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GBA Review - 'Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge'

by David Wanaselja on May 30, 2005 @ 1:22 a.m. PDT

Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge is based on an original storyline, this new episode picks up where Rayman 3 left off, with Globox experiencing a split personality, including an "evil" Globox! Naturally, the frenetic Hoodlum Army will try to take advantage of the situation.

Rayman: Hoodlum’s Revenge

Genre: Platformer
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 30, 2005

Buy 'RAYMAN: Hoodlum's Revenge': GBA

Rayman: Hoodlum’s Revenge on the Game Boy Advance is the third title for the limbless hero on the system. Rayman was present for the system’s launch, and now he’s appearing in a title towards the end of the venerable handheld’s lifespan. Rayman’s popularity has remained fairly steady throughout the years, thanks to solid gameplay and good graphics. He’s become a staple of the platform genre in video gaming, and it looks like he’ll remain for quite some time. Rayman: Hoodlum’s Revenge continues that tradition, but doesn’t really bring anything too special to the table.

The story of Hoodlum’s Revenge focuses on Rayman’s quest to find his friend and partner in adventure, Globox. Rayman, if you’ve never seen him before, can best be described as "limbless" -- he has no neck, no arms, and no legs, only head, feet, body, and hands. I won’t even begin to speculate what keeps him from falling to pieces, but he gets around quite well despite his lack of structural integrity. When the game opens, you’ll be greeted by Murphy, a flying bug of some sort that presents clues and game mechanic tutorials. It’s funny to see how Rayman reacts to Murphy’s teachings with sarcasm and a general lack of interest. For instance, when Murphy tells Rayman that he can glide across chasms by holding down the jump button in the air, Rayman says, " “I know Murphy, I’ve only been doing it for my whole life." These little touches of humor add some character to the game and provide comic relief, and the storyline progresses well, thanks to the writing and great characters.

The game presentation is really well done. There are slots for several different players to each enjoy their own adventure, and the game features a cartridge save so you’ll never have to worry about typing in an annoying password. The menus are clear and the interface shows off a lot of information without getting bogged down in miniscule details that mean nothing. Everything you need to know is presented on the screen in a manner that is easy to find, and easy to understand.

Not only will players take control of Rayman, but they can also control Globox on certain levels. Globox is some sort of a big frog creature, and while he doesn’t have all of the skills that Rayman has, he is still a potent threat to the enemies on screen. Unfortunately, the only way to control him is if you avoid the enemies on screen. Using a stealthy approach with such a large character seems strange, and it does play out that way. Unless the player can find and drink plum juice while controlling Globox, he will become uncontrollable and flee the enemy, becoming completely uncontrollable by the player. It’s just a frustrating design decision and the game would’ve been better served by having Rayman be the only playable character in the game.

Throughout each level, there are Lums and Teensies scattered about. The Lums are positioned in a line which will eventually lead to the end of the level. Some of them lie off the beaten path, however. There are different colored Lums as well. The yellow ones are the ones that lead to the end of the level. Red Lums will increase Rayman’s health, and Blue Lums provide the power for Rayman’s "throttle copter," which he can use to glide when he jumps. The green Lums are one of the most important, acting as a checkpoint where Rayman will return to if he should lose all his energy. Teensies are tiny creatures that have been caged by the Hoodlums, and Rayman has to rescue them, and by collecting all of the Lums and rescuing all of the Teensies, Rayman can unlock cards on each level, and eventually unlock secret levels. It adds some replay value to the game, but it’s not necessary to complete these extra challenges to beat it. The levels can be replayed to increase your score or to get a perfect run-through on your way to unlocking these extra levels.

Graphically, the game makes use of an isometric view that looks really impressive – at least at first. It eventually becomes apparent that this viewpoint wasn’t really the best decision. It’s hard to tell how far away the next platform is, or what level it is on, and whether or not Rayman can reach that point without falling to his death in the water below (that’s right, water can kill Rayman quite easily). Falling in the water takes off a rather large chunk of Rayman’s health, and if you happen to fall in at an awkward point, you might not even be able to see what you’re doing to get him out of trouble. Chances are you’ll end up dying quite a few times as you explore, and while it becomes easier to determine exactly how far you can glide or how high you can jump, the death by water situation doesn’t improve.

Aside from the questionable viewpoint, the game has a colorful, sharp graphical feel. Rayman is well animated and you can see each of his body parts moving around quite well. The enemies are all drawn nicely and look sharp, the text is easy to read, and the interface is easy to understand. Overall, the graphics are impressive and are fun to look at. If only the game weren’t dragged down by the viewpoint, it’d be one of the best-looking Game Boy titles out there.

The sound in the game is pretty cheery. There are some nice voices when Rayman is running about the level, and he makes some noise while jumping and fighting the enemies. There are some good sound effects for the punches and while collecting items. The music, while it seems kind of fun at first, quickly becomes annoying due to the electronic drumbeats. Overall, it gets the job done and certainly isn’t bad by any means.

Thanks to the difficulty of the game, it’ll take quite a while to beat. There are certainly plenty of levels to handle, and completing all the challenges like collecting all the Lums, rescuing all the Teensies, and beating the high scores on each level will take a lot of focus and determination. There is a lot of game here for the money, and the challenge will ensure that you don’t beat it too quickly. It might drive some inexperienced gamers nuts, but by sticking with it, you’ll learn and be rewarded with a charming storyline and a beautiful experience.

Rayman: Hoodlum’s Revenge could’ve been so much more than what it turned out to be. With a little more foresight into the viewpoint, things could have become infinitely more playable and turned out to be a far more rewarding experience. While it looks good and sounds good, it unfortunately doesn’t play all that well. It turned out to be a fun title in the end, but with the frustration levels that can be encountered during the course of the game, it’d be tough to recommend this title highly. If you’re a Rayman fan, or enjoy platforming titles more than any other, you’ll certainly find a lot here to embrace and have fun with.

Score: 7.5/10

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