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Rayman was created in 1992 by graphic artist Michel Ancel, to star in a 2D platforming game for the Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Although the former two consoles and their games sold poorly, the Playstation version was received very well by critics and the public, selling over 10 million copies, and providing Ubisoft with the financial foundations it needed to become a major games publisher.
Ubisoft has so far released two major 3D sequels of Rayman, the first being Rayman 2: The Great Escape. Again, this game was received extremely well; IGN went as far as lauding the Dreamcast version of Rayman 2 as "without question, the most impressive feat of game design and execution the platforming genre has ever seen." However, according to Nintendo Power September 2006, the latest game, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc was seen as being mediocre, effectively turning its back on the mix of fantasy, humor, and story that had gained the previous games acclaim, and instead creating a game that was satirical about the genre, and series as a whole. Ancel himself, who was not involved in making Rayman 3, commented that the game was "a bit too concrete for my tastes."
Another game, Rayman Raving Rabbids, was developed by Ubisoft and debuted as a launch title for Nintendo's Wii; other console versions are to follow in 2007. Unlike the other games, Rayman is more of a secondary character even though the storyline revolves around his capture; he is overshadowed by the Rabbids. Moreover, the game itself is a collection of minigames, unlike the platformer nature of the previous games.
As is often the case with video games, it is hard to establish canon between the Rayman games, especially due to Rayman 3's satirical nature. However, there are various themes and characters common to the series. The Omniscient that features in Rayman 2 is the main source of information and knowledge in Rayman's world.
The Rayman Universe
Much of the Rayman universe is of a fantastical or abstract nature. The games all take place in one of two completely different and seemingly unconnected worlds, the first one is Rayman's home world while the second one is the world of a god named Polokus. Not much is known about the history of Rayman's home world. It is protected by the Protoon, a big orb full of energy, which is surrounded by the Electoons, small pink ball-like beings.
It seems that Polokus' world was a large space in the beginning, full of small balls of energy, named lums. At some point in the past, though, these lums focused their energy into thought, and God-like beings began to emerge. These Gods began to dream of their own worlds, and each of these worlds slowly came into being. Each God only has power over their respective world; they cannot do anything above the surface of their planet.
Once Polokus had finished dreaming, he left his world, in order to meet with the other Gods and discuss the future. In case anything should happen to his world whilst he was away, he left four masks behind, all over the globe. To bring Polokus back, the four masks would have to be reunited.
Both of Rayman's worlds have a vast variety of natural environments, including grassy plains, caves, swamps and forests. Various beings inhabit them, namely the magical, such as the fairies (Polokus' emissaries) and teensies (guardians of passages), the people, such as Globox, Clark and Murfy, and Rayman himself. The inhabitants live in harmony with the planet, and rarely, if ever, rely on machines or technology. Darker creatures also dwell in Rayman's worlds. The ones in Polokus' world are said to have been the result of his negative thoughts and nightmares.
- Rayman, a limbless being with strange abilities, Rayman may not have a hero's image but he makes up for his small size and odd appearance with a personality.
- Ly, a fairy made by Polokus. She helps Rayman greatly in the second game. Not only can she top up his lifeforce a few times and again, she can also give Rayman new powers and helps Rayman indirectly by fighting the enemies independently.
- Betilla is a fairy that lives in Rayman's home world. When Rayman was saving his home it was Betilla who would grant him powers. She was captured by Mr. Dark for a short time, but Rayman has freed her since.
- Globox, one of Rayman's closest friends, Globox may be nervous and perhaps not bright, but he is kind and friendly.
- Murfy, a strange green insect-like creature who frequently appears as Rayman's advisor. He wears the uniform of the Teensies. He also known as the "Flying Encyclopedia" (although according to Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc he may get all his knowledge from reading the game manual).
- The Teensies are a race of small, blue, and forgetful creatures that guard all of the world's secret passages. They love to dance, and enjoy their spare time by envying each other with their dance moves. In most games you have to free them from the enemies' clutches.
- Clark another friend of Rayman's. He is first seen in the second game of Rayman. Even though he may seem it, he isn't as dumb as most people think. Clark is also the name of one of the Rabbids. The clumsy Rabbid is dressed like Superman.
- Mr. Dark was a villain who captured Protoon of Rayman's home world and imprisoned all the electoons. As his name suggests, little is known about this dark and mysterious being. Rayman rescued the Electoons and chased him out of Candy Chateau, his fort. His whereabouts are unknown as of right now.
- The Knaaren, a fierce race who inhabit the desert of the Knaaren.
- The Rabbids, These raving mad bunnies apparently come from our world, how they got to Rayman's world is mystery, as the worlds are supposedly parallel.
- The Robo-Pirates, apparently from another world, who invade The Glade of Dreams and imprison its inhabitants.
- The Hoodlums, an army of hooded Black Lums of low intelligence who also invade the Glade of Dreams.
List of games
- Rayman Junior
- Amazing Learning Games With Rayman
- Rayman Gold
- Rayman Brain Games
- Rayman 2: The Great Escape
- Rayman 2: Revolution
- Rayman Arena
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
- Rayman Golf
- Rayman DS
- Rayman: Hoodlums' Revenge
- Rayman 10th Anniversary
- Rayman Origins
- Rayman Legends
- Rayman Raving Rabbids
- Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
- Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party
- Rabbids Go Home
- Rabbids Travel in Time 3D
- Rabbids Rumble
- Rabbids Land