Rayman is a limbless character and eponymous hero of the Rayman franchise. He was created in 1992 by Michel Ancel, a French game designer working for Ubisoft. His first appearance was in the game Rayman, released on the Atari Jaguar, Sega Saturn, Playstation, and MS-DOS in 1995. He is supposedly a Raymanian (a race that was predominantly featured in the original Rayman). He is featured in numerous platformers, as well as a handfull of party games.
History and Origins
Mr. Dark's plan
Rayman's past remains largely a mystery. In Rayman, he starts out simply as the guardian of his world and supposedly lives by the sea. His fun-loving nature shows through in this game, as he is seen chilling with the Electoons before the Great Protoon is stolen by Mr. Dark. Rayman then is tasked with saving his world from the evil Mr. Dark. He shrugs this off, and accomplishes it with ease.
No doubt wanting to educate others, Rayman took some time off to appear in Rayman Jr., among other learning games.
The Pirate menace
No one knows how Rayman ended up in the Glade of Dreams. Conflicting stories tell of Rayman washing up on a beach near the Sea of Lums, or being found snoozing under a palm tree in the same place. In Rayman 2 however, he quickly makes friends with Globox and Ly the Fairy, and all is well...until the pirates show up. Admiral Razorbeard and his robot pirate army quickly being terrorizing the world. Once the heart of the world was destroyed, Rayman lost his powers, but with some help from Globox and Ly, he slowly gains them back. Ly then informs him that he must find the 4 masks of power to reawaken Polokus. Battling guardians and saving his friends, Rayman finally ends up beating Razorbeard on the prison ship. He is believed to have died, but shows up alive and well at his funeral.
Fun and Games
Rayman teamed up with various characters from his adventures to have some fun and duke it out in Rayman Arena. There were two modes, racing and battling, each played to determine the winner.
Sleeping on the job
Rayman and Globox are catching some Zzz's at the beginning of Rayman 3, when Andre the Black Lum is created. He then forms his hoodlum army, intent on destroying the heart of the world. Globox ends up swallowing him, and the two must pair up to find a way to get him out and rid the world of black lums forever.
Enter the Rabbids!
Rayman is eating a nice lunch one day when the Rabbids come and take him away. In Rayman Raving Rabbids, he is locked in a cell and forced to entertain them by participating in all sorts of games and challenges. After the first Rayman Raving Rabbids became a smash hit on the Wii, Rayman returned in Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 and Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party. With the rise of the rabbids' popularity, Rayman's billing in the sequels became substantially less important to the point that the fourth Rabbids game, the action-adventure Rabbids Go Home, does not feature Rayman at all. This is somewhat ironic in that the first Rayman Raving Rabbids was originally in production as a Rayman platforming game before Ubisoft scrapped the idea in favor of the minigame collection it became. Recently, a new Rayman game called Rayman Origins has been released, aimed at taking the series back to it's roots.
Abilities and Techniques
Rayman is able to shoot his fists at enemies. He is also able to grab onto purple lums and other things with them.
Energy Sphere attack
Exclusive to Rayman 2, Rayman could shoot energy balls/spheres at his enemies, instead of his fists. This power was retained only for this game, as Rayman's main attack in Rayman 3 is again his fist attack.
Rayman is able to descend slowly or glide down with his hair functioning as a helicopter. Normally he can't go up, but in certain situations, he can use it to fly.
Combat Fatigues (Laser Washing Powder)
Exclusive to Rayman 3. Rayman could pick up various canisters which contained powers. There are 5 in all:
- Heavy Metal Fist: Powerful fists, can knock down strong obstacles
- Vortex: Ability to lower certain platforms
- Shock Rocket: Hand-guided rocket, can reach far away enemies and objects
- Lockjaw: Electrocute enemies, grab onto lums
- Throttle Copter: Helicopter/flight
In the first game, Rayman could make funny faces. While not very useful then, in Rayman 3 he got the Grimace power, which allowed him to turn Black Lums back into Red Lums.
Appearance and Personality
Rayman is part of a race called Raymanians. This race was only seen in Rayman, and has since disappeared. He is unique in that he has no limbs: His head, hands, and feet float around his body, all staying generally connected. He has a big nose, dark blue eyes, and two or three pieces of orangish hair. His usual outfit consists of a red scarf (sometimes traded for a hood), white gloves, a purple shirt with an O-ring on it, and yellow sneakers. The "O" seems to have magical properties, as it reacts with mask totems in Rayman 2, among other things. Rayman is made up of electoons, which burst from his body when he dies, in Rayman 3 he was given a slight redesign, Rayman was given spikey hair and a hood instead of his scarf. Oddly enough, Rayman Raving Rabbids is the only game to show his teeth.
Rayman's personality isn't fleshed out too much in the series, but he does have some traits. He is very laid back and easygoing. He has been spotted sleeping in a hammock and against trees. He is often cheerful and in good humor. However, he is also determined. He will stop at nothing and risk his life for the safety of his friends and his world. He is very lithe and athletic, able to lift barrels, plums, and other items. His stature also allows him to fit into smaller spaces. In Rayman he had his childish moments, while in Rayman Raving Rabbids, he seems somewhat self-absorbed with his celebrity status. We'll have to wait for Rayman 4 to find out anymore about this upbeat yet unexplained hero.
- Rayman was supposedly wanted by the developers to appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This obviously didn't come to fruition. He was, however, included as a Trophy in Super Smash Bros.
- Rayman is able to perform many gymnastic moves, such as the hand-stand. These are often idle animations. Rayman also plays basketball with his body when left idle.
- Aside from his main adventures, Rayman has appeared in many different types of game, including educational, party, and even sports.
- In certain Asian countries, Rayman's purple clothing supposedly had to be changed in Rayman 2, because purple is the "color of the dead"
- In the Atari Jaguar version of Rayman, he was originally said to have been a boy named Jimmy, brought into the world called Hereitscool, to fight against evil. Before the games release however, this idea was abandoned.