Hoodlums are Naughty

After playing “Rayman Origins”, I was originally planning on finishing “Muramasa”.  I did one story two years ago, and I didn’t finish the other one because I had recently gotten an XBox 360 and wanted to play that.  Once again, though, I became distracted.  “Rayman Origins” was so much fun, I decided to hook up the good old Cube again and play “Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc” (despite already beating it five times), which I haven’t played for over five years.  Sorry “Muramasa”, but you can’t compete with Rayman.  He’s my pal.

            First of all, for those of you who don’t know who Rayman is (I forgot to mention it in my “Rayman Origins” post), Rayman is a limbless dude with hair he can use like a helicopter that stars in the awesome “Rayman” series.  “Rayman” games are often strange and feature bizarre characters and places, and “Rayman 3” is no exception.  Story-wise, this game is about Rayman trying to stop the Lord of the Dark Lums, Andre, and his army of Hoodlums.  Hoodlums are simply Dark Lums in impossibly fancy disguises.  (Get it?  Hood Lums?  Get it!)  Andre ends up accidentally being swallowed by Rayman’s cowardly friend, Globox, so they set out to find a doctor that can get that Dark Lum out of Globox’s tummy while fighting off the Hoodlums that want their master back.  By the end of the game, there’s the typical story where the characters must save the world and stuff.

            “Rayman 3” has always been a lot of fun and also very funny and weird.  Most of the character design is pretty unique, too, like with other “Rayman” games.  The Hoodlums, in particular, are pretty strange enemies.  They are very weird looking, rather goofy, things made of cloth, I believe, and there is quite a variety.  Hoodlums with guns are most common.  There are also Hoodbooms that throw bombs, Hoodbooms on stilts, Hoodoo sorcerers.  Lots of Hoodlums for Rayman to pummel.  There are also all these new powers Rayman can get, which makes things more fun.  For example, the Shock Rocket, for guiding a rocket places Rayman can’t go, the Heavy Metal Fist, for making your attacks stronger, and Lockjaw, for crossing these hooks that float in the air in some places.  (Lockjaw is my favorite, since it lasts the longest and is therefore great for getting points.)

            The points is another thing new in this game.  You can get points from all these jewels that are lying around (surprised no one’s stolen them), and you also get points from defeating enemies and finding Tribelles and Matuvus and such.  There are also lots of secret rooms where you can find jewels, too.  You can get more points by getting lots of things in a short time period with combos, and you get double points when Rayman has one of his special powers.  These points unlock mini games and videos, which I’ll get to later.  It’s not required to beat the game, but it can be fun to see how many points you can get.  I think my best score so far was 412,056, and my score this time was 404,629.  (According to the official strategy guide by Greg Kramer, the top score possible is 414,788, but I heard that you really can get over 800,000, even though the game creators only intended on 500,000.  I prefer the former to be true.  It makes me feel like less of a failure.)

            Anyway, “Rayman 3”, while being a very fun game, does have some flaws.  For one thing, the game is too silly.  “Rayman 2”, my favorite game of the series, is a bit too serious, but “Rayman 3” goes too far the other way.  “Rayman 2” felt like this big, important adventure where you had to save the world from the horrible Admiral Razorbeard.  This game is really missing that feeling.  I don’t take the situation so seriously in this game.  I’m not afraid of Andre.  He may be as evil as Razorbeard (who really did have a sharp beard, in case you’re wondering, ‘cuz he was a robot), I don’t know, but he’s not nearly as good of a villain.  As far as being a game, they did a good job.  It’s very fun.  But, it’s not epic or anything.  It can’t compete with “Rayman 2” or “The Legend of Zelda” series or other such games.  This game is just kind of missing a soul sometimes, if that makes sense.  (Perhaps the game fell victim to the Dementors from “Harry Potter”!  Gasp!)

            There is also voice acting, unlike the other games.  Overall, I like the voice acting.  It’s fine for a silly game.  But there are times when it can be obnoxious.  (I’m talking to you, Gumsi.  And Begoniax.  And much of the Teensies.)  I can’t understand the characters sometimes, either.  They like to have their characters talk fast at times or have strange accents, and many times I just can’t make out the words.  Just recently, I’ve started being able to decipher what they’re saying, but it should be more clear.  Or they should’ve just given us subtitles.  There are none.  The game needs them very badly.  Perhaps they intended on it, but the creators of the game could no longer remember what their own characters said.  Or the dialogue was simply pure gibberish, as it sometimes sounds.

            But, like I said, at the same time, I like the voice acting.  Maybe other “Rayman” games shouldn’t have it (for the sake of all things holy, please do not have anymore voice acting, I beg you!), but the voice acting does make this game more fun.  The voice acting allows this game to have a lot of random in-game dialogue that games without voice acting can’t really have.  And there is a LOT of this dialogue.  Rayman rarely speaks, but Globox (with Andre in his belly) are with Rayman much of the time, and they have a lot to say.  And so do other random characters Rayman encounters.  And the dialogue can be pretty funny.  Without voice acting, we couldn’t have such classics as:

Globox: Guess what, I dreamt I was pregnant.  It was great.  I craved strawberries.

Razoff: No more steroids for you, scoundrel!

Teensie: Yay, I need to go alphabetize my sausages.

Knaaren: Make him write bad checks.

Begoniax: Aaaah, there’s that pervert again!

            (Actually, that last one was part of a cut scene and doesn’t count as an in-game quote, but I just had to type it.)  So the funny dialogue makes up for any problems I have with the voice acting.  There is so much of this random dialogue, it makes playing more fun because you often catch dialogue the next time you play that you missed before.  (That steroid one is new for me.)

            Despite my problems with it, this game is a lot of fun.  I just love it.  I love fighting the Hoodlums, using the different powers, trying to get points.  There are nine worlds of limbless fun.  A hot desert where the invincible Knaaren live.  A really long shortcut.  There’s snowboarding and even a few areas where Rayman shrinks down and rides around in his shoe, while pursuing the other shoe as it drives off (and without a driver’s license!).

            Like I said earlier, you can unlock mini games and videos by getting points.  (The GameCube gets a few extras.  In your face, PS2 and XBox!  In your face!)  The mini games are fun, and there is a nice, little variety.  There’s a tennis type thing you can play between two Hoodlums called Racket Jump, which I am crap at.  Never beat that even once.  Never will.  There’s also one called Missile Command where you control a rocket thingy to fly through this area.  I can do that one.  Yay.  I recently got good at Commando, which I think was from my practice dodging things with the Moskito in “Rayman Origins”.  In this mini game, you play as Razoff, and you just simply get through three levels and shoot Hoodlums.

            Now the secret videos.  These are videos training Hoodlums on ways to kill Rayman called “Wanna Kick Rayman” (no, thank you).  It involves a Hoodlum and a creature wearing Rayman’s shirt, and said Hoodlum doing something terrible to said creature wearing Rayman’s shirt.  Pretty funny.  Pretty immature at times.  But, pretty funny.  I can’t bring myself to describe any, though.  So immature.

            I wanted to mention two specific secret rooms in the game that have characters from “Rayman 2”.  One is in part 3 of the Longest Shortcut.  Shooting a certain round thing opens a wall, and behind that wall is Ly the fairy.  (No!  Ly’s been turned to stone!  NOOO!  Oh, never mind, it’s just a statue of Ly the fairy.)  And in part 3 of Hoodlum Headquarters, when you first start the area, there is a huge machine to the right.  After a bit of climbing, you can helicopter over to the right side of this machine and find an entryway into another secret room.  In here, you find the dastardly Admiral Razorbeard and his Robopirates (don’t worry, they’re fake or something) arranged to look like “The Last Supper” painting.  These rooms are pretty random, but I think it’s fun to see the characters from the previous game.  Ah, smells like memories.

            Anyway, I still like this game overall, and I can mostly overlook the big problems it has, but it’s a shame it’s lacking much of the charm “Rayman 2” and “Rayman Origins” has.  The game can still be a lot of fun, though, and the points give the game great replay value.  I’ll keep coming back to this game for many years.  And someday, I shall be the greatest “Rayman 3” player.  Ever.

Ducklum Havoc

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