Sunday, 14 July 2013

Ratchet & Clank: A Long Review Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my Ratchet & Clank review/playthrough. I don't know what exactly to put here, other than that we're going to Kerwan and Aridia. I'll just link to my inspiration for this new shift, this guy's analysis on Wario Land 4. It's very interesting. But anyway, let's get started.

One of the most important characters in the franchise. Not joking.


The most visited planet in the Ratchet & Clank series.
We land on Kerwan, with no interesting cutscenes happening. I walk down a bath and there's another shop, and they have one of the best weapons in the game there, the Blaster. Like the Pyrociter, I don't have enough money for it, so we'll be back here in a bit.

Like on Novalis, the level splits into two paths we need to go through. On the left is a friendly looking Qwark robot, while on the right two threatening enemies run around the corner, preparing to blast me. I go left, obviously.

As we go up to the Qwark robot, it tells us that we get a prize if we can manage to beat his fitness challenge. The reward is an important item we need, so we have to go get it. Clank confuses the robot for the real Captain Qwark, but Ratchet calls him an idiot, because he is one. You'd think a robot would be able to tell other robots apart. Talking to the robot again will give us some more info. Apparently Qwark is going to be in Blackwater City, giving away prizes for the Hoverboard championship. This is important.

On the first island of the challenge we are introduced to several new mechanics, such as wall jumping, which requires you to simply press the cross button on certain walls, and the explosive crates, which can be differentiated by their red coloring, and the fact that they explode. At the end of the island we also get to see our first zipline, which you just need to jump on to work.

On the second island we have the platforming staple of moving platforms. We have to climb a tall tower while timing jumps and such. We also get moving walls that function as wall jump walls. I fell down once and had to do the whole thing over again, and that was kind of annoying, but it's not too bad if you're not impatient like me.

Another thing I noticed was the flying cars in the background of the stage. Due to this being in a big city, there's obviously a lot of people, and since this is sci-fi, it means that the cars are actually flying cars. There's flying cars of all types in the background, and you can even see some in the far off distance of the level.

But anyway, we take the zipline to the third island, where we meet Helga, Qwark's personal trainer. She says that our performance of the course was disgraceful, and that we shouldn't get the prize we were promised. I know I fell down that tower once, lady, but i wasn't that bad was I? However, she says that Qwark was impressed by our performance, and that she'll give us the prize, but we have to pay her 1000 bolts.

So I do that. We get our first gadget, the Swingshot, which allows us to swing from floating green balls called Tesla Coils. Helga hops onto a floating taxi cab and rides off, saying that Ratchet and Clank disgust her. We encounter two types of Tesla Coils, the green ones let us immediately grapple to them, while the yellow ones let us swing from them. We then hop aboard the zipline and end up right back on  the first island.

Now it's time to go through the other path. I have even less money than when I first visited the shop, so buying the Blaster is out of the question right now. There's quite a few new enemies on this path, like the robot dogs, which are exactly like the frogs and robot birds. There's also the Blarg soldiers, who shoot homing missiles, and the mine dropping robot, which, uh, drops mines. There was also a Blarg helicopter, but I couldn't kill it because none of my weapons so far can reach far into the sky. Again, I used the Pyrociter to take most of these guys out.

Here's a big problem with the game: The weapon switching. In future games, you can simply switch by using a button, but in this game you have to switch weapons by holding down the triangle button, and then moving to the weapon you want, and while you're doing this you become completely defenseless, meaning that is one of your weapons runs out of ammo and you need to switch to another one, you can't protect yourself while doing it.

Once we beat all the enemies, we finally make it to Big Al's Robo Shack. Ratchet asks him if he's seen Captain Qwark, but Al says that he hasn't seen him since the commercial shoot. Then Al and Clank have some nerd talk, and Al says that he can upgrade Clank... for a fee. At least in this case it makes sense that he needs a fee. He requires 1000 more bolts. Ugh, I'm never gonna get the Blaster at this rate.

Al gives Clank the Helipack upgrade, which basically gives you a higher jump while crouching. If I remember correctly, there's a secret somewhere back on the path. It turns out the secret was a couple crates. Eugh. Anyway, back to the main path. We have to use this super jump to climb some boxes, and then use the long jump feature to reach a far away platform. We then have to use the glide feature of the Helipack to glide down to a platform and beat up some Blarg soldiers.

After a short elevator ride we get to see another new enemy, kind of. It's a mechanical generator that spits out the robot dog enemies. I managed to destroy it without actually trying to. Oh well. After destroying another mine dropping robot, I make it to a train station. A space train station, that is. I rush in recklessly and get killed by some Blarg soldiers, and respawn at the Robo Shack. Eeuggh.

After getting back to the station I kill the Blarg soldiers and do a bit of platforming on the boxes behind me. While up on the boxes I spy something. Something shiny. It's a Gold Bolt, the ultra rare collectable of the game! I forget what these are used for in this game, but I'm sure it's something good. I have to pass over a pit of robot dogs to reach it, which isn't that hard.

After I get the Gold Bolt, I destroy all the robot dogs and head back to the main path. Behind where I spotted the Gold Bolt is a gigantic wall of crates, and thanks to these and the robot dogs, I now have enough to get the Blaster, and there's no more things to buy on Kerwan, so I'm Scot free!

So when you're at a train station, what do you do? You hop onto a moving train of course! There's an Infobot at the end of the train, but it's being guarded by 5 Blarg soldiers. Once I take care of them, and get my total money up to 3000, I get the Infobot. Or I would have if it didn't run away. Oh well.

After destroying a mine robot, we get the Infobot, which shows a video of Chairman Drek and his Lieutenant. Drek tells him that if he doesn't finish preparing (IE, destroying) planet Eudora soon, he's going to off him. But his lieutenant is a robot, and robots can't technically be killed so... yeah. Ratchet says that they could totes take on the big robot with a cigar, and Clank agrees, saying that they could persuade him in to telling them where Drek is.

After a ride down an elevator, I make a stop at the shop, and finally buy the Blaster. I'll get into the Blaster in a bit, but it's pretty cool. Anyway, our next stop is planet Aridia, where Skid McMarx crash landed, so let's go pay him a little visit, shall we?


Pretty much a big oil rig.
 As soon as we land on Aridia, we're greeted by Sand Sharks, burrowing monsters with sharp teeth that behave like the frogs, birds, and dogs of the previous planets. are you noticing a pattern here? We, again, have two paths to choose from, both of which are necessary. But for now, let's talk about the Blaster.

My Blaster runs hot!
The Blaster is one of the best weapons in the game. It has a far range, it locks on to enemies, making it very useful for enemies with long ranged attacks, of which there are a lot of in this game. It only has one downside, it's not good at dealing with small moving enemies like the aforementioned Sand Sharks.

But anyway, the path near the ship leads to Skid McMarx, so let's say hi to him. He wants us to destroy all the Sand Sharks in the area so he can get back to his ship, and in return he'll give us one of his spare hoverboards. Sounds like a deal to me, so let's take those pests out!

It's best to use the Pyrociter for this mission, as it can take out smaller enemies better than the Blaster can. There's a total of 57 Sand Sharks to kill, and 7 Sand Shark spawners that also need to be taken care of. Once you deal with all of them, Skid will give you a brand new hoverboard, one that you can't even find in stores! What a lucky day! Now all we have to do is find Skid's agent, who is on the other path.

On the other path we encounter flamethrower wielding robots. It's best to use the Blaster and stay away from them. Once we make it onto the giant oil rig thing, the path splits AGAIN. Let's try going the left path first.

The left path has a lot of Swingshotting to do, but it's not very complicated. There's no enemies to deal with, so it's all fine. I managed to fall into a pit while trying to avoid some explosive crates, though. Sigh.

Once I get to the end of the path, I get a new gadget, the Trespasser. This allows us to bypass certain doors in a minigame. The minigame requires you to put lasers onto certain points in a ring. It's a bit confusing to explain, but it's simple if you see it.

So I use the Trespasser to open a lock and ride an elevator back to where I started. At least I got something out of it this time. Let's go on the right path, which is being guarded by a flamethrower robot. I blast him. The right path has a few conveyor belts and more flamethrower robots, who I easily deal with. After that I ride an elevator down to a more open area, and get ambushed by Sand Sharks. I burn them easily with the Pyrociter.

After that I come across the first gripping section. These are parts of wall you can shimmy around. After gripping up some wall I come across another large open space, and who should be there but Skid's agent! He's having trouble with his phone, and he's frustrated about the fact that Skid is gone.

He asks Ratchet if he could bring back the prize from Blackwater City's hoverboard competition, and if he does, he'll make Ratchet his next big star! Ratchet agrees to this, while Clank thinks the whole thing is trivial. Since that's all he wants, and we won't be in Blackwater City for quite awhile, it's best to head back to the ship. To get there we take a quick trip in some kind of tube digging thing. But now it's off to Eudora.

But before we go, Drek and his lieutenant have a quick chat. Drek says that they've managed to harvest enough trees from the planet, but just because he has enough trees, doesn't mean that THEY should have more trees! DUN DUN DUN! To be continued!

This guy is the main villain. Not very imposing, is he?

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