The Great Protoon is a mystical pink orb of light which acts as the source of all energy in Rayman's world. Appearing only in the original Rayman game, it maintains the harmony between nature and the people of the world. The Electoons gravitate around it, and seem to have some sort of symbiotic relationship with it – without it, they scatter all over the world, and the balance of harmony is lost.
The Great Protoon's name is derived from the word ‘proton’, while the Electoons' name is derived from the word ‘electron’. Protons and electrons are subatomic particles; electrons orbit protons and provide them with stability.
Because of its immense power, the Great Protoon becomes the target of Mr Dark's evil scheme in the original game. Mr Dark steals the Protoon from its resting place between two carven stone hands, overpowering Betilla the Fairy in order to do so. The Electoons become scattered as a result of the Protoon's displacement, and are subsequently captured by Mr Dark's minions and imprisoned in cages. Rayman's primary objectives during the game are to recover the Great Protoon and free the Electoons. When Rayman finally defeats Mr Dark in his Château, the game ends without showing the Great Protoon's recovery. However, an epilogue screen indicates that the Great Protoon was indeed rescued.
In the intro sequence for most versions of the original Rayman game, the Great Protoon is first seen floating between two enormous carven stone hands. However, in the intro sequence for the Atari Jaguar version of the game, the Great Protoon is first shown in a grassy outdoor area surrounded by hilly terrain. It is perched atop a large round stone, upon which is carved three symbols resembling the ‘O’ on Rayman's chest. Waves of energy can be seen radiating from the Great Protoon, and several Electoons are visibly gravitating around it, while Rayman frolicks with more Electoons in the foreground. It can be inferred from these two intro sequences that the Great Protoon is sometimes moved about from one location to another. After completing the game, the player can view an epilogue screen which shows that the Great Protoon has recovered. It appears to have been returned to the stone upon which it was seen in the Atari Jaguar version's intro sequence.
Other games in the series
In Rayman 2 and Rayman 3, the Great Protoon is replaced by the Heart of the World, a glowing pink sphere comprised of 1000 Yellow Lums. In addition to their similar appearance, the two objects serve the same function (the provision of energy and harmony throughout the world), and the catastrophic consequences which result when they come under attack (the proliferation of freaks and hostile characters) is also the same. It has been speculated that the Great Protoon and the Heart of the World are actually the same object, only under different names. The way in which the Heart appears to be comprised of many bodies of light while the Great Protoon seemed to contain only a few may be a result of its destruction at the hands of the Robo-Pirate army and its subsequent reconstruction by the Teensies.