Review by RPGs R Awesome

Reviewed: 11/21/06

Innovation rules on the Nintendo Wii and Raving Rabbids proves that

Like hundreds of thousands of other gamers, I picked up a Nintendo Wii on launch day. When I brought the system home and hooked it all up, I was amazed by the new form of controls. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk breathed new life into the gaming industry. I played the Wii all afternoon and couldn't get enough. When faced with the choice of the two launch games I wanted most, I obviously chose Twilight Princess as my first game. While I had trouble picking a second game (due to my indecisiveness), I finally decided to go with a game by the name of Rayman: Raving Rabbids. While not the most hyped game at launch (Twilight Princess and Red Steel take that title), I couldn't help but laugh whenever I saw a trailer for the game. Take my word for it, this game is hilarious. If you don't laugh once in RR, you literally aren't human. The Rabbids are designed terrificly and the game shows off every aspect of the Wii-mote and Nunchuk attachment superbly. Michel Ancel and the team at Ubisoft Montpellier have crafted a masterful game that is a wonderful addition to the Nintendo Wii's launch lineup.

The first thing you notice when playing Raving Rabbids is that the graphics are fairly decent. They are by no means in contention with Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 games, but graphics do not make a game. The character design is fantastic, to say the least. There are so many different types of Rabbids and each one has a unique and humourous personality. While the Rabbids cannot speak, their angry yelling and wacky antics can't help but amuse even the most serious of us. The Rabbids look fantastic as well, with lots of detail going into their graphical design. Rayman, our limbless hero, looks fairly similar to normal, with the twist that he can wear different costumes. With this feature you can make Rayman look like a goth, granny, "gangsta", you name it. The graphics in the prison cell are pleasant, though not insanely detailed and the Rabbids in the crowd in the Coliseum are well-designed, but they all look the same and sometimes when the camera is zoomed in on them, the models can appear 2D (though not all of the Rabbids are).

The sound is entertaining. There isn't much more I can say than that. The sound effects are pretty average, such as the crowd of Rabbids. I must say, the sound in some of the minigames are really, really annoying. I felt like throwing the controller at the television at times. However, the Rabbids make up for all the shortcomings. They infect the game with an atmosphere that is both light-hearted and just fun, in general. There is some music familiar music in the game (the first song you discover in the game is Misirlou) and the Rabbids also get their time in the spotlight, singing remakes of classic tunes. Hearing the different Rabbids singing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" is downright amusing. Believe me, you won't be disappointed by the audio. The only fact is that some sound effects are incredibly annoying.

There is a story in this Rayman game. It isn't deep whatsoever, but it is nice that Ubisoft created a single player mode to attach all the minigames together. When the game begins, Rayman is having a nice picnic with his globox friends. However, this picnic is soon interrupted when the ground begins to shake wildly. This is due to the burrowing of several Rabbids through the ground. The Rabbids are cute, rabbit-looking creatures with buck teeth. These Rabbids have a dastardly plan: to take over the world! Ten bucks says you didn't see that coming. Rayman and the globoxes are all kidnapped and Rayman is put to work. This work entails performing for the Rabbids in the Coliseum by partaking in seventy minigames. You must tackle four minigames per "day" before the final trial of the day. Each day you are sent back to your jail cell until the next round of minigames begins.

The controls... I can't rave about them enough. Be it running wildly by pumping the Wii Remote and Nunchuk up and down simultaneously or swinging the Wii-mote in a circle above your head to send a cow for the ride of its life, the game throws you new ways to use the Remote in each minigame. This variety is astounding and I applaud Ancel and his crew for really pushing the controls to their full potential. The only complain I have is that when you pause the game to quit a minigame or restart, you have to select the options with the D-Pad. It would have been nice if the Remote could be used to select options from the menu like this, but that's only a minor complaint.

The gameplay is fun and wild. The game doesn't take itself seriously, which is what makes the game so light-hearted and entertaining. However, some parts of the game are serious and that just makes those minigames even more amusing. There are two modes you can play, Story Mode and Score Mode. In Story Mode, you follow the single player adventure of Rayman while he fights to free his globox friends and escape from the Rabbids prison. I won't reveal what happens with Rayman in the end, but let me say that plungers play a significant part in the game. The single player game is spent by days. Each day sees you play four minigames and a final trial. To get to the final trial, you only need to beat three of the minis, but if you beat all four you can unlock new wardrobe outfits and music. There is almost always a dance game, which can suffer from being over-responsive and under-responsive at times, leading to some frustration. There are 70 minigames, with a large variety, but like other professional gaming websites have said, there are some bad minigames. I particularly hated the minigames involving mazes. Rabbids are A-Mazing comes to mind, complete with its atrocious sound effects. Once you complete all the four minor minigames, the big minigame for that day is your next goal. Once this part is beat, you will go back to the prison cell, where you will get a plunger and the game will auto-save. This is the only form of saving in single player so be sure to finish the day before turning the game off. In the cell you can go to the bathroom to reminisce about the day's minigames and you are able to replay any that you have completed. On top of this you can change your wardrobe and listen to the jukebox. Whenever you are finish, it's time to head back out into the arena.

The best part of the game, easily is the rail shooter sequences. You shoot the variety of Rabbids with plungers and each sequence has a theme. The controls for these portions are excellent. You reload by lightly shaking the Nunchuk, aim with the Wii-mote, shoot with B and grab Rabbids with Z. Grabbing the Rabbids could be one of the most amusing parts of the game, though. Using a Rabbid as an animal shield has never been this much fun. In fact, this may be the only time you can use an animal as a form of defense. PETA, this game isn't for you. Tossing Rabbids with this is also fun. Besides that, you can shoot plungers at the Rabbids. Who cares about getting a headshot in Halo? I would rather get one on a Rabbid than the Covenant (don't get my wrong, I love Halo). The themes can range from the Rabbids relaxing on a beach to being in a Western movie. The possibilities are endless. On top of it all, who doesn't love seeing a Rabbid running across the screen dressed up as Sam Fisher or sniping one of those insane critters out of mid-air?

The other mode in the game, Score Mode, involves beating all of the minigames you've unlocked in Story Mode. This mode is hard. You can get a score of up to 1000 points for each game and most are not easily beaten one hundred percent. The game keeps track of your total progress, while awarding you along the way. When you accumulate a certain total of points, you will unlock bonus, including concept art, movies and more. This mode will take quite a while for completion, but you'll have a blast along the way. There is an additional challenge mode that is unlocked once you beat the Story Mode. Score Mode is a fun addition to the game and ensures you will be playing for a long time to come.

In ways of replayability, there isn't much. Once you beat the Story Mode and Score Mode 100%, there isn't much that will keep you coming back. You can play some of the minigames again for sheer fun, but odds are you will have played them all a lot. There is multiplayer in the game. I have only tried it for a short time, but I can tell you it is incredibly limited. Most of the time you and any friends will have to take turns playing the minigames, which is a drag. However, the shooting sequences are fun with more than one person and warrant additional play time.

Rayman: Raving Rabbids is an amazing launch title for the Nintendo Wii. I fully recommend you purchasing the game as it is one of the few launch titles that shows off every aspect of the new form of controlling games. Whether you milk a cow, sprint a packaged bomb to the end of a race course or even dance to Rabbid remakes of classic songs, Raving Rabbids will surely keep you hooked from the get-go. Besides, who couldn't love those cute Rabbids who are just ready to bash your head in with a mace?

9 out of 10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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