Meet the PlayStation Move Heroes: Ratchet and Clank
Posted by Christopher Ingram
Packed to the brim with charm, and a whole lot of guns!
PlayStation Move Heroes is now readily available on store shelves, and the time has finally come to travel the galaxies in search of our final two heroes: Ratchet and Clank.
In December 2002 Insomniac Games released Ratchet and Clank for the PS2, starting a long-running franchise that has found its way into the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide. Ratchet is a Lombax — an alien creature that looks similar to an upright tiger — and Clank is a small but highly intelligent robot, and together they are out to find the notorious Captain Qwark. In standard third-person platforming gameplay Ratchet runs, jumps and swings his OmniWrench to defeat enemies, and collect bolts (currency) with Clank strapped on his back acting as a jetpack for reaching high ledges and hovering. While this is all standard fare for third-person platformer, what makes Ratchet and Clank unique is its abundant use of guns and gadgets.
There are 35 guns that can be purchased in the game and they range from the Blaster (pistol) and Bomb Glove (grenade) to the Tesla Claw that emits large streams of electricity, and even a gun that transforms enemies into harmless chickens, called the Morph-o-Ray. The environments that the duo are forced to traverse is extremely varied and a multitude of handy gadgets get the job done right, with gadgets such as the Swingshot allowing them to swing across large chasms, and the Grindboots letting them grind rails to find areas that would otherwise be unreachable.
Clank was actually supposed to be a sentry-bot, but the computer that created him malfunctioned and the lovable sidekick was created. Clank quickly learns that his creator is out to destroy whole planets entirely, and was shot down in his attempt to flee his home world. Meanwhile, Ratchet is building a spaceship to travel the galaxies, until the damaged spacecraft comes hurdling down out of space. Our heroes meet for the first time, and take to the galaxies to find this hero Captain Qwark, and stop the menace that threatens the galaxy.
In 2003 the sequel Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando brought a few changes that refined the gameplay, while building upon the original game's concept. Many of the guns and gadgets make a return from the previous title, as well as new trinkets to play around with. Two of the best additions to the game are the ability to strafe, and to level up the guns, becoming even more powerful with extended use.
After preventing entire planets from being destroyed in the previous instalment, Ratchet and Clank find themselves to be celebrities upon the start of Going Commando. Abercrombie Fizzwidget, who is Captain Qwark in disguise, hires the duo to capture a stolen biological experiment. Things don’t go as planned as the true identity of Fizzwidget is revealed, and Captain Qwark is out to release this experiment upon the world en masse to try to make a name for himself, as he was previously unmasked as not the hero he was made out to be. Things go very wrong, and the experiment turns into a massive beast, and only the duo can save the galaxy once again.
Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal released in 2004 and rocked the socks off fans with its explosive combat-focused gameplay, but still retained the popular platforming elements. Also new to the series was the addition of online multiplayer that offers multiple game modes. Captain Qwark is also a playable character this time around in fantastic 2D platforming stages, against the evil Dr Nefarious, a huge fan of Clank, who has his own TV series known as Secret Agent Clank – later spawning a game for the PSP under the same title. Captain Qwark regains his bravery, and allies with Ratchet and Clank to battles the evil Dr Nefarious. Is this the end of this monstrous villain, or will he eventually make a return?
Ratchet Deadlocked released in late 2005 and drastically changed the formula for the series. Instead of the large environments to explore with Clank by Ratchet's side, Deadlocked finds Ratchet captured and “deadlocked” by an explosive band around his neck that will explode if he becomes uncooperative, and forced to fight in small combat arenas in the violent game show known as the Dreadzone. Clank is no longer a sidekick constantly by Ratchet's side, and the amount of guns have been significantly reduced, but the weapons are much more powerful this go around. The online multiplayer makes a return here, and the focus on gunplay makes the addition feel right at home here. Taking aim to survive the Dreadzone will test the best gamer’s skills and only the hero Ratchet can stand a fighting chance to survive the Dreadzone.
In late 2007 the series made a significant upgrade to PS3 with Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, raising the ba for what action/shooter games can be. Weapon upgrades, massive worlds to explore, rails to grind and the likes all make their return, but a few new features like HALO jumping – skydiving that utilises the motion sensors in the DualShock 3 controller — and massive space battles make this new entry a game not to be missed by fans of the series.
Ratchet finds out that he is the lone surviving Lombax in the entire galaxy, and the Emperor Percival Tachyon — last of a race known as the Cragmites — is the worst evil in the entire galaxy, and he is out to put an end to the Lombax race. While the story twists and turns, the galaxy will be covered far and wide, meeting all sorts of crazy characters like the Zoni, strange little creatures that can bend time at will, and even come across a few space pirates, that somehow look much like the pirates we know and love that sail the open seas. Awesome boss battles, HALO jumps and knowing the fate of the entire Lombax race lies behind the wrench of Ratchet keeps the pace zooming until the inevitable battle against the fierce Emperor.
While the first game in the Future series was the first game to release on PS3, the second in the series Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty is the first title in the series to release on PlayStation Network. Offering a smaller sized adventure at a lower asking price didn’t stop this from being another great entry in the series that continues right where the previous title left off.
With characters such as Rusty Pete and Captain Darkwater, it’s quite obvious that this title is ripe for great new settings with pirates abound. Clank is taken away by the Zoni, and Ratchet sets out to find his friend, but is halted by an evil curse. Undead pirates stand in Ratchet's way and Captain Darkwater, who is now deceased, used to have an item that allowed him to contact the Zoni. With a handy pirate's map with an “X” on it, Ratchet makes his way to a cave full of undead to reclaim this item, and hopefully rescue his sidekick.
In 2009 Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time released, becoming the pinnacle of the entire series. Bringing the same gameplay we’ve come to expect from the series and a few new gadgets is nothing new, but the characters are funnier, and the story is deeper than any before it, and so much hangs in the balance that the duo may be lost forever.
Clank is still gone, somewhere with the Zoni, and Ratchet still remains the lone Lombax in the entire galaxy. Dr Nefarious makes a return once again and this time around becomes one of the best villains in the entire series, with crazy antics and hilarious dialogue segments throughout the entire game. One single gadget added to the game adds a whole new dimension to the game: Hoverboots. The levels are designed for these boots, and massive jumps to scale and almost track-like stages are found in abundance through the game. This single gadget speeds the game up significantly, and places hidden items in hard to reach places that take creative use of the boots to acquire. One other new gameplay element is with Clank, who is trapped with the Zoni in the Great Clock – the clock that controls time throughout the entire galaxy, where Clank has to figure out puzzles by altering time.
The story is abundant with many twists and turns that tie the whole Future series together, and ultimately brings the series to a close. Time itself has been cracked, the entire galaxy hangs in the balance and only our heroes can save the day. This is the high point of the Ratchet and Clank series, and one of the best games of its genre across all gaming platforms.
It’s no surprise that Ratchet and Clank are considered to be PlayStation Move Heroes, as they have numerous great games across multiple PlayStation consoles. Millions of fans have fallen in love with the funny cast of characters, explosive gameplay and our two heroes themselves; there looks to be no stopping these heroes anytime soon with the recent release of PlayStation Move Heroes and the upcoming Ratchet and Clank: All for One. This mix of gunplay and platforming is a winning mix, and one that has fans running back form more release after release, and we hope the releases continue for years to come.
What have these heroes brought to PlayStation for you? Let us know what you think in the comments section below, and check out our PlayStation Move Heroes review while you’re here.