Everybody loves Rayman!
There was quite a bit of hype surrounding Rayman Raving Rabbids prior to its release. I had seen a couple of screenshots and the whole idea of the game just appealed to me. Even though I knew I would not get to play this game first on the Wii, for which it was ideally designed, I was still excited at the prospect of playing a fun party game. When I saw the PS2 version hit the shelves in South Africa, I dealt with a lot of opposition from my fellow gaming friends. They were against me buying the PS2 version of this game because they thought that the gaming experience would be better on the Wii, and that playing the PS2 version first might ruin this. Well, for us in South Africa, the reality was and still is that it will be quite a while before Nintendo’s Wii console reaches our sunny shores.
By the way…
Have any of you ever bought a game just because the box looked so cool and the back cover described the kind of game which you would like to play? Most serious gamers will answer no, because gaming is after all a serious subject and games should be researched and reviews read before purchasing a game (at least they might not admit to it, but I am sure that they still do it on the odd occasion). This is true for most cases, but there are a few exceptions, and for me Rayman was one of them. Also bear in mind that I am that lucky sole who gets to research the game and write the review, which you are now reading, to tell you whether or not you should play this game. With this thought in mind and having seen the glorious box, I simply could not hold my anticipation at bay for any longer, so I caved and bought the PS2 version of Rayman Raving Rabbids. As it turned out, I did not regret my decision.
Obsessive and addictive
I invited my friends over for what I was sure would turn out to be a fun-filled evening. Little did I know that it would eventually turn into something more than that, it turned into the wee hours of the next day and, more specifically, it turned some of my mates into obsessive gamers. “Let me just have one more go at this…please…I promise I will beat the record this time…steady now, just hand over the controller, nice and easy!” If you enjoy party games and having a bit of fun with your friends, buy this game because you are guaranteed to enjoy it. Even if you don’t have any friends (or any friends who are willing to play it with you), you can still enjoy it, but more about that later. With all of that being said, Rayman Raving Rabbids is just that, a party game, so if you are expecting anything more from it than that, you will be sorely disappointed. This game is for fun and fun alone. Although from fun competition stems!
The story begins with Rayman having a peaceful picnic with his mates, the baby Globoxes, in tranquil rolling green hills. Danger looms, however, as the rabbids prepare to put into action the plan which they have been hatching for many years. The silence is quickly interrupted when the picnic is invaded from below by an army of rabbids who kidnap and imprison Rayman and his friends. The uncontrollable and completely psychotic rabbids make Rayman and the Globoxes their slaves and Rayman must now endure a series of trials to amuse the rabbids. It is now up to players to win the trials and free Rayman.
There are three modes in this game. Story mode is the first level in which players will play solo (but the game also works nicely if you pass the controller around between friends and take turns in these different tasks) and live out Rayman’s adventure. Players must play this mode should they wish to unlock new games in score mode. In score mode players can access games which they have unlocked in story mode. It is possible to play this score mode solo or with up to four players. Two players can play against each other or cooperatively. This mode also incorporates a turn by turn mode, where each player plays his own turn or players can play simultaneously on the same screen. There are some games which can only be played with one or two players though, so just check to make sure before you select. Bonus mode will allow players to access bonuses, including hilarious videos and nice artwork, which they have obtained in score mode. Every time a player’s score is beaten in score mode, it will save automatically. Players can then use the internet code which they receive at the end of the game and enter it on scored attack mode to compare scores globally.
Rayman, the Gladiator
Picture the scene, Rayman is thrown into a bare, cold floored cement cell with a leaky toilet and an iron cabinet. Closely guarded by Kong Bunny, each morning he is marched into an enormous arena where he must fight in qualification tasks to entertain the hostile crowd of rabbids and then return forlorn and exhausted to his cell. He walks into an arena brimming to capacity with rabbids, all of whom are screaming maniacally for him, rooting for him to lose. Players are now faced with a set of four qualification tasks, each behind four different doors. Players must win at least three of these four tasks to unlock the fifth and final task for the day. Upon completing this final task, Rayman will be thrown back into his prison cell, being awarded for his survival with only a plunger. The rabbids want Rayman to fail, so don’t be surprised if you are met with ‘boos’ and foul language when Rayman emerges triumphantly like a gladiator from the final task.
Rayman vs rabbids gone mad
So, let me tell you a bit of what you can expect from the tasks. Rayman has become the rabbid’s toy. Each morning, as you know, he is thrown into the arena to compete in the tasks. After you walk into a lit doorway, behind which looms a task, a game page will display the games objectives and the commands. Obviously as you progress in the game, the levels will become more difficult, but the learning curve is pretty quick. Players can look forward to performing over 70 quirky mini-games, including milking pigs, throwing cows, and making the rabbids dance in rhythm. Nowhere in the game does it mention that no animals were harmed in the making of this game, but I would like to think that they were not.
There are basically four main areas which players will compete in: bunny hunt; sports; challenges; and shake your booty. Each one of these areas will be in each day’s challenges, but will get progressively harder as the days roll by. They will also be the categories from which players can choose in the score mode.
Prepare to draw your weapons and engage in plunger-shooting action madness in bunny hunt. Players will navigate their way through various sets including ‘Bunnies think they’re in a movie,’ ‘Bunnies don’t like being disturbed at night,’ ‘Bunnies don’t rest in peace,’ and ‘Bunnies helped tame the Wild West.’ Each of these games have awesomely designed sets and you will constantly be on the look out for rabbids, coming at you from every which direction. Be prepared for cunning though, as they attempt to disguise themselves as holiday makers or hula girls. Armed with spatulas, plunger guns and even rocket launches from airships, they will do everything in their power to thwart you in your mission to rescue the baby Globox. If you remember one thing, let it be this: the rabbids are everywhere and it is their wild wackiness which makes them both formidable and unpredictable rivals.
Race warthogs to outrun and outsmart the rabbids in the sports challenges or ride bats to collect pigs and return them to their hock within the allocated time. Participate in the addictive ‘Bunnies can’t play soccer’ or the way out ‘Bunnies don’t use toothpaste.’ In the score mode, players can choose between ‘get going,’ ‘precision’ or ‘skill.’ Look out for ‘Bunnies never close doors’ and ‘Bunnies can’t jump,’ to mention but a few.
In shake your booty players will participate in many dances,including ‘Bunnies love disco dancing’ and players will soon be tapping their toes to the rhythm of ‘Girls just want to have fun’ and Sergio Mendes. The challenges category within the score mode will pit players against each other, where the player who achieves the best score in three tests will win.
More about the rabbids
Each rabbid has his or her own set of characteristics, but they share a few common qualities, that is they are all completely crazy, mischievous and out of control. With that being said, Super Rabbid was a definite favourite of mine. More of a Clark Kent than a Superman, he comes complete with a Superman costume and a Superman hair curl on his forehead. Also watch out for Stealth Bunny, who wears a Splinter Cell like binocular headset, Indi-Bunny who will outsmart you with his arrows, Bunny Maid whose weapon of choice is a feather duster, Swimming Bunny who comes complete with goggles and flippers and the Bunninator whose weapons of choice are automatic. Another favourite of mine were the formidable Frog-Rabbids who, being part of an elite commando team, are sent on missions including assaults on carrot juice bars and maintaining the peace in front of the toilets.
Players will also meet Professor Barranco, a scientist writing a thesis on thermodynamics and the resistance of certain materials. You will identify him as the rabbid with a bandage on his head as he is accumulating data on the resistance of cranial bones to the impact of bludgeon and their resistance to high temperatures generated by the explosion of booby-trapped gifts. Trust me, you have to play this game to experience the zaniness and craziness which is Rayman Raving Rabbids.
Crafty plots and reminiscing on the toilet
Once Rayman is finished with the day’s tasks he will return to his cell, which as time goes by becomes his home. The more tasks Rayman completes, the more upbeat his cell becomes. Players will unlock items as they progress, so soon he can access a juke box in his cell, try out different costumes in his wardrobe and even acquire furniture as the rabbids begin to admire his gusto. Players will notice these cunning changes to the cell and giggle as Rayman progresses, both in the game and in his comfort in his cell, and more importantly they will share in the triumph of his wins and share in his crafty plot to escape from his prison. Players can amuse themselves in the cell by customising their Rayman in a variety of costumes ranging from Dee-Jay to Gangsta to Disco and even Gothic or Granny, or start the ol’ juke box up to listen to the music which they have unlocked.
Should players wish to review the day’s event, simply aim Rayman in the direction of the toilet. Players can access all of the games which they have completed and can replay or try a game that they did not complete successfully while Rayman sits reminiscing on the loo. Should you win all five games for each day Rayman’s stay will be made more comfortable and don’t be surprised to see a four-poster bed and lavish rug soon make its way into his cell. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on giving away all of the secrets, you are just going to have to play the game yourself to find out! When you have made Rayman look sufficiently cool, simply bang on the cell door and Kong Bunny will fetch you to perform more tasks. The game will save automatically when Rayman returns to his cell after the end of a day, you will see a rabbid eating binary in the top left hand corner of the screen which will denote saving.
Everybody loves Rayman…eventually
Another thing you will notice in story mode is that the rabbids will soon start leaving the stands, bored by your success. Soon the loud ‘boos’ will be replaced by louder yawns and a spattering of ill-placed claps. However, when Rayman reaches a certain level you will begin to notice the stands filling up again, the fans will begin to chant Rayman’s name and later even signs proclaiming ‘We love Rayman’ will appear in the crowd. Again, I won’t give away the plot, but it’s safe to say that it becomes amusing, very amusing and King Bunny soon stands to attention for you, as you walk up your red carpet to fireworks and fanfair.
Rayman Raving Rabbids is a game filled to capacity with zany mini-games. This review has a lot of information crammed into it because of this, but if you like the sound of its craziness and unique game play try it out for yourself, it is fun and it is guaranteed not to let you down. To those Wii owners out there, give it a try too, I know I will definitely play it again when I get my Wii.
Pros: Appeals to gamers of all ages; quirky and fun; quick learning curve; great multiplayer; terrific party game; hypnotic and short loading screens.
Cons: Replayability factor; few glitches in the game; controls are not always intuitive.