Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Ratchet & Clank: A Long Review Part 4

In this part, we become hoverboard champions, and FINALLY meet Captain Qwark, so hopefully this will all end soon enough.

Playstation Allstars Ratchet & Clank. Still can't find any good pictures.


Blackwater City, home of hoverboard champions, and man eating Ameboids.

As usual, I check out the shop first. The shop has a new weapon in it, the Mine Glove, and it's being sold for 7500 bolts, like the Glove of Doom. I hop across a pit and encounter some new enemies, the haz-mat guys, who shoot slime at you, and the GIGANTIC TANKS which also shoot slime at you. I hate both of these enemies.

I jump across a few more pits, and open a door, and get immediately swarmed by five or six of the haz-mat guys. I also come across another new enemy, the previously advertised Ameboid. Shooting the Ameboid will cause it to split into smaller Ameboids, and shooting them again will cause them to split up even more. I also hate these enemies.

After dealing with the Ameboid(s) I come across another pit, but this pit has a group of five haz-mat dudes waiting for me on the other side. I decide to snipe them before crossing, but my Blaster can't reach that far, so I'll have to deal with them when I get across.

After going up an elevator and dealing with some Ameboids, I step on a switch, which releases 10 haz-mat guys to beat me up. It's actually better to beat them with the wrench, as they run up to you and take a while to pull out their guns. I head into the next room, and run into our first hover taxi, which takes us to the downtown area.

It turns out the downtown section is pretty much a war zone, with the haz-mat men and tanks fighting against an army of Ameboids, and yes, I have to fight through both sides. After letting the haz-mat guys deal with the Ameboids, I kill them all, and take out a tank. I then see a shady looking dude in the corner, and walk up to him. He says that he'll trade us a R.Y.N.O for Clank, but Ratchet refuses. The aforementioned R.Y.N.O stands for "Rip Ya a New One", it's the most powerful missile launcher in the galaxy. Well, until all the other R.Y.N.Os show up, anyway. He's willing to sell it for 150,000 bolts. Yeah, I won't be getting that weapon anytime soon.

After another elevator ride, I end up in a cave area, with a big arena in the middle. I drop down and fight off three Ameboids and their spawns, and almost step on a button that would have released even more haz-mat guys. Of course, I have to press it to continue, so I do that, and I die. Of course.

After fighting through the war zone area, I end up having enough bolts to buy the Mine Glove, but I continue on without buying it, mainly so I can eventually replenish my dwindling Blaster ammo supply. Of course, I die in the arena again, so I decide to buy out the Mine Glove at the nearby shop.

There are no good pictures of this thing on the internet.
This weapon is far more worthy of the 7500 bolts price tag than the Glove of Doom. It carries 50 mines, which you can lure enemies into to, or just throw at them like a slower, more powerful Bomb Glove. The mines also attract themselves to nearby enemies, making them pretty useful when surrounded.

I end up wasting a lot of ammo and health trying to take out a tank, so I just say screw it and use the Blaster. The Mine Glove helps a bit with the Ameboids in the arena, but I end up dying to the haz-mat dudes again. Can I just say that Rilgar is my least favorite level in the game?

After dying again, I finally make it through and go up an elevator leading me to... a maze of laser gates, haz-mat guys, and Ameboids. Ughhh. There's a Gold Bolt on the left side of the starting section, which is blocked by a laser gate and requires exploration of the area, which I'm not gonna do.

To lower the laser gates, you have to press switches. There's a few switches on the outside of the maze, which both trick you into thinking you'll get the Gold Bolt, but those switches are liars, and you should never trust a liar. Another feature of this level is that there are manhole covers that shoot up, and you can use them as platforms. This is required to use once.

After dealing with some tanks I ride an elevator up and find... a peaceful spot! Finally! There's a hallway with some enemies in it, but other than that, it's good resting spot from the rest of the level. There's woman clad in purple here, and she says that Captain Qwark will be handing out a Platinum Zoomirator, which Clank says could be the thing we need to win over Skid's agent. Ratchet also tells the woman that he's filling in for Skid, and she seems a bit unsure that he's gonna be first place.

The hoverboard section is pretty straight forward. You press the cross button to jump, and go through rings and over boost pads to gain speed and come in first place. The main obstacle is the fact that the course is littered with explosive crates, and crashing into one sends you back a bit. The whole thing took me three tries to beat it.

After the race, we get to meet Qwark... on a TV screen. Of course he's not actually there, he's just doing a pre-recorded message. He doesn't even say Ratchet and Clank's names, it's a robotic voice that says it, and the lady gives us the Platinum Zoomerator, not Qwark. Ugh. We did all that for nothing. Hopefully something good comes from this planet.

It turns out I have no idea what to do now. I must have missed a path or something, because I know there's an Infobot somewhere on this planet. I hop on the nearby hover taxi and go back to my ship, beginning my search for the path I missed. Which it turns out is right by the ship. I am blind and stupid.

So I fail swinging onto one of the nearby Tesla Coils, and fall into the water. It takes me a minute to realize that the water isn't instant death, but by that point it's too late, and I get eaten by a piranha. This time I remember to switch to the Swingshot, and successfully make my way across. After a quick elevator ride down, I find myself in a type of water plant, and the first place to show off my Hydrodisplacer. It drains the nearby pool of water, allowing me to travel to the other side of the pool and fill an empty one, allowing me to reach some tunnels.

The next part is actually a trick, because it makes you think that you have to suck up some water, but you don't you just have to swim through the tunnel at the bottom. Real clever there Insomniac. After a quick slide, I press a button to open some doors and all of the sudden THE PLACE STARTS FLOODING OH GOD RUN FOR YOU LIVES! If the water gets above your head, you're pretty much dead, and have to start the sequence over again.

After a few more tries I finally make it out, but just barely, as I only had a sliver left on my air meter. I come up to an area with a trailer and a large man guarding it. He's Qwark's bouncer, and he thinks Ratchet and Clank are the paparazzi, which they try to tell him they're not, but he ignores them. He says that he's sick and tired of his job, as he only gets 6 bolts an hour, and has to listen to Qwark talk constantly, so he'll let us in if we give him 4000 bolts, which I have ready for him.

He lets us in and... could it be? It is! We finally meet Captain Qwark! He says he knows who Ratchet and Clank are, and that they have the potential to be future heroes, so he gives them an Infobot with coordinates to Qwark's secret base on planet Umbris. It turns out that Qwark's going to train them to be REAL heroes! Clank says that they won't let him down.

Now all we have to do is go back to the ship, but we have one more thing to do before we go to Umbris. We have to stop by and see Skid's agent on Aridia. He's glad that we got the winning prize, and in return gives us a Sonic Summoner. He says he'll have his people call Ratchet's people, but since Ratchet doesn't really have people ( As we'll learn soon enough), I think we just got jipped out of being famous. The Sonic Summoner is relatively useless, it just summons up these things called Sand Mice at certain spots. The Sand Mice attack enemies, but they do nothing too special other than that. Now let's head to Qwark's base, shall we?


One wonders why a hero like  Qwark would build his base on a planet that looks like Hell.
  As soon as we land on Umbris we are greeted by Captain Qwark, who is flying around in a helicopter. He tells Ratchet that he needs to complete the trials of his base in order to join in his fight against the Blarg empire. I check out the shop, and they aren't selling anything new, which is good, because I don't have that many bolts.

After gliding down to a platform, we encounter our first new enemy, the bomb dispensing machine, and by dispensing, I mean that it shoots bombs everywhere at around 5 bombs per second. The only way to take care of them is by shooting them from far away because, obviously, you can't get close to it at all. There's also some mines that are basically bigger versions of the mines that the Mine Glove throws. I assume that they home in on you, so I shoot them from afar too. After that, we meet yet another enemy, a turret that shoots a ridiculously long stream of bullets. The stream is so long that the Blaster can't hit it, so i'm going to have to jump over the stream to get to it and destroy it.

After that, I come across a bridge with a ring of mines floating around it. I don't see the mines at first, and take some damage. I destroy the rest of the mines and cross the bridge, dealing with some more bomb machines. I walk up some stairs, and get ambushed by some more mines. After taking a hit, I find another bridge surrounded by even more mines. I'm prepared now, and take out all of them.

Now we find a new mechanic: buttons. There are three buttons, and you have to step on all three in a certain amount of time. This first one is easy, as the buttons are close together. Activating them opens up to a room with three more buttons, and 4 bomb machines.  The buttons here are spread out a bit, so using the long jump makes this a bit easier.

The buttons open way to a bridge with collapsing panels on it, and I make a pretty risky long jump, but I manage to make it. The next area has a curving path of barbwire fences, and a turret at the end. The turret's bullet stream is long enough to reach the beginning of the path. I get hit a couple times due to poor jumping abilities. After grappling to some Tesla Coils, I find a hidden platform with some buttons on it. Activating all the buttons on the platform opens a doorway with lots of crates and a Gold Bolt in it. Yay.

The next area on the main path is a kind of maze, with three buttons hiding and a bunch of turrets guarding those buttons. While trying to take out some mines in the maze, I end up dying again. I manage to find and activate the buttons, but end up dying once more when I get attacked by a mine I didn't even see. I die once more while trying to get to the exit, because I somehow didn't realize a turret was shooting at me.

After finally getting through that area, I find a room filled with rotating mines, and a bronze statue of Qwark. After shooting all the mines, I activate the buttons and climb up a ladder, taking me to a pool of water with a piranha in it. I drain the water with the Hydrodisplacer, and shoot the piranha in the shallow water. Before I put the water into the next pool, I take out the two piranhas in it, making it safe for swimming.

I drain another pool of water, and kill all the piranhas in it too. I put the water back in, and swim under the water and end up in yet another area with a big pool. I drain the water from this pool, giving me enough space to swing from the Tesla Coils above. The next room has a small circular island with three buttons on it. In order to solve this puzzle, I must kill all the piranhas, fill the pool with water, swim over to the island, activate the buttons, drain the water, and then crouch jump to reach the exit. Sheesh.

I wonder down a long cavernous hallway, and find another large hallway, and who do I see at the end of this hall? Why Captain Qwark, of course! We've completed his challenge, and now we can go and stop Drek, as a team!

I walk down the hallway, and a cutscene activates. Qwark says that Ratchet and Clank continue to surprise him, and that they need to walk into the Circle of Heroes in order to complete their quest. Ratchet says that something seems very fishy about this, but Clank gets excited and pulls him into the circle, saying that Ratchet doesn't need to worry, and that Captain Qwark will help them beat Drek. Qwark pulls out a remote and says that Clank has been very helpful, presses a button, and makes the platform Ratchet and Clank were standing on collapse.

The two land in a fiery area, and Qwark comes down on his little floating platform, and says that he loves it when a plan come together. Clank is confused by this, and Ratchet points out that Qwark isn't going to help them, he's going to kill them. Qwark says that he's mostly right about that, except HE'S not going to kill them...

Look at those abs.
 THIS guy is going to. This is the Blargian Snagglebeast, he appeared in the Big Al's Robo Shack commercial awhile ago. Clank asks why Qwark is doing this, which makes him states his master plan, he's the official spokesman for Drek's new planet, and he doesn't want anyone getting in the way of his comeback. Ratchet says that this isn't over, and Qwark says that it will be soon.

Okay, second boss fight already, huh? In his first phase he has two attacks, creating a wave of fire by stomping his feet, and shooting an eye beam that causes fire to erupt from the ground. He moves slowly, and his stomping attack has a pretty short range, so it's best to get right up in his grill and use the Blaster for now. His beam attack has a lot of range to it, though.

Once you do enough damage to him, he'll surround himself in a fire shield and really start chasing after you. During this he also shoots a group of fireballs at you, and your job is to get him to cross a bridge. When he crosses the bridge, it will collapse beneath his weight, and make him fall into the lava, causing even more damage to him.

Not much changes in his second phase, but he gains the fireball move, and another, more annoying move that knocks literally all of your ammo out of you. You can get it back easily, but it's still annoying. All you have to do is shoot him a lot, avoid his attacks, and then lead him over to a bridge. Just do it three times and you're good. I did manage to die once, but I didn't after that. It helps that the stage is literally covered with Blaster ammo.

Leading him onto the final bridge will cause him to sink into the lava, and make a door open up, revealing an Infobot! The Infobot shows a video of a commando hiding from Drek's air troops, he says he needs immediate assistance, as his entire battalion ran away in fear. Clank says that they should go help him, but Ratchet gets all pissy, saying that he has to go find Qwark. Clank says that isn't like him, and Ratchet says that Clank doesn't know a thing about him. They find a shiny new ship,  but Ratchet can't start it. Clank remind him that he needs a Robotic Ignition System to activate it, and that he'll help  him if they go help the commando.

Meanwhile, on Chairman Drek's ship, he and Qwark are talking, and Drek gets angry at him. Moving on, this gets a bit into Battalia, the next planet, but it happens as soon as you land and I don't want to forget about it. As soon as the two land on the planet, the commando starts yelling at them to go to the turrets in the nearby city, and that he'll be waiting for them at the city's entrance. Clank says that he needs their help, but Ratchet is still pissy, so he says Clank should go do it on his own. Clank calls him a coward, which coaxes him into coming with him.

As you can tell by my writing, this is the part of the game where Ratchet becomes an unlikeable asshole. So tune in next time for the cleverly named Battalia, and we get to pay a visit to the Blarg's homeworld, where we do something very important.

A Blarg commander. Carries a big gun to compensate for something, probably.

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