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Ratchet & Clank (PlayStation 2) artwork

Ratchet & Clank (PlayStation 2) review


"When a game first comes out, it is sometimes overlooked because it isn't part of a franchise or doesn't have a cool violent background for teenangers. I hate to admit, but sometimes I fall into this category, as I become afraid to pick up any game that hasn't already been established with an awesome story, and two or three sequels to follow up with it. This was the case with Ratchet and Clank, as I was never one of those big platform fans, but I decided it has gotten reviews through the roof and..."



When a game first comes out, it is sometimes overlooked because it isn't part of a franchise or doesn't have a cool violent background for teenangers. I hate to admit, but sometimes I fall into this category, as I become afraid to pick up any game that hasn't already been established with an awesome story, and two or three sequels to follow up with it. This was the case with Ratchet and Clank, as I was never one of those big platform fans, but I decided it has gotten reviews through the roof and a sequel so maybe I should test it out. To be perfectly honest, I haven't had this amount of fun on a videogame in years, and it was a pleasure to for once completely forget about the storyline, and just have fun jumping from place to place using tons of gadgets to blow up enemies.

Now Ratchet in many ways is your stereotypical videogame hero. He is arrogant and in the beggining really doesn't care about himself. However, if someone knocks him the wrong way he will be the first one to go after you and destroy you. Now that is where Clank comes in. Clank is your robotic sidekick who will many times be a voice of reason, who only cares for the greater good (and maybe flirting with a few robotic chicks). The two mix together in a way that brings alot of humor to the story, without making it that serious. See, Ratchet and Clank's story plays only a minor role, providing humor and the glue to what is superb gameplay.

Your goal is to stop an evil alien being known as Drek. To do so, you will collect gadgets you purchase from Gadgetron Vendors, and then turn them against any alien you can come in contact to. Now the weapons aren't very realistic, but neither is the entire story of the game, and the gadgets all fit in this cartoon world. For example there is a weapon known as the Decoy Glove, which will enable you to throw out a fake blowup Ratchet. The fake-Ratchets will then be attacked by the sorrounding enemies, as you begin to dispatch them with more conventional weapons, or weapons likes the Morph-o-Ray, which will turn them into chickens.

The controls are extremely responsive, making you able to switch between eight different weapons on the spot in a submenu. Besides using large array of weapons to dispose of foes, he is also able to use his handy wretch, which takes no ammo, so in times of dire need, this is clearly the weapon of choice. Gone are the days in which to kill off enemies, all you have to do is jump on their heads.

Every good platformer needs it's puzzles, and Ratchet and the Clank does not fail in that territory. Besides the weapons you can find or purchase, you will also discover gadgets that will form a different menu. One of these, the Hydrolizer, you will need to use to either decrease or increase the amount of water in the area. Another you will need to unlock doors, after completing an interesting but very enteraing lazer lock puzzle. Besides those you have magnetic boots which enable you to walk upside down, grind boots so you can well, grind. And lastly a helipack which will enable you to cover longer distances in the air. The puzzles in Ratchet and Clank aren't as frequent or as difficult as most platformers, but they fit the role nicely and don't feel under or over done.

The biggest downfall to most platformers is the amount of exploring and backtracking. The people of Insomniac have discovered this problem and remedied this completely. Each level has a set of missions, and typically if you completely beat a certain mission it will either have a convenient transporter back to the ship, or have already backtracked you to an overhanging ledge so you can just jump down. And as far as exploring goes, besides the Platinum bolts, you will never have to search for any objective as most are straight forward.

Ratchet and Clank looks graphically excellent with detailed backgrounds and cartoonish but well drawn enemies. Some of the weapons also give nice effect, for example a flamethrower where you can see the flames jump off an enemy, or later on in the game a ray gun that shoots out a string of lightning at an enemy. The voice acting is all very well done, as Ratchet's voice really does convey his arrogance, and Clank as exactly as you'd imagine a robot would talk.

Ratchet and Clank will likely take you over 20 hours to beat, making it one of the longer platformers out of the market. In many games that last a long time, they get repetitive after awhile, but this game always stays fresh with the new weapons and new levels which each have their own distinct feeling, plus mini games like hoverboard races, which at times can be entertaining. The game isn't too difficult either, as it has a perfect learning curve which will have you cruising through the game at the end, but working your tail off at the end to conquer the final levels. Despite this, the game has numerous continue points in each stage so you won't be dieing at the same place too many times.

At the moment there is no game out on the market I would reccomend more than Ratchet and Clank to the casual gamer. I forgot how much fun the correctly executed platformer can be, as you go from stage to stage blowing up enemies with cartoonish weapons. Any true gamer should pick this up, even if they think they are ''too mature'' to play a cartoonish game with alot more spunk than must games on the market now.

Rating: 9.4/10

ratking's avatar
Community review by ratking (August 08, 2004)

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