3 for the Game Boy Advance ignores his big brother 3D counterparts and sticks
to the tried-and-true formulaic 2D platform recipe that has served him well for
years now. Sticking with what works definitely helps in this case, as our favorite
French hero stars in another solid release.
Rayman is one of the rare cases where a platformer, backed by an interesting
main character, manages to withstand the test of time and become more endearing
with each release. Rayman 2 proved to be one of the best releases of that
year, and his GBA premier also garnered praise. Now, with Rayman 3, the
2D platforming escapades continue throughout a myriad of themed worlds, complete
with mini-game challenges in-between levels to keep things fresh.
nothing terribly new in this third outing. Rayman can still hover slowly using
his twirling hair to slowly float around, he still has his charged and extended
punches, and he's still as vivid as ever. The level design good, but with a few
more exceptions than in previous releases. The mini-games are also interesting,
but the more serious fan might find them too distracting and distant from the
games' standard style; a few include a water skiing portion, and another is a
Mario Kart-styled cart sequence that entails beating the clock on a track
set on top lava - these are levels themselves and aren't interwoven into the levels,
like the sliding portions in the second were. I, myself, happen to have enjoyed
them and felt they did a good job in keeping things from getting too stagnate.
goes without saying that those who didn't enjoy Rayman Advance won't find
much to like here, but fans of the series will be pleased at the series' continued
tradition of high quality. While some could argue that not enough was done to
advance the series, I would agree to an extent as this could really be seen as
an expansion, but it's also a solid title that will provide hours of enjoyment.
My only complaint was that a few levels
required too much backtracking. Without the abilities to extend a view farther
left or right, trying to spot smaller ledges or items became needlessly tedious.
Within a world, there's a giant level with curtains that represent the levels
and completion of a level opened a new curtain to enter; this was a nice concept,
but it only seemed to be a time waster as there's nothing all that beneficial,
aside from random story tidbits, that the player gains from going through it.
Again, being able to have an extended viewing range would've also saved time when
trying to find the next curtain available to go into. However, the overall level
that leads into the rest is more of a personal dislike, as it isn't implemented
poorly in a technical sense.
Still a looker after all these years; although, it's a shame the enemies haven't
aged as well. The robotic looking pirates and other oddities are looking a bit
drab this go-around, and despite being good stand-bys, it's time for some fresh
faces and redesigns. The levels are lush, with the drabber ones seeming a waste
since the more lively worlds are so much more appealing and conducive to Rayman's
own lively color scheme. Outstanding animations and high-quality rendered still
shots round out a pleasant platforming experience.
The traditional whimsical Rayman tunes are back in full force.
While their overall vibe hasn't gotten old, there are some sequences that loop
a little too much. However, the variety is nice, and even brief encounters bring
a change in the tone to fit the situation. The sound effects are decent, as are
the brief vocal bits.
Thanks to some forgiving controls, traversing the levels is made a
good deal easier. Auto ledge-grabbing and considerable leeway when swinging from
rings really helps to keep the action speeding along at a decent pace. Moves are
easy to perform and, aside from the aforementioned desire to be able to see a
little farther to the sides, the controls are as solid as one would expect.
Even with some annoying levels and the level selection process, the
game still remains a solid release. Advancement be damned! Aside from the minor
complaints, and lack of any true progression, Rayman 3 is yet another solid
platformer for the GBA and another solid release for the franchise.