Globox, a friend of Rayman, has placed the world into a deadly possibility. By eating Andre, the Lord of the Dark Lums, Globox has enraged the Hoodlums, who plan to take back their master no matter what the cost to the world around them. It's up to Rayman to save the day and find a cure to rid the Dark Lord from Globox.
Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is a 3D third-person platform game. Rayman, the main hero, jumps and punches his way through numerous colorful levels, with Globox (and Andre inside him) tagging along and occasionally commenting on the goings-on. Rayman's main weapon is his fist; he can use it to shoot projectiles at the attacking Hoodlums and other foes, and the projectiles are more powerful when the fist is charged by holding down the "shoot" button.
The game is divided into several worlds, each divided into a couple of levels; the game is saved automatically after each level. In between the worlds, the player has to complete a mini-game where he has to surf along light-beams in a psychedelic environment.
Rayman can also come across power-ups which temporarily give him a special power: the green power-up allows him to shoot tornadoes, the blue power-up gives him the ability to use a grappling hook, the yellow power-up allows him to fly for a short while, the orange power-up allows him to shoot precisely guided missiles and the red power-up grants him a very powerful fist that can bash doors. These power-ups are always necessary to defeat an enemy or a boss, or to get to the next part of the level.
Rayman can find and free the Teensies locked in cages throughout the level; the freed Teensies will express their gratitude by opening up the next part of the map or by summoning some bonuses to collect. Each six Teensies freed increases Rayman's health bar.
There are numerous bonuses hidden throughout the levels; completing the levels with lots of score will unlock humorous animations and mini-games.