Rayman and his famous acolytes face new challenges in a unique sporting competition: they will confront each other in hard and varied environments to become THE winner of a surprising biathlon: Race and Battle modes.
Pick your character and compete with your opponents within interactive environments littered with power-ups, extreme actions and shooting into hazardous arenas. Catch weapons to pinch your opponents lums, glide across bewitching lagoons and learn to be tough and nimble to take your adversaries by surprise.
Perhaps at least will you succeed to be tougher than Rayman...—Manual, Rayman M
Rayman M: Multiplayer (known as Rayman Arena outside of Europe) is a multiplayer spin-off game based on Rayman 2: The Great Escape. In Europe, it was released only on the Sony PlayStation 2 and PC on the 30th November 2001, while in North America it was released on the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube in addition to the PlayStation 2 and PC. It is a 3D game which combines racing, battling, and a few traditional platform elements. Unlike the other Rayman games, this game does not have a notable plot, other than that the characters are in a sporting competition.
The gameplay in Rayman M is split into two main modes, Racing and Battle.
In this mode, the players take part in a foot race and face a number of obstacles depending on which environment they are playing in. There are no power-ups in this mode, although throughout each course there are Purple Lums, speed ramps and small trampolines that are useful. This mode has four different types of racing game. Obstacles include boxes that the player has to shoot up to eight times in order to pass, bear traps and electric bars.
- Training: This mode allows the player to explore the course and practice before playing in the other modes, as well as setting their own personal records. Only a single player can play in this mode.
- Race: This mode involves up to four characters to race each other, the first one to the finish line wins. In single player mode, the other players are computer controlled and there are three laps to run, while in multi-player mode the players can set how many laps to run before winning.
- Popolopoï: This mode uses a time limit in which a character must complete three laps in. Although the time starts at 20 seconds, the time can be increased by shooting small butterflies called Popolopoï, which come in different colours that represent how much time is given. Only a single player can play in this mode.
- Lums: In this mode, the player has to complete three laps while collecting the maximum number of Yellow Lums required in order to legally win, and must come in first place as well.
This is also needed later on in the game, as the amount of lums the player collected will be transferred into the amount of time the player gets to finish that particular race in On and On, a bonus race level. Only a single player can play in this mode.
Rather than an obstacle course, the Battle mode is made up of an arena in which characters run around playing three different modes. Unlike the Race mode, this mode uses power-ups.
- Lum Spring: In the mode, the player has to collect as many Lums (which unusually look like crystals this time) as they can in order to reach the winning conditions - in a typical game, this is up to five Lums - or before the time runs out. To help him or her prevent the opponents from reaching them first, they are equipped with ice bullets to freeze them, thought the others' shots have to be avoided.
- Lum Fight: Each player starts with five hit points each, and the player has to knock all of the opponents' hit points in order to score Lums. Each time a player dies, they respawn somewhere else in the arena. A negative Lum is given to a player that loses to a self-infliction. Various power-ups called Generators are scattered around, and contain a different weapon to use against opponents. Uses the same winning conditions as Lum Spring.
- Capture the Fly: This game is similar to tag - the player has to find a Light Fly and keep hold of it as long as possible without getting hit by an opponent's shot. The character is equipped with five bounce bullets which are only effective on the player in possession of the Fly. The player that reaches the winning conditions first wins.
Rayman M is set mainly in environments based on those of Rayman 2: The Great Escape. The game consists of four different worlds for each mode, each with three stages. The world the players play in also determines the difficulty of the game, going from Beginner to Advanced. As the player progresses, the harder difficulties are unlocked. Many of the worlds in Rayman M that resemble locations from Rayman 2 include Ly's Palace, which resembles the Sanctuary of Water and Ice, and the Dark Sewers, which are reminiscent of the Tomb of the Ancients.
At the start of the game, five characters are available, and as the player progresses through the game, they'll unlock the remaining characters as well as skins for them. Each character has their own musical theme in the Racing mode, and have their own method of gliding, though they all shoot the same way Rayman does.
- Rayman: The star of the game. He has one unlockable skin only in Rayman Arena.
- Globox: Rayman's best friend, who joined the competition to overcome his shyness (unlike other games he appeared in, he is not scared of the bad guys). He has three unlockable skins.
- Teensies: A pair of Grand Minimus Teensies. They have three unlockable skins.
- Admiral Razorbeard: The irritable lord of the Robo-Pirate Army.
- Henchman 800: One of the Robo-Pirates from Rayman 2, particularly of the Red variety. He has three unlockable skins.
- Tily: A small fairy speculated to have replaced Ly the Fairy. Tily must be unlocked.
- Razorwife: Admiral Razorbeard's flamboyant wife. Razorwife must be unlocked.
- Henchman 1000: An older Robo-Pirate model. Henchman 1000 must be unlocked. He has three unlockable skins.
- Dark Globox: An more evil, dumber, uglier, and certainly ruder version of Globox. Dark Globox only appears in "Rayman Arena" and must be unlocked.
- Dark Rayman: An evil doppelgänger of Rayman. Dark Rayman only appears in the Gamecube and Xbox version of Rayman Arena and must be unlocked. He is also the player's opponent through the entire third league in the game, the Master League. He is the main antagonist of Rayman Arena.
Objects are located in racing courses that will give the player special benefits, sometimes intended to slow the player down in a race, or to speed the player up. Some objects refer to Rayman 2.
- Speed ramps: A blue panel on the ground or platform that will give the player a speed boost for a few seconds by walking over it. Pressing the "special button" when this speed boost is active will grant the player even more extra speed, leaving little clouds of dust behind them.
- Bumpers: A circle 'trampoline' on the ground which propels the player into the air, most often resulting in a shortcut.
- Nettles: These look similar to the plants of the same name in Beneath the Sanctuary of Lava in Rayman 2. When the player gets close it will 'whip', her/him resulting in the player to slow down. There are many types of nettle, including a skeletal one.
- Purple Lums: A well-known Lum from Rayman 2 which allows the player to swing through the air, circumnavigating obstacles or following a faster route.
- Switches: These switches, unlike those in Rayman 2, are square-shaped and labelled with icons – either a Robo-Pirate head, a Piranha or a Spider. If the player shoots at a switch, it will activate a hidden passage or will drastically alter the surrounding environment to stop opponent(s), but can also affect the player.
- Electric fences: When the player touches the electrical beams from this fence it will electrocute her/him resulting in the player to slow down.
- Electric barrels: Avoid this object, it will hit a player when it lights up, resulting in the player to slow down.
These are the weapons present in the fighting stages of the game. In Lum Fight mode, they are taken from Generators that are randomly scattered around the arena. In Lum Spring and Capture the Fly modes, there is only one weapon that is present, and is given to the player at the beginning of the match. This is the Ice Bullet for Lum Spring and the Rubber Bullet for Capture the Fly.
- Fake Generator: It looks like a normal generator that gives the player a weapon, but it in fact a bomb been placed down by another player or CPU. It explodes on contact (or just after a character passes) and it inflicts 3 hit points.
- Item Leech: When activated, it steals a random other players' weapon. if no other player is carrying something, it will steal one from a generator.
- Buzz Rocket: When activated, the player will stand to a still (making him or herself vulnerable to attacks)and he or she will instead be in control of a small, highly sensitive flying weapon, the Buzz rocket. It inflicts 5 hit points, on impact on another player. The player can only use it once.
- Ultimate Barrier: An indestructible force field that cocoons the player for a few seconds. It also effectively inflicts 1 hit point of damage if it comes in contact with another player.
- Glue Bomb: When mastered, this weapon is irresistible to use! It sticks to a player by contact, spinning around the unlucky character(until passed on to another) then explodes after a few seconds. Inflicts 3 hit points of damage. Looks very similar to the Helicopter bomb from Rayman 2.
- Rapid Bullets: Shoots a row of 3 bullets per round. Each bullet inflicts 1 hit point.
- Rubber Bullet: Can almost always make a direct hit. Can bounce of walls and objects (up to 3 bounces). Each bullet inflicts 1 hit point. In Capture the Fly mode, the player get 5 bullets. It just steals the fly from the carrier and ammo refills over time.
- Hound Bullet: Automatically chases the nearest opponent. Each Hound Bullet inflicts 1 hit point.
- Firework Bullet: Is pointless unless a player is nearby, or he or she locks onto another player. A green Firework Bullet detonates on impact. Inflicts 1 hit point on anyone within explosion range.
- Flametounge Bullet: A flame which its direction can be controlled for a few seconds, then remaining active for a few more, engulfing anyone who unfortunately goes into it. Inflicts 1 hit point.
- Ice Bullet: Only available in Lum Spring mode. It freezes the targeted character for 1 second. The ammo refills over time.
The game features a dynamic soundtrack by French composer Claude Samard. Each battle level features its own theme, while the background music of the race levels is determined by the identity of the character currently in the first position – each character has their own theme music, and additional musical cues mediate whenever the game switches from one theme to another.