Name: Rayman 3 Hoodlum Havoc review Category: Platform Developer: Ubi Soft Publisher: Ubi Soft Players: 1
Rayman 3 Review 3/21/2003
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The armless wonder returns, find out if his newest game is worth the wait!
Sorry about the long hiatus folks, but yours truly has been very busy lately in the real world with school, work, and other things keeping me from my videogames. All is not lost, as I have recently spent some time with the newest Rayman game from Ubi Soft. This is the third installment in the Rayman series, but is the game better than ever, or was Rayman 2 as good as it gets as far as platforming goodness goes? Well it’s hard to say, since there seems to be an even number of good points and bad points about this game that make me wonder if it’s truly as good as it could possibly be.
Rayman, you truly are the greatest hero ever… The game starts off by showing that Andre, the Lord of the Dark Lums has been transforming all the Lums of the world into Dark Lums! Dark Lums look like little black fuzzy dustball things with eyes, a mouth, wings, and arms. When swarms of these Dark Lums form together, they transform into bigger, clothed, hooded guys with hats and shotguns. These are called Hoodlums, and are the main enemy of the game. The Hoodlums are trying to kill you because that moron Globox, your fat, blue, large-mouthed buddy accidentally swallowed Andre. (Andre is flying right at Globox as he screams and Andre flys right in his mouth.) Well the plot may be incredibly stupid, but does it really matter? Eh guess not. Those wacky Frenchies over at Ubi Soft sure know what good humor is!
Haven’t you ever played a video game before? The main gameplay of the game is completely focused around platforming. If you are an incredibly huge platforming junkie and need to get your fix, look no further. However, the game does very little to push the genre. Besides platforming and punching your way throughout the stage to locate the exit, they have thrown in some puzzle elements to make it not so easy. Rayman can now get different costumes in the game by touching cans full of super-powered material. Kinda like a Starman, you get these super-powers for a limited time, and have to quickly use the power in a certain way that helps you get through the stage. Some of the powers are fun, such as the grappling hook hands that let you latch not only onto flying rings, but also onto enemies and electrocute them. Some of the other powers are a little lamer, and seem uninspired. I was really looking forward to these cool powers, but they left me wanting more. There are also a few levels where you surf on a speedy rocket board and jump along rails. It can get pretty tedious because you will fall off a lot, but you only lose one point per fall-off. There is also a time where you will shrink inside one of your shoes and will have to chase your other shoe around a small section of the stage and try to ram into it a bunch of times. This was fun for about 5 minutes and then became a real pain in the ass. You have been warned.
Oh no not the plum juice… The sound in the game is a mixed bunch. First off, there is tons of funny dialogue in the game. Ubi Soft hired John Leguizamo and Billy West to do the voice acting for Globox and Murfy. They do a great job, and the wisecracks (including some adult humor) they say throughout the game never stops. I found myself chuckling quite a bit while playing. Globox follows you throughout the whole game as you try and find a way to remove Andre from his stomach. You can punch him in the belly and he’ll say, “The manual says you’re my best friend!” Ubi Soft also made a wise decision and made the dialogue not so repetitive. So the voice acting’s great, but how about the music? The music is actually decent, but not phenomenal. There are times where there is no music at all, and just moody ambience. The music in the game is also quite unobtrusive in its own right, so I doubt you will be humming any tunes from the game. There are also times where it seemed that the sound effects were out of sync when I picked up some items, so maybe that could have been worked out a bit better.
Ooooh puuurrrddy! Ubi Soft never seems to disappoint when it comes to graphics. The environments in the game are incredibly beautiful and colorful and just what you would expect for a Rayman game. Don’t get too excited, though. The levels are very pretty but aren’t really light-years ahead of its prequel. They get the job done, but nothing really jaw-dropping for what the system can handle. The level design is extremely fluid as the levels meld flawlessly into one another. I think Ubi Soft likes to spend quite a bit of time with the graphics, and gameplay kind of takes a backseat. However, the mentality of the casual gaming market today still only cares about graphics, so I can’t say that this is a bad thing. It also runs at a constant 60 fps and never skips a beat. Most of the cut-scenes are in real time, though there are a few FMV sequences. The mouth movements tend to be pretty bad, but that’s just being picky. Overall, Ubi Soft made a great effort in this department.
He’s got no arms or legs! Like I said, Rayman 3 is a definite purchase if you are a platforming nut that can’t get enough of them. It’s got some major flaws, such as the camera. I’ve decided that the camera is the worst part of the game, and considering everything else, I guess that’s not so bad. A bad camera in a 3D 3rd person game is something that plagues the entire industry. Another one of its problems is that the “puzzles” are pretty easy. Unless you’re trying to collect everything, don’t expect much of a challenge. The game can be beaten in a rental. It is packed, though, with tons of extra bonuses such as funny FMV Hoodlum antics, and mini-games. You can even hook up your GBA if you own a copy of the GBA version of Rayman 3 and unlock even more bonuses. The instruction manual also hints at being able to link 3 other GBA’s to your system and play Single Player or Versus mode together. A worthy sequel to its predecessor, however Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc does not redefine platforming in any way, nor does it try to. It just gives players a chance to explore a beautiful surrealistic world in 3D, and have some fun along the way.