When I first saw that Rayman 3 was coming to XBLA in HD form, was I a little confused simply because Rayman 2 is generally regarded as the best of the original Rayman games (Rayman Origins easily holds the crown for best Rayman ever though), then I remembered that Rayman 2 has basically been ported numerous times to many different platforms. Having Rayman 3 HD-ified makes sense since the original hasnt been released ever since its actual launch back in 2003. Rayman 3 from my memory was drastically different from 2, as it was filled with more wackiness and combat where Rayman 2 was much simpler and more about the platforming aspect. Either way, here we are almost ten years later, and I almost forgot about how obnoxious Murfy was until I started playing Rayman 3 HD.
Red Lums are usually friendly, but it turns out the leader of the black Lums, Andre, is starting to turn other red Lums into black ones for his own nefarious reasons. Eventually the gang of black Lums steals enough hair from the animals in the land to dress up as Hoodlums (get the title pun now?). Murfy witnesses this and tries to escape from the pursuing evil Lums that are after him, but he ends up crashing into Rayman and Globox napping in a tree. Globox tries to wake Rayman up but proceeds to remove Raymans hands (that arent attached to his body remember) as he runs away to save himself. When Andre catches up to the duo, somehow Globox ends up accidentally swallowing Andre and thus begins Raymans quest, to save Globox with an evil black Lum trapped inside him and prevent Adre from amassing a hoodlum army. The ensuing dialogue that Globox and Andre have (from within his stomach) is quite funny and almost the highlight of the games humor.
So whats new in the HD version of this classic platformer? Well, as you can guess by the title, the major improvement has been the graphics, specifically the textures. Running at a higher and smoother framerate, the game looks much better than it did almost a decade ago. While the textures look much better and crisper, it seems the geometry and polygons itself have remained mostly untouched, leaving an odd looking game that looks great, yet dated at the same time. If youve already played Rayman 3, it should be noted that the cutscenes also cannot be skipped and youll need to watch through them all.
Rayman is able to charge his attacks for a more powerful hit (by winding up his fists like a windmill). As you progress through the game youll find different suits which will bestow new powers and abilities to Rayman for a limited time. Some will make you strong enough to punch through wooden doors, others make your attacks whirlwinds, and another even grants you a missile that you can control. These powerups are presented in the form of tin cans and play a large role in each stages puzzles.
There is a scoring and combo system in place and youll need to bring some serious A-game if you think youre going to be able to get 100% in each level. Its not just enough finding all the hidden gems, but you need to do it quickly so that your combo meter stays up if you want the maximum achievable score. Scoring high eventually nets you extra bonus levels (mini games) so that you have an actual reason to care and spend time searching for all the hidden goodies. These bonus levels come in completely random styles and I wonder why they are even there in the first place. One has you playing Tennis with Hoodlums and their shields, theres a first person shooter bonus level, and even a whack-a-mole-like stage that has you squishing frogs. They wont add any more game time overall, as none were generally that interesting, or fun. The odd in between stages also return that has Rayman surfing on what looks to be a Rainbow Road like stage to try and get to the end, but the camera angle makes it near impossible to see where youre supposed to land.
While the graphics may now be in HD, it seems like the rest of the game has largely gone untouched. The biggest problem with the game back in 2003 was the camera and controls, and it seems those issues werent addressed in any way. The camera is something youll constantly be struggling against, as itll always try and obscure your view or give you an unusable angle when youre trying to jump across areas. It wouldnt be that bad if you had full control over the camera at all times, but sometimes it just wont relinquish control to give you the angle you want, or itll be horrendously slow to fix itself.
The other big issue was with the audio levels of certain spoken dialogue in the game. Sometimes out of nowhere, you wont be able to hear what some of the characters are saying, forcing you to not only max the spoken dialogue in options, but also force you to use subtitles if you want to know whats being said. Oddly enough, sometimes a few of the lines arent even subtitled, so you better hope the audio is working at those points. As for the rest of the audio, the soundtrack and spoken dialogue is great and still holds up after all this time.
Rayman 3 HD is an old classic platformer, and it plays like one, as it shows its age. The textures are much cleaner and the game plays smoothly, but the game feels rooted and dated. Rayman 3 HD is a good game for the asking price of 800 Microsoft Points, but dont expect a complete redo of this once great game. While it is a good game for its time, Id highly suggest Rayman Origins over Rayman 3 HD if youre looking for your platforming fix, as the camera in this is a constant battle.
Suggestions: Please don't HD something just to do it. Fans of the originals will be sorely dissapointed if issues like these aren't even fixed.