Rayman, Globox, and Teensies On a Routine Expedition - The Land of the Livid Dead

Jake Spencer
23 April 2012

Donkey Kong gave us a giant ape at the top of steel scaffolding. Rayman Origins gives us this toothless geezer:

He's there from the start of the game, goading you with his dumb, gummy grin. Your job is to fill his face with teeth, and I had no idea why. He promises passage to The Land of the Livid Dead upon completion this Herculean task, but offers no further information about what that means.

What;s more important is that he's always there. Enter the Snoring Tree - Rayman Origins' character-select stage - and you'll encounter his cadaverous countenance every time, his vacuous visage begging for teeth. I unlocked new characters steadily as I played, providing me with frequent reason to zip back to the Snoring Tree and brush against the Reaper yet again.

There are ten teeth, each contained in a sentient treasure chest which must be chased through a special stage. In a game already fraught with difficulty, these ten stages require unmatched skill, reflexes, and precision.

Moreover, the Tricky Treasure challenges are only unlocked by collecting a high number of Electoons throughout the regular game. Most stages contain either three or six Electoons, only one of which is rewarded for simply reaching the end of the stage. The rest are bonuses for thorough exploration, completing often-maddening time trials, and collecting high quantities of Lums, which scatter the maps like Mario's coins.

To review, you need to collect Lums to earn Electoons to unlock Tricky Treasure challenges to complete in exchange for Skull Teeth to give to the Grim Reaper to gain passage to The Land of the Livid Dead.

Rayman Origins is hard. It's wildly fun, and boasts some of the most incredible aesthetics in the history of its medium, but it's hard. There are passages that can be successfully navigated in thirty seconds which killed me so often they took closer to an hour to complete.

I don't know how long it took me to get those teeth - a few dozen hours, perhaps - but I did it. Dozens of hours, spread over months of play, across worlds made of didgeridoos and giant orange slices, and I never lost track of my mission to find those teeth. Admittedly, there were times I didn't think I'd ever get them all, but those gaps in the Reaper's grin wouldn't let me forget that there were still more teeth out there.

Game designers, that's how you motivate a player. Forget about trying make me forge a relationship with my character's kidnapped/dead girlfriend. Just give me an ever-present toothless smirk and the power to correct it.

Incentive dentata.

So, after months of build-up, what lay on the other side? Ten teeth later, I was ready to find out.