Game Review

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Ratchet & Clank Game Review 

Platinum Version

Ratchet & Clank is the first video game in the Ratchet & Clank franchise created and developed in early 2000’s by Insomniac Games, Inc. but published in 2003 by Sony Computer Entertainment. Ratchet & Clank was Insomniac’s second successful franchise after 1998’s Spyro the Dragon and proceeded to sell out eight other games and are currently in the process of creating a remake of the first game and a film to be released next year. 

 The first Ratchet & Clank game broken down is effectively a space adventure game with platform elements where two heroes move around the galaxy, onto different planets to search for the villain, obtain items and make friendships along the way. 

 The Ratchet series borrows parts of the Naughty Dog engine used for Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy but Insomniac made it clear that they developed their own engine and game and wasn’t completely used. 

Start Up Menu Overview

Once the game is loaded up, beyond the logo and the flashing ‘press start’ indicator, you can see a planet which is quite bland and mixes with dark colours, but the large planets on either side of the screen tells the player that they are in space. The colour in the left hand side which lights up a small room, which inside shows an animal wandering about inside and appears to take something silver out of a crate and walk away with it. The screen is very pixelated due to low graphics but a little to the right side of the make-do home is a ship which also says that the game is located on another planet in space. The planet looks simple and includes exaggerated features, it looks safe and peaceful with the flying creatures flying around and the glimmering stars in the dark sky. In my opinion, this fits nicely with the overall design because involving space in a space adventure game 

The sound in this is quite plain and after a while will most likely give you a headache. It sounds like really large birds squeaking loudly and little birds attempting to chime in as well as the sound effect of a slash or perhaps, Ratchet working on his ship, which together is a sound that doesn’t really work and makes you want to quickly jump into play the game, which has a possibility of working for them.

Frequently a star which looks more like a tiny white dot in the sky due to poor graphics, will blink and a bird-like creature will fly across the screen.

 There is U.I. in the start-up screen which lets the player choose whether they want to create a new game, load a game or go through the options before they start a game. 

 The new game part will let you create a new game in the five save files provided, and will let you choose which one you’d like to save over. After this, you go straight into a cut scene where you get the main idea of the game.

 The load game lets you select a game which you have previously played which is where you go to when you want to continue. It’ll tell you what planet you are currently on, how much bolts you have, when you last played and how long you’ve spent on the game. Luckily, there isn’t a delete feature so no one is able to ‘accidentally’ delete your saved data. However, this can be annoying if you don’t want all the other saved files on your memory card. 

 The options include a language setting in case you don’t speak English so you have to guess which tab is the one to help you or you’d like to hear Ratchet speak in a different language. There are only limited language settings however, so you can only be English, French, German, Spanish or Italian to play Ratchet & Clank, which doesn’t seem very expansive. 

 You’re also able to change the video mode whether you want to be in 50Hz or 60Hz but the default should technically just go onto your television or whatever you’re using so this could be a little pointless.

 Changing the sound is applicable here too, in case for any late night ‘interplanetary travels’ and this, you can change the sound effects, the music volume and toggle whether you’d like stereo or mono. When highlighted, these sliders will go green to indicate the highlight as well as the words selected will go yellow, otherwise they follow the black and blue (sometimes yellow) theme.

You’re also able to change the video mode whether you want to be in 50Hz or 60Hz but the default should just to the native resolution for your television or monitor so this could be irrelevant.

Changing the sound is applicable here too, in case for any late night ‘interplanetary travels’ and this, you can change the sound effects, the music volume and toggle whether you’d like the game to project the sound in stereo or mono. When highlighted, these sliders will go green to indicate the highlight as well as the words selected will go yellow, otherwise they follow the black and blue (sometimes yellow) theme used prior in the games menus.

Overview of the different planets 

Veldin

Once the player has loaded up a new game, a cutscene starts showing the animal (Ratchet) attempting to fix his ship and speaking to his wristwatch which speaks back and tells him he doesn’t have the needed item to complete the aircraft. The next cut scene shows a smaller robot (Clank) finding a robot that has accidentally escaped from where he was meant to be and found himself alongside bigger robots. He then comes across video graphic information or an ‘infobot’ which alarms him and he continues to take it with him as he tries to escape, merely escaping the grasp of the larger robot in charge. He takes a ship out of the planet, blows up some other ships that are chasing him and crashes down on the planet where we first see the cat-like creature, who hears the crash which initiates gameplay to fight through the different, relatively easy enemies which is suggested by the lack of weapons at the start including a wrench and a bomb glove, the cat-like creature then finds himself at the crash site and awakens the unconscious robot who makes a deal with our main character that he will supply the missing part of the , a robotic ignition, if he helps the robot to find a hero who goes by the name Captain Quark. This planet, even though it could have been skipped and made into a cut scene, is relatively good for the player as it is easy enough to get through and introduces the player to Clank and the basics of the game. I feel that the cutscene really helps to introduce the player to the game giving them a basic understanding of the world and environment. The planet is more of an introduction to the world and it shows this with the easy gameplay, I feel this works really well as a basic intro to the enemies and weapons overall however I think that it could be more in depth as it leaves a lot for the player to find out.

Novalis

Heading to Novalis was a mistake for Ratchet and Clank because not only is Chairman Drek preparing to rip this planet in half and allow the residents to go hurling into the sun, they’ve now lost their ship. On a lighter note, they also have gained a way into getting new weapons and they get to explore this doomed planet to take whatever interesting items they can out of it before Drek can. Crashing down onto Novalis’ atmosphere ended up being a good decision (even though, Ratchet still shouldn’t have been so reckless) as they receive two infobots, one paid for, the other scared out of, a new ship and preferably one golden bolt. They also obtain the co-ordinates to getting to a planet where the hero they are looking for has recently been so their quest to find him may be cut short. This planet is pretty much another introductory planet to help the player get used to the controls and doesn’t throw them completely into the deep end. I think this planet is useful as it’s a simple way to get bolts and doesn’t take too long to get past.

Kerwan

After spotting the infamous Captain Quark in an advertisement on an infobot, the two quickly get onto their new courier ship in order to make it there in time to see him. Of course, they don’t make it in time but they do however, get a nice new heli-pack and a swingshot, even though, they do have to pay for both. This planet is related to the storyline so it’s one of the few to have a purpose and not just for Ratchet’s likes and dislikes, the planet is laid-out pretty well and larger than Novalis so more chance of getting more bolts. The planet is overall well designed however it can become quite tiresome to collect all the bolts and finish the planet several times. 

Aridia

This planet doesn’t make much sense of why they even went here other than to see if one of Ratchet’s many heroes, Skid McMarx, was there which he was along with his manager who told them if they won the race in Blackwater City, they can have a brand new up-to-date model of the new hoverboard. Much to Clank’s dismay, Ratchet’s too excited and agrees instantly. But, going far enough, this planet does give a free trespasser which is needed to unlock more levels and more free stuff in future planets so no one can really complain. This planet is kind of creepy, the dark skies and there’s just an eerie atmosphere to the planet. It’s a pretty simple planet and pretty easy to do, introduces harder parts but other than that, it’s not that bad. Other than receiving the trespasser, and potentially the hoverboard from the manager, it’s a pretty pointless planet for the most part and compared to the other planets. 

Eudora

After finding another infobot on planet Kerwan which states that Eudora is the next planet to be taken apart by Chairman Drek as Drek wants to use the trees for his new planet, Ratchet and Clank head off to try and save the planet from more destruction. They manage to find the suck cannon and an infobot for Nebula G34 where a worker is selling some grind boots, which of course, Ratchet just has to have. Planet Eudora isn’t actually that bad, other than the fact that once again, they didn’t need to try and save the planet, it shows the characters’ hearts for their galaxy and all the planets inside. The planet is easy enough to get through and getting the Glove of Doom makes it more worth it, the overall effect though, is that you could have probably gotten ahead without it if the infobot was elsewhere.

Nebula G34

The duo head to G34 in order to get their hands on some grindboots since Ratchet cannot possibly go without. Whilst they’re there, however, they manage to self-destruct a shuttle, kill a large, mutant slug-like creature and escape with an infobot for planet Rilgar where Quark was handing out the prize for the winner of the Hoverboard competition and a new Taunter. Other than the giant bees on planet Novalis and red, mutant frogs on planet Veldin, this planet is first to set off the mutant theme with dragon-slug-like creatures including the Queen, mutant frogs that erupt in front of you, full swing with absolutely no warning which will probably make the player jump out of their skin. This planet introduces the fear factor of the game which makes this planet one of the better ones as it introduces the almost worst that could happen in minorities.

Rilgar

Planet Rilgar is home to Blackwater City and Blackwater City holds the hoverboard race that Ratchet’s had his eyes on since planet Aridia. More to the point, the duo get to speak to the hero they’ve been searching for the past five planets yet he’s not interested and throws them into his HQ making them do a test of strength before he helps, but little do they know, he’s working against them. This planet introduces the time limits and more of the mutant-like creatures and also is a part of the storyline. Rilgar is extremely important to the player but can be frustrating for some of the parts but it isn’t that bad over all. There’s an unlimited bolts glitch that can only really be used in challenge mode which is a little tricky to get to and Ratchet can obtain the R.Y.NO., once he gets 150,000 bolts which is overly expensive and ridiculous and as a weapon, not worth that much at all.

Umbris

Heading to Quark’s HQ to prove that Ratchet and Clank did have the strength it takes to have Quark join them, Ratchet successfully gets past each obstacle but once meets up with Quark at the end, gets thrown in a large lava pit to defeat the Blargian Snagglebeast which is easy in itself once you realise he doesn’t fit on the bridges so if you run along, he’ll follow and fall into the lava, losing half of his life and then doing it again on the other side. Ratchet also steals Quark’s shuttle at this point and receives an infobot for planet Batalia.

Batalia

Ratchet and Clank must now go undercover without being spotted and take out the bombers who are trying to destroy planet Batalia. In reality, it doesn’t really matter if they get spotted as long as they don’t die. After they have destroyed the Blargian bombers, Ratchet is able to buy an infobot to go to planet Gaspar. The word Batalia may have been derived from the word ‘battle’.

Gaspar

On planet Batalia, the infobot they buy gives them a video that was supposed to be for Chairman Drek which shares information of a pilots helmet which miraculously is something that Ratchet is looking for. This planet seems like it’s there to bulk up the game since the only relevance is to get a pilot mask.

Orxon

Planet Orxon was mainly to get the leftover supplies that were left behind just before Drek polluted and deserted the area along with his people. Ratchet finds Nanotech which refills his life and adds more health to him which is more help for the player than the actual game. Including this planet was a good idea as it lets the player see how cruel Drek is and that his intentions aren’t good. Also, it’s nice to be able to have gameplay in all mentioned planets for the player.

Pokitaru

The duo go to planet Pokitaru due to an advertisement for the resort and the offer of getting a free O2 mask that means they are able to go back and Ratchet is able to explore planet Orxon as the planet hasn’t got breathable air. Ratchet is frustrated with Clank at this point and decides that he deserves a break and heads to Pokitaru and decides he’s going with or without Clank. Clank does join and when they get there, the resort owner tells them that the planet has been polluted and request their help, in return, they get the last O2 mask. Ratchet goes along with it and helps to defeat the Blarg ships which are causing the pollution and the near shut down of the resort and Clank gets the thruster pack installed as well as obtaining the Persuader from the same worker who sold them the Grindboots back in G34 in exchange for Raritanium.

Hoven

Ratchet and Clank must now go and destroy the PlanetBuster to stop Drek’s new planet using their orbit as their own. Other than this, they obtain a Hydro-pack from Edwina who is the sister of Al from the Robo-shack in Metropolis.

Oltanis Orbit

Drek wants to steal a power generator this time and of course, Ratchet and Clank go after the minions and stop it from being destroyed along with the orbit. During this, Captain Quark, the treacherous hero turned villain, now forces Ratchet and Clank to go against him to shoot him down to get past which then they receive another infobot of a news report for the actual planet Oltanis.

Oltanis

Now that Ratchet and Clank have successfully shot down Captain Quark, we presume he’s gone, but he’s actually not far. On planet Oltanis, Ratchet finds him again and Quark sells them the PDA – not public display of affection – a device that is used to buy ammo when you aren’t near a vendor, for example, in a boss battle. Ratchet doesn’t have Clank with him due to the rain and lightning so has to suffer on his own going around and looking for survivors. I don’t think this is very necessary, or the planet for that matter, but he does find an infobot for the next planet.

Quartu

I’m not really sure what the main purpose of going to this planet is other than to get Ratchet to destroy the ultra-mechs. The Blargians created this so that means Ratchet has to destroy it, this seems a bit weird as in if Drek made you a sandwich, you have to get your strongest weapon out and blow it up. This is the planet we see Clank escape from in one of the beginning cut scenes so we know that going back could be a little risky, even though the game doesn’t portray that at all. There’s a cute scene where Clank talks to his father and his father tells him how proud he is of him

Kalebo III

Ratchet and Clank visit the Gadgetron site to get the hologuise from them so they can go through the robot site. At first thought, you’d think that they’d just let Clank do it but seeing as Quartu is where Clank escaped, it’s more risky. There’s also a hoverboard race to do when they get there so they might as well do that since Ratchet loves it so much.

Veldin Orbit

After finding out that Drek has been on Veldin’s orbit the whole time, Ratchet doesn’t hesitate into going straight there to find the coordinates to get onto Drek’s laser to stop Ratchet’s home planet, Veldin, getting destroyed.

Veldin

An angry Ratchet finds himself in front of Chairman Drek instead and they begin a three part fight in order to save planet Veldin from destruction. The fact that the storyline loops around to go back to the beginning is an incredible idea due to once you enter planet Novalis’ atmosphere, there is no way of getting back to Veldin which leaves the player curious and it is surprising for not only Ratchet and Clank but the player themselves when they find out that planet Veldin comes back at the end. 

Controls 

The controls in Ratchet & Clank are simple. The square button is to swing your wrench, the circle button helps you get your weapon out and begins shooting and triangle button is to bring up the weapon shortcut and the X button is to jump. The select button brings up the map so you can see where you’re going and where you need to go to be able to get the infobots or the items. The control speeds are quick and when you press a button, there is no lag for it to do what you’ve asked. The controls are similar to other games so if the manual wasn’t read than it’s easy to pick up if the player has played other games so this fits nicely and feels smooth to play the game.

Character Models included in Ratchet & Clank 

The first characters model is 3D, he is a basic cat-like creature referred to as a Lombax. His characters lacks detail other than the brown markings on his fur and his large eyes and cat-like nose and mouth. He wears a strap over his chest which later holds Clank onto his back, cargo-like trousers and thick gloves which explains his job role of a mechanic. He is quite small other than his hands, feet and ears which could be because of his species. He has the features of looking young as well as the voice appearing to be of a teenager. In the game, he appears to only be the only Lombax and has to look different to differentiate from the various enemies including Blargians and some robots, as well as humanoids. Ratchet is supposed to look quite furry yet in most camera angles he appears to look smoother.

Clank is the second main protagonist and is also portrayed as 3D. He is a small robot that looks like he probably should have been a larger one but was rejected yet managed to escape. He’s very small and able to fit on Ratchet’s back without any trouble.

The Plumber is effectively one of the first people you meet when you endure your journey along the unknown planet Novalis where you’ve just crashed into a cliff on. Somehow you made it out safely and if you go through the sewers, Ratchet will proceed in making a ‘plumbers-crack-plumbers-back’ comment before this man will offer you an infobot for most of the precious bolts you’ve been saving up for. He wears overalls, much like a plumber would. He is 3D much like the other characters in the game and has his own personality, too. He doesn’t seem to be phased by much as people on a planet that is exploding in different areas and citizens being removed from their home would be, yet he still does make a comment about it in a quite frantic manner but he still seems more bothered about selling the infobot he has even though he does state the bolts will pay for his way out of the planet. He later reappears on planet 

Helga , weirdly enough, is a fitness trainor that was hired by Captain Quark to hand out the swingshot when Captain Quark’s fitness course was completed. Helga, however, said Ratchet’s performance was poor and made Ratchet pay for the swingshot. The characters outfit suits well to her character and purpose as her weight and dress preference is because she is more manly with her personality and attitude as she seems to be quite rude and disinterested in Ratchet or Clank. She also fits well with her name as she looks like a stereotypical Helga.

 Big Al is introduced on an advertisement through an infobot on planet Novalis. He was advertising his roboshack alongside Captain Quark. He sells Ratchet a heli-pack after Ratchet and Clank come looking for Captain Quark on the planet but are disappointed. Big Al is dressed and portrays an average computer and everything electronic obsessed man and he does this well by the way he speaks and what he says. His outfit help him to be identified easily and has a good design.

Captain Quark represents the stereotypical hero in all video games. His over exaggerated muscles and height that go beyond normal physics are only a cover up for the coward-like creature who hides inside. Captain Quark wears his hero suit nonstop and seems to be incredibly proud of it. He is easily manipulated and goes against Ratchet and Clank to get a little bit of publicity from Chairman Drek but doesn’t realise he probably won’t get that publicity.

The Blargian Snagglebeast is a giant, gruesome creature who is set out to kill off Ratchet and Clank after the duo complete the course on planet Umbris. The snagglebeast isn’t very smart and doesn’t think his actions through which makes him easier to get rid of on Umbris. His over exaggerated muscles and lack of clothes represents him being a fearful creature as well as the large claws on his feet. Also, his height makes an impact on the fear levels, but beyond that, he’s easy with the right tactics. (Hint: he doesn’t like the lava around the ground and is too heavy to balance on the bridges)

Chairman Drek is the villanious of them all, even though, he doesn’t really look like it since he’s smaller than Ratchet and probably a few centimetres taller than Clank. Nevertheless, he is incredibly smart and is able to think quickly in order to try and get rid of Ratchet and Clank, other than the fact, it took him eighteen worlds to realise that his hitmen weren’t up to scratch. He is dressed in a suit which indicates he is the leader of the Blargians and is important compared to the others.

Weapon Models included in Ratchet & Clank 

The bomb glove, referencing the picture to the left, isn’t a necessary weapon. It is previously owned by Ratchet so you don’t have to buy it from a Gadgetron vendor (even though, these aren’t available at the moment) but in reality, it’s useless. Instead of aiming to throw bombs, it’s much easier and less time consuming to just walk over to the mutant frogs jumping about and hit them with it. As well as the electrocuting robots who try and fry you, using the double jump and hit method gets rid of them quicker and saves you from losing your nanotech. If you were to use the bomb glove in the introductory planet, there are other weapons that override this weapon so you’ll probably forget about it as soon as you receive your Blaster. Having Ratchet own a bomb glove seems out of place due to the serenity of planet Veldin.

The omniwrench 8000, referencing the picture to the left, is effectively the best weapon a Lombax can have. It can defeat most enemies and has a long distance throwing feature so you can aim and get those bad guys from a distance! It is always equipped on Ratchet (unless he’s using another weapon) and for most people who know the square button as attack, will easily be able to use the wrench when something jumps out at you.

The pyrocitor, referencing the picture to the left, is more favoured at the beginning of the game rather than the end. At the beginning, there are more of those pesky little creatures that you can burn but the pyrocitor proves no help when battling bigger enemies or bosses. The pyrocitor could be seen as a useless weapon seeing as the enemies that it does affect are easier and quicker defeated with Ratchet’s wrench or for the case of the mutant amphibian-like creatures on planet Nebula, you might as well send out some of those little robotic puppies to clear the way for you.

The Blaster, referencing the picture to the left, is your second go-to throughout the game until you get the Devastator. It can shoot enemies from a distance and is easy to use and will automatically aim for you in most cases which makes it easier to use and less time consuming. The ammo is inexpensive and you’re likely to get most of it back from ammo crates. It can get rid of enemies pretty quickly and using this and the wrench and perhaps, a small amount of the Glove of Doom can get you through most of the game.

The Glove of Doom, referencing the picture to the left, is probably one of the best weapons for when you simply cannot be bothered to kill all the enemies yourself. They’re extremely useful for time limit missions, for example, the one in Nebula, to quickly get rid of protruding enemies that could stop you from getting out of the self-destructing shuttle. The Glove of Doom is probably one of the best weapons for when you simply cannot be bothered to kill all the enemies yourself. They’re extremely useful for time limit missions, for example, the one in Nebula, to quickly get rid of protruding enemies that could stop you from getting out of the self-destructing shuttle. Also, these are pretty neat with the mutant frogs and needy dragon-like creatures also found on Nebula and can be good for clearing areas in Eudora.

The Taunter, referencing the picture to the left, genuinely seems like a useless weapon, and to be honest, it is. But, you can get a few good shots using this, say for example, there’s a laser wall blocking your access (found in Nebula and planet Orxon – also worth a skill point in planet Orxon) but there happens to be some enemies behind it, you can use the Taunter to get them to run into the wall and die which means less work for you. This weapon is also key for the unlimited bolts glitch on planet Rilgar.

The R.Y.N.O., referencing the picture to the left, isn’t that great. Contrary to popular belief, the Devastator does just as good as the R.Y.N.O. and doesn’t cost 150,000 bolts from a creepy looking guy in the corner of Blackwater City. The R.Y.N.O. would be good if you could actually control the different bullets flying aimlessly around but you pretty much get to choose the initial direction and then it throws a fit in the air and goes wherever it wants to in the first place. The ammo is incredibly expensive especially on the Gadgetron PDA and even though, it does get rid of Chairman Drek pretty quickly, you could probably complete the game without it.

Oh, look. Another completely pointless weapon. Thanks, Insomniac! The Decoy Glove, referencing the picture to the left, is supposed to make enemies think that you are a blow up doll so they go and attack it so I guess you can escape without being harmed whilst they blow up as it does. This is a lot more time consuming then just hitting them with your wrench and realistically, they should be able to see it’s blown up. It’s needed for the unlimited bolts glitch though, so it has a use.

As soon as this weapon becomes available it is a must that you buy it. Not only is it a serious upgrade from the Blaster, it can maim and kill enemies from further away and create a lot more damage to them because by the time this is available, your trusty Blaster isn’t doing much damage and you don’t want to look silly throwing out a blow up version of yourself.

The Drone Device is a really cool weapon you can buy off the Gadgetron Vendor. It effectively gives you less damage which is good when you’re doing the harder levels, especially the final level at Veldin. These aren’t necessary but are useful and look cool floating in circles around Ratchets head.

The Hydrodisplacer is very important in the game as it can help you move from one planet to another. You get it for free, so that practically tells you how important it is. All this does, is suck the water out from one place and put it into another so it’s then accessible.

This is a weapon, referencing the picture to the left, where if you shoot someone with it they will turn into a chicken and if that doesn’t tell you anything then you probably need to reread the first sentence.

#The Mine Glove allows Ratchet to throw mines at various enemies in hopes that they’re stupid enough to walk straight into it. This is once again, a pretty useless weapon that could have been improved a lot more by allowing it to move after enemies rather than waiting for an enemy to walk past before exploding. 

The Tesla Claw can do a lot of damage and sure looks like it can. It sends out an electric shock wave to electrocute enemies. The physics for this don’t work as well as you are given this electric weapon on a planet which is raining, yet there is no effect on Ratchet when he uses it in the rain. There are better weapons that do more damage and worth the bolts, you could get away with not using this throughout the game.

The Visibomb is quite handy and would work brilliantly with the sixaxis on PlayStation 3, however, all you’ve got is your L stick to control the bombs. They can do a lot of damage, at one point, you’re able to blow up a cave opening on planet Orxon. They’re also good with flying enemies that you could usually not reach from the ground and offers a self-explode option which is useful if you don’t quite hit them with it. Other than these uses, the game can be completed without it, if you aren’t going on a gold bolt hunt, that is.

The Walloper is another one of those weapons that make absolutely no sense, overpriced and even if they did do a decent amount of damage, there’s just no point. Ratchet punches enemies with it on, as the name suggests, but in later planets, it’s hard to get close enough to enemies without them killing you first. I guess you could use it on the mutant frogs or the robot-dogs, but by the time you’ve got this, those planets are forgotten about.

Collectibles and Ships included in Ratchet & Clank 

The crates, referencing the picture on the left, are practically everywhere which is very useful since almost every weapon costs more than all the bolts on the planet together. It’s also nice that Insomniac threw in some ammo boxes so we don’t have to waste our bolts on more ammo. There are also danger biohazard boxes which genuinely make the world a crueller place, unless they are opening those big, blue, unbreakable crates, then we could do with them, otherwise they tend to take up all your nanotech and grab Ratchet unexpectedly. Sure, they make enough noise but once Ratchet accidentally take a hit with his wrench, he’s one life down and probably in a bad mood.

Ratchet’s ship, referencing the picture on the left, looked like it was going nowhere and when it crashed down into Tobruk Crater, no one should have been surprised. Looking at it, the player can see that Ratchet did his best with what he had collected on planet Veldin and looking at the pride on Ratchet’s face, not even Clank could tell him the spaceship probably wouldn’t exceed far enough to get to where they needed to go, but Clank was desperate to get off the planet in fear of the sentry-bots coming back for him.

The infobot, referencing the picture on the left, is most likely one of the most helpful collectable on the Ratchet & Clank game as after Ratchet have defeated all the enemies leading up to the infobot, Ratchet then get the co-ordinates to go to other planets. On Novalis, there is an infobot which is just given to you by a scared old man who has been traumatised by Chairman Drek, who also gives you a pretty neat spaceship for free, so he should be a favourite. On other planets, however, these little bots can prove to be irritating as they move away after you’ve got to their destination, forcing you to fight other creatures along the way, this can be the case on the planet Orxon.

The gold bolt, referencing the picture on the left, is exciting in itself. When Ratchet finds one of these, he flips it in the air with a grin on his face acting proud even though, you’re the one who did the work to get it. The gold bolts are actually also used as currency even though, the player at this point in time may not realise this and aimlessly collect them, but when the player enters challenge mode after the first completion of the game, the player then can proceed in buying gold weapons, which obviously needs the precious bolts along with it. However, by the time you actually unlock this feature, you’ve completed the game so all-in-all, they’re pretty useless, unless collecting skill points is your aim in life.

This courier ship, referencing the picture on the left, is a lot better than the ship Ratchet created (sorry) and was given to Ratchet after Ratchet scares the old man at the end of Tobruk Crater to give him the infobot. It’s a large ship and probably is a little slow but works all the same and gets them to most of the planets before they upgrade to Quark’s Tour Shuttle ship later on in the game. It looks like it’s supposed to look basic and simple to broadcast how better the other ones are later in the game.

 Quark’s Tour Shuttle, referencing the picture on the left, was stolen by Ratchet and Clank after they defeated the Blargian Snagglebeast at the end of Quark’s course on planet Umbris. This ship was later replaced with the Starfighter in order to reach Chairman Drek and Quark faster.

The Blargian Starfighter, referencing the picture on the left, was loaned to Ratchet and Clank when the Jowai Resort on planet Pokitaru. This ship was briefly used to rid the now-polluted planet of the Waste Ships who were pouring toxic waste into the resorts waters, making the marine-life mutant. This ship replaced Quark’s Tour Shuttle as it is faster and was better for Ratchet to use. However, when we see the cut scene of the ship leaving the current planet and going onto the next, it doesn’t appear to be any faster.

Items and Gadgets in Ratchet & Clank 

When Ratchet meets Clank, referencing the picture to the left, Clank agrees to go around all the different planets with him and to make sure Clank doesn’t get lost during their ‘interplanetary travels’, Ratchet straps Clank onto him, using the strap around his chest, like a backpack which comes in handy during gameplay.

The Gadgetron vendor, referencing the picture to the left, appears on planet Novalis and when you go towards it and open up the vendor, the green, slug-looking man tells you he has some great bargains for you today which instantly lets you know, that this is where you’re going to be buying some of your weapons. He also nicknames Ratchet ‘fuzzball’ to give indication that he in fact a furry creature. If you wait too long without buying anything, the creature in the box gets impatient and tells you he hasn’t got all day, waiting longer will make him repeat and he taps his fingers, leaning his head on his hand for most of it and looks at his wrist as if he has a watch. The Gadgetron vendor keeps the player up to date with all of the new weapons on each planet and can be seen at least once on every planet and tends to be seen a second time if there is an upcoming boss battle. There are 6 boxes when this is opened up, one of them is at the top and runs slogans along the top to sell their product which looks realistic but is pointless to the player. The other boxes include the weapon, its picture and its price, the other 3 will include the two options, to buy or to exit and the final one allows you to buy ammo for the weapon you have selected and bought. When you wish to activate the Gadgetron vendor, your bolts at the top of the screen disappear which is irritating seeing as you need to know before you click on whether you have enough for the exciting new weapon.

The robot hologuise, referencing the picture on the left, is made for Ratchet to be able to disguise himself to enter the sentry-bot part on planet Quartu. This is a good gadget to have and is necessary to game play. I like it because it lets the player change their skins and varies the characters a little.

The bolt collector, referencing the picture on the left, is something that once you have, you can’t live without. It attracts the bolts to Ratchet and makes it easier to collect bolts and get around the world faster. The only problem is, once you have it, you’re used to not having to collect the bolts yourself so you tend to forget to.

The hydropack, referencing the picture on the left, is one of the best items for time limit swims for example on Veldin’s orbit. It takes away your need for oxygen so you can be underwater for longer without needing air which is also useful for getting a gold bolt on planet Rilgar. I like this item a lot because it takes away most of the pressure and it was really good for Insomniac to add this to one of their items due to it being extremely helpful in-game.

I think the magneboots, referencing the picture of the left, were purely included just to give the footwear more of a range because for the majority of the game you only need the magnet boots for little sections here and there. These are pretty much useless and what is magnet fields can most likely be replaced with normal terrain or grind rails.

The Map-O-Matic, referencing the picture on the left, is a cheat way of finding secret areas on the planets and help the player find the gold bolts which just seems silly because they should find them themselves and giving the player all the answers, makes the game less enjoyable.


The metal detector, referencing the picture on the left, detects bolts that are underground. Yet another useless item created by Insomniac. You could say that it was made for entertainment purposes but no one plays a game just to walk around aimlessly with a metal detector.

The pilot’s helmet, referencing the picture on the left, was made to help Ratchet fly one of the aircrafts on another planet but was made for Drek instead. Other than this, it’s a useless item and doesn’t really do anything.

The thruster pack, referencing the picture on the left, helps Clank be able to move faster under water as well as jump with more of an impact. Other than the water thing, it’s practically useless and probably was just made to seem like an upgrade from the heli-pack but really isn’t.

Animation in-game 

Bearing in mind that the game came out in 2002, the animations aren’t that great and to prove this, Lombaxes are able to walk through hills, walls and shake the whole screen when walking into something solid when in the wrong angle. Ratchet is also able to lose his foot in the mesh of the ground and walk away without a single tear and pull out heavy weapons such as the R.Y.N.O. from thin air. Many people suggest that Clank is able to carry the weapon for him, but Clank isn’t accessible on planet Oltanis therefore this can’t be the case. Ratchet is also able to hover a centimetre above the ground. 

 There are good parts of animation, for example if Ratchet hits something with his wrench, realistic looking sparks come out but yet the problem with this, is that the sparks are exactly the same even if the player hits a bumble bee or a metal wall it has the same reaction. 

Enemies are also animated well as they can walk freely around in their small areas which they’ve been coded to do so, there could be a chance where enemies could fall off the edges but that is minimal as well as enemies appearing to have fallen off the edge yet reappearing next to it and shooting at you or bouncing off an invisible wall yet if you tried, you’d fall to your death and have to restart the whole entire planet. Enemies also have their own sound effects, for example, when the mutant frogs jump on planet Veldin, they create little bounce sounds but this can only be heard when the camera is facing away from them. 

The stars in the planet come and go as they choose and only appear in some atmosphere in some camera angles which takes away a lot of the realism.

There are parts in the level where Ratchet seems to attract bolts which come out of nowhere which is always useful and kind of confusing but still, nonetheless, free bolts. 

Animation has to be immediately responsive for characters. Ratchet and Clank is extremely responsive along with Ratchet putting his weapons in his hand. The wrench is the fastest to respond to ultimately attack the enemy whereas the R.Y.N.O. takes a little longer to get to the enemy to attack them. Ratchet complains that the R.Y.N.O. is heavy yet has no problem holding it whilst running during gameplay and shooting with it. When using the wrench, Ratchet does take a little time to stand back up straight after hitting with the wrench but this makes it a lot more realistic.

When running along a thin piece of metal, Ratchet doesn’t wobble or his arms aren’t really out nor when he uses the grind rail. He seems pretty balanced in-game and this makes it seem less realistic. 

When Ratchet stands still, he fidgets and moves around taking glances back at the camera to make it look more realistic and is similar to Spyro in this way. Even though, Ratchet tends to move around whilst standing still, Clank is completely still in his backpack shape. The way he does this indicates that Ratchet is young and wiling for adventure and by the way he looks back it gives the idea he wants to just go and not wait around.

Game Physics and Particle Systems used in-game 

The characters jumps are realistic but perhaps a little higher than a human would, but other than that there are no power ups that make the characters seem less realistic. 

When an enemy dies, the stutter as they fall down and disappear in green smoke. 

The weapons seem to appear from nowhere and appear directly into Ratchet’s hand.

Clank’s explosion seems random as there are smoke where it shouldn’t be and the fire is transparent. There are random parts of ship with fire on them and smoke that disappears as it hits the top of the screen. The fire that is produced, obviously uses particle systems to create that realistic feeling since you aren’t looking at the unconscious robot, ready to see if he’s about to attack, you’re concentrating on the hot, wisps of fire from the particle system to the left. The fire uses the particle systems well as it does achieve the realistic look of as real as fire can get in a computer game. The explosion that is created by Clank’s shuttle is in very low graphics and when Clank crashes down onto the planet, you can see the pixelated particle systems of the brief parts of fire crash down with him. The fire when you get to the crash site is transparent and every part of the broken parts of shuttle have minimal fire on them. It is unknown whether this fire will do any harm since going closer will throw the player into a cut scene. On some parts, there is smoke appearing from nowhere and as Ratchet gets closer, the fire tends to fade away a little more. 

The water in the game is realistic and flows in one way, ultimately pushing the player in the way it wants them to go if they try and go the other way this is good because it helps keep the game realistic for the player since the game isn’t really realistic in other parts. 

Lens Effect in-game 

The only lens effect that is really noticeable on planet Veldin is the sun shining down onto the planet during cut scenes, other than this, there is no lens effect on planet Veldin. There is no rain on planet Veldin and is in a constant horizon due to the placement of the sun. The stars that do appear in the sky aren’t really that bright and you would only see them if looking for them, also they don’t appear in the cut scene where Clank helps Ratchet fix his ship.

The rain on planet Batalia is slanted and stays in its own place, not touching the screen which makes it slightly less realistic. The lightning on planet Oltanis doesn’t tend to strike as much after the first cutscene and isn’t very noticeable after the player gets immersed.  

Overall Visual Styles of Ratchet & Clank 

All of the planets on Ratchet & Clank feature an exaggerated art style to emphasise the fact that the world is very animated and alive. It also uses this technique to create a fairly linear walkway throughout the different levels with enemies that alternate between simple and more difficult to create the atmosphere that they are wading towards the greater danger. All of the planets feature invisible walls which aim to keep the player from dying or away from certain aspects, however, some of these walls feature a glitch and able to get through normally or using force which ruins the idea of their being an invisible wall to start with.

The characters involved are all 3D and are also made in an exaggerated art style.

The HUD in game is incredibly good for an older game and features everything the player would need to know in-game. The HUD gives the player the vital information, such as health, currency, ammo and pressing buttons on the controller help to bring up shortcuts to weapons and accessing those as well as the map, missions and the start menu for more help or access to items and gadgets. 

Depending on what level Ratchet is on the lighting will differ. For example, planet Aridia is a dark planet yet is lit up by the lights in the buildings and various ships flying overhead. The overall planet is visible yet is incredibly dark. The lighting for others comes from the bright blue sky above but does not show the sun in any parts. 

The textures are high quality given the time released and they fit the games overall art style nicely.

AI used on NPC’s throughout gameplay 

The enemies on planet Veldin are responsive when Ratchet goes towards them, the mutant frogs jump towards him but making no sound, whereas when turned away you can hear them jumping about which is unusual because if you were looking at them, they would surely be louder. If you get to close to them or they get to close to you, they are responsively and bite Ratchet. The robots later on the planet if getting too close will react but with both of these you could be less than a metre away and they wouldn’t react.

The only companion Ratchet has is Clank who is an NPC in most of the planets. He appears to have small roles where the player is able to control Clank but he has a minor role throughout but does pick up some weapons and collectibles throughout. Clank is a very smart character who is able to stay calm through stressful situations and appears to be wiser than Ratchet. Clank is quick to give responses but is able to hold back and let Ratchet live out his mistake. Clank is, however, easily fooled and has been victim to Ratchet’s teasing on numerous occasions throughout the game. Including Clank in the game was clever for Insomniac as not using him could’ve been easier for them to not but including them makes the game feel more realistic and the mini-games help to complete the game and make it feel like both Ratchet and Clank saved Solana.

The NPC’s who help Ratchet and Clank tend to have a default personality and more express themselves with their voice or clothing. They give off the vibes that they are default and haven’t been given much thought, for example, Big Al and Helga from planet Kerwan. However, this isn’t the case with Captain Quark or Chairman Drek as they are more important than Big Al or Helga and have been given their own personalities. Captain Quark seems to be, when introduced, your typical hero with the big ego but when you go along in the game, the player finds out he is easily manipulated and isn’t as strong as he makes out and ends up being a coward. Whereas, with Drek, at the beginning he’s evil from the start and only gets worse. His personality is stubborn and aggressive and he isn’t scared of anything, easily getting his own way which is a stereotypical bad guy. 

Mission Designs on each planet 

Most missions available on Ratchet & Clank are pretty much similar on every level. More than likely, Ratchet will need to go off and find something in order to help him and the majority of the missions can be completed on the planet you received them on. There are only a few that send you to different planets in order to complete a mission but they’re straight forward. The directions in which to go in follow around the planet for the player to complete the missions so there are no pathways that lead to nothing making the game easy to complete other than the enemies guarding the way. I think that the missions could be more expanded on and a few dead ends could make the game more interesting as well as being given missions that are more than just ‘kill this’, ‘find this’ or ‘explore this’. The missions being so similar ruin the game and makes the player feel less immersed and having the limits ruin the chance it has to be more like a space adventure game more than a space mission game. 

Level Construction on each planets 

Most of the levels in Ratchet & Clank use a similar architecture with a linear walkway stopping the player from waking off the intended path.  The levels also include a varied pool of enemies that depend on the difficulty of the level. This often becomes quite tiresome as it feels as if some of the levels are just copies of each other and they end up feeling quite boring at some points with not much variation in the overall level design.

Audio Design on different planets 

The overall voice acting throughout the game is strong and is audible throughout. All characters keep to their same voices and none stutter throughout. All sound effects done well but some of the enemies do not make sound unless facing away or getting up close. When Ratchet bolts the screw on some levels, the sound effects match and are in sync to what he is doing as well as the ship landing, taking off and flying through the Solana galaxy.

Veldin

The sound to planet Veldin is quite quiet and peaceful. Nothing has been disarranged yet and no one is after Ratchet, the sound effects of the various enemies jumping around is louder than the actual sound. This gives a peaceful effect on the game which is good for someone who has just started the game because throwing in large enemies would put the player off. Keeping the player calm whilst playing the first few planets, like Insomniac have done, keeps the player feeling like they are one step ahead.

Novalis

The music in Novalis really kicks off the game. Its upbeat yet gentle audio fits in with the sound effects created by the bumble bees and the robots which are overly exaggerated. Novalis is pretty much a version of the word ‘novice’ so the fact that this would technically be the first planet that Ratchet and Clank find themselves on, the relaxed style of audio would prove to fit in with the easiest level amongst the game. I think this style of music fits with the game as it gives a quite laid-back effect for the player. 

Kerwan

This planet slightly picks up the pace with its audio, introducing the cars sound effects and a busy city. The music to it has quite an eerie and demanding feel to it which fits well with the planet being overran. The creepy feel to the music is also good to introduce the player to how jumpy the game can get. This is good for this planet because it can start to make the player more sceptical.

Aridia

The sound audio fits well with not only the gameplay on this planet but also the visual style. The audio is a lot more upbeat than the previous two planets involving a more varied choice of instruments which play fast, raising the tension of the planet. The music fits well, looping round to make it sound like the music is being thrown at the player as they move along the planet, which fits well as the music takes attention causing the enemies who jump out to have more effect.

Eudora

The audio for planet Eudora is very catchy and you’ll find yourself bopping along to its bouncy tune. The up-beat tune fits well with the planet as it sounds like a work song as the flying machinery and robots are cutting down the trees. It is uplifting and will probably be one of the player’s favourite audio tracks due to its enjoyable sounds and it being free of tension. 

Nebula G34

The sound is quite quiet and is more like a faded background sound rather than actual audio for the planet. The high notes give the Nebula an eerie feel as they’re continuous yet feel like they clash with the low, quiet background noise. The audio isn’t upbeat at all and instantly puts the player on edge. This fits the planet due to what is on it and sets the atmosphere for the boss battle at the end. 

Rilgar

Rilgar’s audio brings the tension into the game and makes the gives a more serious and dangerous tone to the planet. The backing music aims to soothe the harshness of the overlapped music yet doesn’t stop the music feeling rough and filled with tension. In my opinion, this suits the planet and the atmosphere and effect as the music feels large and indicates tension towards the player and fits with the mission style of the planet.

Umbris

The funky audio for this planet helps to make sure the player is focussed and ready to go due to the fast pace and snappy parts. This is suitable for this planet due to Ratchet and Clank having to surpass Quark’s ability test. The more bounce-like sounds during creates the atmosphere that it still relates to being from Ratchet and Clank. I like this for this planet due to its quickness and is able to put anyone in the frame of mind to pass the HQ. 

The Blargian Snagglebeast

Like most boss battles, the music wants you to instantly feel like a hero and that you’ve already won. The audio for this offers a top choppy layer, a bottom deep layer and a more Ratchet and Clank music style in the middle. Putting it together, makes the perfect audio to motivate players to defeat the Snagglebeast. The audio doesn’t appear to have much smoothness either, probably because it won’t be a smooth defeat. This goes well with the battle due to the music being bigger to reflect the Snagglebeasts size and makes Ratchet look and the player feel smaller in size as the music pressures the player to keep going. 

Batalia

Batalia’s audio track makes you feel like you’re in some cheap spy film and even though, it does work for this particular planet it probably wouldn’t for anything else. The audio makes it sound like Ratchet is in peril but he isn’t really unless you fear for the fact that Ratchet’s going to turn Clank into scrap. The music would make sense, however, since the planet is in danger so the spy music could be necessary but even though, it works pretty well, they could’ve came up with something a little less James Bond and a little more Ratchet & Clank.

Gaspar

The audio for Gaspar is more of a techno-themed audio rather than what you’d find usually for this planet as it is quite dangerous and the enemies tend to pop up in front of you out of nowhere. I think the contrasting music to the planet fits well because the music is very motivational and gets a player ready for what may pop up. There is no fear in the music therefore the player isn’t scared to begin with and isn’t distracted of what the music may hold and instinctively ready for the game. I like this contrast and feel like it fits well with the planet due to the momentum it gives.

Orxon

Planet Orxon’s audio track has a subtle groovy tone to the bottom of it but keeps the eerie feel of being on a polluted planet. It makes you feel like you’re in a sci-fi game and keeps the space theme. The music is slow and quiet making Ratchet’s footsteps louder. This fits with the planets and the missions given that the planet has been deserted for a long time and has been polluted therefore the music is slow and has a creepy feel to it. 

Pokitaru

Pokitaru’s audio brings back the Ratchet & Clank style of music. Due to the planet being a resort, the uplifting music makes it sound like the planet isn’t taken seriously even though, it has been overran. The music keeps the happy, resort type of music. This fits well with the planet but is slightly distracting when you’re trying to play the game. The low background music in the back tries to keep the planet feeling like it is in trouble yet the light continuous parts sound likes jingles making the planet’s atmosphere feel more light hearted. 

Hoven

Seeing as this is a bomb factory, the sudden music makes sense with the way it is laid out. The spy theme is still brought back as the music goes on but the music raises tension between the game and the player. The music is slightly dark so the contrasting light, high notes make the player still remember it’s only a game. I think this type of music works better for this planet because the planet should be done fast and cautiously much as the audio makes the planet seem enclosed rather than open, how the game should be. 

Oltanis Orbit

The quiet music and the gentle ticking at the beginning before forming into its own beat is important as it gives the player the eerie feel that something may pop out and due to Ratchet being in a base, the slow music helps to create the secretive atmosphere. I like this audio track because it opens them up for their fight against Captain Quark and gets the player prepared for the upcoming battle. 

Oltanis

The audio raises tension as it starts off slower and gets higher before moving into a continuous loop. It has a similar sound to planet Kerwan but with more added danger and slow rhythms that hint mystery upon the planet. It isn’t relaxing at all and creates a dramatic effect through changing the pitch to higher and lower. It isn’t the most dangerous audio in the game but can make the player aware. It fits the planet well and the missions and creates the atmosphere that will put the player in the mood they need to complete the level as this is one of the harder ones. 

Quartu

Ratchet & Clank style in a deeper instrument with a slightly more techno robotic sound included due to them being where the sentry-bots are located and where Clank escapes. I thought for this there would be more tension due to the fact that there are possibilities of Ratchet and Clank being captured and the risks they are taking but the music seems happy and upbeat rather than a slower or quieter audio. In this way, I don’t think the music fits very well with the planet or the missions as it gives the wrong impression and doesn’t contrast well as it could.

Kalebo III

The audio to this is extremely blanked out due to the spaceships riding ahead but if you listen closely, the music seems robotic which fits due to the planet being the Gadgetron site. It would have been better if it were a little louder due to the constant louder sounds of the up ahead spaceships but other than this, it fits really well and includes parts from other planets giving it a more home-like feel to the player. 

Veldin Orbit

The Veldin Orbit audio is the most upbeat audio track the player will have heard through the past few previous planets. This is strange since Veldin orbit is probably one of the few planets that will probably leave you on edge the majority of it. It could be to give the player positivity but other than that, the music doesn’t fit the overall planet. I think this detracts from the overall enjoyment of the level as it can ‘ruin’ the immersion the game hopes to create in the level.

Veldin 

Beginning 

Compared to the first visit on Veldin, the audio becomes really dark and secretive. It plays the old version of audio in a much slower giving the impact of the mission being important. There are added audio cues for different instruments which give the audio an eerie effect as well as a slyly dangerous one. In my opinion, this fits the planet well as it is the last planet and gives the effect that this is now life or death.

Meeting Chairman Drek 

The audio becomes rushed to indicate that this is the most important part of the game. The music adds tension to the game and makes the player feel like they are in a boss battle which is important for the music to link otherwise the player wouldn’t get the effect that the music is trying to portray. The music gives off a hero-like tone which throws in a little positivity over the negative light. This is done incredibly well to put the player in more of a risky situation and fits well with the final mission. This track isn’t too loud nor too quiet so the player doesn’t lose focus and is likeable due to its dark turns. 

UI and difference of the UI on different planets 

When you start playing the game, a small box will pop up and a lady who claims she’s from Gadgetron  helpdesk will pop up and let you know she’s willing to aid you in your ‘interplanetary travels’ and that they are free to use. After you walk across the first bridge on the planet, she’ll let you know that you can interrupt her by pressing triangle if you feel like you don’t need her help. She’ll also guide you on how to use your weapons and when the best possible time is to use them and on the Nanotech and how it is for your health and when you get an injury to collect it to ‘rebuild your body from the inside out!’ As well as her voice, (which a user can turn off by using the start menu) a box with what she is saying comes up so the player is instantly drawn to that instead of the mutant frogs ready to swallow your character in one, but this can also be turned off in the start menu yet a new player probably wouldn’t know that.

When the player does click the start button to get onto the start menu, there are six options for them to choose from. These are applicable in every planet yet obviously first appear in Veldin. When you do press the start button, it makes a cool, little, digital, squeak sound which personally, I think is a little late but nevertheless, makes you feel like you’re opening up some really cool gadget when you’re really just pressing the start menu. The start menu appears over where you are so you can pause when the enemies are halfway pulling some stupid face and text it to your friends because ha-ha Drek looks great here, or it looks cool overlapping the scenery because it was probably more simpler to do because the game is complex enough. The six little tabs are painted black and have little light shines in the top left hand corner and the bottom right hand corner to look like little buttons I suppose you could click on Clank to open, maybe that’s where it’s supposed to come from. 

 The weapons tab is simple and will tell you all the weapons you have and will let you equip the items from the menu, at the moment, this seems quite useless unless of course, the player didn’t read the controls and learn about the weapon shortcut. It also tells you how much ammo you have and the limit of the ammo on that weapon. 

 The gadgets tab is the next one and starting off, you will have no gadgets but this eventually becomes useful seeing as you have to equip these straight from this menu and there are no shortcuts. Gadgets can be equipped on Ratchets hands, head, back and feet and are easy enough to get through as there are basic instructions on how to equip and exit. You also get Ratchet in the right hand corner posing with his new gadgets that you’ve came across and want to try on before use. There are another two boxes which are completely blank at this point and wondering what will go there when you get your first gadget isn’t really that exciting.

 There is also a quick select feature which allows you to control your weapon shortcut so you can put the weapons you want on it so you can quickly access your favourite weapons. This is useful seeing as they want you to believe that different planets need different weapons but in reality, you probably only use one or two of your actual weapons because if you risk it with the wrench, it’s honestly easy enough. The quick access tab looks straightforward with easy access and guides but sometimes, when you have a lot of weapons, changing them can be quite annoying since if you mess up, you have to redo everything and it can get quite frustrating. You can also get a rotating image of the weapon you have highlighted and you can see how much ammo you have to go with it. There are eight slots for different weapons and some gadgets can be included which is good since it can be annoying continuously going back to the start menu when there’s a snagglebeast after you. 

 In the items box, when you start it would be empty other than your gold bolt information which you would have none of which you can collect (and probably die trying to reach) during your ‘interplanetary travels’. It will tell you how many how many gold bolts you own and how many you have used and how many you have left, this is good if you’ve read the manual and know how you’re supposed to use the gold bolts since if you don’t know, you’re left confused and wondering what type of things you can buy or do with your gold bolts. Like, can you use them to upgrade to nicer graphics?

 In the help section, there are five different things to help you, the help log holds the Gadgetron Helpdesk’s messages, so you can reread if you’ve ‘accidentally’ cancelled a speech box, the controls give you the basic controls used in the game, the moves give you a list of all the different moves you’re able to get your little Lombax to produce and a description of what it is and how to produce them. The weapons mini tab will give you a description of your weapons, which is probably unneeded, along with the gadgets mini tab and their descriptions.

 Now, the options will let you turn that annoying woman from Gadgetron Helpdesk on and off, but you get four decisions, you can let her speak and get a box which is default, let her speak and turn the box off, keep the box and get her to be quiet and let you concentrate or turn everything off and have a higher chance of possible death within three minutes, congratulations. You can also save your game here and load another game, you can adjust the sound including the sound effect volume, the music volume and you can decide whether you want stereo or mono; changing the camera angles is also applicable and you have many options here for your left/right movements (normal or reversed), up/down movements (normal/reversed) and the camera change rotation speed which can be medium, fast or slow) which is kind of useful, or maybe not. You can also turn subtitles on and off or you can quit your game instantly and if you forget to save you lose all your progress, which is always good. 

When pressing the select button, a map of where you are pops up as well as another box which tells you what planet you are on and what the planet looks like. You also get another box which lets you know your missions play the infobot introducing this planet, lets you see the previous map and the next map and lets you track or zoon in using the various different buttons on the controller which are shown alongside the different commands. 

Veldin (Second Visit)

The weapons mini tab on your start button menu is probably complete by now and if not, then great, you probably realised about Rilgar that your R.Y.N.O. can take care of nearly everything and whatever’s left, your wrench is basically your go-to. So, you’ve now got a complete list of all your different weapons and their descriptions of why the Gadgetron Helpdesk lady believes their important for your ‘interplanetary travels’ and maybe they can be useful along with the gadget descriptions on the gadgets mini tab, also through the help tab, when you’ve refused to die, pausing your game just before Drek sends the last, fatal shot at you and you want to read about how interesting the bomb glove is (you can also get a nice image of the ammo that’s in your weapon), which is also applicable to the gadget mini tab.

Performances 

The performance for Ratchet & Clank runs smoothly, only sometimes are the pixelated graphics noticeable. Due to the game being immersive, players may not even realise the pixelated parts and as their concentration is elsewhere, the game for them runs smoothly other than the time consuming loading screens and getting from the end of a level to the beginning of the next.

Bugs, Glitches and Surrounding Issues Featured in Ratchet & Clank 

Ratchet & Clank is known for many glitches. Some are hard to find and others are easy. The unlimited bolt glitch can only be completed on challenge mode if you have the Decoy Glove and have made it back to planet Rilgar without entering the Hoverboard Race. This isn’t hard to do but involves concentration. Due to this being such a long-winded glitch, it seems like it may have been put in on purpose because there aren’t many reasons why someone would be trying to push themselves into a wall using the Decoy Glove and then knowing the exact way down to the Hoverboard track. This was supposed to be patched in the Platinum version but is still accessible.

Other glitches include a swimming glitch where you can refill Ratchet’s life gauge, the ability to swim under the level. There is also a glitch that breaks the save file and makes you start the whole game over. All of these glitches require patience so probably won’t be found during a normal run through of the game. The unlimited bolts glitch, however, is useful for getting enough bolts for the R.Y.N.O. Hopefully, the bugs present in this build of game will not be present in later titles as while they are not often noticeable throughout a normal run through of the game they are still in the game and can allow the players to corrupt save data and other valuable data unknowingly. 

Narrative, Pace, Size & Length of Ratchet & Clank 

The story for Ratchet & Clank is told through various cutscenes before and after finishing planets. I think this is a good way of doing this as it keeps the player curious and doesn’t give out the whole story at once and allows the player to progress through with the main characters. The game can take a while to complete but no less than two days, even if you are slow. 

Featuring eighteen levels which vary on difficulty, the game feels like it could take a long time as nowhere in-game tells you how many planets there are and you have to figure out yourself, ultimately hitting Veldin’s orbit where Drek was first placed almost looking like he planned the whole thing, the player can assume from then that it’s probably ending soon since you’ve basically came back to where you started. I personally think that eighteen levels is a bit too much seeing as most of the planets are irrelevant and the items on them could be found on the relevant levels but on expanded maps. 

The pace of the game isn’t bad as it slowly introduces you to the harder enemies and never throws you straight into something you wouldn’t be able to handle. Progressing through the levels help to build your confidence throughout the tasks in order to help you on the final planet. 

Ratchet & Clank uses a minimum of 355kb file size for its save states, given how large the overall game is and its expansive cutscenes and massive 3D environments, the small save states are very impressive and are often much quicker to load than some of the their rival games and their saved game files released around the same time as Ratchet & Clank. I see this as particularly impressive as the memory cards for the PS2 had limits for size and the read/writing speed. Ratchet & Clank managed to maximise these limits and use as much of the systems power as possible to make an overall quicker game with more reliable load times. 

Difficulty 

Ratchet & Clank varies in difficulty so one level may be harder than the next. When the game starts, there is no selected difficulty and players cannot change difficulty, the difficult only increases when the game has been completed and you enter Challenge Mode. For younger players, the first planet may be the best for them as moving onwards requires a thought process and needs more concentration that a child may lack.

Transitions 

The loading screens in Ratchet & Clank occur fairly regularly throughout level changes and cutscenes however due to the size of the game and how much detail it had a the time relative to the consoles hardware the loading screens take incredibly long to render any part of the level and cutscenes become slow and take a large period of time before they play and then often need another loading screen afterwards. In my opinion this makes part of the game frustrating an often boring at times as long wait means you lose the immersion the game had otherwise strived to create.

Conclusion

Ratchet & Clank is a great game for its time, becoming one of the first PS2 games to become platinum and has been enjoyed by all different audiences since its release in 2002. When the game was reviewed by Gamespot before release, the game was said to have ‘excellent graphics, varied gameplay and tight controls’ which it still in a way lives up to. 

The game is enjoyable to an extent as the levels tend to get harder in order to complete missions and the undeniable sass from Ratchet is an added bonus as well as it being different from what was already out at the time and the first run through of the game is nice enough but it isn’t something you’d do again. Ratchet & Clank’s catchy soundtrack and varying gameplay makes the game enjoyable for all audiences. 

There are no customisation, DLC’s or online/offline multiplayer on this game, but sequels have involved customisation and multiplayer options, including these could make the game better but I don’t think they’re necessary as the game is enjoyable without.

The game is found around £4 in most pre-owned game shops but when released in 2002, the game would have been sold for around £30 which sounds reasonable due to it being a new release as well as the graphics being as good as they were and the game idea being unique compared to what was already on the market.

So overall, the game was incredibly good back in its day being a 3D platformer game but still t this day involves unique gameplay mechanics and strategizing options.

Bibliography

Ratchet & Clank https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratchet_%26_Clank  [accessed 20/11/2015]

List of Ratchet & Clank characters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ratchet_%26_Clank_characters [accessed 20/11/2015]

Ratchet & Clank Models http://www.models-resource.com/playstation_2/ratchetclank/ [accessed 20/11/2015]

Blargian Waste Ship http://www.ratchet.wikia.com/wiki/Blargian_Waste_Ship [accessed 22/11/15]

Batalia http://www.ratchet.wikia.com/wiki/Batalia [accessed 23/11/2015]