We all remember the first time we played Rayman Revolution, right? Whether it was on the God of all gaming consoles the PS2, or the PS3 edition, it’s a game that has left its mark on all of us with its unique looks, compelling level design and interesting characters. None of these characters left as much of a mark as the spine-chilling monster that was Jano however.
Jano is a hideous monster that guards the Cave of Bad Dreams deep in the Marshes of Awakening from the evils that are generated from Polokus’ worst nightmares in the game. And whilst this fact does mean he isn’t explicitly evil or even bad, there certainly is an eerie sensation any player will feel when they encounter this ancient being. Heck, even he will warn you that he will show you absolutely no mercy should you fail. Seeking an otherwise unobtainable item called the Elixir of Life for his friend Clark, Rayman is flung into Jano’s dreaded world where he is forced into a dangerous race against the monster in search of a way out.
Any player of the game will remember the unnatural purple walls lined with ghosts, the seemingly endless rows of floating skulls and of course the monsters that once plagued the mind of a God. As a kid playing this game, you couldn’t help but be genuinely scared by your surroundings, especially when you threw in the sensation of having something just as scary chasing you somewhere from behind. Even now, going back to the game years later, there’s still an uneasy feeling you get from the croaky creature that you just don’t expect to be getting from a fairly light-hearted game like Rayman Revolution.
Rather than it feeling like an out-of-place section thrown in by a confused designer, however, Jano’s inclusion adds an extra layer of depth to the game. It creates a real sense of urgency to a game that most players will probably be completed at a fairly leisurely pace, it provides some of the most memorable events and lines of dialogue in the game and actually makes a player deal in some pretty heavy stakes, making the completion of the level and subsequent rewards that come with it all the sweeter. I genuinely think I felt more beating Jano’s level than actually finishing off the final boss.
Jano and the Cave of Bad Dreams went a long way in cementing my love for the game Rayman Revolution was and remains a big reason why I find myself returning to it as experience even now. We all know the power and influence a character or a level can have on us, and it’s certainly no small feat achieving that level with an individual who only has one mini-mission to their name.