After the great success of the initial God of War HD Collection, it seems in the past year there has been a flurry of game publishers pulling out their hit titles from previous generations of consoles. For a cynic this move is nothing more than a cash grab by the “greedy corporations who are ruining gaming” but I tend to take the view that it allows unfortunate folks like me, who didn’t own a PS2 or XBOX to experience classics release on previous consoles.
Platform: Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network (Reviewed)
Players: Single-Player, Multi-Player
Release: Xbox LIVE Arcade / PlayStation Network: March 23rd 2012
In Rayman 3 HD, Andre, an evil black lum, is hellbent on world domination by creating an army of black lums. The lums are fly like creatures that have eyes, a pair of arms and wings. Unfortunately for all involved Globox, Rayman’s loveable blue pal, accidentally swallows Andre, so the pair must travel to find a doctor who can get Andre out of Globox’s stomach. Eventually after finding some doctors who are able to flush the black lum from Globox, Andre teams up with Reflux, a fearsome warrior, to defeat Rayman. While the story in Rayman 3 is mediocre there are other aspects of this game that more than make up for it.
The gameplay in Rayman is predominantly a hybrid of 3D platforming and beat em up. Your journey takes you through some unique environments each with their different challenges. In terms of platforming your primary challenge will be jumping onto different ledges and utilising Rayman’s ability to make his ears propel like a helicopter’s. Complemented with the power ups, platforming was generally a fun experience, with the exception coming when the camera took a top down perspective because it was incredibly difficult to tell what depth each platform was on which led to some frustrating portions of the game.
In each world, you will face robed enemies that are actually black lums. At Rayman’s disposal to defeat these enemies are his fists/gloves that can be launched at enemies from middle to long range or Rayman can get up close to the enemies and punch or kick enemies. An interesting concept in this game is that Rayman’s fists are able to be launched on a semi circle trajectory by locking onto an enemy and moving to one side while pressing punch. After you master this aspect of the game, you will be able to face almost any enemy Rayman 3 can throw at you.
In addition to its fists, there are five (5) different coloured power ups that each grant Rayman a temporary special power to help him defeat enemies and continue his journey. The green power up provides you with whirlwind fists which allow Rayman to lower raised platforms and defeat enemies quicker; the red power up gives Rayman spiky gloves on his hands and the power to beat down doors and open power up boxes in one hit; the blue power up grants Rayman chain hands which latch onto enemies to provide an electric shock and also serves as a useful tool for platforming as it allows Rayman to latch onto areas previously unreachable; the yellow can gives Rayman a helicopter cap which allows him to reach unobtainable heights and finally the orange can allows Rayman to fire a gigantic rocket. The variety of power ups is plentiful and while they are introduced early on in a gradual fashion, the later parts of the game are incredibly challenging which require you to obtain power ups in consecutive fashion in order to progress. I found that this gradual progression in difficulty extremely rewarding when I managed to successfully get past some of the later stages in the game.
As with any good platformer, the most important aspect is to have controls that are tight and Rayman is certainly no slouch in this department. If you failed to make a jump or die during the game, it’s more than likely a result of your lack of “skillz”, as opposed to unresponsive controls or a glitch. This is an impressive achievement if you factor in that there are still games released in this generation that have sticky controls or plagued with game breaking bugs.
A part of the game that I found to be very entertaining but surprisingly only utilised for half of the levels was the end of world mini game which had Rayman surfing down a psychedelic tunnel along platforms that were reminiscent of the Rainbow Road level in Mario Kart 64. There is a certain indiscernible charm to each of these levels, which featured a funky soundtrack, as it certainly felt like the designer had come down with a bad case of disco fever!
Collectables are a key in almost all platform games, they separate those that have merely finished the game and those that have gone to the extreme lengths to collect everything possible. For me they provide the challenge that makes me want to keep playing and Rayman 3 HD is no exception. There are 3 different types of gems available to collect which contribute to Rayman’s overall level score which in turn assists in unlocking the bonus arcade games. The other collectable is the little creatures that are trapped in cardboard boxes. Each time Rayman is able to open 6 of these boxes his health bar goes up, so there is an added incentive to hunt these down.
For the most part Rayman 3 is a visually appealing game. The visuals will definitely look at home on a flat screen television, there are very few frame rate issues and the unique cartoon style fits into the overall game. It is important to note that I am judging this game through the graphical standard circa early 2000. A visual component of the game that I felt was not up to par with the rest of the game was the cut scenes, although there weren’t many throughout the game, I experienced rendering issues in some of the cut scenes which was disappointing.
The most disappointing aspect of this remake is the camera angle/camera work. The game utilises a semi-free camera that for the most part will allow you to control the perspective, however during transitions between areas in the game, the angle would change automatically leaving you going back and forth in one spot before you realize the camera is affecting the control input. Each time I played Rayman 3 it was ultimately the camera work that prevented me from progressing further as I would feel nauseous after 30 minutes, which was extremely disappointing.
The sound in Rayman 3 is something that I found unexceptional. The background music, which is very uptempo fits in with the undeniably chipper tone. Sound effects are comical in the sense that even darker parts of the game were accompanied with relatively upbeat music. Overall I felt that the sound was not something that stood out but it could have been a result of feeling nauseous after each session of gameplay!
If you’re someone who bemoans the decreasing amount of content in new release games, Rayman 3 will satiate your sick urges. In addition to a 10 hour campaign there are 8 different mini “arcade” games that you unlock as you reach certain point milestones in the game. I managed to experience 3 of the mini games and I believe that some of these mini games could retail as stand alone PSN games themselves, such as the 2D platform version of the game.
Ultimately I think the degree of enjoyment you experience while playing Rayman 3 HD will depend on your experience with previous Rayman games. For me, someone who had never experienced Rayman, other than the camera work, it managed to leave me impressed and also question just how much I missed out during the early 2000s due to my lack of a PS2 or XBOX.
7.0 – Good. Entertaining but is held back by a couple of flaws. It will certainly capture its intended audience but it won’t appeal to everyone.