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Hey, Man has Gun. Hey Man, Have Fun. Nice Shot!

  • Nov 29, 2011
While gaming technology took leaps and bounds forward in the 32-bit era, one genre that started to lack sorely was the mind-numbing action game - the kind where you just run around blowing the hell out of every bad guy in sight. As the 32-bit consoles came and went without seeing a significant contributor to the genre, I assumed it dead and mourned it. Then Ratchet and Clank came along.

Ratchet and Clank came along and finally gave gamers the solid, pure action game they've been waiting for since the Super NES and Genesis duked it out for video game supremacy. Instead of going on scavenger hunts, looking for random items, you had to fight your way through onslaughts of enemies, completing objectives on paths through the levels. It still wasn't the traditional fight-from-one-end-of-the-level-to-the-other layout, but it was raw action that gamers hadn't seen in a long time. Is it any wonder Ratchet and Clank turned into such a hit? And arguably the closest thing the Playstation consoles have ever come to a mascot?

Anyway. Ratchet and Clank opens with a robot named Clank meeting a humble mechanic named Ratchet, who is very good at his job but dreams of something bigger. Clank has learned that Chairman Drek of the Blarg race wants to create a whole new planet to contain his species. Which really doesn't seem all that bad until it's revealed the planet creation process will result in the destruction of an entire galaxy. Clank needs help, and so he ran off to find the greatest aid he can: Famed Superhero Captain Qwark! They track down Qwark, but to say the whole plan doesn't exactly pan out is putting it lightly. So Ratchet and Clank decide to take matters into their own hands.

You play as Ratchet. Clank serves one or two different functions, including the double jump that is apparently necessary in every 3D action game or platformer ever, but mostly he hangs on for dear life as Ratchet's backpack. You occasionally take control of Clank, if you have to explore an area that Ratchet is for some reason not allowed into. Clank can control clone-like robots called Gadgebots which can do certain things for him. The Gadgebots are a little difficult to understand and control at first, and I had serious problems figuring out what they were used for and how to use them the right way. Using them did get easier, but I felt like the game was just leaving me in the dark at first there.

You'll be playing the crux of the game as Ratchet, as I already said. Ratchet at first glance is just another fuzzy-wuzzy with an attitude, there to assure parents Ratchet and Clank is safe for their precious young minds while using cynical snark to make kids think he's cool, and possibly allow developers to slip things past censors. But there is something that differentiates Ratchet from his fellow Naughty Dog (the developer) pal: Ratchet likes to blow stuff up. He's also really, really good at it. While most 'tude-laden platform characters tend to use harmless melee attacks as their primary form of offense, Ratchet buys crazy new-fangled weapons like the Bomb Glove, an automatic pistol called the Blaster, a flamethrower called the Pyrociter, and the holy-schnit-that's-flurking-insane Suck Cannon, which sucks up smaller enemies and then spits them back out as ammunition!

One of the more unfortunate points of the game is that most of these weapons are ammo-based, which means you have to conserve and not just point and fire away. The reserve ammo can be knocked out of crates or bought using bolts, basically Ratchet and Clank's monetary system. The ammo you knock out of crates tends to be a little bit too sparse for my liking, and the store booths don't exactly grow on trees. If you run out of ammo, you can always resort to using Ratchet's primary weapon, the Omniwrench, a big monkey wrench with a boomerang-like capability to return upon being thrown. You'll be using the Omniwrench a lot to hold on to some of your ammo, but it can be risky because there are a lot of enemies that are dangerous to approach with a long-range weapon, let alone on foot with a weapon whose ranged attack flings it away for two seconds.

One of the more pleasing aspects of the plot is the fact that it develops. Ratchet, aside from being a substitute for a demolition expert, is also refreshingly non-pious. During the course of the game, he gets in a fight with Clank about their next course of action, Ratchet's preferred suggestion being to automatically drop everything and run after one of the bad guys.

Each level has two different objectives, and sometimes you can get lost trying to figure out just how the paths diverge so you can pursue the one you haven't completed. This tends to get a little bit annoying, but fortunately, the levels are all pretty linear. They have little paths you can go exploring on, but none of them are going to deter you long enough to get you hopelessly lost. The difficulty progression is very well done. After the first level, you'll wonder what the big deal is. But when you get deeper into the game, man...

The graphics are some of the best on the Playstation 2. The characters are wonderfully designed and gorgeously rendered, and it's amazing the number of things you'll see happening onscreen at the same time. There's no slowdown, and the color rendering is also fantastic. Ratchet and Clank is one of the best-looking video games I've ever seen. The sounds are also very good. The music is lighthearted in a wacky sci-fi kind of way, and the gun sounds and explosions all stand out.

The Gameplay also works very well. It's not a problem once you learn it, but sometimes Ratchet feels remote-controlled. The weapon selection, fortunately, is very easy.

Ratchet and Clank brought back a genre which was, for all intents and purposes, dead. It did a good job of it too. If you play video games not to get that vaunted 100 percent completion but just to blow things up, your ship has come in.

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November 29, 2011
hah. I had fun with this back in the days of PS2! Thanks for the memories...
More Ratchet & Clank reviews
review by . November 28, 2008
This game is a classic. It's the first in a large series of Ratchet & Clank games. My son now owns just about all of the different Ratchet & Clank games and this is still one of his favorites. Every Ratchet & Clank games has different weapons and levels. This game will entertain your kids for many hours. They can freely roam many different worlds, defeat enemy's and finish objective in order to more on to different worlds. Rest assured there is no foul language of any sort in this game. This game …
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Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Forget aboutSuper Mario Sunshine--this is the real superstar platform action game of the season. Featuring a pair of wacky robots in a quest to save the universe,Ratchet and Clankmay offer the same old basic platform scenario--run around, elude or destroy enemies, jump, and negotiate treacherously dynamic environments--but it has a number of things going for it that place it among the best titles ever in this genre.

The feature that will strike you first is the terrific art direction. Set in a science fiction future, the game has a beautifully executed retro cartoon look (think old Warner Bros.). The attention lavished on every detail, from architecture to character design, makes for a world that feels complete and real. This extends to the cutscenes, which feature a variety of colorful characters given vivid life with excellent voice acting. Then there is the sheer size and level of interactivity of the environments. For me, a particularly stunning moment was when my character was knocked off a skyscraper, but instead of perishing, landed on a ledge and was able to seamlessly navigate to a whole separate section of the game. Another moment of truth came when I aimed my blaster at one of the vehicles whizzing by in the sky. These vehicles were just pretty wallpaper, I thought, but no, the thing blew up. In fact, nearly everything you see is destructible or responsive in some way: you can jump up trees, scuttle over walkways, smash boxes, and climb up ledges. And the control ...

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