I have noticed a trend lately with developers re-releasing games from the past in High Definition. We saw that with Tekken Hybrid, the Splinter Cell games, Sly Cooper, Silent Hill and now with Rayman 3 HD. Rayman 3 HD is a re-mastering of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc which was released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube and the XBOX. The original game was considered somewhat of a hit and there is no question that fans who enjoyed Hoodlum Havoc will be in for a treat. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my experiences with the game.
For those unfamiliar with the series, you play as the title character Rayman who was created by a fairy in the Primordial forest. As a unique creature (he has no neck, arms or legs) he is tasked with protecting his home from the forces of evil. In Rayman 3 HD, an evil force named Andre (a Black Lum) begins to turn other Red Lums into Black Lums in order to make an army. Their goal is to take over the forest where Rayman and his friends live. Rayman and his friend Globox eventually flee the land but in their attempted escape, Andre becomes accidentally swallowed by Globox. Rayman must then figure out how to help his friend and also ultimately try to get rid of Andre and save the forest.
Rayman is played through a third person camera view as he travels and fights Andre’s minions (the Hoodlums). He does this mainly using his fists or shooting energy spheres. He also takes down enemies through temporary power-ups found in the levels including firing mini-tornadoes; a heavy metal fist that allows him to break down certain doors; and a lockjaw power-up that gives him extendable claw weapons used to latch onto and electrocute enemies or swing across gaps. The left control stick is used to move while the other buttons involve jumping and attacking. Holding down the R1 button enables you to strafe and fire the spheres. Holding down the attack button also charges up Rayman’s punch (which makes it more powerful) and holding down the jump button will cause him to hover down slowly with a helicopter like movement from his head. The attack buttons are neat but I didn’t seem to get enough of an opportunity to use them fully, which was a shame.
Despite these powers, Rayman is not invulnerable as he has a limited energy bar but unlimited lives. Receiving damage from enemies depletes the energy bar and once it’s gone, you restart somewhat close to where you last expired. Enemies are scattered in each level and vary from Hoodlums that shoot to others that swarm, charge or fly at you.
Along your adventures, Rayman can collect gems and “teensies” or trophies where if you collect enough, you unlock bonus mini-games in the Arcade section of the game. The games add some fun to the experience and it is not all that difficult to earn those gems that unlock the games. Of course, dying and taking damage causes you to lose points. Also, once you complete a level, you cannot go back and try to collect anything you missed. After you do complete a level, there is something called a Disco Trip that requires you to quickly and accurately jump and surf from one ramp to another at a fast rate of speed in a psychedelic looking stage. I found this was one of the more difficult parts of the game as I kept either jumping too far or too short of each ramp. I would then have to start a little farther back than I wanted. Still, it was an interesting challenge and did require me to use some old school, fast reactions.
Despite some of the challenges, I have to admit that I could not find myself all that interested in playing this game. For the most part, I found proceeding past a level was fairly easy including beating the common enemies and solving the puzzles. The game is linear and there is no option to replay the levels. The story and cut-scenes also seems to break up the flow of the game rather than add to it. Even with the various power-ups, I did not feel there was anything substantive for me to keep playing. Not to mention, after a while the game starts to follow a pattern making the experience somewhat repetitive and dull.
What made the game even less appealing was the voice acting. Don’t get me wrong, the voice acting was done well in terms of not sounding too over the top but it grated on my nerves. I really wished they had picked a better sounding voice to use for some of the characters (like the frog character) or Andre. Everything else audio-wise was good. The music is composed well and has a lively beat. The sound effects when it came to the action were on cue and enhanced the play.
Considering Rayman 3 HD is a re-mastering of the original game, the visuals are quite good. Everything from the character animations to the games environments, Rayman 3 HD, the graphics are sharp, colourful and bright. The edges on everything look smooth and everything seems to pop. All in all, I had no complaints with the games visuals and the development team are given kudos for giving Rayman 3 a terrific splash of High Definition goodness.
Overall, Rayman 3 HD has many things going for it. It has a somewhat interesting story; the high definition graphics look good; collecting and unlocking content is enjoyable; and for those that enjoyed the original game you will enjoy going down memory lane. Unfortunately, I just found the experience dated and lags behind today’s standards. Rayman 3 HD did not provide those same thrills I had when I recently played Rayman Origins. This being said, if you are looking for a cheap Rayman fix Rayman 3 HD may be right up your alley.