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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
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Game Profile
GENRE: Action
March 17, 2003
Rayman Legends

Rayman Origins

Rayman Origins

Rabbids Lab

Rabbids Go Home

More in this Series
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on March 10, 2003

First Impressions: No, after Rayman's exploits in Rayman 2 he didn't take up a crack habit, go to the hood, and wreak havoc. But we'll watch him carefully after this adventure is over.

If you think about it, the limbless being known as Rayman is arguably the last great star of the platforming genre (I say arguably because there's that Crash guy and a few new guys around). Just reflect of the top three platform stars of all time ? that's easy, at least for myself ? you got Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, and, you guessed it, Rayman. While not nearly as popular as the aforementioned two, the Rayman titles have always been of the greatest quality, going back to the original 2D game from the 32-bit era, to it's Dreamcast debut, and subsequent port to the PS2 and Nintendo 64, of Rayman 2, and hell, even the Rayman handheld games have rocked. Naturally, Ubi Soft has whored the franchise out a bit, as the star character has appeared in a variety of different non-platform games, which by and large have been total disappointments (Rayman Arena, anyone?). However, let's not allow those titles to interfere with the anticipation of the long awaited Rayman 3. It's almost here, and by the looks of things we're already going to have our first contender for platform title of the year.

Looking over Rayman 3, it's obvious that the guys over at Ubi Soft didn't set out to revolutionize the current built of the platform genre, yet, they have just simply taken elements from the spectacular Rayman 2 and built upon them in every conceivable way, which I for one won't complain about. The story in the game revolves around Ray Ray's chubby friend, Globox, and his most unfortunate accidental swallowing of the Lord of the Dark Lums. This not only gets his followers, the Hoodlums, all worked up and ready for war, but it also causes Globox to take ill, giving our hero even more incentive to go on a quest to track down the only people that can help him ? the warrior tribe known as the Knaaren. Yes, in traditional Rayman fashion, this is quite silly and the overall game is working overtime is the uniqueness that is Rayman's world.

Hoodlum Havoc will play much in the way of Rayman 2 ? that is, you'll take control of Rayman via the third-person perspective as you travel the world battling enemies and navigating your way through each strictly linear level. Assisting you along the way will be your trusty sidekick, who's actually a fly, Murfy. Murfy will guide you through the levels, informing you of your moves and overall looking out for your best interest. Along with your more traditional fighting techniques, Rayman will come a lot more equipped in his third outing. These include the use of many different items and power-ups, such as the Shock Rockets, LockJaw, Funkyboards, and many others. All your moves and weapons are going to have to be put to good use to, as Ubi Soft has implemented a sprinkle of strategy into the game, coming in the form of enemies that require different lines of attack to defeat, not to mention the insane, morphing boss characters that you'll no doubt encounter. Unlockable mini-games are also playing a predominate role in the title this time around, and at times the levels are given a little flair with moments of racing, sky-surfing, and the like. All in all, it makes for a lot of diversity, but it's yet to be seen if any of this will be a distraction from the main gameplay, or a welcome change of pace.

Gameplay aside, a lot of the appeal of the Rayman games have always been their rather distinctive charm, and Rayman 3 certainly won't disappoint in this regard. First and foremost, the game is quite impressive visually ? with a nice 60 fps framerate, well-animated characters, and luxuriously crafted environments. Adding to this is some interesting character designs that hold true to the Rayman universe, and work well in the game's humor department. As well, our hero has been given a total overhaul, and now sports more facial animations and emotions. The audio hasn't been overlooked either ? featuring some real funky beats, and marvelous voice acting from the likes of John Leguizamo and Billy West (of Ren and Stimpy fame).

Final Thoughts
At the twilight of Rayman 3's release on the Xbox platform, there really seems to be no major faults in the game, and by the looks of things it shaping up quite nicely and should offer any fan of the platform genre a great experience. Rayman has always been a unique character, and it's good to see him star once again in a game that he belongs in, even if it did take a few years to get another sequel out of Ubi Soft. But with all the gameplay additions, charm, and next generation overhaul, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc should turn out to be a real winner. Look for a full review soon.

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