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Al
Original

Ratchet & Clank (2002) logoUp Your Arsenal logoDeadlocked logoA Crack in Time logoRatchet & Clank comic logo

If Al can't fix it, it's not broke.
Qwark during a commercial for Al's Roboshack  [R&C]

Al, also referred to as Big Al or Cyber-Al, is a support character in Ratchet & Clank, Up Your Arsenal, Deadlocked, Going Mobile and the comic series, and is mentioned in other titles. He is the owner of a large roboshack on planet Kerwan's bustling Metropolis (the only roboshack owner to have been publicized by Qwark) and served as a robotics engineer, notably providing upgrades for Clank, as well as a technical engineer and computer hacker for Ratchet and Clank. He is also a Qwark fan club geek and a collector of Qwark vid-comics. He has two siblings—Bob and Edwina—who also owned their own roboshacks around the Solana Galaxy.

History

Ratchet & Clank

Al

Al as he appears in Ratchet & Clank (2002 game)

Al was first seen in a commercial for Al's Roboshack featuring Qwark. In the commercial, Qwark made the doubtful claim that Al had been making gadgets for him since he was "knee-high to a Sandmouse". After seeing the commercial, Ratchet and Clank both resolved to visit Kerwan to inquire about Qwark's location.

When they arrived and questioned Al, he informed them that he had not seen Qwark since the commercial was made. He then sold a Heli-Pack to the duo and installed it on Clank for 1,000 bolts, after recognizing Clank's motherboard.

Following Drek's defeat, Al hosted a weiner roast, which Ratchet and Clank attended, as they alluded to during an interview for Behind the Hero.

Up Your Arsenal

Al was sent to Marcadia by President Phyronix to fix the planet's laser defense system, which had been damaged by a Tyhrranoid invasion. He attempted to use the system to play a Qwark vid-comic. Clank helped Al fix the grid, and the two obtained the Qwark vid-comic to play in the Starship Phoenix.

Al was inducted into the Q-Force for his technical skills. Throughout the war with Nefarious, his computer skills made him an asset to the team, able to trace back the locations of messages sent to the Starship Phoenix and decode data chips containing plans for the Biobliterator.

Deadlocked

Al Starshield bad news

Al hears about Captain Starshield's death

Al was abducted by DreadZone and became the technical engineer for Team Darkstar. He made adjustments to Ratchet's armor and gave him combat bots Merc and Green, whom he continued to provide upgrades for. While Ratchet fought for DreadZone, Al and Clank secretly tried to remove their Deadlock Collars, though Ace Hardlight discovered this plan and shot Al with his blaster. As a result of this, Al had his arm and part of his head replaced with robotic parts, becoming "Cyber-Al".

Cyber-Al

Big Al with his new cybernetic parts

In this state, Al returned to DreadZone. He helped Clank modify the craft that took DreadZone gladiators to the stadium so that it instead flew to the control area. Later, he fled DreadZone Station in an escape craft with Ratchet and Clank. While aboard, he played messages of thanks aimed at Ratchet, including one from Qwark.

Post-Deadlocked

Epilog - Big Al

Big Al with the kids

Big Al went on to form the Ratchet Fan Club, with Vernon, Lucy and Eugene, three children rescued from DreadZone, as his first members. Nicknamed "Big Tool" by his troop, Al gained popularity with the kids as he fought a malfunctioning vending machine, ate sandwiches with his shoes off, and fended off attacks from a rival group known as the Qwark Core Cadets. However, he was forced to step down from his position after getting into a fight over a set of Exterminator Trading Cards.

In Going Mobile, Ratchet and Clank spoke to Al in Communication Station. He promised to send the McGuFIN using Bio Matter Converter Technology into the Secret Agent Clank vid-comic world for the duo to retrieve. However, there was a malfunction and a power surge split the MCGuFIN into six pieces, which were scattered across different Secret Agent Clank vid-comics. Al opened up infolinks and nodes to these vid-comics. After Ratchet and Clank collected all the parts and reassembled the MCGuFIN, he told them that they would have to use an infolink in Maximillian's office to activate it. To do this, he gave Ratchet the Circuit Jammer.

Al began a holovision series known as Big Al's Bot Wars, which the citizens of Kerwan were forced to watch re-runs of following Tachyon's attack in Tools of Destruction.[2]

Al's roboshack was also reopened during the time of A Crack in Time, expanded to sell video games. A commercial for Big Al's Roboshack and Gaming Superstore could sometimes be heard on the radio.

Al was seen in Issue 5: Multiple Organisms, trying to help Qwark and Zephyr assemble a second Helios. Al's help was called for because the Terachnoids were busy trying to find the stolen planets, though he no longer had any robotic parts attached to him from Deadlocked. He was mentioned in Issue 6: Bros Before Foes but did not appear.

Al's roboshack continued to run, and was mentioned by Pepper Fairbanks during All 4 One.

Al invented a new upgrade for Clank named the Spotlight, and installed it onto him prior to the events of Into the Nexus.

Characteristics

Appearance

Al is a chubby, yellow-ish alien with pointy ears and short, red hair. He either wears a T-shirt featuring the Q-Force logo, or a T-shirt advertising his roboshack. He typically either wears blue or black pants, and sometimes a belt featuring his tools. He also wears a lab coat and round yellow-green glasses, with a telescope attached to one side.

Personality

Al is a friend and helpful character who is characterized as a stereotypical computer geek, by both his voice and speech. He will often talk out loud while deciphering computer codes and make frequent use of technical terms in order to show off, and is very proud of his intellect. It is also implied that he is not too self-aware of this.

Al is known to be a fan of and to dance to Courtney Gears' music, a fact he likes to hide from others. He also accidentally mentions having a crush on Helga von Streissenburgen during dialogue aboard the Starship Phoenix while the intercom is on.

Behind the scenes

Big al concept

Big Al concept art

Al was the very first non-player character added into the original Ratchet & Clank.[3]

A wanted poster of Ratchet and Clank was featured on the side of Al's roboshack during the commercial, though it had been removed by the time they entered.

Al accidentally mentioned a crush on Helga during Up Your Arsenal while the intercom was still on, but unused dialogue suggests that this was supposed to be expanded in an actual plot point, depicting him owning up about his feelings and the two flirting shortly after.[4]

Aside from Ratchet, Clank and Qwark, Al was the only member of the Q-Force to be heard in the Future series. He is also mentioned by Space Pirates in the Ublik Passage.

Al appeared in the 2016 reimagined game but not the movie. His siblings Bob and Edwina were both removed, with Al providing both the Heli-Pack on Kerwan and the Thruster Pack on Pokitaru, while the Hydro Pack was initially available.

Al featured in PlayStation Home.

References

  1. Ratchet & Clank 2010 Wall Calendar (ISBN: 0789319616)
  2. Tools of Destruction: Mentioned after asking IRIS what happened to Kerwan following the attack, and by Space Pirates in Ublik Passage
  3. Ratchet & Clank: Concept Art of the Goodies menu after defeating Drek
  4. Up Your Arsenal discovered unused dialogue

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