We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.

North America

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc

by Michael Cole - March 18, 2003, 2:15 am EST


“The hoodlums get bored on Sundays. So they dream up stupid games.”

Rayman is one of those long-lasting franchises that appeals to a certain breed of gamer—in this case, the platformer nut. Ubi Soft’s mascot was once quite popular in Europe and has graced numerous platforms over the years. Since I’m a huge fan of Rayman 2: The Great Escape (Dreamcast edition) and its GBC sibling, I made sure to grab the latest in the series upon release. However, while Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is an enjoyable romp with some interesting surprises, it isn’t quite the extraordinary experience Rayman fans had anticipated.

For those unfamiliar with the Rayman, he is a limbless hero of unknown origin that lives in a kooky, cartoon-like world with fairies, witches and life-giving insects known as lums. His trademark moves include his hair helicopter, which slows his airborne decent and his long-range punches. Other returning characters include the simpleton sidekick, Globox, Murfy the instructional fly, and the wise but weird Teensies. Rayman 3’s story starts with a bang when André, lord of the evil dark lums, accidentally flies down Globox’s throat in a frantic rush to destroy the world. Rayman and Globox then set off to rid the world of the tainted lums—especially the one stuck in Globox’s tummy. The dark lums have a few tricks up their sleeves, though, and have assumed the shape of gun-wielding maniacs…

Like the last generation’s installment, Rayman 3 is chock full of personality—something that cannot be ignored. Its presentation clearly shows that Ubi Soft’s team wasn’t afraid to express itself in the face of popular trends. The result is something not unlike a European comic book: quirky characters, bizarre situations, and over-the-top animations crisply define Rayman’s world. A critical hit will even prompt various exclamations (such as “LEIU!!!!” and “GRAA!!!”) to appear.

Audio also contributes a great deal to Rayman 3’s irresistible character. Presented in Pro Logic II, the rich and varied music accompanies each level and responds well to changing situations. Some songs stand out more than others, but they're of high quality overall. The biggest surprise of the whole game is its dialogue. Whereas Rayman 2 relied on charming gibberish with subtitles, Rayman 3 has voice acting...and a lot of it. But even more astonishing is how good it is! Featuring the vocal talents of Billy West (Futurama’s Fry) and John Leguizamo (Super Mario Bros’s Luigi, Moulin Rouge) among others, it’s not hard to see why. Used throughout the game, the dialog is (usually) convincing and amusing—it even includes traces of sexual innuendo. The voices complement the game’s attitude well, but admittedly their frequency might annoy some. Fortunately this problem can be solved. Although the dialog volume is adjustable, Rayman 3 offers a much more enjoyable solution: foreign languages. At boot-up the game presents a choice of languages: German, French, English Spanish or Italian. This choice alters both the text and dialog, which also means you won’t comprehend any aural or visual tips (unless you know that language, of course). The voice acting is excellent in every language, and the German and French tracks in particular are highly recommended.

Rayman 3 plays in a similar fashion to Rayman 2 with a heavier emphasis on its updated combat system and power-ups. It still has plenty of linear platforming elements: Players must place jumps, hit switches, and swing on grappling hooks to stop the dark lums. However, battles are more frequent and varied, often relying on Rayman’s new moves and power-ups, including the ability to curve his punches. That’s not to say these battles aren’t fun, but they take up a large portion of the game, where as run-and-jump mechanics have always been Rayman’s staple. Rayman 3 also hosts other entertaining styles of play, such as sliding down slopes or manning pirate ship cannons. The controls are intuitive and responsive for the most part, but Rayman has some trouble turning sharply.

However, despite its enjoyable main game, Rayman 3 has some serious issues. Firstly, it is much easier than Rayman 2. Rayman’s difficulty is part of what makes the series so special, and to see the tradition broken is a big disappointment. This issue is compounded by its moderate length. Many of the ideas brought up in the game could have been elaborated upon; it’s as though large chunks of the game were abandoned to get the product to retailers. The result is a game of Luigi’s Mansion length, hence the $40 price tag. Admittedly, the game does have some lastability, though, as players can revisit old levels to improve their score, which unlocks simple arcade-style games and hilarious bonus videos. Most mini-games are only for a single player and are almost worthless, except for some of the GBA connectivity features, which can be mildly entertaining. Also worth mentioning are the highly compressed full motion videos, most of which could have likely been presented using the game engine. In addition to this, the audio in the opening video contains an unacceptable amount of clipping and distortion.

Rayman 3 is an amusing caper, but not an epic adventure like Rayman 2. Rayman 3 has some very strong qualities, but its brevity just cannot be ignored. So although the production standards of the game may be impressive, a purchase isn’t recommended, even at its lower price point.


Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8.5 9 8.5 8 5 8

The game’s vivid and creative graphics make up for the limited polygon count as dictated by the PS2 edition. Excellent draw-distance and detailed animations make Rayman 3 a joy to watch during gameplay. However, the FMVs are highly compressed on the GameCube and could have been done with real-time models without any trouble.


The songs, whether ambient or melodic, fit the locales nicely, though nothing captured my imagination quite like Rayman 2’s main theme. Voice acting is also of high caliber in all languages, as is the script itself.


Attempting a 180 degree turn on a small platform can be tedious and the camera is a little stubborn at times, but usually, players won’t be fighting the controls.


While what is presented is polished, the game often keeps the improved combat system in the forefront, neglecting many of the other ideas introduced. At times, the game simply feels like a collection of demos.


The game itself is on the short side, and its unexpected lack of challenge makes things all the worse. Trying for higher scores will provide lastability for some, as doing so can unlock bonus games and footage, but its point system is less tangible and more repetitive than Rayman 2’s lum-collecting and won’t hold gamers’ attentions nearly as well.


Rayman 3 does a lot right, and it is a shame the game isn’t longer. This is one to put on that growing list of games to rent during the next Nintendo dry spell.


  • Excellent voice acting and dialogue in multiple languages
  • GC-GBA link-up
  • Hilarious “Wanna Kick Rayman” VHS/DVD “commercials”
  • Refined and varied gameplay
  • Responsive, well-mapped controls
  • Dull bonus games
  • Low difficulty
  • Somewhat short
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Share + Bookmark

Genre Action
Developer Ubisoft
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
Release Mar 02, 2003
eu: Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
Release Feb 21, 2003
Got a news tip? Send it in!