Rayman Raving Rabbids
I Must Admit to not liking the limbless French platforming hero's previous games, having dismissed them as sub-Mario kids' fodder with unfathomable Gallic humour. However, having just slammed a toilet door in the face of a cartoon rabbit straining to have a dump, I find myself grinning like a lobotomised audience member of the Price Is Right.
Created by Michel Ancel, the man behind the Rayman series as well as Beyond Good & Evil. Raving Rabbids sees Rayman captured by a bunch of psychotic bunnies who throw him into a gladiatorial arena and challenge him with an eclectic collection of over 70 daft but entertaining mini-games.
Expect to be disco dancing (rhythm action by tapping the left and right mouse buttons); throwing Daisy the cow (a discus-throwing sports event played by rotating the mouse 360-degrees and pressing a button to fling the startled moo-er); and saving baby Globox (a Time Crisis-style on-rails shooter with sink plungers).
Despite the odd dud game every now and again, most are decent throwaway thrashes, but I can't help thinking that this would be far more enjoyable played on the Nintendo Wii consoles remote controller - which is obviously what Raving Rabbids was designed for.
On PC, the simple thrills become depressingly desk-bound, with the clunky mouse control not quite matching the wildly exuberant art style, animation and sound effects. Raving Rabbids has multiplayer, but its the impractical offline variety of gathering round the monitor. Ultimately, its decent short-lived fun, but is this really what you bought your games PC for?
Download Rayman Raving Rabbids
Rayman Raving Rabbids is probably the weirdest of the Wii's launch titles and it's also probably the best showcase of what exactly the Wii's unique controls are capable of. This game harnesses every aspect of the Wii's design to provide a game that's both ridiculously fun to play with friends and just plain hilarious to watch.
Our story kicks off with Rayman being kidnapped by a group of strange and nefarious bunnies. These diabolical rabbids have a fiendish hankering for entertainment and force Rayman to compete in their arena packed full with bizarre and often manic minigames. Don't be misled by the presence of Rayman in this game, this is not a platformer. Rayman Rayman Raving Rabbids is a massive collection of minigames themed around the titular rabbids. The single player mode follows Rayman's path towards fame and freedom as he beats his captor's trials, and serves as a bit of an introduction to the 70 or so minigames available. All these games can be later revisited for some multiplayer fun or to unlock extra goodies like amusing clips featuring the rabbids.
Most of the minigames are great fun, and they all shine because they'll have you physically doing things you probably never imagined yourself doing with a video game. For example, one of the trials tasks you with hurling a cow attached to a chain as far as possible. To accomplish this you'll have to madly swing the controller over your head like a lasso until you build up enough momentum and let fly. Another set of minigames puts you in the middle of a rail shooter as you use the Wiimote like a gun and blow away rabbids. There is even a well executed set of rhythm games that have you using the Wiimote and nunchuk controllers like drumsticks as you play along with songs such as 'La Bamba'?.
The rabbids really steal the show when it comes to this game's presentation. Their blank stares and wildly silly antics are tremendously endearing, and the pre and post game skits they do will have you laughing out loud. That said, Rayman Raving Rabbids doesn't look particularly amazing from a technical standpoint and graphically speaking it looks like it could have easily been accomplished on an older system. This isn't too much of an issue however since the overall charm of the game does a good job of obfuscating this shortcoming.
At this early stage most of us are still wondering what exactly the Wii is about and what it can do, along those lines Rayman Raving Rabbids is definitely an excellent proof of concept. Moreover Rayman Raving Rabbids is just good clean fun and an excellent way to show off your Wii to a bunch of friends.