Hey, you! Yes, you at the back. Weird question for you. Have you ever wished, wished, wished that there was a handheld version of the 1999-vintage N64 platformer Rayman 2: The Great Escape?
What’s that you say? “Oh, only every waking hour!”? Well then your luck’s in, because Rayman DS has been out in shops for, oooh, about five years now.
And now, thanks to Ubisoft’s scattershot approach to 3DS development, you can choose to enjoy it all over again in unoptimised, brain-hurty 3D! Merci, Ubisoft! Seriously: please, have merci.
Ubisoft are calling this an ‘adaptation’ of the original, which is a… well, let’s call it a ‘kind’ way of saying that this time around they’ve ported over the slightly superior Dreamcast version. It’s a faithful reproduction and not a moment’s work more, and as is to be expected, all those jaggy, ancient Dreamcast textures look three times as appalling when put through Nintendo’s 3D-eriser.
Just to make things even more confusing for your poor eyes (who’ve done nothing to deserve this), half the stuff that clutters up the levels hasn’t even been rendered in 3D. Deadly spike pits, for instance, tend to be nothing more than a flat texture crudely daubed on the ground.
The same goes for the climbable vines that have been wallpapered onto rock faces. Heck, even the cloudy night sky is as flat as a pancake. It doesn’t just look incongruous – at times, the iffy mix of 2D and 3D is downright painful to look at.
Until the day that Aerosmith band together for a blast on Face Raiders, the 3DS is unlikely to ever see an uglier game than Rayman 3D.
RAYM, RAYM, GO AWAY
The real tragedy in all of this is that if Ubisoft had pulled their finger out, Rayman 3D could have proved to be an excellent early showcase for the 3DS’s screen-bulging wizardry.
At its core, it’s still a perfectly enjoyable platformer, albeit one that’s very much of its time. Diversity and pacing are two of its strongest points, with sedate puzzley bits bleeding seamlessly into high-speed chases that could have looked absolutely stunning in three dimensions if only they had been retouched and remastered to fit the format.
Moreover, it’s a sizeable game with considerable replay value (though it does overdo it with the collectables), and the cast are charming and amusing, even if Rayman himself will make you want to claw your face off.
But what good is all that if it makes your eyes weep blood every time you dare flip the 3D slider up?