"I have to go. I have an appointment with my psychic."
Rayman returns in Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge, an isometric platformer created by Digital Eclipse, who previously have worked on Spyro isometric platform games. So then, this should be pretty familiar territory for them. However, what could have been fairly enjoyable turns out to be merely average due to poor controls and a scoring system that should have been implemented better.
The game is based on Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, which was released for Xbox, PS2 and GameCube. Rayman 3 tried a completely different system for its gameplay, which was to earn a score for each level, then get stamps based on how well you scored. The more stamps you earned, the more stuff you unlocked. It was also possible for you to get better scores by collecting items or destroying enemies while the combo meter was still up, thus multiplying your points. It was a good system that worked quite well because players were rewarded frequently for their higher scoring.
Hoodlum's Revenge also uses the stamps and combo scoring system, but it doesn't work nearly as well here because there aren't enough rewards to give out. For the entire time that I played (and I completed the whole main game), I was only rewarded with five bonus levels. Whereas with Hoodlum Havoc, you can earn energy meter upgrades to make Rayman stronger, movie clips, and even unlockable bonus games. There's just not enough incentive to keep the player aiming for higher scores in Hoodlum's Revenge.
In addition, there's a frustrating problem with the combo meter, which disappears after a few seconds unless you collect or destroy something to keep it up. If you trigger a story event (like a text box), hit a switch, or save a Teensie from its cage, the combo will disappear during this period, even though you can't move. In other words, a potentially large combo can be lost through no fault of the player, which makes you wonder why to bother to go for a high score in the first place.
The controls for the game are also pretty bad, which is especially annoying when playing an isometric platformer. Misjudge your jump, and you'll completely miss your platform. It doesn't help then, that Rayman moves very slowly and is about as slow during his hover. It makes it very hard to judge a jump. But that's okay, because you can just grab onto the ledge if you miss it, right? Wrong. To grab a ledge, you need to hover towards it, all the while pushing the Control Pad forward towards the ledge, taking about five seconds for the grab to register. This makes trying to get through some timed switch doors frustratingly difficult.
There are also levels where you control Globox instead of Rayman. Globox is a cowardly blue frog-thing, and he gets very drunk when he drinks plum juice. However, the liquid courage allows him to attack enemies, which he normally can't do (he usually runs away in terror instead). It's a nice idea, but sometimes, if you get stuck between two patrolling enemies and you run out of "juice", so to speak, Globox will run back and forth between them for quite a bit, and you'll have to desperately try to steer him away from both foes during this period. In addition, Globox can't fall off edges, which should be good, right? Unfortunately, trying to get Globox through paths that are one square wide is very difficult. Globox must be lined up precisely with the path, or else it will act as though he's hitting a wall - there's absolutely no room for error, which is another problem when you're trying to navigate through the levels quickly.
To its credit, Hoodlum's Revenge has excellent graphics. Most characters are fairly large and detailed, and the levels have enough variety so that although you can see that there are tiled graphics, it doesn't become glaringly obvious. The music for the game is okay, but due to the small number of tracks, it becomes repetitive earlier than it should. Most of the sounds, as well as Rayman's gibberish talk, come from previous Rayman games, and are not annoying.
Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge is a game that could have been great. But due to the glaring control issues and lack of player rewards, it becomes a chore rather than a game, and most players will probably be bored or frustrated if they bother to play it.