Rayman 3 re-creates much of the same lighthearted whimsy that made Rayman 2 so incredibly enjoyable, while differentiating the action enough for the game to stand up on its own.
It's been three-and-a-half years since Ubi Soft's limbless platforming hero did his part in redefining the 3D platformer. Super Mario 64 might have laid the groundwork, but anyone who's played Rayman 2: The Great Escape can tell you that this little French fellow refined the formula with impeccable production, a unique sense of style, and some of the most varied and inventive gameplay yet seen in a 3D platformer. But now that he's finally back, is Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc the life-altering follow-up that players have been waiting for? In a word, no. Rayman 3 doesn't blow the doors off Rayman 2, but it does further refine the formula, is completely worthy of the Rayman name, and is also the best platformer on the Xbox thus far.
Admiral Razorbeard and his robot parade have been completely flushed from the world of Rayman, but many of the supporting characters from Rayman 2 return. The Cheshire cat-inspired insect Murfy helps Rayman through the tutorial areas of the game. The small and magical teensies still play the part of the hostages, and help Rayman along on his quest when they can. Rayman's aquamarine-toned lummox of a friend Globox returns, playing an even larger part than he did in Rayman 2. Through a series of events, Globox ends up with Andy, the leader of the dark lums, in his stomach. The dark lums are sort of like the energy-restoring red lum pixies from Rayman 2, only really mean. The teensies send Rayman and Globox to find a doctor who specializes in stomach problems, but Andy and his army of hoodlums (lums that wear hoods, get it?) are going to try to stop them at every turn. Of course, Globox's tummy ache is just the tip of the iceberg, but the situation sets the tone for the rest of the game nicely.
Rayman has always been a very versatile platforming hero, with the jumping and the punching and the grappling and the gliding, and Rayman 3 expands considerably on the lead character's abilities. Rayman 3 definitely puts a greater focus on combat than previous entries, and Rayman is better equipped for it, too. Holding the R trigger will put Rayman into strafing mode, and when he's in range of an enemy, he'll automatically lock on. Rayman can still throw a straight punch, as well as a charged punch, and if you're locked on to an enemy and pushing to the left or right while throwing your punch, your punch will curve accordingly. These curved punches can come in handy against enemies hiding behind obstacles, as well as in some specific puzzles.
Defeating certain hoodlums and rescuing certain teensies will produce an energy canister that can grant Rayman special skills for a short period of time, though the amount of time you'll have differs for each ability. All told you find five different types of energy canisters through the course of the game. Red canisters give Rayman big metal fists that are capable of taking out enemies with one punch and busting down otherwise unbreakable doors. Blue canisters equip Rayman's fists with what look like iron jaws on the ends of chains, which are handy for grappling. Green canisters produce a sort of whirlwind punch useful for lowering specific kinds of platforms. Yellow canisters give you a helicopter hat with some upward lift. And, finally, orange canisters equip Rayman with a potent but short-range guided missile. The game introduces these power-ups slowly, initially using them just to help make the proceedings a little bit more manageable. But as you get into the thick of things, the power-ups become integral parts of puzzles, and near the end you'll find yourself juggling from one power-up to the next just to keep alive. Fans of Rayman 2 might initially be taken aback by the changes Rayman 3 makes to the gameplay, but ultimately, they help maintain the pace of the game and help bring greater variety to the action.
Variety of action has always been a trademark of the Rayman games, and Rayman 3 delivers on this. In between his regular platforming duties and slugging it out with hoodlums, Rayman will ride on top of beams of energy inside what can only be described as a disco kaleidoscope, drive around in a giant shoe, defend a pirate ship against attackers, attempt to outrun a rising lava line, play both pilot and tailgunner on a tiny spaceship, and engage in several good old-fashioned boss fights. The game is full of some memorable set pieces, like the ethereal crystal castle and the house of mirrors, where platforms are only visible in their reflection. The game does eventually settle into a bit of a pattern--platforming puzzle, hoodlum fight, platforming puzzle and a hoodlum fight at the same time, boss fight, and so on--but the actual action itself is so consistently engaging and unique that by the time you've become acutely aware of the pattern, the game is over.
- Player Reviews: 7
- Game Universe:
- Rayman 2: The Great Escape (PS, PC, N64, DC, IP),
- Rayman (PC, GBC, PS, SAT, JAG, GIZ),
- Rayman Arena (PS2, PC, GC, XBOX),
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc (PS2, PC, GC, XBOX, MAC),
- Rayman 3 (GBA, NGE, MOBILE),
- Rayman Raving Rabbids (DS, GBA, X360, PS2, PC, WII, MAC),
- Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 (PC, WII, DS),
- Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party (WII, DS),
- Rayman: 10th Anniversary Collection (GBA, PS2),
- Rayman Origins (X360, PS3, WII, 3DS, VITA, PC)
- Number of Players: