Sunday, 14 July 2013

Ratchet & Clank: A Long Review Part 1

Sorry for the absence, I've been doing a lot of things (I ACTUALLY HAVEN'T I'M JUST LAZY), so I haven't had much time for the writing. However, I'm starting up something new with my reviews, I'm going to go in depth, with multi part reviews and going over every level. I'm going to start with the classic PS2 game, Ratchet and Clank. Except I'm doing the PS3 rerelease, so it's not really the original. I am planning on doing the entire series, or at least the ones I own, so this is a pretty big project. Anywho, let's get this madness started, shall we?

The combination of cat thing and robot has never been so fun.


Ratchet's home. Not exactly a pretty sight.
 Our story begins on planet Veldin, Ratchet's desert and canyon filled homeworld. Ratchet is a cat thing called a Lombax, which is never actually stated in this game. He's an engineer, as we can tell because he has a big wrench that he uses to try to fix a spaceship. He looks at his watch, and a voice tells him that he's missing a part that is required to run the ship.

We cut to a robot factory on a nearby planet, which is churning out big robots from a conveyor belt. A green screen next to the conveyor belt suddenly displays a big red X over a diagram of the robot, and all of the sudden our other titular hero, Clank, is spat out. He spies a big eyed robot, which suddenly displays a screen. Clank sees this and gets shocked by... something, so he takes the robot and puts it in his chest compartment. A big robot sees him and tries to attack him, but Clank dodges and jumps down a chute. He then jumps into a spaceship, but is then chased by some more robots piloting the other spaceships. One of the robots shoots him down, causing him to crash land on planet Veldin. Ratchet hears the crash and goes to check it out.

Now we begin gameplay. Ratchet can do everything you expect a 3D platforming character can do, he can jump, he has a melee attack using his wrench, and he can use several different moves with the wrench, like a ground pound move. We're also introduced to the monetary system of the game: Bolts. Bolts can usually be found in crates, another big thing in the game. They're much more plentiful in this game than they are in future ones, as I managed to get just under 1500 of them by the end of the (Very short) level.

We're also introduced to some other things, like Nanotech, the health system, displayed using odd blue orbs of light at the top of the screen. You only start with 4 hit points, but can get more in a way I'll get to soon. We also have the big draw of this game introduced: The weapons. A staple in the the series is the lot of bizarre weapons. This game has the tamest weapons, and I'll be going over all of them.

Makes enemies go BOOM!

First up is the Bomb Glove. It's a very simple weapon, it locks on to enemies, and all you have to do is press the circle button to make them go boom. It can carry up to 40 bombs, and is pretty useful this early in the game.

We also get some early enemies too. There's the strange frog monsters that simply hop towards you and try to bite you, and the blue robots that shoot short beams of electricity in your general direction. The best way to deal with the frogs is by simply using your wrench to knock them out and get a few bolts. The robots, on the other hand, have ranged attacks, and should be dealt with via the Bomb Glove.

I should also talk about the graphics. Veldin is a desert like area with lots of mechanical devices poking out of the ground. There's also the occasional tree, but the overall area feels like a wasteland. For the character models, Ratchet is very detailed, and his ears have physics to them. However, he looks a bit odd to me. Maybe it's because I'm so used to seeing his model in the future games, but something feels slightly off. Ratchet also controls a bit odd too, as he's slightly slippery and feels weird to control.

Now we can get to some story bits again. Ratchet walks up to the ship wreck and sees Clank's deactivated body by it. He picks it up and takes him home.. for some reason, and continues to work on his ship. Clank wakes up and sees Ratchet working on his ship, startling him. Clank then asks Ratchet if he knows anyone that could help with saving the solar system, to which Ratchet says that maybe Captain Qwark  can help him. Captain Qwark is a muscular man in a green suit, who is considered an intergalactic hero. Ratchet then proceeds to ask WHY Clanks needs Captain Qwark, so he pulls out the robot from earlier, which displays the video Clank saw.

We cut to our main villain Chairman Drek, a member of the species known as the Blarg. He wears a spiffy pinstripe suit, and has a pony tail. He states his master plan in the way of an announcement, he's going to use giant machines to pull out certain sections from other planets. Why? Because his home planet has become too overpopulated and polluted, and thus uninhabitable. So what better way to solve this than causing several planets with trillions of people on them to fly directly into the sun? No other way to do it, I say!

Cut back to Ratchet and Clank. Clank asks Ratchet if he can take him to Captain Qwark, but unfortunately, Ratchet is missing a vital part of his spaceship, but luckily Clank turns out to be exactly what he needs to run it! Such luck! Suddenly more ship land on nearby Ratchet's house, and the two high tail it out of there.

We, again, cut to Chairman Drek, who spies Ratchet's ship flying off from Veldin. He orders a mysterious shadowy figure to take care of them. We cut to the inside of Ratchet's ship, where the duo are introducing each other. Clank begins to spout off his serial number or something, to which Ratchet responds by knocking him into the side of the ship, causing him to make a clanking sound. That's why he's named Clank by the way.

We, once more, cut to Chairman Drek, who is making a deal with the president/ruler/whatever of planet Novalis. Drek tells him that he should get his citizens off the planet, but the guy says that Drek is crazy and that Captain Qwark could totes beat him up and save the universe. Drek responds to this by having one of his big robot minions beat him up.


Take in the beautiful sights of Novalis. Too bad only a quarter of it is explorable.
 We come to the lush planet of Novalis, which we are introduced to by having Ratchet crash is newly fixed spaceship into the side of a mountain. Destroyed spaceships are kind of a theme in these games. Ratchet lands on top of Clank, and after getting of of him, says that they should find another ship from someone on the planet... IF THERE IS ANYONE LEFT!

Here we come across the first shop, which is located to the right of the starting point. It has our second weapon, the Pyrociter, on sale for 2500 bolts, which I don't have. We also have a bit of a split path here, we could go down the elevator and into the war zone, or we could go into the sewage facility right behind us. I go into the sewage facility, which has moving piston platforms to traverse, and a few new enemies.

These enemies are the robot birds, which behave exactly like the frogs from Veldin and should be taken care of like them, and big yellow robots with big cannons for hands, which are less threatening than the robots on Veldin. They fire several small energy shots, which are considerably easier to dodge than the beams of electricity. Like the Veldin robots, they should be taken care of with the Bomb Glove, but the wrench works too.

We also get some water mechanics for the first time. It's pretty simple, just move in the direction you want to go, no button mashing or anything, but it's going to get a lot more complicated by the end, trust me. At the end of the sewage tunnel we come across our first friendly character, and one of the most important characters in the entire series, The Plumber. He's offering an Infobot (The big eyed robot I talked about earlier) for 500 bolts. By this point I do have enough for the Pyrociter, but I can easily get that 500 back so I give it to him.

He gives us the Infobot, and immediately runs off to belly slide down a sewer pipe. Okay. The Infobot shows a video of two green alien guys, Skid McMarx, a famous hoverboarder, and his agent, under attack by missiles. Skid's agent doesn't really seem to care, but Skid is freaking out about it, and they both eject when a missile comes right towards them. Clank says that they could be in trouble and that he and Ratchet should go help them. Then a tutorial message pops up saying I need a new ship before I can do that, so let's go find one!

I jump down the pipe The Plumber slid down, and end up at the entrance to the sewage facility. I still don't have enough for the Pyrociter, so I avoid the shop and head down to the war zone. The robot birds and robots are there, and they're a bit more threatening in open spaces. The first area is a large open field with trees and some buildings.  I fight my way through, losing half of my health, and make it to a bridge, which connects the two areas of the war zone. All of the sudden, a spaceship swoops down from the sky and blows the bridge up. Well, parts of the bridge, I can still get across. Some more enemies pop out on the bridge, and I lose another hit point, so now I'm almost dead.

I run out into the next section, which is much smaller than the first, and throw a bomb at one of the robots. It hits, but it turns out he also hit me, so I lose my last hit point and die. Luckily it just starts me back at the starting area, which is where the shop is, and I buy the Pyrociter.

Would you like your robot medium, rare, or well done?
The Pyrociter is much better than the Bomb Glove. It shoots a stream of fire, and is basically a sci-fi flamethrower. It's also much easier to use, as you can just run around with it and suddenly everything around you is dead. It's great to use this early in the game, but it's going to be outclassed by another weapon soon. It can hold up to 240 ammo, so it can last quite awhile.

After buying the Pyrociter, I notice another path near the sewage facility. This is where it teaches the basic swimming mechanic even more, as it shows you how to dive and rise in the water. There's also another new thing, the bolt cranks. Ratchet can use his wrench to on the bolt cranks to open doors and raise platforms. Using the bolt crank opens up a door to a cave filled with mushrooms. There's more enemies here, so I use the Pyrociter to take them down.

There's also a big pool of water here, which I swim down and end up in a room with several pools in it. None of the pools have anything, so I go down to the bottom of the room, fight a few robot birds, and turn another bolt crank. The bolt crank opens a door to the exit of the cave, which leads... right back to the starting point. What was the point of that whole detour, then?

Anyway, I travel back to the area where I died and and fight my way effortlessly through the robots that killed me last time. I enter a big arena, and a large carrier ship lands, being guarded by three, count em, three, robots. The fight lasts a total of maybe 30 seconds before I beat them all. I do take a bit of damage though.

The ruler/president/whatever from earlier comes out of the ship (Turns out he's chairman.) and, being a senile old man, thinks Ratchet and Clank are here to kill him, so he gives them an Infobot, which displays an advertisement for Big Al's Robo Shack in Metropolis, Kerwan, which  has Captain Qwark selling out in it. Clank theorizes that Qwark must be in Metropolis, but since we don't have a ship, we can't get there. The chairman realizes that Ratchet and Clank aren't there to kill him, so he gives them a ship.

Now that we have a ship, we can head to some new planets. Two of them in fact, the previously mentioned Kerwan, and the desert planet of Aridia. However, this post has gone on for at least two of my regular reviews, so I'm stopping right here, but I'll be back, and when I do come back, we'll have some Qwarktastic training, and get a hoverboard.

Same Qwark time, same Qwark channel!

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