The Rayman series is an interesting franchise. Starting its humble origins during the PS1 era as a 2D platformer and receiving a grand sequel that people still fondly remember, the series continued with the release of Rayman Origins and Legends.
Back in 2003, we got a sequel to Rayman 2 called Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc releasing on various platforms to critical acclaim. The game came to the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in 2012, coming into a new generation off the heels of Rayman Origins critical success. So does Rayman 3 hold up in the modern era or has it aged over time? Lets find out!
The game opens up with Rayman and Globox sleeping…a common deal with Rayman and company. Red Lums, the red orbs you collect for health throughout the series, are being turned into Black Lums by a evil lum called Andre, so its up to Rayman to defeat him and save the world. Sounds like a simple story, right?
The game makes some really crazy turns, coming into what makes Rayman 3 stand out from other games in the series; it’s humor. Latter Rayman games had humor in spades, with the Rabbid party games on Wii being completely nuts while Origins & Legends had humor more in vain of a classic Loony Toons cartoon. But Rayman 3 is very….strange, to put it lightly.
I loved how wacky the humor here, resulting in one of the funnest games in the series.
The Design & Gameplay
The gameplay is what you would expect of 3D Rayman coming off of Rayman 2; you run around in semi-open levels throwing balls of light at foes and objects in worlds alongside jumping, hovering and climbing around in colorful worlds. But Rayman 3 does a lot to separate itself from Rayman 2. Rayman throws his fist this time out, similar to the original Rayman, leading to a more dynamic combat system. You can curve your fist throws left and right, foes are a lot smarter than the foes you fought in Rayman 2 and you get more tools to play with thanks to power ups throughout the levels.
That goes into the next big change; power ups. Rayman can don various costumes that give him either new abilities or giving back abilities from Rayman 2 in a new way. Rayman’s outfit changes and each power up is a lot of fun to utilize. You can get metal fists to have stronger attacks, chained fists that can flow lighting into grabbed foes and even a rocket fist that explodes on impact. All of these alongside the core combat system really make fights fun, leading to them being just as enjoyable as the platforming you do in the game.
But what makes these power ups so enjoyable, is how they are used for exploration and platforming. All your power-ups are on a timer, with each power-up having a different cool-down timer. You have to use them before the time runs out, leading to puzzles where you have to keep moving with the power up currently active in navigating a series of hooks with the chain fist or smash a door with the metal fist for example. This leads to fun level design focusing on forward progression and speed, while still offering heavy exploration elements if you want to collect everything.
The game also has a special scoring system where throughout the game, you collect yellow objects and red gems that increase your points (as do combat sections and skillful platforming) which in turn, unlock mini games to play outside of the main game. The mini games are enjoyable, but they are segregated from the core experience, thus making the inclusion of the points system feel forced and almost pointless. They do help in making levels full of things to collect.
Rayman 3 offers strong gameplay that refines many elements from it’s predecessor and while the scoring system isn’t that major to the overall gameplay, it’s a fun addition that adds to the overall package.
Back in 2003 the vivid colors of the games dream-like landscape impressed many and the game still impresses. The worlds are very varied, going from wildly different locations but having a really tight art style and direction holding everything together. The HD remasters have various issues with the presentation sadly; graphical quarks; water has odd coloring, text can be pixelated on larger TV’s and performance issues with an unstable frame rate. While the strong art direction and animation still hold up strong, these issues can be a major issue for some players.
The music of Rayman 3 is some of the franchises best work. It is quite varied featuring beautifully music pieces that add to the atmosphere of various levels & a full-on vocal track standing proudly next to the vocal-tracks in the Sonic series being examples. Music from the level Land of the Livid Dead level stands out the most having a number of variations adding heavy atmosphere and tone to the stage.
Overall: 4 out of 5
Rayman 3 is a platforming experience that all fans of the franchise should consider giving a look. The game has aged well thanks to strong presentation values, fun gameplay and level design, and having a charming sense of humor. This is a 3D Platformer that you should consider giving a shot if you enjoyed past games in the Rayman series.
This game was played on the PlayStation 3 using a copy I purchased. The game is out on the PS3, Xbox 360, an PC.