Rayman hasn't got many friends here at NGC - even fewer after the utterly shoddy DS game (NGC105/2]. We are, though, willing to admit that his original GBA outing was pretty good.
It was a solid platformer; unemarkable maybe, but as tightly designed and attractive 2D jump-and-collect action goes, it wasn't too bad at all.
If Hoodlum's Revenge had been an extension of that, well, we wouldn't have been exactly over the moon, but we wouldn't have been quite as offended by it as we are with how it actually turned out.
The biggest problem here is the game's move to an isometric viewpoint. Now, we're always in favour of games trying something different, but the way it's done in Hoodlum is woeful.
Frustration sets in after just a couple of levels. Each stage is basically an open space for you to navigate; you have to guide the bloke with no limbs (is it because someone found him so irritating they hacked his arms and legs off?) to the exit of a level after hitting the required switches to open locked gates barring his path.
Along the way, there's a set number of shiny little orbs to collect and four captive creatures to rescue. Collect them all and you get a special stamp at the level's end.
There's a combo system at play now. Once you collect an item, you have a limited amount of time in which to collect another item, and then another (and so on) for much higher scores.
Running through a level collecting item after item in quick succession will therefore lead to higher scores, which are rewarded by another stamp at the level's end.
This means there's plenty of scope for replay (read: memorisation) of each level, and while such a feature is commendable - the question remains. Will you want to have another go?
Probably not. The isometric view makes even the simplest of tasks extremely annoying. Judging jumps is painfully tricky at times. Platforms that look perfectly reachable turn out not to be; collecting items suspended in the air is exceptionally hard to judge and combat is, frankly, a complete mess.
All this, combined with the fact that Rayman has mysteriously forgotten how to swim (water actually deals masses of damage) means repeated deaths through no fault of your own are an alarming regularity. So, er, in case you hadn't guessed by now, we find Hoodlum's Revenge very difficult to recommend.
Rayman Hoodlum's Revenge is out for GBA now