Ratchet and Clank

By: Fs_Metal
Game title: Ratchet and Clank
Genre: Platformer
Platform: Playstation 2
ESRB Rating: Teen
Developer: Insomniac
Release date: October 14, 2002
Overall rating: 8.5/10

With the begining of the Playstation 2 era, both Insomniac and Naughty Dog abandoned their Playstation heros, Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot, in favor of new styles and new characters. While Naughyt Dog initially went with a more typical 3D platformer in Jak and Daxter: The Precursors Legacy, Insomniac decided to spice things up a bit by adding guns, an element that was not typical to platformers at the time. Would the gamble pay off? Read on to find out this reviewers perspective on the gamble, which they called Ratchet and Clank

Gameplay - 9.0

The most important element in any platforming game is it's gameplay. Typical platforming gameplay usually consists of alot of jump puzzles, and Ratchet and Clank has no shortage of these. There are 2 keys to making jump puzzles work: Control and design. The control has to be precise, or the jump puzzles will be frustrating, and the design has to be good, or the jump puzzles will be boring. Ratchet and Clank manages to get both right, just like Spyro did before it.

The control for Ratchet and Clank is as dead on as it gets. You won't find yourself with any sticky control problems or sliding out of control due to bad programing. Everything is well executed, allowing you to make precise and careful jumps. The controls are simple and well laid out. It does not take long to get used to, and the difficulty ramps at fairly even pace, without ever getting extremely frustrating. The camera is decent, but you are bound to suffer a camera related death at some point, which will usually be the result of an enemy shooting at you from off screen. It is frustrating, but it doesn't happen often enough to hinder the gameplay

The second piece of the puzzle is good level design, and Ratchet and Clank has it. It goes through all of your typical things with jump puzzles involving things such as elements of weather. For example, there are levels with ice where you will slide and have to control it as best as you can. The game even manages to make these cliche levels fun. IT also has alot of less typical elements of platformers to mix things up. One of the best are the magnetic boots that let you walk on certain platforms, allowing you to play with everything upside down. This really gives a new perspective on things, as you might imagine, and it takes some getting used to, but it really helps the game.

By far, what makes Ratchet and Clank stand out are it's collection of guns and gadgets. I already mentioned one of the cooler gadget with the magnet boots. Another one of my favorites are the grinding boots. You shouldn't have to ask what those do. Just think about it. Anyway, there is a wide assortment of guns on the game. It included typical things, such as a machine gun like weapon, a flame thrower and several missile launchers. However, there are some less typical guns as well. These are the ones that are lots of fun and make this game stand out from all the other platformers out there. There is one called the glove of doom that is probably my favorite. The glove of doom launches little robot things that run up to your enemy and explode on contact. It is very cool and great for clearing out a room of enemies without even entering. There are quite a few other guns. Play it for yourself to find out

Graphics - 8.0

This PS2 game is now 5 years old. As such, it does not look as good as modern day games. There are alot of jaggies. It is very noticable in one scene where you board a train in the third level. However, with it being a first gen Playstation game, you have top judge it more by graphics at that time than by today's standards, and, by that time, it did look very good. It had a high level a detail and multiple varied cartoony world that show a fantastic use of color. One of hte first things you will notice when you boot up this game is that it has an absolutely fantastic draw distance. At times, it seems like you can literally see for miles in this game. The draw distance is fantastic. Another thing you might notice is that, at times, there is alot going on on screen. There are some levels with tons of onscreen activity. Ships will zoom by up in the sky and robots will be running everywhere

There is something to be said for art style, and Ratchet and Clank certainly does have good one. Ratchet and Clank goes with a bit of a silly cartoony style that Insomniac fans came to expect when they played Spyro back in the day. Both Ratchet and Clank are extremely well designed, and they aren't the only ones. Everything in every world fits perfectly with the world without deviating from the typical Insomniac cartoony artstyle. It really gives a boost to the graphics and helps the game as a whole look more fun.

Sound - 8.5

For music, Ratchet and Clank goes with very catch spacey music that fits its world well. It's nice and fits its silly sci fi nature very well, but the longer you spend in the world, the more it repeats. The more it repeats, the higher chance you will get sick of it or start to block it out. Don't expect Metal Gear Solid calibur music here. You won't find it, but what is here works. As previously stated, it can get annoying if you spend too long in the world, so why then? Why would the sound get an 8.5?

To answer that question, you have to look at the voice acting, which is excellent. Both Ratchet and Clank have excellent and fitting voices that really help to bring out their character and personality. The good voice acting is one thing that really stands out about this game, and Ratchet and Clank are far removed from the only characters with good acting. One of hte most ingriguing characters, Captian Qwark, has a hilarius voice actor. They couldn't have picked better for him.Chairman Drek is another character whose voice acting really stands out.

Story - 7.5

Don't let this deter you from checking out Ratchet and Clank. Story is the single LEAST important part of a platformer. That being said, Ratchet and Clank takes a que from the Spaceballs book of storytelling. It is about Supreme Chairman Drek attempting to buiold a world by stealing elements of other world. He travels from world to work picking which world has the best elements to include in his new world. For example, he would take the trees from one world and the water from another. A little robot fresh off the manufacturing line discovers his plan and escapes in a space ship. He is shot down and crash lands on Ratchets planet, who finds him and names him Clank. They team up to try to stop Drek.

There are some instances of great humor in Ratchet and Clank. These are usually centered around Captain Qwark, a washed up hero who is still a big name in the galaxy. He is working for Drek while trying to deal with the fact that he is washed up. He winds up being one of the more interesting characters in the game, and he is very funny. There are a few other instances of humor that don't involve them, but, far and away, the best parts involve Qwark.

Both Ratchet and Clank have decent character developement as well. If anything will keep you interested in the story, it is these two characters and how their friendship evolves. As the game went on, there were times that I did feel sorry for Clank and times that I was happy for both of them. To me, this was the most interesting part of the story. For the most part, the story is straight forward, and it never really goes anywhere. It is also predictable. There really isn't much here story wise. As I said, though, story is the least important aspect of a platformer. The fact that the story isn't all that great does not matter, and it does not drag the game down any at all

Replay value - 8.5

For a platformer, there is alot here. Altogether this game can easily keep you playinf for more than 30 hours. There are alot of things to collect, a few special items that will really help you in your quest that are optional, incvluding one of the cooler weapons in the game, the RYNO. There are also lots of skill points to collect and golden bolts to collect. There is alot here to keep you playing, After you beat the game, you can starti t all over again with all your weapons. IT can get a little boring playing the same levels over and over again, though.

Final thoughts -

Ratchet and Clank is an excellent platformer that really stands out because of it's art style and its excellent gunplay. With really cool weapons and gadgets to play with, this game is a blast for the 20 hours that it is likely to last most people to beat the game the first time through (assuming they are not a completionist). This is a great game and deserves a playthrough by any platforming fan. This is highly recommended

Gameplay - 9/10
Cool gadgets and excellent gameplay make this game stand out n the sea of platformers

Graphics - 8/10
Lots of jaggies, as is expected from an early PS2 game, but it has a good use of color and a great art style

Sound - 8.5/10
Catchy music that can get on your nerves after a while, but excellent voice work

Story - 7.5/10
A straightforward story with some good humor and a few good characters

Replay Value - 8.5/10
Lots of things to collect that can keep this game spinning in your PS2 for 30+ hours