Love him or hate him, to me, Rayman is one of the most iconic video game characters of the last decade, and sadly thanks to the Raving Rabbids spin on the series, I feel Rayman was pushed back a few notches. Albeit, Rayman Origins and its upcoming sequel, Legends, are looking to bring back a once classic Rayman side-scrolling experience that was only last seen on the Game Boy Advance port of Rayman Advance (a remake of the original Rayman from 1995).
Whether or not you all agree or disagree with me, I feel that Rayman 2: The Great Escape was definitely the best Rayman game to date, so much so, that it would crack my Top 10 favorite games list if I were to expand my list some more.
And so here we come to Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, the next-gen console sequel to one of my favorite games of all time. Does it hold up as well as its predecessor? The answer is a big fat no. But first, let me explain the story of Rayman 3.
Andre, leader of the Black Lums, is transforming all the Red Lums (which are used for healing Rayman in-game), into Black Lums and creating a Black Lum army. Of course, Murfy stumbles upon this catastrophe and returns to alert Rayman and Globox of what is happening, for which they must now partake on a brutal quest to rid the world of these infectious Black Lums. A big problem that arrises near the beginning of the game, is that Globox has accidentally swallowed the Black Lum leader, Andre, and its up to Rayman to help his buddy out, by bringing him to three doctors during the game, who must help in ridding the Black Lum from Globox’s insides.
Rayman 3 was recently ported to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network on March 20th of this year, so if you are somehow intrigued by the series, go pick it up, but if you want my opinion, I’d say to stay the hell away from this one.
So when you first pick up this game, you will either receive it one of two ways: it will either be the most hilarious game you’ve ever played, or perhaps the most annoying one. You can tell which of the two this game drove me to.
For starters, why is it that these characters can talk? In Rayman 2, they talked in their own language with english subtitles, and I felt that was really cool. And now, the voice acting has changed so drastically it feels like a completely different experience. In the first 20 minutes, I wanted to put earplugs in my ears so I didn’t have to hear the bickering between Globox and Murfy, who are the most annoying characters I’ve heard in a long time. Thankfully, Murfy doesn’t stay around for too long, but Globox is enough to drive me to drink.
Now I can accept the controls, which seem to carry over much the same since Rayman 2, but with the sequel came new abilities, new punches, and of course, new restraints.
So now, Rayman is rendered almost completely useless, besides the traditional long-arm punch and various angles for which you can attack a bad guy. But now, every ability Rayman can use has been transferred into five power-up containers. Green containers are the “Vortex”, which allow Rayman to shoot mini-tornadoes, which can be useful in taking down enemies on stilts, changing enemy size, or bringing a platform closer for you to jump on. Red containers are the “Heavy Metal Fist”, which allows Rayman to charge up stronger fist attacks, which could help defeat tougher enemies and break wooden doors. Yellow containers are the “Throttle Copter”, which allow Rayman to fly higher, but under a restricted amount of time. Orange containers are the “Shock Rocket”, which allow Rayman to shoot a rocket, which Rayman could guide in small areas to help in opening blocked paths. And finally, the Purple containers are the “Lockjaw”, which can help Rayman grab Purple Lums to reach areas inaccessible without the ability, and when grabbing enemies, delivers an electric shock.
This all sounds pretty overwhelming yet quite diverse, and at times it can be, but sadly after a while, you kind of get used to it.
The dialogue in this game feels really dumbed down, and a lot of the platforming and difficulty this game carries holds itself at a 10-year old level, which I feel is probably the core target audience for this game.
A lot of the “humor”, and I say that with quotations, is unneeded and out of place, and tries too hard to be “cool” and “hip” with the time period. I even heard the Duke Nukem joke about “kicking ass and chewing bubblegum” used during the game, which will not register with any young people playing this game other than sounding a little humorous to their simple minds at the time.
One redeeming quality this game does carry is in its level design. Although by the end, I was hoping every level was the last level, I was impressed that the Rayman series could still develop interesting levels, minus how easy they all were.
By the end of the game, I didn’t feel any sense of accomplishment, rather I felt like I had wasted about 4 or 5 hours total, only to find a terrible conclusion to the game. I want to know what Ubisoft was thinking when developing for this game, because if it was to target a new audience on its next-gen consoles at the time, well you not only gave them that, but you gave hardcore fans of the series a swift kick in the pants. This game has been praised for its graphics and sound quality, which it has of course, but given the sound quality, its poor quality on the ears, in my opinion.
So in the end, I’m going to do my best and pretend this game just doesn’t exist. I will also completely ignore the Rabbids series as part of the Rayman series as well, but thankfully this game doesn’t change how I feel about Rayman 2, but it makes me believe how hard it must be for developers out there to make a successful trilogy, especially by its third game.
Final Score: 3 out of 10