The Menhir Hills
This place is guarded by a walking shell. I heard that it may be possible to tame it.
The Menhir Hills is a location from Rayman 2 and its remakes. It is characterized by its focus on riding Walking Shells, its short length (one of the shortest levels in all versions of Rayman 2), being the only level other than the Fairy Glade and the Marshes of Awakening that Rayman must re-visit at least once to complete the game, and being the first level in the game to give Rayman a sidekick – in this case, Clark the Giant.
The Menhir Hills are mountainous foothills covered with large, pine tree-like boulders known as menhirs, hence the area's name. In most regions of the foothills, barely a sound of life can be heard, though every now and then the falling over of a menhir breaks the silence. Large trees stand as loners in the small clearings that dot the landscape. A great river flows through the Menhir Hills, and bridges are twice necessary to cross them.
The Menhir Hills are in several instances impossibly to cross on foot; similar to Beneath the Sanctuary of Rock and Lava, patches of the hills are engulfed by giant, thorny nettles which can be crossed only by riding a walking shell. These roots occasionally poke out of the walls of the several small tunnels that cut through in the mountainside. In many of the areas where nettles do not grow, the ground is still too steep to cross on foot.
When Admiral Razorbeard seized Rayman's world, the Menhir Hills was the construction site of two Robo-Pirate training facilities: the Military Academy and the Elite Troop Training Centre. These facilities largely cut the hills into three segments.
When Rayman first arrives in the Menhir Hills, Murfy immediately appears right in Rayman's face and warns him about the nearby academy's Walking Shell. Murfy hints that the shell may be tamable, and Rayman shortly does just that. By riding the Walking Shell, Rayman is able to cross a patch of nettles to reach the Military Academy.
Rayman enters the academy to find two Henchmen 800 asleep; though the sign outside hints at sneaking past them, the Robo-Pirates are of the weak variety and are fairly easy to defeat (though particularly in all versions but Revolution this is the first time multiple Robo-Pirates are encountered at the same time) (it should also be noted that there are more than two Robo-Pirates in the academy in Revolution, some of which being hidden). Whatever the player has Rayman do, the hero must continue on to leave the small academy.
After taming another Walking Shell, Rayman crosses a nettle patch and must dodge and weave through crates and the nettles that protrude in the various tunnels he goes through. The end of the ride leaves Rayman at the entrance of the Elite Troop Training Center. As intimidating as the name is, Rayman soon finds there's nothing to worry about: Clark has already taken care of the students inside. The inside of the Elite Troop Training Center appears as a separate part in the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo DS versions.
Clark is not feeling well; apparently, while fighting the Robo-Pirates he accidentally swallowed a robot part. Clark's future will not be bright unless Rayman can bring him the Elixir of Life from the Cave of Bad Dreams.
This requirement forces the level to end immediately, unfinished. In all versions other than the PlayStation version, Rayman must backtrack to the Marshes of Awakening (in Revolution's case, this may be the first visit) to locate the Guardian of the Cave of Bad Dreams. As Rayman does not know the cave's name prior to his encounter with Clark, this cave was not accessible prior to the encounter. In the PS version, Rayman may go directly to the Cave of Bad Dreams from the Menhir Hills.
In all versions other than Revolution, Rayman is again lectured by Murfy about the Walking Shells when he returns to the Menhir Hills. Rayman must travel through the entire level once more until he reaches Clark.
Revived by the Elixir of Life, Clark busts a wooden wall in the Elite Troop Training Academy, allowing Rayman access to the empty school. Rayman must lead Clark to other wooden walls so that he may break through them as well. In the end Rayman leaves Clark and descends a staircase leading out of the academy.
In the final segment of the Menhir Hills, Rayman must once again tame a Walking Shell. After doing so, he must ride it up a steep slope and then through a tunnel full of rising menhirs. The tunnel leads to a ‘forest’ full of toppling menhirs Rayman must dodge; the bridge he crosses has a similar set of obstacles. Finally, after avoiding the many menhirs, Rayman and the Walking Shell leap off a cliff and into a Spiral Door. The level is now finished, though incomplete.
The level is the same as in the original version.
In the PlayStation version, the level is shorter still, with the entire first phase being cut. Therefore, the player has not even completed a single level of the world when they head for the Cave of Bad Dreams. As Murphy does not serve as guide in this version, his segment is also cut (although it may have been anyway, as the area in which it occurs was cut). A stone can be found near the entrance portal in which Ly explains that Rayman must tame the shell. Unlike Murphy, she appears certain that the shell can be tamed, although still does not elaberate on how to do this. The first shell ride is slightly harder with another walking shell following the player, meaning the player will have to constantly swerve around in circles to avoid the enemy shell. A new cut scene has been added at the end of the aforementioned shell chase, in which Rayman ends the chase by leaping from his shell and flying through a large door, which promptly closes. The structure in which Clark is found is also named the Elite Troop Training Academy, which was originally credited to another facility in the here-removed first stage. However, this structure may well have been part of the academy anyway.
Another difference is that the portal which Rayman uses is located within the room in which Clark is found, rather than just outside as with all other versions. Therefore, it appears in the cutscene. However, it is exclusive to the cutscene and cannot be seen or used outside of the scene.
In the first stage, originally second stage, there is a subtle difference in that the bridge Rayman crosses on the shell has had its crates removed. This is notable, however, as the loading screen for this level depicts the bridge with the crates, as seen originally.
Also, there is an additional cut scene when Rayman and Clark part, in which Clark expresses his intent to return home and rest. Rayman asks him if he will join him later, which Clark agrees to. Despite this, Clark has no extended role in this version and is only seen once more in The Tomb of the Ancients, as per other versions.
PlayStation 2 version
After Rayman has completed the Canopy, he is able to light torches. An alcove under the entrance of the Elite Troop Training Academy holds one of the Menhir Hills' cages, but to reach it Rayman must first light a nearby torch and ride a keg over a large gap. There are also several lums behind a laser covered door near the exit of the first phase, but it requires the Rain Mask to open the door.