Rayman 2: The Great Escape

released on Oct 22, 1999

With its enchanted storybook look beautifully translated into 3D, lush, vibrant colors, funny enemy designs, and clever jumping puzzles, Rayman 2 is platforming perfection. No arms, no legs, no problem for the little French creation that could.

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I have so much nostalgia for this game so I know I'm being absurdly biased, but I do mean it when I say this is my absolute favourite collect-a-thon platformer. Rayman is my fucking guy, having a multi-purpose ranged attack that ricochets and the ability to temporarily hover are the epitome of controlled freedom in a 3D environment, only being outdone by wall jumps and flying, the latter he gains access to in some stages. There's zero bullshit in this game, no cheap deaths or mechanics that have a rocky learning curve.
The level design is consistently fantastic, every area has an identity and typically contain some sort of gimmick that most of the time expands on Rayman's moveset rather than removing. There are a few exceptions like riding the headless horse or that one chair rail shooter stage but they serve as neat deviations rather than overly gimmicky ones that remain stylistically in tune with Rayman's world and gameplay.
It mightn't be the hardest platformer out there but the amount of agency Rayman has never makes the game boring. And I'd definitely not call it an easy game either, there will be sections that'll stump most players especially if aiming for 100%. But when you finally pull off that challenging segment while getting every yellow lum along the way you'll never wanna put this game down until the credits roll. Rayman rewards and values the catharsis of overcoming a challenge, making you feel like a goddamn champion whenever you pick up a green lum following a string of difficult platforming segments.
I love pretty much everything about this game, I only wish it had more levels or more enemies to fight. It's on the cusp of legendary greatness and while Rayman 3 does flirt with some of those ideas it never reaches the heights this did. N64 version chosen cause as much as I love both soundtracks the N64's positive changes far outweigh the negative. The Intro and The Bayou themes are fucking amazing.

I remember it being hard and having a great vibe. I was like ten. Maybe I was bad at video games

Rayman 2 is one of the greats that pushed the 5th gen's boundaries to the skies with its technical finesse and wonderful presentation.
An awesome 3D platformer with a nice sprinkle of varied concepts for its never staling set of levels.

Rayman 2 is a vibrant and engaging 3D platformer that overflows with exciting concepts and great gameplay moments from start to finish. Its bright colors and willingness to experiment with different mechanics are a great demonstration of the strengths so many early 3D platformers hold in common.

This delightful platformer has every level feel fresh and unique. The soundtrack is fantastic and the puzzles are clever. Would've been a perfect score but sometimes the camera was difficult to work with, the render distance for some effects worked against me, and the lock on to fight enemies wasnt the best. This game was very good and I enjoyed playing it again as a adult from when I owned it as a child.