—Ly The Fairy, in a telepathic message to Rayman, in the intro
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.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 PCnote 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 rerelease by Good Old Games., PlayStation, Game Boy Color, 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 PS2 version, retitled Rayman Revolution (Rayman 2: Revolution in North America) 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:
Aliens Are Bastards: The Robo-Pirates are shown to be a completely amoral, ruthless warrior race that are perfectly willing to enslave and corrupt an entire planet for their own gain, with nothing but apathy for its inhabitants other than being a means to an end.
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 manual for some versions tell you how Rayman ended up getting captured, and told Globox to go to Ly for help.
Already Done for You: The fourth mask is already gotten for you by one of the baby Globox in the N64, PS1, and Dreamcast ports. Revolution has you fight another guardian for it, averting this.
Bag of Spilling: Justified. Rayman lost all his abilities after the Heart of the World exploded.
Band-Aids For Everything: the pirates are such lousy mechanics that they fix things by applying Band-Aids on what is broken. Regular ones that go down in one hit, or metal ones that require missiles to blow.
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…
Big Bad: Razorbeard, the leader of the Robo-Pirates.
But Thou Must: While the end of The Cave of Bad Dreams gives you a choice of choosing to keep the treasure or not, the game will only continue if you turn down Jano's offer to take the treasure. Choosing to keep it gets you a Non-Standard Game Over, that promptly takes you back to the point where you choose.
Button Mashing: The bonus level (which is absent from the PS1 version), unlocked by completing a level with all the yellow lums collected and all the cages destroyed, boils down to this.
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.
Cardboard Prison: Once Rayman gets his energy fist, escaping from the prison ship via an air vent is a cinch.
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 DSand its successor system, the Nintendo 3DS.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Most of Rayman's friends that appeared in this game didn't appear in later entries, aside from Globox, Murfy and the teensies. (though Ly the Fairy did appear in the Game Boy Advance versions of Rayman 3 and Rayman Ravving Rabbids).
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.
Cranium Ride: Knocking a plum onto the heads of certain Mooks allowes you to jump onto their heads in order to reach otherwise unreachable areas and items.
Crapsaccharine World: Rayman's world after the pirates take over. Some areas are no worse for wear, but others are clearly suffering from the pirates influence. The appearances of fierce monsters such as zombies and giant spiders doesn't help.
Critical Existence Failure: Some attacks Rayman encounters are strong enough to not merely damage him, but outright destroy his body—fortunately, a situation like this sends him back to the nearest checkpoint with only some of your health taken off.
Curb-Stomp Battle: According to some manuals, the pirates' conquering of the planet was a very one-sided war. Rayman, Ly and Clark were among the few who managed to put up any significant threat, but cue the pirates detonating the heart of the world, and Rayman and Ly are rendered virtually powerless to stop the pirates, and Clark, despite initially evading capture, was nonetheless incapacitated later in the game.
However, come the finale of the game when Polokus is finally awakened, and the tables are turned as he promptly destroys every single robo-pirate on the planet.
Speaking of Clark, he utterly eviscerated an entire platoon of 20 robo-pirates single-handedly (albeit getting himself ill in the process due to swallowing a bit of flying debris)—Rayman himself is astounded by the pile of robot corpses littered around the room he finds Clark in.
Demoted to Extra: Murfy in the PS1 version and its offshoots. While a fairly significant character in the other versions, in this version he's simply a generic NPC that can be rescued from cages.
Disney Death: After Rayman defeats the Grolgoth, Razorbeard escapes and triggers the prison ship's Self-Destruct Mechanism, and the ship explodes. Rayman is presumed killed in the explosion and his friends hold a funeral with his remaining shoe... only for it to spring to life and hop to Rayman, who is very much alive but missing a shoe.
Down the Drain: Many levels take place in sewers, most notably late in The Fairy Glade, The Echoing Caves and Tomb of the Ancients.
Downer Beginning: The pirates invaded the Glade of Dreams, enslaved its inhabitants including the hero and destoyed the Heart of the World.
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 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: The pirate fortresses tend to be littered with powder kegs, which are not only very explosive, but can allow you to fly on some of them—specifically, by igniting a keg with a nearby torch.
Or French. In fact all the characters tend to sound better with their original French voices in Rayman 2.
Fake Difficulty: To give the game a "cinematic experience" you can expect abrupt mid-air changes of camera angles without warning. This alters the orientation of your controls, and thus, screws you over.
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.
The 3DS port has an infamous glitch where the spider-web spring that allows you to reach the hidden 1000th lum does not work and only acts as a normal platform, making it impossible to reach without abusing Rayman's damage reaction from touching the nearby tiny spiders.
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. Also, the destruction of the world's heart sends him into some kind of sleep/coma, and most of the game is spent finding the 4 Masks to wake him. As soon as he does, he proceeds to instantly wipe out all pirates - except those on the prison ship, as they are outside of his power.
Earlier, another massive, invincible robot appears in The Iron Mountain, lurking outside of a pirate fortress. It is very fast, and can easily crush you. It only notices you if you're riding a shell, however...
Impact Silhouette: Clark pulls this off by running straight through a wall, in order to help out Rayman.
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: The chase sequence late 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.
Laser-Guided Karma: While the Pirates counqering of the planet was brutal and effortless, their downfall came just as swiftly and brutally—first, Rayman mows through the pirates forces, frees many prisoners and friends, and eventually awakens Polokus, who proceeds to destroy every single robo-pirate on the planet. Then, Rayman utterly defeats Razorbeard in combat, in spite of the latter having a state of the art giant robot at his disposal, forcing the latter to detonate his massive prison ship in a last ditch effort to kill Rayman (which fails), as the cowardly robot leader flees alone into the reaches of space via an escape pod.
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.
Lovable Coward: Globox. The first sign of trouble, and he runs off to hide with a shriek.
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 "EatMe." 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.
Mouth Cam: The Cave Of Bad Dreams level uses this when the Guardian of the Cave catches up to Rayman and chases him down a slippery slide, with the camera switched to a POV shot of the Guardian's mouth, sharp teeth dripping with saliva and all. It's very effective.
Mythopoeia: One of the defining new elements in this game was creating the myth of Polokus, spirit of the world.
Mythology Gag: Cameos of Mosquito and Anti-Toons from the first Rayman made brief appearances. Also, early in Revolution for PS2, Rayman uses his normal fists for combat before he gets the energy ball.
Nintendo Hard: Some of the levels, especially the later ones, can only be described as this, as the asshattery of the level designers starts to 'shine'. The stages can get very long, requiring absolute precision and timing with your jumps, with stingy checkpoints, not to mention your health-bar does not refill upon death. So if you exhaust your meter after many failures, which is conceivable given the challenge, its back to the beginning of the level for you.
Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: The game with rife with bottomless pits, but falling into them will quickly send you back to the nearest checkpoint and only take off a bit of your health.
Non-Standard Game Over: Telling Jano you want the treasure at the end of the Cave of Bad Dreams results in one of these. Rayman takes the treasure and just forgets about saving the world, eats himself full until he's obese, and retreats to a miniscule island in the tropics. Fortunately, you go straight back to decision making afterward.
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...
Nude-Colored Clothes: Ly the Fairy is either wearing one or actually naked, although in the Japanese version she's wearing a white bodysuit.
One-Hit Kill: Some of the enemies, like the teleporting robot pirates are capable of doing this to you in later levels such as "The Iron Mountain". Its so rare and circumstantial, but so devastating to your progress when it does happen, it can only be described as a 'glitch' in of itself.
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.
Speaking Simlish: The voice-acted dialogue is spoken in a fake, French-sounding gibberish language called "Raymanese". The PS1 port, however, included new voice acting in English, French, etc. The PS2 and Dreamcast versions also include the dubs, but the gibberish option still exits, and is arguably far more fun.
Hidden amidst the Raymanese gibberish are three actual words: Rayman frequently says "Yeah!" and "Yahoo!" when gaining new powers and the like, and he yells "STOP!" in frustration at the bickering Teensies from the end of the first level.
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.
Third is 3D: Rayman 3D (the 3DS version) is the third iteration of this game on a Nintendo handheld, first one being on the Game Boy Color (as a 2D platformer called Rayman 2: Forever), and the second one for the Nintendo DS (as Rayman DS).
Updated Re-release: Apart from the PC and Nintendo64 versions, no two versions of this game are the same.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Razorbeard, upon his mecha getting crippled by Rayman, detonates his prison ship in a last-ditch effort to kill Rayman, and promptly escapes into the far reaches of space unharmed.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Near the end, Razorbeard angrily threatens to throw his incompetent lackey into molten lava, but afterward asks him to prepare the Grolgoth for the battle against Rayman. It's not known whether Razorbeard fulfills his threats offscreen or not.
You Have Failed Me: Before the final boss battle in the Crow's Nest, Admiral Razorbeard says that he will punish the Spyglass Pirate for his consistent failure to stop Rayman by seeing how well he would swim in molten lava. It is not clear whether this punishment was ever carried out, and the fate of the Spyglass Pirate remains unknown.
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.