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Publisher: Feral Interactive    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.1.3    CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz    RAM: 128 MB

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
March 1, 2004 | Mark Satterthwaite

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Game play
Linear, traditional platforming levels make up most of the game with the standard jumping, shooting and collecting making up most of the game play. There isnít anything desperately original in how the game plays usually, jump from platform to platform, press the lock-on button and hold fire to shoot any enemies who appear and repeat. Platform hopping is accompanied by hook-swinging and door-breaking using the power up cans scattered throughout the levels. Each co lour offers a different special ability with grappling hooks, military fists, remote controlled rockets and helicopter helmets all available to help Rayman in his struggle. Finding the correct can is usually the solution to most of the game's many impasses, the difficulty is gradually upped later in the game by making the can difficult to reach or having it carried by an enemy that has to be killed. These various abilities generally complement the more standard action well. Unfortunately this game is highly derivative, most of the game play has been seen in other superior titles but every few levels there are small mini-games or other interludes, ranging from manning the cannons of a sailing ship to the usual snowboarding and jet bikes. One section has Rayman using a massive pair of stilts to trample his enemies and another appears regularly has Rayman chasing his errant foot down, using his remaining one as a bumper car.

It is a shame however, that few of these are truly original and that most suffer from obtuse controls. Worse still Rayman suffers like most three dimensional platformers from a hideous camera that no matter what you do or where you want to go will always insist on pointing in the worst possible direction. In a complex series of jumps or grapple swings the camera will also unexpectedly change directions thus altering the direction controls and sending Rayman plummeting to his untimely death and pushing playerís patience to the limit.

The enemies are somewhat thick as they consistently follow preset attack patterns, seemingly without concern for their own survival. Attacks are pretty standard for an action game. Enemies are equipped with grenades, shotguns and good old-fashioned fisticuffs and arenít afraid to use them. Occasionally enemies do things differently, guys carrying wooden shields release miniature hoodlums who blow up on contact and armored guys are invincible so they spin around attempting to clobber Rayman. But they are the exceptions that prove that most of the standard enemies are boring and easily defeated. Bosses and mini-bosses are quite different. They show the same attention to detail as the more major characters in the story, and have far more entertaining and interesting attack patterns. The Hooded Hunter, while not the most original enemy, is one of the most entertaining and is fairly typical of the whole game. Rayman runs from room to room and has several little battles with the gun toting loon, sometimes you get a sniper's eye view and have to avoid the incoming fire. Another is the old hag who is defeated by using her own cauldron of frog juice against her, reducing her to a frog and then shooting her, avoiding being turned into a frog yourself. Very little in this game is original but it is generally well-executed and enjoyable, pity the camera is so horrible it spoils the whole experience.

As for performance, running on a 1Ghz 12Ē PowerBook with the nVidia 5200Go graphics card, 768Mb RAM and Mac OS 10.3.2 the game suffered from fairly regular freezes in game play. The screen would freeze with broken sound playing and then after a few seconds would return to motion but still with broken sound. Sometime later the sound would return but it happens significantly often enough to make playing the game a frustrating exercise in patience. Occasionally sound would break up without affecting game play and would not return to normal until after the next level load. In complex battles Rayman also disappeared for a while, only to return seconds afterward, but this was much less frequent and far less annoying that being half way through a complex sequence of jumps only for the game to freeze and then return with Rayman falling to his doom. Changing the resolution or colour depth made no difference but turning on FSAA doubled the frequency of such pauses. The frame rate when the game was actually working was quite consistent and generally high but the horrible pauses make it hard to be complimentary.

Update: The release of the 1.0.1 patch fixes the performance issues that I encountered during the game. This makes the game far less frustrating and far more enjoyable, making the whole experience less of a trial and more of a game. Though this doesn't resolve the design issues in the game it does enable the game to be played as it was mean to be. As such the score of this game has been altered to reflect the enhanced experience.

Also to be noted is that this update enables support of Feral's new Input Calibrator application that can be used to properly calibrate analog joysticks and game pads for use with the supporting Feral games. This makes in game controls more responsive when using such devices. Generally this wasn't a problem i encountered anyway though.

Value is the last section of Rayman 3 to judge and as such its longevity is a real consideration. This game doesn't outstay its welcome nor is it too short, generally edging in at 12 hours straight through, but many secrets and hidden items are skipped over. To unlock all the various bonus games and cinematics will take somewhat longer and to achieve a perfect rating will be a mammoth task. So the game will last but only if you are masochistic enough to persevere against random pause and camera-induced deaths. An immense force of will is needed to get through this game. Overall Rayman 3 is an interesting looking game that is sadly let down by a poor camera and lack of originality.

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
Publisher: Feral Interactive
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