pals begin the game locked in cages. The evil pirate Razorbeard, who has imprisoned them, has broken the heart of the world into a thousand pieces. One of Ray's pals that wasn't locked up, Murfy, frees Ray and explains that they have to collect all thousand pieces of the broken heart which have taken on a life of their own. They are called Lums and they are tricky to capture.

Ray's abilities include running, jumping, ledge hanging, swimming, shooting and spinning like a helicopter to float over large expanses and to keep from falling to his death. There are unlimited continues which make things easier especially since you can't always see where you're going or what might be lying in wait for you around the next platform. Shooting is facilitated by a lock-on feature which will target the enemy as long as you're facing in his direction. This allows you more freedom to move around while avoiding taking hits from the enemy.

For the most part the animation is good. There are some low res textures but they remain in the background. The environments display various lush tropical forests complete with waterfalls, streams and ancient volcanoes. The sound effects could have been more varied as you'll tend to hear the same booms and bangs over and over.

Being a Rayman fans it's frustrating to play a game that's so close to the original but yet so far away. Since it doesn't use the touch screen in any innovative ways it really doesn't make much sense for this game to be on this system.

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System: DS
Dev: Ubi Soft
Pub: Ubi Soft
Release: March 2005
Players: 1
Review By Kelly
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
2.5
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
1.5