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WII
GENRE
Platform
DEVELOPER
Ubi Soft
PUBLISHER
Ubi Soft
WI-FI ENHANCED
no
WII EXCLUSIVE
gcn
EXPECTED RELEASE DATE
TBA
BUY NOW AT

Rayman 3 Hoodlum Havoc (beta)

French owned Ubi Soft Entertainment had long been considered on the lower tier of game developers before their Rayman series came to be. Both Rayman and, most importantly, Rayman 2 were evolutionary in the scheme of game design. Rich colorful worlds, amazingly detailed fantasy textures and a powerful score helped the game to draw in the player. Combined with excellent play control, there was little else to do but own the games in the Rayman series. Consequently, sales broke ten million. Now Ubi Soft is bringing the guy without arms or legs back, throwing punches with floating fists at a new enemy in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc.

Hands-on Impressions
I was fortunate enough to meet one of the developers of the game, and through broken English (Ubi Soft is a French company after all) and the PS2 demo version of the game he showed me what to expect with the third instalment in the series.

First it should be noted that the GCN version of Rayman 3 was on the show floor, but is only 30% completed, whereas the PS2 version is 60% done.

To start things off, the game looks gorgeous! Once again Ubi Soft fails to disappoint by creating a lush world with crisp images and fascinatingly designed characters. The demo setup had stereo headphones attached that allowed the player to listen to the game while avoiding the noise pollution from the rest of the hall. Much like the graphics, the sounds were lush and clear.

Of course play control is the obvious key point of the game. Some of the biggest changes to occur in Hoodlum Havoc involved Raymanís punching method. The two fisted alternating punching style has been brought back, and now punches can be curved to boot! This is actually an integral part of the game as the more intelligent AI will mostly dodge straight forward attacks, so curving is the only way you can connect a hit. I actually experienced an example of this during a battle with one of the mini-bosses in the demo. The boss carries a shield that blocks your every attack, so you have to throw a curved punch from one direction, then while he is blocking it, throw a second fist so it curves and hits him from behind.

The other major change is in dealing with costume changes. By grabbing certain special icons, Raymanís fists will change to any of several forms. Spiked fists for more damage on the attack, a grappling hook for swinging from place to place, and even a helicopter helmet for short-term flight.

Word on the Street
Rayman will never reach the popularity of Mario or Sonic, and probably will forever hover just under Spyro and Crash, which is a shame because it deserves a bigger piece of the pie. Anyone who has played Rayman 2 will wave the flag for the Rayman cause, and those who havenít, should, point end blank.

From the Horses Mouth

  • Next-Generation Rayman will feature brand new facial animations to display emotion.
  • Challenging tactical battle system: fight huge transforming bosses or whole armies of enemies, including Hoodlums, evil Dark Lums, and the savage Knaaren, each with advanced AI and specific strengths and combat strategies.
  • Deep, unique gameplay: acquire all new action-based Rayman powers, utilize new means of transportation and devise battle tactics for facing the unknown around every turn.
  • A fully realized immersive world: journey through an extravagant cartoon fantasy and discover never before seen regions of Raymanís world, including the Swamp, Moor and Deadlands.

Conclusion
This is another title that should be integral to any 3D platform players collection. It does that wonderful thing of actually improving on the version prior, and it quite frankly, rocks. After tooling around on the demo for quite some time and getting a thorough tutorial on the game and its developments, both existing and upcoming, Iím looking forward to this title upon release.

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WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Jeff Hoyt
Staff Profile | Email
"I'd blame it on videogames, but congress already beat me to it."


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