Ratchet & Clank (2002)
'Ratchet & Clank is a 2002 run & gun platformer game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. The game along with its first two sequels, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal were released for the PlayStation 3 in 2012. A reimagined version of the game was released in 2016 for the PlayStation 4.
Why It Rocks
- Beautiful graphics for PS2 standards with lots of animated background scenery objects that makes the planets feel alive.
- Awesome memorable soundtrack with a very techno sci-fi theme.
- Excellent combat with multiple types of weapons Ratchet can use, all of which are well balanced to be useful in different scenarios so no weapon is truly outclassed by others. Those include:
- Bomb Glove: A short range grenade launcher.
- Pyrocitor: Flamethrower.
- Blaster: Rapid-fire pistol.
- Glove of Doom: Releases small bots that attack enemies.
- Suck Cannon: Vaccum cleaner that sucks small enemies then shoots them as projectiles.
- Devastator: Accurate mini-Rocket launcher.
- Walloper: Boxing glove for punching enemies at close range.
- Visibomb Gun: Remote controlled missile that can hit faraway enemies.
- Decoy Glove: Deploys a decoy that distracts enemies.
- Drone Device: Flying orbs that orbit around Ratchet and damage enemies on contact.
- Tesla Claw: Electricity gun.
- Morph-o-Ray: Turns enemies into chickens!
- Rip You a New One (R.Y.N.O.): The strongest weapon in the game, it shoots a barrage of homing missiles that instantly kill any basic enemy.
- In addition to these weapons, Ratchet can also use his wrench as a basic melee weapon.
- The game's currency are screws and cogs which the game calls "bolts", this makes sense because most enemies are robots that blow up when defeated.
- Ratchet’s character arc is very strong. At first he constantly argues with Clank (Only going on a journey with him out of obligation) and he’s a lot more snarky and bratty, and oftentimes doesn’t care about the mission at hand. However, he matures over the course of the game and eventually becomes friends with Clank.
- Golden bolts hidden in the levels can be used to buy more powerful versions of your weapons, called Golden weapons, turning them a golden color, and also increasing the power, maximum ammunition, and a few other aspects of the weapon. Before completing the game only five weapons can be upgraded, but after completing it and going into "Challenge mode", ten weapons can be upgraded and also a more obvious upgrade spot appears in the first planet Ratchet can return to.
- In some occasions you can play as Clank, who plays differently from Ratchet. Clank's levels involve using minibots which Clank can guide to solve puzzles and unlock gates.
- Lots of likeable NPCs to interact with. Going to each world to see what person you would find there is one of the memorable moments of the game.
- Auto-aiming makes combat a lot more fluent, and first person aiming helps for shots that need more precision.
- Cool gadgets to travels across the levels.
- Although levels are lineal, every level has multiple objectives each having their own separate paths and you can tackle each objective in any order.
- Clank can be upgraded by finding technicians that install new stuff into him. He can even turn into a giant mech late in the game.
- Great humor and clever writing. The consumerism satire is great in this game creating lots of funny lines in the game.
- The "Skill Points", feature, which Insomniac first used in the Spyro the Dragon games, returns.
- The final level of the game is a revisit to the first planet only in the middle of an invasion with a very tense background theme, making for an intense and difficult level. This is also accompanied by a very challenging final boss.
- New Game Plus, which the game calls "Challenge mode". In this mode four Golden Bolts in combination with a specified number of regular bolts can be used to buy upgraded versions of ten of your weapons called Golden weapons, turning them a golden color, and also increasing the power, maximum ammunition, and a few other aspects of the weapon. Also, it unlocks an "Extras" section in the pause menu revealing Skill points and allowing you to rewatch the cutscenes.
- Opening the Quick Select Menu to change weapons doesn't pause the game, meaning you'll likely get hit by enemies if you try to change weapons in the middle of combat.
- Most cutscenes are just Ratchet and Clank talking to an NPC with little animation.
- Ratchet only has four hit points which can only be upgraded rather late in the game and it's very expensive to do so.
- Awkward controls compared to the rest of the series. Ratchet feels strange to control at first and you can't even strafe until you get the Thruster-Pack upgrade for Clank, and even then the strafing feels weird and has momentum.
- The Golden weapons are very overpriced and will require large amounts of grinding to get.
- It can take forever to get a lot of bolts to buy the RYNO.
- The game tells you that there are skill points, but not how to get them.
Ratchet & Clank received critical acclaim and was a big seller for the PlayStation 2. The game would spawn many sequels and Ratchet & Clank become a signature franchise for the PlayStation line of consoles and Insomniac's most recognized IP, replacing Spyro the Dragon who had become multiplatform after Insomniac's rights to it expired.
- Don't buy every weapon as soon as you unlock them. Many NPCs require you to pay them to obtain important items or unlock new levels so if you constantly spend money on weapons you'll find yourself unable to pay them. Think carefully before buying a new weapon and make sure you have plenty of Bolts to spare after buying it.
- Use your weapons sparingly. Enemies give you bolts to buy ammo but if you're reckless you'll spend more ammo than you can buy.
- The Walloper, the Morph-o-Ray, and the Suck Cannon don't consume any ammo so try getting them, they are very situational weapons but come in handy when you need to save ammo.
- In planet Quartu, use the Visibomb to safely kill the guards without them triggering the security system, this will greatly reduce the need to use the hologuise.
- Make sure you do every objective in the current planet you're on before moving on to a new one, otherwise you might miss a key item you'll require later on thus forcing you to backtrack.
- As mentioned above trying to change weapons in the middle of a battle will likely result in you taking damage so make sure to run a safe location before opening the Quick Select menu. Of course, using the Quick Select menu is not needed to select your weapon, if you need a break from the game or the weapon you want is not on the Quick Select menu then press start to pause the game.
- The final boss against Drek is three phases long with no checkpoints so make sure you upgraded your health to 8 before facing it, as 4 hit points will likely not be enough for such a long fight. The Tesla Claw is also the most effective weapon against Drek. There's a portal back to your ship before the fight so you can go back to previous levels and grind for bolts to buy the health upgrades and Tesla Claw should you be unable to afford them.
- There is a glitch in planet Rilgar where you can get unlimited bolts. Buy the Decoy Glove and The Taunter then go to the right corner near the elevator, go into look around mode and look to the ground to throw two decoys. If you did it correctly you should be able to go through the wall and walk around until you're out of the wall, Then jump down and land on a building and then jump down again and you'll land on the hoverboard race track. Walk to the area where there's a bunch of boxes above you, Make sure you kill the enemies so they won't kill you while you're trying to collect bolts. Equip The Taunter and use something to hold down the circle button with. This will cause it to rain bolts, It can take a long time to get a lot of bolts but you can wait and do something else while you wait.
- Click here to learn how to obtain the Skill Points.