Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
What do you do when your faithful manic sidekick Globox accidentally swallows the Lord of the Dark Lums? Short of pumping his stomach, you do what ever it takes to find a cure for him. That's exactly what everyone's favorite legless and armless hero, Rayman, sets out to do in Rayman3: Hoodlum Havoc. Braving an endless army of Hoodlums, Rayman puts it all the line to save his buddy, rescue imprisoned Teensies and dish out a little whoopass by throwing his hands at the bad guys.
Ubi Soft has done a fantastic job in creating an absolutely surreal dreamlike world that is loaded with detail. There are a nice variety of environments, many of the levels dark, foreboding, and distorted, while others just explode with rich colors. One notable level was particularly disorienting with its wild flashing lights, reminiscent of something out of a disco from the 70's. Along the way, Rayman picks up powerups by rescuing the trapped Teensies and gains some powerful allies.
All the Rayman characters are extremely well done. They are intriguing, if not slightly disturbing and yet strangely endearing. How can you not love the irrepressible John Leguizamo (best known for the character Sid in Ice Age and the Clown in Spawn), who voices Globox. He is hysterical. The game has all the humor and charm of its predecessors but while it may look like a child's game, there are definitely some minor adult innuendoes that might go over the heads of young children (and that's a good thing).
The PS2 has some great platform type games and while there is much to like about Rayman 3, it just falls a bit short when compared to games like Ratchet and Clank. The camera is all over the place at times and especially when fighting in tight quarters, it's sometimes hard to see what's in front of you. The puzzles themselves are pretty straightforward and fun, but there are levels where you want to scream. The level with the witch running around a pot of brew was extremely frustrating. Other levels begin to feel like repeats of previous levels and the boss fights become drawn out to the point where you start to lose interest.
On the positive side, the game has decent depth to it and will not disappoint loyal Rayman fans. Each level is packed with secrets and puzzles. The number of secrets you discover determines your rating, upon completion of each level. This offers some limited replayability. The end result is that fans of Rayman will love this latest release in the series; all others should rent it or hold on to your money for Jax2.
Download Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
Ubi Soft Fall 2002 -- Here we go again! This time, it looks like Rayman's gotten himself into some sticky situations on the seedy side of town. Lucky for him, he's armed with a new set of powers and combat tactics to keep hordes of smarter and more savage enemies, including Dark Lums, from pounding him to mush. We hope the disjointed one's third game will be as great as the last.
Since Rayman 2 was released, some phenomenal platformers have hit the scene from the likes of Nintendo (Mario Sunshine) and Sony (Sly Cooper, Jak and Daxter, and Ratchet & Clank). And while Rayman 3 is a slight improvement on the limbless wonder's impressive-at-the-time last adventure, it just can't compete with the genre's lofty new benchmarks. Its problems begin with a horribly uninteresting story and unfunny voice acting. Thirty seconds in I was looking for the at least tolerable Raymanese voice option from Rayman 2, but alas, it was not to be found. From there, the game continues its descent with a haphazard mix of derivative gameplay that runs the gamut from imaginative and fun (like the hunt for a gun-toting baddie around his mansion) to utterly annoying and dull (like the absolutely infuriating and pointless levels where you surfboard over planks of light). For each thing that's kinda fun, you get three or four things that aren't. Even bits you'd think would be enjoyable, like a bunch of unlockable bonus games and "funny" cinemas, are so poorly executed they aren't worth looking at more than once--if at all. But...for all its incredible faults, at its core, the game is still pretty good-better than many of the uninspired action-platform games that have found their way to stores recently (Dr. Muto or Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, anyone?). Good? Yes. Great? No.
Here's an odd statement for Rayman to wrap his limbless arms around: Hoodlum Havoc improves on almost everything that its predecessor offered, yet Rayman 2 remains the better game. Havoc's visuals are much better, with smooth, stylish environments and spectacular lighting effects. Plus, the control (especially the targeting) is much tighter. But in an effort to change things up--making constant combat, intense boss battles, and quick action Havoc's focus--Rayman has lost the sprawling sense of adventure that made the prior game so enticing. What you're left with is a solid, sometimes engaging action-platformer, but nothing more.
Dear Rayman: Your latest effort, Hoodlum Havoc, is a fun game. You're as spry as ever, hippity-hopping all over the place and shooting your fists at whomsoever needs a beating. And your helicopter hair is dynamite, as always. And yet...sorry, Ray, but it's like this: People expect you to exceed their expectations. Rayman 2 really knocked their socks off, and they're hoping you'll do it again. Havoc is cute, lighthearted, accessible, and fun. But its straightforward jumping puzzles and quirky boss battles will put your fans through their paces without really challenging them. This is a no-nonsense platformer from the king of nonsense! Let's discuss it further over lunch. Sincerely.