As a threat to your survival they rank alongside global warming, meteorites, man-eating tigers and bird flu. Yet they're perhaps more insidious than all those combined because of their unassuming guise. That's right: we're talking about rabbits.
They've ruined Australia's indigenous mammal population and, in Rayman Raving Rabbids, they're doing the same thing to Rayman's home, too. Once small, furry and harmless creatures, the rabbits mysteriously disappeared one day, returning many months later as deranged, evil 'rabbids' (they'd evidently caught a bad cold while away) intent on imprisoning the local fauna.
Except that they didn't reckon on Rayman's tenacity. It's up to you, playing as the titular floppy-fringed character, to hunt down the rabbids and release the local wildlife.
A platform game that's brighter, colourful and more vibrant than just about any other we've seen (maybe the rabbids are fed up with the garish décor – just a thought), this involves you stepping into Rayman's weird, un-connected shoes and going on a rather energetic adventure.
Starting out in the depths of the jungle you'll sprint, leap, spin, hang and perform a dozen other acrobatic feats as you make your way though the eight levels. On your travels you'll visit a desert island and the inside of a massive heavy industrial building. All part of your fight for freedom.
It's a rapid-fire fight, too, as the game rolls along a speeds approaching that of Sonic the Hedgehog. And if you have played the game starring the spiky blue 'hog, that's not the only part that'll ring familiar: many parts of Rayman Raving Rabbids find you sprinting and then curling up into a ball to roll along loop-the-loops, up and down steep gradients and launching off ramps.
In short, huge parts of the game seem to have been nabbed right out of Sega's classic. But that game isn't the sole inspiration for this one, as it covers all of the other platform bases you can think of: springs that launch you into the air, moving platforms that transport you over lava fields, and sharp spikes that you must avoid at all costs.
There are enough new bells and whistles in Rayman Raving Rabbids to set it apart from the platform greats that it so clearly apes, however. Clever sections that involve you spinning around poles add variety and the ability to briefly hover like a helicopter thanks to the large appendages on Rayman's head (are they ears or badly styled hair?) means jumping across obstacles and from platforms is more involved than before.
Still, for all the glitzy whiz-bang stuff that the game throws at you in an almost constant barrage, Rayman Raving Rabbids is ultimately a less than satisfying experience.
It's not a wholesale triumph of style over substance but it's not far off; great swathes of action take place as if Rayman was on rails, particularly when it comes to the faster-paced sections where you feel completely redundant. Seriously – there are parts of this game where you need not touch the controls yet Rayman is whisked along the level.
What it means for you is a less successful resolution than Rayman receives. While he has the joy of liberating his furry friends, you're left after completing the last level feeling a bit empty and unsatisfied. And despite there being two boss characters in the middle levels to overcome – each of which provides some closure on the jungle and desert island jaunts – there's no such thing at the very end.
Rayman Rabbids is a short, sweet collection of empty gaming calories. For a more substantial – and less ecologically harmful – experience, stick with the hedgehog.