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Rayman 3 Hoodlum Havoc

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Ubisoft Entertainment
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Miscellaneous


Graphics & Sound:

Rayman has never been one of my favorite game series. While a majority of the games in the line are excellent, for whatever reason, I've never been able to enjoy the series as much as I should. However, as of this writing, that changes. Although I've never been able to enjoy the 3D iterations of the game, the 2D version has proven to be just the opposite.

Rayman 3 is nothing short of a graphical masterpiece - especially when played on the GameBoy Advance SP's backlit screen. The sprite animation ranks among the best on the system. Just seeing the number of different animations is something of a treat. I was always surprised to see a new one every time I played the game. This graphical prowess also extends to all of the enemies in the game. It's always great to see an art team that takes the time to throw in animations that have no real bearing on the game, and is just there to add to the atmosphere. Level backgrounds are just as good, and have an almost watercolor quality to them. Each time I unlocked a new world, I was blown away at just how great it looked. Major props to the entire art team!

Sound is just as good and really helps to set the atmosphere. As with the other Rayman games, the familiar 'theme melody' runs through nearly every piece in the soundtrack. It was also great to hear audio clues for nearly every aspect of the game. For example, hidden throughout the game are cages that contain the inhabitants of the worlds you explore, called Teensies. As you approach the cages, tiny cries of 'help' tell you that you're close. This clue was extremely helpful, and had it not been for them, I probably wouldn't have found all of the cages.


Gameplay:

Why mince words? Rayman 3 is platform gaming at it's finest. Without sounding old - this is the way games should be. The game opens with Rayman's clumsy friend Globox accidentally eating a Dark Lum. This causes Globox to mysteriously disappear, and sets Rayman on an adventure to save his friend. Rayman isn't the only one to notice Globox's disappearance, as it turns out the evil pirate Jano also has his eye set on saving Globox - or more importantly the Dark Lum in his stomach.

Rayman 3 plays like your typical platform game - complete with bottomless pits, hidden areas, and a whole lot of jumping. You begin each level in a central hub world. Scattered throughout these hubs are curtains, which lead to each of the game's levels. As you progress through the game, Rayman can collect Lums that help to unlock new levels. In addition to the game's multiple side-scrolling levels, Rayman 3 also contains a few other modes such as Water Skiing and Bumper Car Racing. The game also includes Link support for multiplayer game modes like Tag, Burglar, and Bumper Cars.

Rayman 3 includes 'Connectivity' support with Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc for the GameCube.


Difficulty:

Despite its 'kiddie' demeanor, this game isn't for kids. While the subject matter is more than kid friendly, the difficulty level is enough to have younger gamers screaming, and while fun, this game can get frustrating. Many of Rayman 3's aspects, especially flying and jumping, require flawless execution. The game also tends to drag certain levels on longer then it should. More experienced gamers will find it a nice challenge.

Game Mechanics:

Simple, simple controls - there's no better way to say it. Character response is very tight, and works extremely well. As the game progresses, Rayman will gain new powers that help him to navigate levels with greater ease. This not only helps to keep the game fresh by adding new obstacles, but it also helps to encourage players to re-explore older levels in order to collect previously unreachable Lums and Teensies. Learning these moves is a snap, most involving little more than a tap of a shoulder button.

Overall, Rayman 3 provides a great gaming experience, especially for fans of old school platform games. As I've said numerous times before, this is platform gaming at its finest. Although it may prove to be a little too hard for younger gamers, it's still a fun game and well worth the purchase. Hey - it made me change my perspective on the Rayman series, so that has to say something, right?


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Nintendo GameBoy Advance Ninja Five-O Nintendo GameBoy Advance Rugrats: I Gotta Go Party

 
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