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Rayman Raving Rabbids Review

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Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: November 19, 2006 Also On: None

Look up the word “frivolous” and you’ll see that one of its definitions is “a lack of seriousness.” I don’t think there’s another word that better describes Michael Ansel and Ubisoft Montpellier’s Rayman Raving Rabbids. Raving Rabbids is the most ridiculous and hilarious game I’ve ever played in my life. Essentially a collection of 70 mini-games, Rayman Raving Rabbids isn’t a platformer of the Rayman norm, but it’s still worth checking out for all of its own reasons.

Rayman Raving Rabbids begins with a quick introduction to Rayman’s situation; he’s on a picnic with some Globox buddies and suddenly a pack of Rabbids appear and abduct Rayman and his friends. Rayman is then thrust into an arena and forced every day to entertain the Rabbids by taking part in mini-games. Every day Rayman is awarded a plunger for his efforts, and eventually he figures out that these plungers will help him escape his imprisonment and the Rabbids.

The storyline is hilarious in this game, but everything is. The Rabbids are a ridiculous bunch; they’re not the least bit intelligent and their sole purpose seems to be running around like lemmings, causing problems for themselves and beating the crap out of each other with clubs and frying pans. Most of the minis have you going against them in some way; and though some of the minis are similar, they’re all a lot of fun for the most part.

I’ll go into detail about a few of the repeating minis, but I won’t ruin some of the surprises for you. That would take away a lot from the entertainment value found here. My favorites seemed to be the deeper minis, minis that I could honestly enjoy if they were transformed into fully-featured games. The first one is the on-rails shooter. In each of these minis, which usually last a few minutes each, you’re armed with a plunger-shooting gun (brings back memories of the awful South Park video game). You shoot Rabbids with this gun, and some of them are tricky; you’ll even run into Rabbids wearing Sam Fisher’s fancy headgear.

Another great one is the three-lap warthog race. You’ll hold on for dear life as you race around different levels on the back of a warthog, and you can whip the warthog to pick up speed and get ahead of the pack. Despite the lack of power-ups, the races are a lot of fun. My favorite mini, and possibly the most common, is the rhythm-based disco mini. You’ll stand in the middle of a stage while Rabbids swarm from the left and the right, and as they line up in rhythm on a circular spot on the ground, you flick the nunchuck or Wii remote to hit the beat. I can really only name a few minis I didn’t enjoy, and surprisingly enough one of them was the cow-toss mini. All of the rest of them are fun to play and the Wii remote and nunchuck control them smoothly.

Rayman Raving Rabbids is as creative with its visuals as it is with its gameplay. It’s got the funniest and most absurd art direction I’ve ever seen in a game. The Rabbids are a disgusting bunch of creatures, with mouths so vile that pigs would seem cleaner. The interesting Rayman world isn’t opened up as much as I’d have liked it to be, leaving you with only your cell and the arena to explore, but that’s an argument that pertains more to the game being a collection of minis rather than a platformer. The sound effects are well-delivered, and the music is a treat–I especially enjoyed hearing some of the songs in the rhythm games, like “Pump It,” and “La Bamba.”

Rayman Raving Rabbids is a mixed bag in terms of replay value. While the 70 minis are fun to play, and can be enjoyed multiple times, I would have liked to see Ubisoft create some sort of incentive to play them over and over and over until they’re perfected. Bronze, silver, and gold medals are a great example of something that could have been put in place to secure a few more hours of replay. Still, multiplayer and some of the better minis will keep you playing long after you’ve completed the game.

A word of caution before playing this game; Rayman Raving Rabbids will wear and tear on your arm muscles much like a prolonged Dance Dance Revolution session will give you the sweaty cardiovascular workout of a lifetime. I highly advise that gamers playing this game on the Nintendo Wii use the Wii remote’s wrist strap, and secure it tightly. Also, the overlooked warning of taking a break during gaming sessions is something I highly recommend against. I played this game for several hours straight and paid dearly in the form of sore arms and wrists for hours. I don’t care if you’re the most muscular hunk out there, you’re going to be in pain if you can’t put this game down for a few minutes.

Rayman Raving Rabbids, out of all of the Nintendo Wii launch titles, is the funniest and most obscure. Though the thrills won’t last forever, the laughs will. Every time one of those Rabbids lets out a scream, I still laugh. I’d love to see Ubisoft flesh out these little guys, and I’d be completely happy with a full-featured shooter, warthog racer, or rhythm-based game starring them. Rayman Raving Rabbids should have a spot in your Wii collection with Legend of Zelda and some of the other great Wii launch titles.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8.6
Written by Cliff Review Guide