Ratchet & Clank

Review

posted 11/28/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: PS2
Take two highly marketable characters, place them in huge and expanse worlds, toss in a few weapons and what do you get? You get one hell of an action platformer, so is it any surprise that Insomniac’s Ratchet and Clank kicks so much ass? I don’t think so.

Simply put R&C is one of the year’s best surprises. It literally came out of left field to take the gaming press by storm at this year’s E3 and hasn’t looked back. Featuring massive array of explosive weapons and gadgets, the game takes the action platformer genre to a whole new level.

The premise of the game is simple, acquire weapons, aim at target and blow them to smithereens. Yes the game gets far more complex than that and it actually includes (gasp!) a strong and coherent storyline but does it really matter when you’ve got a weapon called the Rip Ya a New One?

In short you’re Ratchet, the furry little mechanic who has been stamped with the unfortunate task of saving the universe. When the adventure begins a mysterious robot crash lands nearby. Ratchet picks him up and christens him Clank so thus we have the two main characters and the title of our game, Ratchet & Clank. You set out on a quest to warn Captain Quark (the universe’s resident super hero) about the impending evils. The story unfolds via sequences of pre-rendered and engine rendered sequences that really show off the humor of the design team. The characters animate, gesture and articulate just as you would expect. There’s a lot of personality to each and every individual character and it really shines through.

While it’s not immediately apparent Clank actually serves more purpose than dead weight on Ratchet’s back. As you progress he’ll be able to gain upgrades like propeller blades that can help Ratchet glide across huge gaps. There are also some sequences where Clank will jump off of Ratchet’s back for some exploration. But who cares, we all know what you’re here for, the weapons!

As if the hilarious marketing campaign hasn’t tipped you off to it yet, the main attraction of the game are the weapons. This game’s got some doozys, like the aforementioned R.Y.N.O. that makes the BFG look like a sissy peashooter. Of course you’ve got the gun that turns your enemies into chickens, a glove that allows you to throw bombs and your usual garden-variety flamethrower. Then there are the gadgets, cool things like the swingshot (think of a grappling hook), the grind boots that allow you to grind along rails and the taunter which allows you to agitate your opponents in style. There are about 40 weapons and gadgets for you to tinker with in all, each of which exude their own luster and charm.
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