Sometimes, to know where you are going, you have to know where you’ve been. Rayman 3 HD was originally known as Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc and was released back in 2003. This title is a straight HD remake of Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc and few things have changed from the original to the update. However, Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is the most contemporary version of Rayman we have outside of Rayman Origins, and it still manages to hold on to its charm nine years later. Everything isn’t necessarily perfect, but it is worth the nostalgia kick if nothing else.
Rayman 3 is an old-school 3D platformer, which was the genre of choice back in 2003. The problem with this genre, and what probably caused it to go extinct, was the camera angles. Developers just didn’t have the control scheme or the technology to have a camera follow a character properly. Every room you were platforming in was box-shaped, and your goal was always to get from the bottom to the top. Every time you had to jump around a corner or you got close to a ceiling, the camera began to freak out. Unfortunately, Rayman 3 HD is no different because it is a direct port of the original game. Sure, everything looks great, but it brought all of the original problems into a new package. In this version, the camera constantly gets stuck behind walls, taking away from your view of the level. Then you have to take a leap of faith and hope you didn’t just jump to your demise.
On the positive side, this game looks great. All the textures, animations and models have been updated, and the game runs at a silky-smooth 60 frames per second. Unfortunately, the cut-scenes are still in their original form, but that seems to be par for the course. The animations are particularly noticeable, especially the hover ability, since they look completely different from the original in a good way. Making a triumphant return is the power-up system where Rayman will jump onto a can and change his outfits and abilities simultaneously. These outfits not only help Rayman battle enemies but are needed to solve puzzles. As you reach the later levels, the difficultly is increased by shortening the amount of time you have with each costume. Your patience and skill will be put to the test if you want to achieve a 100% rank on every level you play.
Another positive aspect of this game is the high score system. Getting a 100% rank is very difficult and is a good representation of the style of the video gaming era from which this title came. They certainly don’t make games like this anymore, so older gamers will appreciate the old-school difficulty. However, if you take the time to ace every level, you will unlock a series of mini-games which are lots of fun in their own right. Unfortunately, these mini-games weren’t given the HD treatment that the rest of the game got, which ultimately takes away from the new experience.
So is Rayman 3 HD a good game? Well, this game is going to deliver a different experience from person to person. It’s still a game from 2003 no matter which way you slice it, and you have to accept the total package for better or worse. On the one hand, you have a great game that looks even better – the frame rate is smooth, the environments are beautiful, and the humor is intact. Unfortunately, there are control and camera issues, and sections of the game that were not given the HD treatment, and this can frustrate the modern gamer. However, if you can look past the faults, you will be treated to a unique experience from a long lost chapter in video gaming history.
This review is based on a review copy of the PSN verison of Rayman 3 HD by Ubisoft