Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet & Clank images
Review of Ratchet & Clank
Ratchet is a floppy eared, bushy tailed, furry, yellow and brown striped creature who constantly fantasises about exploration far beyond the corners of his home planet. His chance arrives in the curious form of a robot spaceship, which crashes upon his hometown. Encased inside the ship is Clank (apparently the robot with a conscience), bringing the terrifying news that an evil ruler intends to build his own planet made up of all the best bits from all other planets in space.
So why Ratchet AND Clank? While the player always manoeuvres Ratchet around the highly impressive 3D sets, constantly strapped to his back is his pint-sized robot companion. Apart from the amusing cut-scenes where they feed off each other’s dialogue, Clank eventually gets powered up with a set of rotor blades allowing Ratchet to investigate previously unreachable locations (in a similar way that Spyro used his wings). The two of them actually make quite a dynamic duo. For example when Ratchet receives any new information he always responds with an immediate knee-jerk reaction and desperately wants to ‘kick some butt’. Clank on the other hand suggests a logical, and dare I say more sensible course of action, to which Ratchet usually succumbs.
The game begins with a series of colourful animations allowing the scene to be set for the forthcoming action. Taking control of Ratchet for the very first time everything seems almost second nature as not only does the furry yellow creature have a remarkable facial resemblance to Spyro The Dragon, he bounds effortlessly across the set in a fairly similar manner.
Scattered across each level are piles of crates, which when smashed open reveal ammo or a selection of nuts-and-bolts that are magnetically attracted to Ratchets wrench. These are used as currency to buy new weapons and fresh ammunition at the beginning of each level. Be careful as some crates hold explosives that immediately begin a countdown when touched (hmmm… bit of Crash in there), while health power-ups take the form of encased, glowing orbs.
The thought that has gone into designing the games weapons and gadgets is pretty impressive. Naturally you get the usual bombs, bullets and flame throwers, but the further you advance into the game the more ‘enjoyable’ the arsenal becomes. Wonderful items such as ‘The Glove of Doom’ (spawns eggs that hatch into 4 tenacious agents of doom who track down and destroy enemies), ‘The Suck Cannon’ (vacuums up smaller enemies and blasts them back out again as bullets), ‘The Magneboot’ (allows walking on walls and ceilings) and ‘The Swingshot’ (grapple hook for swinging across wide gaps) are just a few of the dozens of fresh ideas used.
Graphically this game hits the standard we now expect from all our PS2 games. Slowdown and glitches seem a thing of the past as everything runs smoothly at a constant frame rate. A great deal of thought has also gone into design as every planet offers an individual theme, such as high-rise buildings, mountainous regions and futuristic environments. Some of the incidental animations that go on in the background are simply breathtaking and you will often find yourself finding a safe haven just to take in some of the view.
Each of the 20+ planets has several entrances branching off into new locations that can be unlocked up by turning Ratchet’s wrench on a large bolt. Again, similar to the Spyro series, all missions for each planet cannot be completed in one attempt as various locations require the use of some of the more advanced gadgets to get across, therefore a fair amount of ‘planet hopping’ will be required.
Loading times are masked behind brief animations making them almost unnoticeable, while saving is done automatically between levels. Progress may also be manually saved at any time, returning Ratchet & Clank back to the nearest checkpoint, at the same time retaining all those hard-earned collectables.
Overall, with quality visuals, pleasurable sound and addictive action (that occasionally surpasses the mighty Spyro series), Ratchet & Clank should prove to be one of the biggest hits of the Christmas.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Ratchet & Clank' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Martin © Absolute PlayStation
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