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Rayman Origins: The dark side of the limbless 'toon

Kicking it old school with Rayman...

You wouldn't think it to look at him, but Rayman has a dark side just like everyone else. However, while most of us indulge our evil selves by being slightly off with charity muggers, Ubisoft's elbowless mascot has created an alternative world, constructed from his pent-up animosity.

Or to put it another way, this new game features 'dark' versions of each of its stages, accessible after you beat the main game.

This is the latest clue that this defiantly 2D platformer may be more hardcore than its cutesy visual style suggests. If the one-hit deaths, giant enemies and its Gallic origins1 weren't sign enough, you can replay the game after completing it - only this time the levels will be darker, harder and contain side-scrolling shooter sections to jazz things up.

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However, the game's real challenge appears to lie in its Chest Maps. These are optional stages with an even higher difficulty level, built to test your dormant platforming skills. One of these seems reminiscent of those scrolling Super Mario Bros levels, but with a greater concentration of ultra-precise jumps. Like the rest of the game it can be attempted by up to four players, but only one of them needs to make it to the end.

MOVE IT, MOVE IT
We're slightly worried that four players might be too much for one screen. The similar Kirby Wii is chaos, with no one quite sure of their roles. We'll obviously need to play Origins a little more to see if it's the same here, but it's a legitimate concern in games that try to cater to single- and multiplayer all at once.

In the meantime, we're pleased to report that Origins will likely be the deeper game. In addition to apeing NSMB Wii, Ubisoft appear to have taken a few tips from Super Metroid, as Rayman will expand his moveset with new abilities.

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By the end he'll be able to hover, punch, swim, sprint up walls and shrink down tiny. But does he have the power to make a good Rayman title, after he's been away from platforming for so long? We'll go out on a limb and say 'probably'.

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