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Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc

Developer: Ubi Soft
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Genre: Platformer
Players: 1
Similar To: Rayman 2: Revolution
Rating: Everyone
Published: 04 :24 : 03
Reviewed By: Ryan Newman

Overall: 6.5 = Fair


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Globox, gaming's Curly, has once again got our surreal French hero in trouble. Swallowing the Lord of the Dark Lums has enraged the Hoodlums and they're out to save their leader. Hot on the heels of Globox, Rayman must find a cure for his clumsy friend before the raving minions of the Dark Lum get to him first.

Gameplay: 6.5/10
I have no qualm in stating that Rayman 2 is a fine example of a platformer. Rayman's step into 3D had a solid design and it really signified the light-hearted nature of the series. With this go-around, however, some things have changed. The Rayman I took through some of the most difficult platforming gaming of the 16-bit and 32-bit days has gone through an 'attitude overhaul'. No longer is he the unintelligible and charming hero, instead, he has been given the voice of someone resembling a 30 year old man that is stuck in the last stage of puberty. To add generic sarcasm to the mix is one of gaming's most annoying sidekicks, Murfy; if this charade wasn't bad enough, even the teensies try their hands at lame sarcasm, is there nothing sacred?

Aside from the horrible choice to take the game's character into a new direction, Rayman himself has a few new power-ups at his disposal. No longer is he just gliding around and twirling up those severed fists in anger, he now has access to controllable rockets, door-smashing power punches, chain-linked fists that help swing from hoops, Mickey Mouse ears to extend gliding, and more. Despite being able to perform most of the moves without needing power-ups before, they're crucial to Rayman's success now as they're integrated heavily within the levels and unavoidable; while not a large problem, they do seem more of a simple means of extending the length of a level, but they do guide the player at times so they do have some extended use.

The level design was mediocre throughout all the themed levels. There was an annoying tendency to have areas enclosed in tight areas and using multiple levels to make the levels last longer, which was accomplished by constant backtracking. While it's impressive just how many small nooks and tunnels were fit inside such small areas, it made the game drag on for far too long. Some spots were reminiscent of the second and brought genuine enjoyment, but most areas consisted of just mini-puzzles that were nothing more than finding out what power-up to use to make the random platforms accessible enough to continue onto the next section. Enemies were also repetitive and lacked imagination, and despite there being new side punches and the new powers to eliminate them, the joy of sending Hoodlums into oblivion just wasn't as satisfying at should've been. There are also some awkward sliding sequences that had Rayman sliding down beams in a gigantic tunnel filled with lights that was both mesmerizing and migraine inducing; not even they were fully enjoyable as the camera made it overly difficult to find which movable beam to jump on because missed gems would take up the entire viewable area.

Actually, Rayman 3 isn't all bad. At its core, it's a serviceable platformer that's above average, but its problems are only magnified by the pedigree of the other titles in the franchise. One significant positive was the bonus unlockables that included mini games of volleyball, a first-person shooter gallery, 'classic' 2D Rayman, along with the numerous scripted cutscenes, and other extras, including a nifty option to take photos of the action. Some moments within the levels themselves are reminiscent of the second and have that spark of imagination and creativity that makes the series so beloved, but there just wasn't enough of them to really make it a must own title. Aside from Rayman Arena, I found this to be the least enjoyable of franchise.

Graphics: 7/10
Rayman 3 is overly dark for a game that was known for its vivid colors and imaginative scenery. Blue and green are used heavily and make many of the levels seem extremely drab. Mix in enemies, both standard and level bosses, that are either far too often and/or unimaginative, left me uninterested in them. The trippy sliding sequences, along with some nifty reflection effects and absolutely stunning lighting, mix well with the more lively levels to really bring everything up to par.

Sound: 7/10
Sound effects are on par with previous releases, and the music follows along the same traditional route. There are whimsical tunes mixed with overly dramatic segments to mark the more serious moments with the only downside being the hyper-charged tunes during the sliding sequences. Vocally, I was extremely disappointed. Rayman, as stated, sounds like a grown man who took a shot to the junk with a waffle bat and his friends were just as annoying; standard enemies were also weak in this department as they constantly said the same phrases over and over. Technically, there was nothing wrong with the voices as they were very voices were crisp and strong, but they either didn't fit the part or were just obnoxious. It's a shame the quality production was used on such ill matched characters.

Control: 8/10
If it weren't for the finicky camera, there really wouldn't be any problems controlling Rayman. The menus are easy to navigate, but it's odd that a game has to be loaded and started to get to the bonuses - which ends the level currently being played - and extras for that save file. Basic actions are also a breeze to pull off and anyone who has played any 3D platformer will be right at home in no time. Camera-wise, the view will be obstructed by items or locked up, the ability to swivel it will also be hindered at times, even when a few more inches is desperately needed - when, oh when, will it become standard to make view-obstructing objects transparent?

Overall: 6.5/10
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is an above average platformer with some enjoyable moments, but it just wasn't as fun as the other releases in the series. I really disliked the change to make the game have more 'attitude' and that move really killed the whimsical, imaginative aspects of the series, which I felt was just as endearing as the fantastic gameplay. This is a recommended rental since the changes might not be that big of a deal to other people, but be warned, the level design and action definitely took a hit this time around.

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Related Links: Ubi Soft