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March 14, 2014

Rayman: Hoodlum's Revenge (Part 2)

Part 1 can be read here. I strongly suggest you do so.

Okay, I'm back for the second part of this review. What is it again? Rayman: Hoodlums' Revenge? NOOOOOOO-

...I think you get the point.

The last time, the review ended as Rayman and Globox got back together. They had been separated at the beginning of the game, as Globox had wandered off after a bad dream related to Andre the Black Lum. So, basically, Globox got easily captured, in a matter of minutes. He cannot jump, he will run away from enemies, and the only way he can attack back is by drinking from prune juice barrels.

He never ceases to impress me... BY HIS AWFULNESS! What a goddamn idiot!

Because THIS looks like a smart guy, right?

Okay, maybe I should continue the story instead of complaining like this...

So, after Rayman and Globox joined, they came to an easy conclusion; something's wrong in their little fairy world again, and thus they need to do something. No, you think? However, they are stopped in their tracks by the evil witch Begoniax... but they quickly dispose of her. Next is Hoodlum Moor.

They're like Asterix and Obelix. ....If Asterix has no limbs
and if Obelix was even more of a moron. And a coward.
You want to know my main issues with this game? First the fact that Globox is a useless coward... Now, here are two more things I want to address. First off, I keep pointing out that Raymand and Globox now form a team. Neither can go forward without the other. Why is that, exactly? Because each one of them has his portion of the level, and each one needs to find switches and pressure pads to use in order to open doors... on the other character's portion of the level. As a result, you switch back and forth between Rayman and Globox, between action parts with battling monsters and sailing seas, and... sneaking around enemies that will make the fat idiot run away if he's too close. And you know that you have to use him in order to progress. You switch with the Select button. Hope you enjoy the rest of the game, BECAUSE IT'S THAT WAY FOR A WHILE. Okay, you control Rayman alone for the boss battles, and also in the bonus levels you unlock by getting enough Murphy Stamps... But still, forcing players to control Globox is one of the worst decisions in this game.

Issue number 2: The levels take freaking forever. Like I just said, many levels from that point on combine an action-oriented section and a puzzle-oriented section. Add to this that you must constantly switch back and forth, and the levels become very, very long. Seriously, it's not normal if every level takes seven to ten minutes to complete! Look, I know it's a good idea on paper, but the execution is really awful. How can you even want to replay those levels later if they take so long? By the end, you just want to finish them, be done with it, and never play them again. I'm just glad this issue is solved after three or four levels...

What's the point in fighting this fire monster? It has never
been referenced before nor after this damn level!
Now that I've expressed those main points of criticism, let's proceed with the story. The pals move on to Land of the Living Dead (Don't you love such names? In a fairy world, no less? Makes you want to spend your vacation there...). It's a place covered in lava. After this, they travel to a land with Menhirs of Power, where, big surprise! Globox gets trapped AGAIN. For that level, Rayman has to find Globox AND collect Runes to power up some menhirs. Oh yeah, as if the goddamn levels weren't already long enough! After this LONG level, they reach the Pit of Endless Fire (another welcoming name, huh? Call it Hell, that will save us some time!). This Pit is the house of a giant fire monster. Rayman can hurt it without power-ups, though. That's good news. After this fire creature is defeated, Rayman returns to Globox and realizes that the big guy is weirder than before... because of Andre's soul within him!


Now, Andre the Dark Lum has taken over Globox's body, controlling him entirely. A part of me applauds this idea, as I believe this to be a relief. No more having to play as Globox! I love this! Sure, it's sad for Globox, and it's sad for Rayman, but I'm just glad we got rid of the sucker! Anyway, Globox-Andre runs away, with Rayman swearing that he'll save his buddy. The Black Lum, however, has a plan that involves finding the Heart of the World.

Not pictured: The actual "Clouds of Peril" level. Pictured:
Rayman and the most annoying enemy ever made for a
game. Also not pictured: My groans of disapprobation.
And thus, Rayman gets to the next level, Clouds of Peril. God, I hate this level. Rayman is alone, but... Damn. Okay, here's another thing I hate in this game: THE FLYING ENEMIES! Look, Rayman can jump and float with his helicopter hair, but when he has to attack flying enemies, HE SUCKS. And good Lord, the helicopter enemies in this level are a pain in the ASS. Yes, I swore, and I've even put it in capital letters. They're everywhere, they're hard to hit (because they keep going high and low as they fly), and they are also shooting every once in a while. Then there's also the bombers who keep bombarding you, and the knights who take a ton of punches before dying... And then there's the pits, and the large gaps that make it easy to fall off... Seriously, this level represents everything that is wrong with the non-Globox parts of the game. This is an achievement in sucking! Still, once this is done, Rayman moves on to the level titled Heart of the World.

The Heart of the World was populated by Teensies, but now it's covered with Hoodlums in armor. The goddamn knights. The ones I mentioned in the preceding paragraph? Yeah. Those. Also, this level is, again, freaking long. Luckily, it's the second-to... last... one...

HURRAY! This was the second-to-last regular level! And the next one is clearly a boss level! It's titled Reflux's Lair. Oh... Crud.
Wow, Reflux is really creepy...

Reflux, the almighty warrior, has been cloned back to life! And it seems that Andre has left Globox and entered the new Reflux instead! This is the final battle, folks! Reflux keeps going around a small field where he can access barrels of prune juice. Each time he gulps from one of those he becomes invincible and can shoot freaking energy balls! Rayman has luck on his side, though; he, too, can access a power-up to make him much stronger and able to attack Reflux. Except, Reflux can only be hit when he isn't glowing purple from the prune juice. Just great. In other words, as soon as Reflux stops shining in purple, Rayman has to hurry and hit him.

Anyway, the fight is hard on first sight, but once you get the hang of it, it's really easy, actually. A disappointing boss fight. So, after Reflux has been destroyed, for good this time, Andre's soul is finally expelled from Globox once and for all, and Rayman and his fat friend leave together back to the fairy kingdom. Hopefully living happily ever for a long while, until the next nightmare creature comes around. Globox will probably go back to his wife and his children, because he has a wife and children... Anyway...

A disappointing final boss fight, a disappointing ending, FOR A DISAPPOINTING GAME.

Also, Rayman does some flying that is kind of annoying.
Seriously, I love the Rayman series. It's creative. There's a lot of interesting ideas in these games. But this... This sucks. I'm sorry, it just plain SUCKS. The story? Simple, Globox is a dumbass, he wanders off while an evil being is still within him and he gets captured by Hoodlums. No villain attack, nothing such! He gets captured all by himself. Rayman goes to save him while Globox finds his way out of his own prison. At the same time, Rayman learns that Reflux is being cloned. He and Globox team up for the next few levels until Andre finally takes over Globox's body, leaving Rayman alone again. Good riddance! Up until the end, where Reflux is cloned and Andre possesses him, leaving Rayman to fight him.

As an example, I didn't even know who Reflux
Let me remind you that the story is triggered after Globox runs off. Maybe it was Andre controlling him. We can't tell, because the game isn't clear about this. This story makes no sense at all, there's too little information to understand what's going on. As if that was not enough, it is too closely related to the plot of Rayman 3, and as a result any newcomer to the series will not understand everything that is going on unless they do some friggin' research. Which I had to do. That's not a good sign when you need to search for information if you want to understand a game's plot!

Again, looks like we got a genius
here. Gosh, will I stop being so
sarcastic about him?
After the story, the characters. Rayman, as usual, barely gets any character development. That's been a major point of criticism towards him in most of the series. Also, though his attacks can be strong (thanks to power-ups), usually he has to get in range to an enemy to attack. That's not really practical. Then, GLOBOX. Seriously, the biggest problem in the game. The worst character in the whole game. He's dumb, he's a coward, he always says stupid things. He cannot jump, he cannot run – unless he's running away from an enemy – and he's a pain to play with. His parts are more puzzle-oriented, but in the end, it's less "puzzles" and more "stealth". Still, him RUNNING AWAY is the most pitiful thing I had to watch in a video game so far, and I don't mean that in a good way. Seriously, fuck this Globox.

Yes, I just used the F-word to talk about him.

Also, the bosses are quite lame. None is really that difficult to defeat, and some of the choices are just odd. First a dark energy factory, then Begoniax (who had nothing to do with this story originally!), then a fire golem (with no relation to the story), and then a Reflux clone with Andre's soul. The last one had potential, but it got screwed by the gameplay and the bad decisions. Also, out of FOUR bosses, only TWO have actual plot relevance: The Infernal Machine and Reflux. Begoniax and the fire golem? Filler. Goddamn filler. We don't even get an in-game explanation about Begoniax, what she is and why she wants to get rid of the heroes!

Now, the gameplay: I can accept the fact that the game tries to combine action-adventure and puzzle. It makes for an interesting playthrough. There's only a few problems that come with this. First, the levels are too long. Second, you constantly have to switch between Rayman and Globox, and it's really annoying. Third, the game is made in isometric view, which messes with your perception of distances and heights. In other words, you might head with Rayman to a platform which you think is accessible, because it seems .like the right height; however, Rayman will reach the platform and fall because it was located too high, and the goddamn isometric view played with your vision. Seriously, this is awful. Fourth, again in the levels, many enemies are hard to defeat, are certain to attack you, or are so good at evading you that you'll take a minute defeating them. Screw those helicopter Hoodlums. Fifth, whenever Globox runs away because of an enemy, you cannot control him. As long as there's an enemy too close, he'll keep running. If he gets caught between two enemies, you can waste a few minutes waiting for the sucker to finally get out of the villains' sight. That's five problems with the gameplay alone. FIVE!

Not pictured: Annoying music!
Next, the graphics and the music. The graphics aren't half bad, I'd even say they look very nice. For a 3D game on the Game Boy Advance, that's very good. In a way, it's kind of sad that pretty graphics like these were wasted on such a bad game... As for the music, it's good at first, but there's only a few songs in the game, and they get repeated for many levels. As a result, you'll probably get tired of hearing them after a while. The worst offender is the game's main theme, which you hear when you boot up the game, when you watch cutscenes, when the game is paused and when you're going around the levels map.

The controls are “simple”. The directional pad to move, A to jump, B to attack and to flip levers. You switch between Rayman and Globox with Select. You can press L so that either character will crouch and look around, which is vital if you want to see where the Hell is the closest platform for Rayman. Finally, you use R to aim at an enemy when you're going to attack, which is kind of useless. The Start screen will show a map of the level, for all the regular levels, which means you don't get the map for the boss fights and the unlockable levels.

Talking about those, there's still a few good ideas: Not seeing the level map adds more challenge to those levels, and their inclusion is very good, as long as you can actually finish them. They're harder than the regular levels. Some are very difficult to unlock, too. For some, you must get a number of Murphy Stamps, for one you must save all Teensies in the game, and for the last one... you must find every single Lum in the entire freaking game. Imagine that. Though yeah, this was actually a good idea.

Too bad almost everything else in this game sucks! Sorry, Rayman is a fun series, but a game like this just cannot be saved. It has too many flaws, in design, in plot, in characters. Too many bad choices were made by the developers. This is the most disappointing game I've played, because it had potential to be good. It wasted all of it on very bad ideas.

One word describes this game: Awful. And although you “can” have fun with it, I don't guarantee you'll ever want to touch it again once you've completed the Story Mode. This game is ranked up there with Castle of Shikigami III and Garfield: the Search For Pooky as one of the worst games I've ever played.

I prefer any Raving Rabbid game over this piece of crap, that's saying a lot!

Okay, well... Tune in next week for another review. It can't be worse than this, right? ...Right? ...RIGHT?