Review by MisterPanda

"You've played the best, now play the rest."

We all know how 3D platformers work. But what does it take to be a good one? Does it necessarily have to be long or cluttered with hundreds of items to collect? Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is a pretty short game with only a limited number of items to collect. By now, you’re wondering why I gave this game such a high score. It doesn’t matter whether or not a game is long. What matters is if at the end, you really enjoyed the experience. I felt that way during Rayman, even when I had already played games like Mario and Sonic in the past. What is it Rayman has that is so special that Mario and Sonic don’t have. The answer is that there really is nothing too different about Rayman. You’re probably really confused now, so let’s get on with the review so you can see what I mean.

Gameplay: Rayman is just your ordinary platforming mascot. He runs, he jumps, he loves. However, Rayman is missing limbs. That’s right, he’s one of the only video game mascots to not have arms or legs. Does it bother him. Of course not! In fact, having no limbs puts him at an advantage sometimes, since they are removable.

Even without arms or legs, Rayman has a bunch of sweet moves at his arsenal. One such move is using your ears as a helicopter to hover. Most of the other moves deal with his fists and are easy to use. In combat, you literally launch a fist at your enemies. You can launch it normally, strafe with the L and R buttons before launching it, or of course, hold the button for a whirlwind attack with your fists. Adding to the beauty of it all, you can lock on to your enemies to ensure that your fists get to your foes. In short, the combat is a tad easier with the ability to lock on, but the enemies are no laughing matter. They can take a whole lot of fists.

Of course, what’s a video game hero without superpowers? You can upgrade your powers and such for limited spurts using special colored cans. For example, grabbing the green can will give your fist the ability to shoot out a vortex of power, which also has an extra use as a platform spinner. The red can will give you a metal fist that is powerful enough to take on the mightiest of walls. The blue can gives you the lockjaw ability which is simply a grappling hook that you must use to get to far places using hooks. As an added bonus, the lockjaw can electrocute enemies with its razor sharp teeth. The orange can allow you to shoot and maneuver rockets through narrow spaces. Finally, the yellow can allow you to actually fly with your helicopter ears rather than forcing you to hover with them. The cans are usually placed in specific spots for a reason. If you can’t find the way out, you must use the superpowers to escape but still remain aware that the can only gives you powers for a limited time. There is fun in itself trying to get to the destination using only the grappling hook before the time runs out for the actual grappling hook. These powers are there to enhance gameplay and difficulty and it does a great job in doing so.

The game itself is linear and there is really no need to repeat a stage once you finish it. The prime collectibles in the game are cages you must shoot to free cute little Teensies that increase your life bar. Other collectibles are simply there to increase your score which you use to unlock extras.

Speaking of extras, the Rayman has a bunch of them. Such extras include minigames that transform gameplay mechanics during the game into full minigames. These become very fun and with the added bonus of using the Game Boy Advance for some minigames, the games are very innovative. The other unlockable bonuses include the humorous movies featuring everyone’s favorite antagonist, the hoodlum. He is always there to give you a laugh when he provides hints to getting rid of Rayman. These jokes are simply cartoonish antics, but allow a nice refreshing change from all that fighting.

And if there wasn’t a good enough reason to give this game a high score, there are the fun bonus levels featuring Rayman sliding along narrow platforms accompanied by psychedelic backgrounds AND music. Enjoy the ride!

This is not your ordinary platformer where you don’t know who the main character is. This is a step up that and a step behind greats like Mario and Sonic. This game probably shouldn’t get such a high grade like 8/10, but when you add in the innovative gameplay like riding around in your shoe to bump your other shoe, hitching a ride on a giant contraption with huge legs, or just plain maneuvering a big rocket inside narrow passageways, this game is too fun to give a lower grade. Prepare yourself, Rayman is full of surprises.

Rating: 8/10

Graphics: As I said earlier, Rayman has no arms or legs. Whether this is for artistic design or just pure laziness, he looks great. The bosses are giant and look exceptionally crisp as well. The stages itself look very lush and alive. They are large, beautiful environments. Granted, it’s not much of an improvement over other platform games, or even the previous Rayman games, but the detailed graphics and beautiful character models are the reason this gets such a high score.

Rating: 8/10

Story: Globox accidentally swallows the Andre, the Dark Lum Lord. Rayman must find a way to save his friend by releasing the evil inside. But as he does so, he must take on the evil forces of hoodlums that Andre has made evil. The game has a typical plot, but it still is an excuse for you to go an a romp throughout the world.

Rating: 6/10

Music/Sound: The music is average for the most part, with tunes that you won’t remember. The tracks change in the middle of the stage as you head to different areas of the same stage, which allows for the music to go with the certain mood. However, an added bonus is the opening sequence featuring a Rayman music video that’s actually pretty catchy.

The sound is exceptionable with the sound of fists hitting the enemies who make grunting noises. A great improvement to the gibberish that the characters spouted out in previous Rayman games is voice acting. The voice acting is pretty good, and as the game advertises on the box, John Leguizamo is the voice of Globox. Whether you like the guy or not, you have to admit, he makes a funny Globox.

Rating: 6/10

Replayability: There’s not much reason to play the stages again unless you want to achieve the highest scores possible to unlock bonus minigames and movies. The minigames are fun and will keep you occupied for a slightly longer time, but all in all, this short game will probably receive dust.

Rating: 6/10

Rent or Buy: A rent is recommended since the game can be easily beaten in a few hours. But for those looking for a different 3D platform game, Rayman is your man. Filled with innovative gameplay mechanics and fun unlockable extras, Rayman is surely a character you don’t want to miss.

Final Rating: 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/03, Updated 07/05/03


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