Ratchet & Clank (video game)
|Ratchet & Clank|
Playstation 2 Cover art
Idol Minds (HD edition) Mass Media (Vita port)
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Series||Ratchet & Clank|
Ratchet & Clank is a 3D platformer video game for the PlayStation 2, developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Released in 2002, it became the first game in the Ratchet & Clank series.
The game follows the anthropomorphic character Ratchet meeting the robot Clank on his home planet. Clank discovers that the villainous Chairman Drek of the Blarg race plans to create a new planet for his species, destroying the galaxy in the process. Clank convinces Ratchet to help him in his quest to gain the help of the famous superhero Captain Qwark, but they soon discover that they must save the galaxy on their own.
The game offers a wide range of weapons and gadgets that the player must use to defeat numerous enemies and solve puzzles on a variety of different planets in the fictional "Solana" galaxy. The game also includes several mini-games, such as racing or lock-picking, which the player must complete to proceed. The game was positively received by critics, who praised the graphics and variety of gameplay, along with the comic and humorous style to the sci-fi story.
In Ratchet & Clank, the main playable character is Ratchet, whom the player controls from a third-person perspective, though a first person mode to view the player's surroundings is available. The player traverses diverse environments with a large collection of unusual comic gadgets and weapons, using them to defeat enemies and pass obstacles. Up to 36 weapons and gadgets can be bought or found in the game.
The player begins the game with only two weapons; the "OmniWrench 8000", a standard melee weapon with a variety of uses such as interacting with puzzles in the environment, and the Bomb Glove, a short-range grenade thrower. As missions are completed across the game's various planets, more weapons and gadgets become available; including the Blaster, an automatic pistol, the Pyrociter, a flame-thrower, and the Suck Cannon, a vacuum gun which sucks up smaller enemies and converts them into projectiles. Weapons are either found, or can be bought with bolts, the game's form of currency. The OmniWrench remains the standard melee weapon for close combat, with its own button, as all other weapons assume the role of weaponry and can only be equipped one at a time, though all weapons can be carried in the player's inventory.
Bolts can be found in crates, along with ammo, or dropped from defeated enemies. The player also needs to buy ammo for most weapons, but a small number can function without the need for ammo. Vendors, which sell weapons and ammo, are situated at strategic points throughout levels. After completing the game, the player may choose to enter "challenge mode", in which the game's difficulty level rises considerably, but all bolts and weapons acquired the first time are carried through. There is also the option to buy "gold weapons", more powerful versions of existing weapons. The game's health system, nanotech, starts at four health bubbles equivalent to be able to take four hits, but upgrades can be purchased, giving the player a total of eight hit points.
Normally, Clank rides on Ratchet's back, acting as a jet-pack or similar device. Occasionally, however, Clank becomes a playable character when Ratchet is unable to explore certain areas. Clank can control "Gadgebots", smaller robots similar to Clank, who perform certain actions for him. Racing, in the form of hoverboard races, appears in the game. Some racing missions are necessary to progress in the game, while others are optional. One level of space combat and a level of flying through the air shooting tankers is also present. Mini-games to unlock doors, extend bridges, or elevate platforms appear in most levels.
On a nearby planet, a machine, which is creating an army of robots, malfunctions and creates a miniature sized-robot: Clank. Clank searches the area for signs of life and finds an infobot. Horrified by its contents, Clanks quickly gets in a getaway ship, only to have enemy ships chase after him. The enemy ships shoot down Clank, causing the ship to plummet toward Veldin (Ratchet's homeworld). Ratchet, who oversees the crash, investigates. They begin to form a unique bond and agree to stop Drek (the antagonist of the game) who is devising a plan to extract large portions of other planets in the galaxy and re-attach them to his new world.
Clank suggests they locate Captain Qwark to aid them which he assumes is on Metropolis. However much to his dismay, Ratchet and Clank find nothing. Meanwhile, Ratchet and Clank find an infobot indicating that Drek has sent his right-hand man, Lieutenant, to Eudora for their trees. The duo arrive on Eudora only to find the Lieutenant had escaped. After completing more missions, Ratchet and Clank find out that Captain Qwark is actually situated on Blackwater City. They find his trailer and after a bit of dialogue, he agrees to stop Drek on one condition - Ratchet and Clank must survive a deadly obstacle course on Umbris. Once the duo successfully passes the course, Qwark double-crosses them and reveals he is the spokesperson for Drek and he cannot have Ratchet and Clank in their path to stop them. Qwark leaves, while Ratchet and Clank fight and defeat a Blargian Snagglebeast
Intent with getting revenge, Ratchet and Clank vow to stop Qwark and Drek at all costs. After exploring more planets, the duo find out that Drek installed a Deplanetizer on Hoven, a machine capable of destroying every planet in the galaxy and using the leftover pieces to add to their new world. Ratchet and Clank arrive on time and disable the Deplanetizer and in the process they find out that Drek has a secret base situated on the Orbit of Olantis. They find Qwark there and shoot his ship down sending him hurling in Planet Olantis. Meanwhile, Ratchet and Clank explore the robot factory (the one where Clank was created) and find out that Drek has another secret fleet.
After exploring, the duo find out that Drek has set another Deplantizer which is currently aimed and poised toward Veldin, which is Ratchet's homeworld. Ratchet and Clank arrive on Veldin to stop him. They engage in a final boss battle and disable Drek. After the battle, Drek presses a switch which activates the Deplanetizer (the Deplanetizer was under the platform they were fighting on) which shoots Drek towards his homeplanet, exploding into smithereens. A lone piece of the explosion knocks Clank and Ratchet off their platform, but Clank grasps on a nearby ledge, injuring his arm in the process.
The post-credits scene features Ratchet and Clank in his garage watching a commercial featuring Qwark and his Personal Hygienenator.
Development and release
After finishing work on the Spyro the Dragon series, Insomniac originally intended to launch a game codenamed I5 (Insomniac game #5) for the PlayStation 2. The developers, however, were never enthusiastic about it and the idea was dropped after six months. Ratchet & Clank was based on an idea by Brian Hastings, which would feature a space-traveling reptile alien who would collect various weapons as he progressed through the game; Ratchet's final form was decided upon after Insomniac considered various terrestrial creatures, including dogs and rats; feline features stood out to the developers because of the associated sense of agility. Another early idea was to have a number of small robots attached to Ratchet, which would perform different functions. However, Insomniac realized that having the three robots was both complicated and created confusion about Ratchet's appearance, leading them to have only one robot, Clank. Very little was cut for the final product, apart from a few weapons and gadgets which "just weren't fun".
Shortly after changing the game from I5 to Ratchet & Clank, Naughty Dog asked Insomniac if they would be interested in sharing the game technology used in Naughty Dog's Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, asking that Insomniac in turn share with them any improvements that were made. Insomniac agreed, resulting in most of the Ratchet & Clank engine technology being developed in-house by Insomniac, but some very important renderers were those developed by Naughty Dog. Looking back on the agreement, Ted Price said that "Naughty Dog's generosity gave us a huge leg up and allowed us to draw the enormous vistas in the game." Some years later Ted Price clarified Insomniac's stance on engine technology while obliquely mentioning the shared renderers:
"We've always developed all our own technology. It's been a little frustrating in the past for us to hear people say, 'Oh yeah, the Insomniac game is running on the Naughty Dog engine.' People assumed that we were using Naughty Dog's engine for Ratchet, and that was not true. We shared some technology with Naughty Dog way back when, and that was great, but we are a company that puts stock in developing specialized technology and we will continue to do so." -- Ted Price, Independent PlayStation Magazine, September 2006
Pre-production of the game began in late March 2001, with a team of approximately 35 people. The game went into production in November 2001, and by the end of the project the team had grown to 45. The game was first released in North America on November 4, 2002 and then in Australia on November 6, 2002. It was later released in PAL regions on November 8, 2002, and in Japan on December 3, 2002. In November 2003, Sony added Ratchet & Clank to their Greatest hits series of games for the PlayStation 2 when Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando was released at that time, and the game was similarly added to Sony's Platinum Range used in the PAL region on August 22, 2003. The game was added to Japan's The Best range on July 3, 2003; it was also the only game to be bundled with the PlayStation 2 in Japan.
Ratchet & Clank was met with generally favorable reviews. After playing a preview of the game, GameSpot described it as having "excellent graphics, varied gameplay, and tight control[s]". The game's use of weapons, rather than simple melee attacks, was cited as one of the main features that made it stand out from other platform games; Computer and Video Games said that "Going berserk with your giant ratchet [...] is seriously satisfying [...] Every time you thump an enemy with the hefty tool, it looks, sounds and feels remarkably solid. [...] What's more, the same can be said for all the other weapons you collect and use over the course of your intergalactic adventure". GameSpot noted that the player does not need to follow the same paths multiple times, as was common in platformers at the time. Gameplanet said that it was "Quite simply the best platform game on the PS2 right now and possibly the best on any format!"
Reviewers praised the game's graphics, specifically pointing out the character and background designs as being high-quality for PS2 games of the time. GameSpy called the graphics "mind-blowing", and GameSpot praised the game's smooth frame rate. GameZone noted the animation of Ratchet, praising the details in his animation. Reviewers found that the game's voice overs and other audio elements were generally well done. IGN commented on the game's artificial intelligence, saying that it was not as well done as that of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, but still "purposefully comic and somewhat sophisticated" in others. Gameplanet felt that the game's levels were well laid-out.
Criticism was aimed at the game's camera angles, which Eurogamer felt were "idiotic" at times, giving the example of boss fights in which the camera centers on the boss rather than being freely movable. Allgame found that it was hard to form an emotional bond with Ratchet & Clank's main characters, saying that Ratchet is "your typical teenager [...] who desires nothing more than excitement and adventure" and that Clank is "the stereotypical intellectual; stuffy and almost prudish to a fault", feeling instead that the characters of Jak and Daxter from Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy were "infinitely more likeable." Some criticisms were also aimed at the story, with GameSpy saying that the game became predictable, boring and "just bland". Reviewers also noted that the first half of the game was "yawn inducing", but once the player reaches planet Rilgar it becomes much more intense and difficult; GamePro found that the player does not "engage a single thought process" for the first parts of the game.
In June 2014, it was announced that the game would be re-imagined for the PlayStation 4, with the intention of remaking the original game as if Insomniac Games were to make the game again today.
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