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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Platformer

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Insomniac Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Great graphics...the game is fully 3D
- Lots of weapons and all of them have a practical use
- The game has some great one-liners and the storyline is interesting

 

 

- Too easy for older gamers
- There are some camera issues
- A limited list of game options

 

 

Review: Jak and Daxter (Playstation 2)

Review: Sly Cooper (Playstation 2)

Review: Super Mario Sunshine (Gamecube)

 

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Ratchet & Clank

Score: 8.2 / 10

 

Ratchet & Clank (R&C) received a lot of hype after E3 last spring and the action/adventure game was immediately pegged as a game to look out for. Can R&C experience the same success that Jak and Daxter, a game that shares the same publisher and genre, had this time last year?

 

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The game's storyline is quite good and revolves around the duo of Ratchet, a furry creature with a wide variety of mechanical skills, and Clank, a small robot. The difference in personalities is one of the elements that make this game great. Ratchet is street-wise and constantly looking for a better deal, yet he somehow pulls off the "nice guy" aura. Clank, very gullible (how much can you expect from a robot?), is a humorous character and comes across as an inquisitive little kid.

 

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R&C takes place in what I assume to be a far out galaxy in a far distant time -- furry animals can now talk and act like humans! The first scene opens with Ratchet attempting to fix his broken airship, while on another planet Clank comes off an assembly line much smaller than his mass-produced brethren, and is deemed a defect. Clank manages to escape on an airship and ends up landing on Planet Veldin, Ratchet's home planet. You soon learn that Chairman Drek is aspiring to take portions of other planets 

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and add them to his over-populated own. Clank wants to stop Drek by meeting with Captain Qwark. He only has one problem...he needs a ride. Ratchet is promised the missing piece to his airship and a pact is made.

 

And so the journey begins.

 

Controlling Ratchet and Clank is simple. You only use the X and O buttons to attack and the L1 button to aim. Your main weapon is the Omniwrench 8000. There are three or four moves that can be accomplished with it and it doubles as an instrument that can tighten bolts. The complex aspects come from the large number of weapons in the game, which exceeds 30. You attain the weapons by either purchasing them with bolts (the game's currency) or by finding them in the game worlds. There is literally a weapon for every type of enemy you encounter. While this is a cool thing -- who doesn't want a weapon that can suck in enemies and spit them out as missiles? -- it makes the game heavily dependant on getting the newest, most advanced weapon, rather than exploring. There were a few instances where I had to aimlessly walk around killing enemies to get bolts for the new weapon, rather than heading to the next planet.

 

The meat and potatoes of any platforming game, the game's puzzles, are fairly standard when compared to other games. The only real ingenuity comes from the puzzles that require your weapons to be used, such as a sling shot device to slide down long cables. Some of the timing obstacles can be challenging, but if you were able to play through other platformers, you should have no problem. I will give the game a "thumbs up" for mixing in some racing elements into the game. Early in the game, you save a hoverboard pro and he ends up giving you his board! Later on, you must race on that same board in a competition. This provides some of R&C's best moments.

 

The graphics go with a cartoon-look as opposed to a realistic one, but the game is fully 3D. At any time during the game, you can look completely around. The free-action camera does present some problems. While you can press L2 and have the camera switch directly behind you, there is no "auto-lock" button for enemies. This can be a problem when enemies surround you as you have to manually face each enemy. You are only allocated four levels of health, so being ambushed is a big problem.

 

The number of game options is limited and the lack of different difficulty levels is the biggest omission; but I fully understand the game's target audience lies with a younger, less skilled crowd.

 

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There are many dialogue scenes between characters and the infobots, a little robot that provides the coordinates of the new planets and video clips that set the stage. The game definitely has some humor integrated into it. (Qwark, who uses his fame as a warrior for endorsements, says in one of his ads for Big Al's shop, "If Al can't fix it...it ain't broke.")

 

R&C can probably be finished in less than 10 hours, but if you try to find every single weapon and gadget there is definitely more than 20 hours of gameplay. The game is innovative due to its large list of weapons, but does nothing to stretch the genre in terms of puzzles or difficulty. The game is successful in combining elements from four or five different genres. If you are a fan of Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank is a good game to try out.

 

- Tim Martin

(January 6, 2003)

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