Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is by all intents and purposes is a platform game, but video gamers should not just assume they have another plain-vanilla platformer on their hands. On the contrary, although Rayman 3 is another platform title, the slick graphics, neat music, and top notch voice acting make it a game worth checking out.
Most Playstation owners have undoubtedly come across Rayman at some point in their gaming lives whether it was the original Rayman on the PSOne or those e…isodes that followed onto the PS2. Rayman is, of course, the little fellow with no arms and legs that runs around the levels doing justice to the bad guys. He is joined by Murfy, a tough talking fly who is filled with info, and Globox, a chubby goof-off who has accidentally swallowed an evil thing–the Chief of Dark Lums.
Now Rayman is on a mission to find his buddy some Plum Juice to help release the Dark Lum from inside of him. But first, Rayman must break up the evil plot perpetrated by the Dark Lum and his makeshift army of thugs known as the Hoodlums–a twisted band of mutants hellbent to take over the world.
PS2 owners will most likely be quite impressed with the level of graphics presented here in Rayman 3. Smooth, deep colors, great textures, interesting particle effects, and a healthy framerate are all accounted for here in this new title. So rich are the colors, that many will think they are looking at a title running in Progressive Scan.
One of the reasons the visuals look as good as they do is due to some ingenious level designs and interesting character models. Rayman and his brood all look fantastic and consistent with highly polygonal characters–and the many enemies and supporting characters all look as equally smooth.
This was a nice touch which makes the title feel seamless overall. None of the other characters got the short end of the graphical stick like some games tend to do. Everything on the screen looks like major work went into it. From the challenging level designs to the funky characters in the game, Rayman 3 is easy on the eye.
The audio portion of the game is another highlight thanks to the funky, fresh music and s great voice talent. Voicing the main characters are John Leguizamo ( Ice Age) as Globox, and Billy West (Ren & Stimpy, Futurama) as Murfy. These two accomplished actors bring life and realism to the characters they play and the tongue-in-cheek jokes and witty banter add hilarity to the on-screen action.
Music in R3 is something of a ‘greatest hits’ collection. Jazz, disco, pop, and a mix of a few other genres populate the action in the game. At one point, Rayman and his buds need to slide down a rail and hop to a thumping disco beat to make the next rail over. The choice of music here couldn’t have been better. Players using a home theater system will enjoy the great tunes on the advanced system but regular tv users shouldn’t loose heart–the title is presented in normal stereo and most tv’s these days do a bang-up job with the standard speakers.
Even though R3 shines in the graphics and sound department, it is still platforming at its heart–and here is where most players may start to wane from the title. Although platforming is great and Rayman 3 does is as good as any other title on the market, the mere fact that it’s another platformer on the market draws it down a bit.
There are of course some things that developers can add to a platformer to spice up the action a little bit–and those steps were taken here. Things such as adding new weapons like the Heavy Metal Fist, Vortex Fist, Shock Rocket, Throttle Copter, and Lock Jaw help keep the action somewhat refreshing. Rayman can still hover small distances with his ears acting as small rotor blades to reach nearby ledges in order to grab some goodies.
He also has help from Globox who can deploy some interesting, albeit somewhat disgusting, maneuvers known as F.A.R.T. (Flatulence Action Rapid Transport) and B.A.R.F. (Belching Action Rapid Flight). These actions help Rayman reach previously unattainable ledges and switches and help the trio move on from level to level.
When all is said and done, most gamers will probably find content here worth revisiting –but it may be during the summer when the release of games hits a low point. Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is a great game to play with several other friends on the couch with you. The witty jokes and cool music can be appreciated with several others around to laugh it up with.
Otherwise, it may be falling out of the play schedule of some less impatient gamers. Check it out at the rental store the next time a few of you are looking for something to play on a rainy night.