|System: X360, Wii, PS2, PC, DS, GBA||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: April 24, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Matthew Walker
Rayman has been a popular character for a few years now. For Ubisoft, he has become the flagship character much like Crash Bandicoot was for Naughty Dawg a few years back with one exception. Instead of littering the market with sequel after sequel, Ubisoft has limited the amount of titles featuring Rayman. This has undoubtedly ensured the success of each game among fans. The fourth installment into the Rayman series has already appeared on other systems and there are plans for it to arrive on the PS3 and PSP soon. Therefore, what reason could there possibly be for someone who has already experienced the game on other systems to pick it up on the 360? For variety, the 360 offers on the gameplay.
The story is the same; Rayman is out for a picnic with the Globox kids when suddenly there is an earthquake. After the earthquake subsides, holes form underneath the Globox kids and they disappear only to reveal the deranged, often psychotic, Rabbids. After the kids disappear, Rayman is kidnapped too and is carted off by a giant, hairier Rabbid by the name of Serguii. Rayman is thrown into an arena reminiscent of the gladiator days, surrounded by thousands of weapon wielding maniacal bunnies. Rayman will have to compete in "trials" in order to survive. After completing your first round of games, in which you receive a plunger for your efforts, you are thrown into a dirty cell, and this is where you discover the main focal point of the game's story mode. With each successful round of games, you will get higher and higher until you can reach the window high above.
Each round is broken down into four games you must play followed by a fifth "boss" level. You have no way of knowing what the game will be until after you have stepped foot into the game. However, there is a small exception. The fourth game you play will generally be a dance competition. The fifth "boss" stage will usually be a shooter for you to show off your skills of FPS games. Other than those two instances, you can always expect a surprise when beginning a mini-game. This is also where the extensive, albeit repetitive at times, variety of challenges for you to compete. Varied mini-games are nothing new in multiplayer games, but most will not have your sidesplitting open from laughter either. This is where the true art of Raving Rabbids lies.
While several of the trials exceed the easy level aspect of the game, most of the reactions or things that the Rabbids do are rather funny, even if it is in a deranged twisted way. There are several instances that you might have to try again, because of either your or your friend's laughter. For example, one of the games is titled "Bunnies Can't Play Basketball," and you will quickly see why when the game loads. Instead of you taking on the Rabbids in a game of one on one, you will have to rotate a cow on a chain to launch it at one of the three hoops for points. Add the bizarre approach to the trials to the abuse that you will be able to inflict upon the Rabbids and you have one disturbing, hilarious game. However, the antics of the Rabbids do not just stop at the mini-games. By completing the mini-games and accumulating several points, you will unlock bonus content, including clips that describe the in-capabilities of the bunnies. Once you have seen one of the clips, you will have to see them all in order to know what all they cannot do. Just thinking about "Bunnies Can't Milk Cows" makes me chuckle writing this. In addition to the clips, you will also be able to unlock an assortment of apparel for Rayman to wear. A few of the costumes you can choose from are the Granny, Gothic, Rock and Roll, which is a parody of the fabled Elvis Presley jumpsuits, and then the Disco apparel, complete with bell-bottom pants and a giant purple afro. Each costume also has a specific song that you can rock out to, once unlocked, in your cell.
While the graphics of Rayman Raving Rabbids might be nothing to boast about in today's market of pristine graphics, it does capture the bouncy, cartoony, mischievous Rabbids and the sleek cool Rayman very nicely. There were a couple of lag moments in the graphics, but this might be due to the intrepid load times for the game. While the load screen is accompanied with a few cutesy scenes of the Rabbids, they quickly wear out their cuteness and welcome. The music you unlocked are covers, though they all sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks have come out of retirement to provide vocals for the songs. This can be viewed as either a good or a bad thing.
If you have played through Raving Rabbids on another console, there is really nothing new to offer with the 360 version, other than the ability to use the motion sensing Xbox Live Camera. However, the camera lacks the true total involvement that you experience with the Wii. So, if you are looking for a multiplayer game on the 360 that will provide hours of entertainment then you need look no further. So, pick up your plungers and rally against the diabolical Rabbids, and maybe take out a few friends along the way.
CCC Freelance Writer