I’ll always remember Rayman 2: The Great Escape as a deeply strange alien world. Anyone could be around the next corner, from a friendly sea monster who’d let you water-ski on them to a terrifying robo-pirate (I was only little). All of them, though, would mutter away in subtitled gibberish I deemed integral to their alienness.
I just found out the PlayStation version gave everyone English voices. WTF.
I thought that heresy didn’t appear until Rayman 3, but nope, here it is. A layer of ghastly intelligibility pasted over a world I’m still intimately familiar with after a decade and a half. Lord knows how many times I played through it, back when a game had to last me months on end.
I’m watching a playthrough, and the Teensies sound like insufferable pricks from a knock-off TV puppet show. Any moment now they’re going to break into a dance that’s supposed to teach me the value of sharing.
I should probably look past this flummoxing discovery and actually say something about the game. I’m fairly sure its capacity to surprise wasn’t down to the fact that I was a child who saw wonder wherever he looked. At one point a swamp monster offers you a heap of gold and, if you take it, Rayman is teleported to an island surrounded by heaps of money – then the credits roll.
It’s a cracking adventure. But English has taken over enough of the world already.