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Among all the Rayman games, I believe Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is the best Ubisoft has made so far.
My story with this game is a complex one: When I first got it, it was the first game I’ve seen which consisted of three discs to play it: disk one for the setup, disk two for the first half of the game and disk 3 for the second half.
And like many Playstation games who were written on multiple disks, the feeling of changing disk half way through the game gives Rayman 3 that feeling that other games can’t give.
But apart from the disks, I’ve played this game for a very long time on my old Windows XP Laptop. Then when I’ve switched over to my current Windows 7 Laptop I had a few problems with it, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed by messing with the system parameters.
That was all fine and good, until one day it didn’t boot up anymore. I tried for months (probably over one year too) to make it work, uninstalling and reinstalling it but with no luck. I even tried running it into a virtual machine but with poor results.
Suddently one day, after I did a system recovery, it worked again. I quiclky realized I had to record the Let’s Play before it stopped working again and so I did.
The story differs from the previous title. No more evil robots who took over the world, but evil black lums who form an army of soldiers and want to take over the world. Well maybe they’re not so different.
The difference might be mainly in the athmosphere: Rayman 2 was a pretty dark and creepy game, Rayman 3 is more colorful, happy and joyous even if you have to deal with the forces of evil. The evil black lums called the “Hoodlums” come in all shapes and sizes, from the basic soldiers to the flying little pests, to wizards, to bulky fat shielded guys and so much more.
In my opinion, the Hoodlums in Rayman 3 are very interesting as villians. While in Rayman 2 the enemies mostly popped up from the ground out of nowhere, in here you can approach an enemy settlement and seeing the enemies minding their own business: one is carrying crates around, another is keeping watch, another one is getting drunk and another two might be playing cards with eachother. It’s only when you disrupt this peace that they grab their weapons and fight you head on.
In any case, in this game Rayman’s goal is to traverse the world in search of a doctor to heal his best buddy Globox which, incredibly enough, has accidentally swallowed the boss of the hoodlums: André. Globox follows Rayman pretty much the whole game, and his funny jokes (as well as André responses from inside Globox) contribute to the fun athmosphere of the game and lighten the mood.
However it’s not all fun and games. When you start disk 3, things start to get real. Here you reach the Desert of the Knaarens, with the Knaarens being some powerful creatures living in underground tunnels. Up until that point you’ve been going through happy colored fields and woods but when the Knaarens appear, they chase you down relentlessly while saying they’re going to spit in your eyes, tear off your flesh and eat you alive. I’ve gotta admit, that scared the hell out of me when I was a kid and played this game. No kidding.
In terms of gameplay, Rayman 3 focuses a lot more on battles then its predecessor. There are a lot of battles with many of enemies each of with has their own way to fight. Rayman doesn’t even have unlimited shots like in the previous game, but he’s now physically throwing his hands at the enemy so he can’t lay a costant barrage of hits, he must wait a little that his hands come back after hitting the target.
Don’t get me wrong though, you can still mash the “fire” button to damage enemies but you must put a little more thought into it. Most enemies infact, will deflect straight shots so you have to fire while strafing to curve your shot and hit them from the side (which I think is a neat concept).
Rayman also gets some powers to help him during his fight, as well as helping him to proceed thorugh the area. These powerups are aquired by touching colored cans (often dropped by enemies). Most of the five powers he gets have more uses than the intended one. Here’s the lowdown:
- Green powerup: shoot tornadoes that screw in mushroom-like platforms but also shrink enemies making them defensless.
- Red powerup: makes your shots stronger, can break down doors, remove armor from some enemies, instakills the spinning black enemy at full force.
- Blue powerup: shoot a claw with which you can swing from hooks and zap enemies dealing very quick damage
- Orange powerup: shoots a remote controlled missile. Instakills any enemy but can also be used to trigger far away switches.
- Yellow powerup: Rayman’s elicopter now lifts him up in the air instead of just slowing his fall.
Powerups are limited and can only be used for a short period of time after obtaining one (but the source never disappears so they can be refreshed) and they also have the special proprety of doubling all points Rayman makes.
That’s right, because in Rayman 3 you can make points. I’ve heard people complain about this mechanic since it has nothing to do with the story, but I believe it’s a nice feature.
Basically, almost everything you do earns you points. Finding gems, killing enemies, activating swicthes and breaking stuff, all give you some points. And as long as you continue to make points, you enter a “Combo” mode which grants you even more points.
For example, collecting two yellow gems gives you 10 point each for a total of 20 points. If collected in rapid succession, the second gem will be worth 10+10 points for a total of 30. With an active powerup, the total would be doubled again for a gran total of 60 points.
Points don’t actually do anything (except unlocking minigames) but they add the challenge for players who want to get the highest score possible as to do that, you need to play in such a way that you’re always making points to keep the Combo mode active. And trust me on this, it’s challenging.
Oh yeah, I should point out that getting damaged makes you lose 1 point which pushes the perfectionists even further.
Speaking of challenges, there’s a couple things for 100% completionists out there too. Apart from many well hidden secret areas scattered thorughout the game worlds (which also contain a boatload of points) there are other hidden “collectibles” to find. One is the Tribelle, a sleeping butterfly-like thing which you can hear when you’re getting close to it. If you touch it by walking slowly, it nets you 250 points; but if you approach it too fast it disappears forever. The other one is the Matuvu: it’s a blue chameleon-like creature who whistles when you’re close by. Unlike the Tribelle, it can’t disappear and to find it, you must look around for it in first person view.
All of this being said, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is one of those games I can never get tired of even if I’ve lost count of how many times I played it thorugh. The graphics are great (we’re talking PS2 graphics as this exact game was also released on the PS2), the gameplay is fluid and easy to manage and the points system pushes me to the limit every time I play to make my very best. If you’re a Rayman fan, this game is a “must play”.
Let’s Play’s stats:
-First episode aired on: Apr 7, 2018
-Last episode aired on: Aug 9, 2018
-Number of episodes: 33
-Total time of Let’s Play: 6 hours and 8 minutes