Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc - Review
Rayman is UbiSoft's attempt at the console platform game. Way back in the early months of PSOne the first Rayman was released, a side scrolling platform - and a somewhat average one at that. The advent of the Dreamcast saw the game shift to a 3D world and tremendous gameplay made Rayman 2 one of the consoles highlights upon release in March 2000, and in my personal opinion is a definate challenger to Mario 64. While the company offered Rayman Revolution on the Playstation 2 - basically a remixed Rayman 2 - it is this game, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc that is the true sequel.
|Dodge the bullet!|
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc won't win any awards for its storyline, but it's solid enough to make the game interesting. In Hoodlum Havoc the Lums, small light beings that are the power source of Rayman's universe, are becoming tainted by an evil influence, transforming into Dark Lums. Their new purpose is to taint the Heart of the World, the centre of all existence. Rayman, being the hero he is, must avert this catastrophe causing this new Hoodlum Army to put a bounty on his head. With Globox in tow Rayman will find defeating the Hoodlum Generals only the first part of an even bigger story. Old friends return to offer assistance, new foes form alliances to create bigger troubles for Rayman, and Globox develops a drinking problem and a bizarre split personality!
One of the things that has always been a major part of the Rayman series is the sense of humour. In the opening minutes of the game Rayman himself has his gloves stolen, and given his invisible body (only his head is actually visible) he looks pretty darn funny running around. As the game progresses the humour results more from conversations between Rayman and other non-playable characters. It's not, however, just the humour that keeps this game running as the actual platforming itself is both enjoyable and rewarding. Rayman has a couple of new moves which are introduced nicely including the ability to curve your attacks around objects such as rocks and shields.
|Check out the stunning detail.|
Through the levels Rayman can also pick up five different power up cans. These powers include a whirlwind styled punch to lower corkscrew styled platforms normally too high for Rayman to reach, a grappling hook to swing across chasms, a power punch, a head mounted propeller to fly great distances or, and this is the coolest, a guided missile to attack enemies from a distance.
Perhaps one of the more surprising and interesting aspects of this title is the inclusion of several mini-games. One of these mini games sees Rayman hop on a hover board where he must then jump from left to right to land on small sections of track. At first I thought this was totally out of place in the game, and technically it is, but it becomes addictive very quickly and you can't put it down. Other mini-games are accessable through the menu and includes the Hoodlums playing a primitive form of Tennis. Very fun.
|This section looks tricky.|
When it comes to platform games there are so many things that can go wrong. Collision detection, poor level design, frame rate issues, too few enemies, too many enemies, poor AI and so on. Fortunately none of these potential problems arise in Rayman 3. While not a fault the length of the game is once again a little on the short side at 12-15 hours. It's not that you don't get your money's worth - there's no question about that - but rather that you really want to experience more of this enjoyable title. Another slight annoyance is that towards the latter part of the game there is a lot of reliance on finding where to use power-ups before they expire in time often requiring a lot of back tracking to re pickup these power-ups. It's clear that the biggest fault of this game is the camera work. At times you will be totally obscures behind walls, or lost in narrow corridors. It's not as bad as some games, but could have done with some more work as it becomes quite annoying.
Graphics have always been a strong point of the Rayman series. Even the original 2D Rayman on PSOne looked spectacular while the Dreamcast version was simply breathtaking. Rayman 3 on Playstation 2 once again retains the comedic style of the earlier titles and is certainly one to look at. Unlike Rayman 2 however this game isn't setting new benchmarks. Don't get me wrong it's lovely to look at, but just doesn't have that same wow factor as the previous game, or other PS2 titles such as Jak & Daxter or Ratchet & Clank.
|Typical platforming action.|
What we do have in this game, however, is some splendid cut scenes generated by the in-game graphics engine. These set out the storyline perfectly and have a terrific sense of humour. Unfortunately the character models seem to be lacking at times with characters such as Globox looking a little angular around the mouth area or the hoodlums having rather rigid clothing. It must also be mentioned that not only have the developers included a 60Hz mode, but also a Widescreen option as well as Progressive Scan for those few lucky enough to own those stunning TV's.
Sonically this game holds up just as well as the other aspects of the title. The orchestral music is perfect and sets a fast catchy atmosphere for the game while Groove Armada's song Madder is used for the games opening. The sound effects are also of excellent quality with explosions and gunshots ringing out on regular occurrence. One of the greatest aspects however is the voice acting. Rayman and co now speak in English removing the subtitles of past games, and providing entirely new life to the characters. John Leguizamo (the voice of Sid the Sloth in Ice Age) provides the tremendously funny voice of Globox throughout the game. I love it.
|Some of the hoodlums.|
To be honest, this game didn't fill me with the same sense of awe and wonder that I got from Rayman 2 on the Dreamcast. Perhaps it's due to the quality and quantity of so many other platform games, or perhaps much like the buying public my platforming enthusiasm has been dampened in recent years by too many dull titles. Whatever the case it must be said that Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is still a very good platformer that will keep you entertained for some time. This game must be recommended to platform fans, and for those of you who have lost interest in the genre this game may just spark that interest again.
Talk about Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc in this forum topic now.
|GRAPHICS||Not as groundbreaking as hoped, but nice textures and characters.||85%|
|SOUND||UbiSoft have put huge effort into sound and speech - which rocks.||90%|
|GAMEPLAY||Yet another platform game? Perhaps, but everything works quite well.||83%|
|VALUE||Ubisoft have developed an enjoyable rather then lengthy game.||87%|
|OVERALL||Well, well. Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is upon us and it's easy to say that fans of the series will not be disappointed, and nor will platform game fans. This game isn't as jaw dropping as the previous title, but it still manages to have you looking in awe on many occasions, or chuckling with laughter. When it comes down to it games are about the fun - and on that count this games a winner.||85%|