Review by Jono
"Rayman delivers an enjoyable platform game."
Rayman 3 for Game Boy Advance
Well this is the first time I've ever experienced a Rayman game. As far as platformers go I'm usually more of a Mario person than anything else. Although I've really enjoyed the Mario games on the GBA (partly because I've never played them) I decided that I fancied something a little different. There are lots of good looking platformers on the GBA (Sonic, Crash and Spyro just to name a few!) I decided to turn to Rayman. The games always looked good and since Rayman is a pretty long running and established series I thought why not give it a go? I was tempted by Rayman Advance but on reports that it was extremely difficult I decided to leave it on the shelf. But when I saw a new Rayman game was coming on the GBA as well as other platforms I decided to buy it. Here is my opinion of the game.
Well I have to confess the story line passed me right by so I've decided not to rate it. I suppose its not particularly important, I mean Nintendo got away with the same old rescue Peach thing time after time. It seems that Rayman's friend Globox has swallowed a dreadful black lum. Rayman has to find someone to treat his pal or they could be faced with an invasion of black lums. This means that Rayman to make his way through four different worlds until he reaches his old enemies Razorbeard and his henchmen. Make of that what you will. Veteran players of Rayman might understand it but I didn't.
Rayman 3 excels graphically. This is certainly one of the best looking 2D platformers I've played. Although a 2D game the developers decided to add a sort of pseudo 3D effect on the platforms. In comparison the Mario games are simply flat 2D. The backgrounds are quite simply beautiful. Very picturesque. The foreground objects look very good as well with all the objects rendered in a pseudo 3D effect. The character himself animates very nicely with his head moving and his fists and legs moving separately from his main body. I like the way the developers have incorporated Rayman's lack of limbs into his own individual movement style. When you haven't moved for a while Rayman starts whistling and making silly faces. Common in platform games nowadays but always a nice touch. The enemies look just as good being well drawn and each with their own individual movement style. The developers also added some nifty transparency effects such as the mist in the swamp levels. The burning lava effects also look very nice. The Mode 7 levels are some of the nicest looking in the game, they look so good that they could've been developed for a completely separate game. All in all this adds up to one of the most graphically impressive games on the GBA. Trust me this look closer to a Playstation game than a GBA game. Anyone who says the GBA isn't as powerful as the SNES will shut up once they've seen this. I never saw the SNES do anything like this.
Always the most important part of the game and here Rayman delivers reasonably well. You have to make your way through the various obstacles the levels will throw at you whilst collecting yellow lums and discovering and smashing cages. The yellow lums are little yellow circles and you have nine hundred and ninety nine scattered across the levels. Finding them all will unlock secrets when connecting to the Gamecube version. The cages contain creatures that have been imprisoned by the evil Razorbeard. There are a total of fifty scattered throughout the levels and again finding all these will unlock secrets in the Gamecube game. There are also different coloured lums which have different effects on the character. For example finding a red lum will restore one point of energy on Rayman's life bar. Yes Rayman has a life bar removing the frustrating one hit and your dead rule that plague some platformers. Although Rayman will die straight away if he plummets to his death. When you start a new game Rayman will have two lives. Although you can earn more lives by collecting the silver lums which each give Rayman an extra life. The game also has infinite continues, which is a good thing as the game is quite hard.
The game is split into four worlds with a total of around fifty levels. Although the individual levels are usually quite short the levels come insets of two or three. You can't save in between so you have to play through a level set before the game records your progress. Usually I would consider this a little bit of an unessecery chore but thanks to the unlimited continues I don't consider this too much of problem.
The levels are usually left to right affairs with the usual platform challenges. Big jumps, spring boards, swinging from vines and climbing up ladders are all in abundance here. The developers did however add a few features to help the game stand out from the crowd. Rayman's hair cut doubles as a handy helicopter which allows you to float and extend your jumps. Later on in the game you will collect blue lums which allow you to actually fly for a short period of time. In this case the whole level is based around being able to fly to the next blue lum before you run out of time and drop to your death. It makes for adrenaline pumping gameplay. Rayman also uses his fists to combat enemies which makes a pleasant change from jumping on them.
The enemies however are one of the flaws of the game. Although the battles are quite well implemented, you often have to duck the attack before unleashing the fists, the problem is there don't seem to be enough of them or for that matter enough variety. In most levels there are no more than ten enemies to challenge you and in many there are considerably less. The game seems to focus more on challenging your pin point jumping skills than dealing with bad guys. To be honest I just don't think its as fun. Rayman never seems to have anywhere near as much going on as say Super Mario World or Yoshi's Island. In that you can see why Rayman is considered more of a second tear platform character rather that being up there with the best. I don't know if this is a failing of all Rayman games but it is certainly a failing of this one.
The boss battles are also a disappointment. There are only four and they don't get challenging till the third. It seems very ironic that the boss battles are actually one of the easiest parts of what could otherwise be considered quite a difficult game. Considering the size of the game (over fifty levels!) there should have at least been twice possibly three times the number there were.
The 3D mode 7 sections did however come as a very pleasant surprise. Rendered in a similar way to Mario Kart or F-Zero we have two very nice little 3D minigames. The first is sort of a jetski game where you are attached to one of your friends by a magical rope and he pulls you around the obstacle course that it is a swamp. Here you have to dodge multiple enemies and obstacles. The second is a sort of kart like game where you have to drive round a track picking up lums whilst sticking to a very tight time limit. You can't afford to go off the track as you will fall into lava and there are several obstacles standing in your way. These parts of the game do a great job in breaking up the platform levels.
Although I'm assured the game isn't as hard as previous Rayman titles I still find it pretty hard. There are some levels like the last level of the third world which are just plain frustrating. Thankfully you do get unlimited continues which is a nice bonus considering the difficulty of the game.
Four worlds, over fifty levels and link up games as well as cube connectivity. Should keep you going for some time then. The game also features a battery save which allows you to save your game to memory.
Link up N/A
I'd love to be able to give these a rating but I don't know anyone else with Rayman 3 so I can't. The game supports both single and multi cart link. Whilst the single cart link gives you only a simple game to play the multi cart link looks as though its got some nice features. There are four types of game to play for two to four players. Two of which are based on the really fun karting section I was talking about earlier. One is even a game of bumper cars. Sounds cool!
There is also a Gamecube link which allows you you to download extra maps for the GBA version. Again I'm yet to try this out myself so I can't really comment. All I will say is the link up here sounds a lot better than what many game developers have been coming out with. This includes Nintendo themselves.
With a long single player adventure, great graphics, battery save and link up Rayman 3 is a very well rounded game. I maintain that Rayman simply doesn't have enough going on to challenge the likes of Mario and unless the developers change this he probably never will. All being said this is still a very good platform game and arguably one of the best on the system. If your tired of Mario ports then this is well worth checking out. I'd recommend this to platformer fans and casual gamers alike.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/25/03, Updated 05/25/03
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