Release Date: 18-Mar-2003
Today I got my grubby hands on a PS2 build of “Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc,” the third installment in the Rayman series. Although I haven’t really checked out any of the other Rayman titles, I had heard that the previous games were pretty sweet. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but being the risk-taker that I am, I popped in the game and fired up my PS2.
The gist of the story is that Rayman’s friend Globox swallows a nasty little creature known as the Lord of the Dark Lums, and Rayman must set out on a wild and wacky adventure to find the cure while battling the Lord’s evil Hoodlums. Normally, I am not one to play such a tame video game, but as soon as I started playing, I realized that I would have to check out these games more often. The one aspect of this game that jumped out at me was the comic relief offered by your pal Globox and the other inhabitants of the game world. Some of the jokes would easily fly over the head of younger gamers so the good folks over at UbiSoft were keen to keep the older gamer amused.
The gameplay to Rayman is your standard third-person action/adventure, where the camera is fixed behind the character at all times, unless he is running along a wall or standing in a corner. Rayman has an action-packed lineup of attacks that will send the enemy hoodlums exploding into thin air. You have your basic punch and kick, as well as an ability to jump with your ears providing some helicopter action to soften your landing. Rayman also has the ability to attack from far away in the form of – for lack of a better description – flying rocks, which can be hurled at the enemy. There are, however, power-ups to spruce up your rock-throwing madness. The power-ups offer Rayman different powers and a whole new costume to boot, allowing him to fly, swing, and knock over doors as well as laying the smackdown on your hoodlum enemies. There are more power-ups for Rayman to use, but I don’t want to give away all the goods. Gotta save something for marriage. ;)
The battle system in Rayman is free and unrestrictive. There is a lock-on feature that will keep you facing your targeted opponent, but you have to be in a certain line of sight for you to lock on. With multiple enemies around, this can get tricky and prove to be somewhat of hindrance later on, when the enemies get tougher and attack you in groups. The controls for Rayman were quite simple, and with the movement to analog rather than a directional pad, controlling is all the less painful.
As Rayman progresses, he collects gems which in turn unlock cool extras throughout the game. Once you have completed a board, all of the gems you have collected thus far are put towards unlocking a new extra. At the start of every board, the gem meter is reset, and you must collect as many as possible per board. At the completion of a level, you are also given a rating on how well you did. I haven’t reached a rating higher than 60 percent so I am not sure if this rating affects you in any way.
An excellent set of enemies keep the action new and fresh with each board. The enemies of Rayman are the Hoodlums, the Lord of the Dark Lums’ henchmen that do his evil bidding in his quest to take over the world. These guys greatly differ in size as well as appearance. Some look like witches with long robes and the pointy hats while others look like freakishly tall walking trees. Let’s not forget the bosses, which are crazy and funny at the same time.
The graphics in Rayman are of the classic cartoon type. This type of graphics appeals more to the younger kids who like cartoons. As luck would have it, I still love cartoons and must say that these graphics are kicking. The textures are awesome, and the general look of the game is vivid and crisp. The 3D models are fluid and smooth, for the most part. There are some oddly-shaped polygons, mainly in reference to round objects, but they are less than obvious (this is a beta, after all). I love the graphics and just adventuring through each board is a sight to behold.
The audio in Rayman was a surprise. Many of the characters in the game have voices, and I was excited to find out that they actually hired famous actors to do the voices. Globox’s voice is done by none other than John Leguizamo. Another famous actor on the list is Billy West, who was the man behind the voices of Ren and Stimpy. In Rayman, he does the voice of your helpful fly friend, Murfy. The sound effects are rocking as well. There are some classic cartoon sound effects, like “poof!” and “kapow!” that add to the comic relief, but for the most part, everything has a sound that is unique to the object. A killer soundtrack is usually overlooked by most game developers, but Rayman delivers again in tune to the classic “cartoon” genre, with everything from funky disco tracks to foreboding tunes to foreshadow events. Although some of the music kept cutting out for me, I could tell it was high-quality all the way.
In conclusion, Rayman gave me a laugh and was entertaining all the way through. I should really check out more action/adventure games because if this is a taste of the effort that is put into such games, then I am sure I will need to have my sides sewn up (in stitches … sewn up … get it? Don’t make me beat you.). To end on a quick note, If you like to laugh, definitely check out this game. This is due to hit stores soon so keep an eye out for this!