Rayman is a video game series created by Michel Ancel. Rayman is a strange, limbless individual of various origins, who fights to save the Glade of Dreams from a variety of antagonists. While nominally a platformer series, the games are known for never sticking to a gameplay style or setting for more than a game or so, with each title reinventing the series in some major way.
The first game in the series, simply titled Rayman, is a 2D platformer, in which Rayman must defeat the evil Mr. Dark, a sinister individual who has stolen the Great Protoon. Along the way, Rayman must rescue the many Electoons, who have been held captive by Mr. Dark's minions.
The second game, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, is his first 3D title, and the most popular among fans. Darker and Edgier, although still wacky and cartoony, it features an evil group of sinister Robo-Pirates, lead by the Admiral Razorbeard, who enslave the people of the Glade of Dreams and split the Heart of the World - the planet's Primordial Core - into 1000 beads of light, the Yellow Lums. In order to defeat the pirates and restore the Heart of the World, Rayman must gather four legendary masks, which will summon Polokus, who created Rayman's world. This was followed by Rayman 2: Revolution, a PlayStation 2 exclusive remake of Rayman 2, which made several significant changes to the level design and featured improved graphics.
The following game, Rayman M (known as Rayman Arena in the US), was a multiplayer-focused game consisting of racing and battle segments. It introduced a few new characters but it didn't have a storyline.
The third game in the main series, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, was the first Rayman game without Michel Ancel, and featured a more detailed storyline involving Andre, a Black Lum, who seeks to use the power of the Heart of the World to spawn an army of Hoodlums, hooded mooks shaped like potato sacks. It also employed voices from well-known actors, including Billy West as Murphy (who coincidentally voiced Rayman for the TV show) and John Leguizamo as Globox.
There have also been several handheld adaptations and a Party Game spin-off series, Rayman Raving Rabbids, featuring Rayman's attempts to do battle in various Mini Games with a horde of bizarre rabbit-like creatures. The Rabbids later spun off into their own franchise, breaking ties with Rayman and following its own agenda. A little-seen Rayman CGI TV Series was also made, but only lasted four episodes and was never finished due to lack of funding. However, in 2019, another animated series was announced.
For a while, it seemed like Rayman would be Ubisoft's answer to Nintendo's Mario, becoming its mascot, but the character was all but abandoned by the company once they became one of the biggest international gaming producers and left the whole childrens' market all together, considering that 1.) Ancel moved away from the line-up after The Great Escape to work on other titles, such as Beyond Good & Evil, making the series lose its luster, 2.) the Rabbids themselves stole Rayman's spotlight to the point that he's basically become a minor character (and they would be the ones to meet Mario and his friends down the line, to boot), and 3.) the series was never popular enough to become a cash cow anyway.
However, after years of waiting for news on the state of the next 'proper' Rayman game, one was finally announced in the form of Rayman Origins. While originally intended to actually be a prequel of sorts to the series, it instead takes place sometime after Rayman 2 and combines plot and world elements from the first two games. The game follows Rayman and up to 3 friends (Globox and the Teensies) as they battle through a beautifully detailed 2D world in order to save the Glade of Dreams from the evil Darktoons who have invaded, in a throwback to the great 2D platformers of old. Oh, and the game was developed by series creator Michel Ancel in his return to the series after Rayman 3. The sequel, Rayman Legends, was released in 2013 on Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. The series has since returned to a hiatus on consoles, with Ubisoft seeing fit to port Legends to modern platforms including PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, while releasing several mobile spin-offs that utilize the same game engine as Legends. However, in 2017, the series' creator Michel Ancel talked about bringing Rayman back to 3D, once he will be done with Wild and Beyond Good and Evil 2. Unfortunately, his departure from the gaming industry in September 2020 leaves the series up in the air.
If you were looking for the Rayman Raving Rabbids games that were originally a part of this series, see Raving Rabbids.
Main Series Games
- Rayman (1995) Jaguar, PS1, Saturn, PC, GBC, GBA, DSi, PSN, iOSnote
- Rayman 2: The Great Escape (1999) N64, PC, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, GBC, DS, PSN, 3DS, iOSnote
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (2003) GBA, GameCube, PS2, Xbox, PC, N-Gage, Mac OS X, PSN, XBLA, Mobile
- Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge (2005) GBAnote
- Rayman Origins (2011) Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS Vita, PC, 3DS, Mac OS X
- Rayman Legends (2013) Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
- Rayman Junior/Rayman Brain Games (2000) PC, PS1
- Rayman M/Rayman Arena/Rayman Rush (2001) PS2, PS1 PC, GameCube, Xbox
- Rayman Golf (2003) Mobile
- Rayman Jungle Run (2012) iOS, Android
- Rayman Fiesta Run (2013) iOS, Android
- Rayman Adventures (2015) iOS, tvOS, Android
- Rayman Mini (2019) iOS, tvOS, and macOS through Apple Arcade
This series as a whole provides examples of:
- Adventure Duo: Rayman and Globox.
- Arrow Cam: In Rayman 3, you've got the missile fist, and in Rayman Arena, there's the Buzz Rocket weapon.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- According to The General in Rayman 2, the Grolgoth can kill, crush, destroy, torture, and pull ears.
- In one area of Hoodlum Headquarters in Rayman 3, the lady's voice over the intercom warns the Hoodlums of the Leptys' sensitive nature, advising that they not drink in its presence and to avoid verifying the room temperature.
- The Artifact: Yellow Lums become this after Rayman 2, where they were the 1000 parts of the Heart of the World that had been destroyed by the pirates. In later games (except Rayman 3), they still appear, no longer limited to 1000, despite no mention of the Heart of the World.
- Art Evolution: Every entry in the series looks different compared to its predecessor.
- Auto-Scrolling Level: A few, most notably in Blue Mountains.
- 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 yeah, this is in essentially every single game.
- Bottomless Pits: Plenty of them in the original Rayman and Rayman 2. Mostly averted in Rayman 3, in which falling off of a high ledge that looks like a bottomless pit tends to result in landing in an area that allows you in some way to make your way back to where you were. Heck, falling into a supposed bottomless pit is even required at one point in the game to avoid death. The single bottomless pit in the game is found during the final battle, and even then it isn't much of a threat.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In Rayman 3.
- Bubblegloop Swamp: There's at least one area like this in every game.
- Camera Lock-On: The 3D games.
- Cerebus Syndrome: From Rayman 2 and onwards, the character as well as the game plotlines become a lot more serious and dramatic, when the original game was intentionally wacky and cartoony in its gameplay as well as its generic story. Finally averted in Rayman Origins and onward, where it goes back to the series' original comedic formula.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ly the fairy from the second game doesn't appear in any of the sequels. Betilla, however (from the original game) reappears in Rayman Origins, and Murfy (from the second and third game) appears in Rayman Legends.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Globox. He's also quite stupid.
- Collision Damage: Played straight in Rayman, and in Rayman 2 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.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Alternate skins in Rayman M when multiple players choose the same character, and of course the lums in almost every other game.
- Convection Schmonvection: The fight with Mr. Skops in the first game. You can be hanging off a ledge with your feet dangling inches above the lava and not die. And there are entire levels in Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 that feature tons of lava and overall scorched settings... the only hint that there's heat rising at all is that in Rayman Revolution you're allowed to keep your flying power indefinitely as long as you're over lava, in which the rising heat could help you stay airborne.
- Cool, Clear Water: Starting in Rayman 2, Rayman is able to swim in clear, "clean" water, but ugly water kills or damages him.
- Cowardly Sidekick: Globox isn't the bravest of sidekicks and runs away whenever he sees Robot Pirates or Hoodlums.
- Cranium Ride: In Rayman and Rayman 2, knocking a plum onto the heads of certain Mooks allowed you to jump onto their heads in order to reach otherwise unreachable areas and items.
- Critical Existence Failure: Every single game. What's funny here is how crazy Rayman's deaths tend to be, ranging from him turning into Antitoons and flying away to him disappearing into glowing balls.
- Depending on the Writer: The universe and the personality of characters change a lot between each game.
- Down the Drain: Both Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 have underwater levels.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In the original game, Bzzit begins to cry after being defeated by Rayman. Rayman then consoles his opponent and befriends him, and proceeds to ride the mosquito right in the next stage. (No relation to Moskito, a Palette Swap of Bzzit who tries to kill Rayman a few stages later.)
- Exposition Fairy: Literally. Almost all characters who provide information are fairies in one way or another (Betilla in the original game, Ly and Murfy in the sequel, Murfy in the third, etc.).
- Fat and Skinny: Globox and Rayman respectively.
- Flanderization: Globox's stupidity and clumsiness is turned Up to Eleven in Rayman 3. Rayman himself also went from being a somewhat hotheaded Dork Knight into a full blown wisecracking Mascot with Attitude.note And then Rayman Origins went even further...
- Floating Limbs: A series trademark, especially for Rayman himself, who was formerly the Trope Namer.
- Floating Platforms: They're everywhere, and in different varieties.
- Follow the Money: In the first game, tings are almost always a dead giveaway to bonus powers and secret areas that feature the Magician's hat or hidden Electoon Cages; in general, if you see a ting, it means that you can find something good if you go to it. Lots of these even form paths or arrows, while some go as far to write out 'YES' or 'NO' in some levels to indicate whether you're going the right way or not. In the second and third games, Lums tend to be scattered around paths that you need to follow to progress in the level.
- Fungus Humongous: A repeating element in the series.
- Gangplank Galleon: Robot pirate bases or outposts in Rayman 2. Most of the time they looks like they're made of wooden ships, and there are pirate symbols pretty much everywhere.
- Grimy Water: Many levels in Rayman 2 and Rayman 3 have several variations of this. Pretty much all water encountered in the first Rayman qualifies, as well.
- Hammerspace: Where else could Rayman stash all of those lums he's running around collecting? And don't forget tings in the first game. Oh, and how about Rayman 2's raindance mask and elixir of life? He pulls them out of nowhere; he doesn't even have a Bag of Holding for an excuse.
- Helicopter Hair: One of Rayman's trademark moves is to spin his hair fast enough to glide. There are only specific instances in which he can really fly or ascent, such as catching ascending winds in Rayman 2 or getting a few seconds helicopter upgrade with a can in Rayman 3.
- Heli-Critter: Rayman himself, using his hair.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Rayman and Globox, who, from what we can tell of Origins' plot, have pretty much been best buds forever.
- Humongous Mecha: The Grolgoth in Rayman 2, Celoché in Rayman 3. Also the Mecha Daisy and Mockingbird in Rayman Origins.
- Iconic Sequel Character: Several of the series' most iconic recurring characters only got established from the second game onwards, like Globox, Murfy, the Teensies and the Lums. Barbara also counts, having debuted in Legends and appearing in everything Rayman-related since.
- Idle Animation: Each game has this to some extent. Besides Rayman in the first and second games, all characters in Rayman Arena have a unique animation if they're left idle. Globox has his own idle animations in Rayman 3 as well.
- Laughably Evil: Pretty much every Mook in the series could be classified as this, though it is most notable in the first game.
- Lava Pit: Tons of 'em.
- Lethal Lava Land: If the names "Sanctuary of Rock and Lava" or "Sanctuary of Stone and Fire" aren't a dead giveaway, there's something wrong with you.
- Levitating Lotus Position: The Monks in the band land, Ly from Rayman 2, and Glute monks in Origins do the floating variation of the Lotus Position.
- Life Meter: All of them except the most recent games, Origins and Legends, which instead opt for a system where you can collect a floating valentine heart that disappears when hit.
- Malevolent Architecture: Especially in Razoff's mansion in Rayman 3 and the Tower of Leptys.
- Mercy Invincibility: Unmercifully short compared to other games, and in the first game it tends to push you into something that's going to kill you anyways.
- Mind Screw:
- In Rayman: Raving Rabbids, if you wear the disco outfit, you can clearly see knees in the pants, even though Rayman has no legs. This hints that he might have limbs after all, but they're just invisible. But then again, if he does have invisible legs, then why did he need a walking stick to help him walk when he lost his shoe in Rayman 2, if he could try to walk using his invisible leg?
- The US marketing for Rayman 3 hints toward him having a penis, especially the magazine ad.
- Mini-Game: In Rayman Revolution, collecting enough Familiar Spirits will unlock a multitude of mini-games, which will increase Rayman's health bar upon winning. In Rayman 3, miscellaneous assortments of short, single-player minigames are rewards for achieving higher scores. Rayman Raving Rabbids is completely comprised of mini-games.
- A cheat code in the original Rayman started a Breakout-style minigame.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Rayman has always lived in a valley populated by other limbless beings and creatures, and his lack of limbs is completely normal.
- No, he was first found by fishermen, washed-up on the coast of the Sea of Lums.
- No, he was woven by the nymphs from the magnificent moonbeams of the second summer solstice.
- No, he was woven by the nymphs not from the magnificent moonbeams but from bags of Lums.
- No, he was a 10-year old boy named Jimmy who was sucked into his computer. Wait... forget that one.
- No, he was originally some bald guy who lived with his wife before a bunch of creatures attached themselves to his head and then he fell off a cliff and... I'm sorry, what? (Note: this origin is featured in the same game that gives the "woven by the nymphs" story.)
- No, he was first found by fishermen, washed-up on the coast of the Sea of Lums.
- Nintendo Hard: The first game is very hard due to never having been play-tested before release (outside the developer team)! Origins' later levels can be tricky, and the less we say about the bonus level, Land of the Livid Dead, the better!
- Our Fairies Are Different: Rayman's world has practically become the universal meeting place of every single freakin' type of fairy ever heard about.
- Plot Coupon: Electoon cages in Rayman and the four masks of Polokus in Rayman 2.
- Power Fist: Golden Fist in Rayman 1 and 2; Heavy Metal Fist or Tornado Fist in Rayman 3.
- Ribcage Ridge: The Cave of Bad Dreams in Rayman 2, and the Desert of the Knaaren in Rayman 3.
- Rise to the Challenge: In Rayman, Rayman 2, and Rayman 3.
- Rocket Punch: Well, it's Rayman's standard attack. It isn't used in Rayman 2 or Rayman Arena, but returns from the first game in Rayman 3. Speaking of Rayman 3, there's also an upgrade can that grants a guided missile to Rayman to reach unattainable targets to progress in the game.
- Sentient Phlebotinum: The lums. They're glowing orbs of energy with enough intelligence to float towards you. The Backstory in Rayman 2 reveals that they created Polokus by combining their collective thought, and Polokus created the world.
- Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: Overall, it's closer to the silliness end, but it's also got elements of seriousness in it especially in Rayman 2.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: One part of a Blue Mountains level in Rayman features slippery rocks slicked over with icy snow, part of "The Sanctuary of Water and Ice" in Rayman 2, and "The Summit Beyond the Clouds" in Rayman 3 is completely covered by snow and ice.
- Band Land from Rayman has slippy, slidey musical staff bars. Later on, Picture City features a few slippy, slidey erasers covered in ink.
- Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Especially important in the first game, where a very short, specific sound indicates that you triggered something to appear. It's also possible to recognize what kind of enemy is just off-screen with this, since some of them make specific sounds when they idle or initiate an attack, like the hunters and zooming antitoons. And in Rayman 3, different types of hoodlums have varying voice files that you can learn to instantly differentiate between the different types without looking at the hoodlum themselves too closely.
- Sphere Eyes
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: The first and second sequels of the main platform game series are numbered, but from Origins onward, the games are no longer numbered.
- Super Title 64 Advance: Rayman Advance (The original game on Gameboy Advance), Rayman DS (Rayman 2 for... well, you know), and Rayman 3D (actually a second port of Rayman 2... guess which console).
- Temple of Doom: Several levels in all of the games have temple-themed levels. Rayman 2 even focuses on this.
- Town Girls: Betilla the Fairy (Femme), Ly the Fairy (Neither) and Barbara (Butch).
- Utopia: When it's not under some sort of attack, Rayman's world is this.
- This is explained in several ways, such as The Great Protoon causing balance and harmony to the world, and all evil dreams (part of the series' fictional mythology) being locked away in The Cave of Bad Dreams.
- Wackyland: The series is full of this, especially the first game.
- White Gloves: Rayman has a pair, which show up in almost every instance except his appearances in the Rabbids series (where he wears black fingerless gloves instead) and on some of his skins in Legends.
- WTF Series
- Womb Level:
- The Organic Cave in the GBA version of Rayman Raving Rabbids. The same location was planned to appear in Rayman 4...
- Rayman Origins has a boss level that takes place inside the stomach of a dragon.
- You Have Researched Breathing: Rayman needs to be taught such basic things as how to run (in the original) and how to slap things (in Origins).