Ratchet & Clank is the first installment in the Ratchet & Clank series developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was initially released in November 2002 for the PlayStation 2, and was re-released for PlayStation 3 in June 2012 and PlayStation Vita in July 2014, both alone and as part of the Ratchet & Clank Collection. It was remade for the PlayStation 4 in April 2016.
The game follows lone lombax mechanic Ratchet, who lives on Veldin with a longing to leave the world, whose life is changed forever when blargian robot Clank crash-lands on his planet and enables him to leave. The two then go on an adventure to seek the help of intergalactic celebrity Captain Qwark in their fight to save the galaxy from Chairman Drek, a businessman who wants to destroy planets in order to take their parts to create a new world for his people.
The game is a third person action adventure title with elements of platforming, shooting, role playing games and puzzle solving. Players explore many planets to complete objectives and obtain an Infobot to unlock another planet and progress through the story. They will obtain many weapons and gadgets along the way, and earn bolts, the game's currency, that they can use to purchase new weaponry and many other in-game items.
Fourteen years later, a movie retelling the events of the game was released in theaters on April 29, 2016 along with a PlayStation 4 reimagining based on the movie told from Qwark's perspective released earlier on April 12, 2016 in North America.
Ratchet & Clank is a third-person three-dimensional platformer, in which the player controls Ratchet, a lombax mechanic from Veldin, who carries his robot friend Clank as a backpack. Ratchet has a basic moveset that allows him to jump () and double jump, wield his OmniWrench as a melee weapon (), and fire one of many equippable weapons or gadgets (). The player can select from the pause menu, or quickly cycle between them in battle using their customisable quick select menu (). To aim some weapons better, the player can aim through first-person view by holding . Clank as a backpack, with the Heli-Pack and Thruster Pack upgrades, can allow Ratchet to jump higher by crouching before a jump ( + to high jump), jump further to reach new distances ( + while running), and glide in the air (holding ). The player has set nanotech, or health, and once depleted, is returned to the nearest checkpoint with no consequences (but must rebuy all ammo).
The two travel between many different available planets on a ship (which changes throughout the story), and can at any time revisit any planet they have obtained the co-ordinates for from an Infobot. On each planet, they must complete a set of objectives, with the goal of obtaining an Infobot to unlock a new planet and progress the story, or to obtain a gadget that might be required to complete an objective on other planets. Objectives typically require the player to progress through a linear section using gadgets to traverse obstacles and puzzles or weapons to defeat enemies, but some may require the player to complete a minigame or pay bolts to proceed. Other objectives are locked and require a gadget that can only be obtained on another planet.
Aside from story objectives, many other objectives on planets exist that are optional, and only grant a weapon or gadget not strictly necessary to further the story (such as the Metal Detector). Most weapons are purchased with bolts, though some can be found during side objectives (such as the Suck Cannon or Morph-O-Ray). The player can also collect gold bolts on planets, which are used to purchase gold weapon upgrades of existing weapons. Additionally, players can earn skill points on each planet, which unlock menu extras such as behind the scenes concept art by Insomniac Games.
After completing the main storyline, the player can either choose to warp back to before the final boss was defeated in order to collect gold bolts and skill points they may have missed, or to begin a new game plus known as challenge mode, and restart the story with all their weapons carried over.
Ratchet begins with four units of nanotech, which can be replenished by breaking open nanotech crates. This is a fixed amount until planet Orxon, on which it can be upgraded to five units by purchasing Premium Nanotech, and to eight units by purchasing Ultra Nanotech. Unlike later installments, each hit always deals one nanotech damage, with no way to reduce damage dealt.
Ratchet & Clank features fifteen equippable weapons. The Bomb Glove is available for free upon starting the game, while all other weapons are either purchased with bolts at vendors or found on planets. Most weapons have set ammo, that can be replenished by purchasing ammo from vendors or breaking ammo crates. Some weapons, such as the Walloper and Taunter, have unlimited ammo and can be used as often as the player chooses. The most powerful weapon is the R.Y.N.O., a weapon that is so pricey that the player is unlikely to obtain it on a single playthrough.
The game also features fourteen gadgets, of which six are usable in place of a weapon, two are equippable boots, three are equippable helmets, and three are backpacks for Clank. Some gadgets are non-essential (such as the Metal Detector, PDA and Sonic Summoner) while the rest are required for story purposes. For example, the Swingshot is required to traverse many large gaps, the Grind Boots are required to traverse rails, and the Hologuise is required to sneak past enemies and fool them into granting access to locked rooms.
Occasionally, the player will be placed in control of Clank instead of Ratchet. Clank's moveset is more limited, as he can only jump, perform melee attacks and glide in the air. Most of his segments revolve around commanding Gadge-Bots, small robots half his size which can take commands via the quick select menu () of Follow, Attack, Enter or Wait. Follow is the default state of Gadge Bots, Attack causes them to attack enemies nearby, Enter commands them to enter a blue terminal, and Wait causes them to stay in place. These segments normally require guiding enough Gadge Bots to enter a terminal and unlock a new area. Gadge Bots can be destroyed, but they will just respawn at the same place Clank found them.
Additionally, Clank can also transform into Giant Clank, which makes him much more powerful in combat, and allows him to fire missiles () and launch bombs () at enemies. These segments normally require Clank to defeat most of the enemies on screen and proceed to the next area.
Aside from core gameplay, Ratchet & Clank sometimes involves minigames. The most recurring minigame is hoverboard racing. This requires the player to navigate through a track, taking advantage of speed boosts along the way to proceed through the level, and once the Platinum Zoomerator is acquired, to perform tricks (, , or plus a combination of ) in order to boost for further distances.
When using the Trespasser gadget to hack into terminals, the player must complete a minigame to hack into it. This involves aligning lasers on screen to reach the center, and cause enough of the central gaps to light up green.
Ratchet & Clank takes place in the Solana Galaxy set in the year 5354. The galaxy is populated mostly by humanoid aliens and sentient robots. Planets vary from enormous cities such as Kerwan, Rilgar and Kalebo III to less inhabited worlds like Hoven, Gaspar and Aridia. The main character Ratchet lives on Veldin, while Clank was created in a Blargian robot factory on Quartu.
The galaxy is dominated by Gadgetron, a megacorporation who have vendors located on all planets from which their weapons and ammo are sold. Their main competitors are the Blarg, the primary antagonists of the game, a race operating as a single corporation led by Chairman Drek. Many in the galaxy also admire celebrity superhero Captain Qwark, who primarily makes appearances in commercial endorsements, but who is also looked to as an opposition to Drek. News in the galaxy is broadcast by Darla Gratch of Channel 2 News. Hoverboard racing is a popular sport in the galaxy, with many hoverboards being created by Gadgetron.
The story begins on a backwater planet in the Solana galaxy, known as Veldin, where a young lombax named Ratchet is adding the finishing touches to his new space ship. Upon checking if there is anything else he needs to complete the ship via the Gadgetron HelpDesk, he discovers that he needs a robotic ignition system, a special way for certain robots to start up a ship. Without one, he will never be able to fly his ship.
Meanwhile, at a robot manufacturing plant elsewhere in the galaxy, a machine creating Sentry-bots malfunctions and accidentally creates a small, inferior robot, XJ-0461. Upon watching an Infobot's prerecorded message revealing Chairman Drek's plans to create a new planet by harvesting parts of other planets in the galaxy, he flees Quartu. Electroids follow him in their own ships; however, and have shot him down over Veldin. Ratchet feels surprised when he watches as poor Clank streaks through the sky and crashes somewhere out in the Kyzil Plateau. Bewildered, Ratchet begins to investigate.
He approaches and cautiously observes the area, discovering the robot in standby mode. He carries the robot out of the crash site and back to his garage, where he places it on a rock shelf so that he can return to it after he is finished with his ship. While he is adding the last few calibrations to his ship; however, the robot awakens and approaches Ratchet to ask a few questions. Ratchet engages in conversation with the tiny robot (after being startled by it), and in the process, learns about Drek's plan and the encroaching forces on planet Novalis. He also learned about the robot's quest to contact Qwark. Ratchet disagrees at first to help the robot, but only because he knows he will need a robotic ignition system to leave the planet. Thereafter told Ratchet it has the latest in robotic ignition systems however, he agrees to assist the robot in his quest to defeat Drek and stop his plan. They both immediately flee the planet after watching three Electroid ships land on the surface of Veldin.
Ratchet and the tiny robot escape Veldin in Ratchet's ship. While flying through space, the robot and Ratchet decide to take some time to introduce themselves. The robot introduces himself as B54269, but gets cut off as Ratchet jerks the ship's control stick, throwing the robot into the side of the ship. Ratchet decides to give the robot a nickname, and after watching it collide into the side of the ship, decides to coin the name Clank after the sound he made.
They crash on Novalis after Ratchet's ship collided with a cliff face. While they are on the planet, they travel through a destroyed Tobruk Crater and save the planetary chairman from Drek's clutches. The chairman gives them an Infobot which allows them to discover that Captain Qwark filmed a commercial on the planet Kerwan. The chairman also gives them a courier ship which allows them to travel off planet. They also travel through the sewer system and purchases an Infobot from a plumber. The Infobot details the famous hoverboarder Skid McMarx and his agent crashing on a desert planet called Aridia.
Their next destination is the planet Kerwan. Here, they travel through Metropolis and purchase an upgrade for Clank. They then catch up to an Infobot which gives them the coordinates to the planet Eudora. They also traverse Qwark's fitness course and purchase a gadget called the Swingshot. Ratchet and Clank then proceed to Aridia. They rescue Skid from the sandsharks and get awarded with a brand new Gadgetron Z3000 Hoverboard to use in the tournament. They also traverse Outpost X11 and find a Trespasser, which allows them to pick locks. Ratchet also finds Skid's agent, who tells him to bring the prize from the hoverboard races to him for a reward.
They head to Eudora and travel through the cliffs. After an anti-climactic showdown with the Lieutenant, they discover the coordinates to the Blarg Tactical Research Station. They travel to the station and find out that the hoverboard racing tournament is occurring on the planet Rilgar.
They fly to Rilgar and meet up with Captain Qwark for the first time. Qwark tells Ratchet that he will make a great hero, and to come to his secret HQ on Umbris. They follow the coordinates and meet Qwark at his HQ, where he then tells them that they will need to complete an obstacle course to become a hero. They traverse it and meet Qwark at the end. However, Qwark sets up a trap for them and unleashes the Blargian Snagglebeast to kill them. Before Qwark leaves, he explains to them that the reason for his treachery is because he is now the official spokesperson for Drek's new planet, and that he will not let them get in the way of his comeback. After they have defeated the Snagglebeast, they find an Infobot that showed a Commando on Batalia, who requests assistance as he's fighting alone against an invasion from the Blarg. Ratchet, angered for being set up, wants revenge against Qwark and becomes bitter and hostile toward Clank. Clank; however, tells Ratchet that they must stop Drek from putting innocent lives at stake. The board Qwark's tour shuttle and Ratchet agree to help since he needs Clank to start the shuttle.
On Batalia, they make their way to the opposite side of where the bolt crank is. The Commando rewards them for making it that far by giving them an Infobot, which has coordinates to the Blargs' former home planet, the polluted Orxon. They also pay a Deserting Soldier for an Infobot that has coordinates to Gaspar, where they find the Pilot's Helmet. On Orxon, Clank explored alone since Ratchet, being an organic lifeform, will not survive the Polluted air. Clank finds the Magne Boots and an Infobot that leads him and Ratchet to the Jowai Resort on Pokitaru. There, they purchase another upgrade for Clank, the Thrusterpack, stop the Blarg from Polluting the sea any further and are rewarded with the O2 Mask. They return to Orxon, and find out from an Infobot that Drek plans to destroy planet Hoven with the PlanetBuster Maximus. After stopping them from blowing up Hoven, they head to the Gemlik Base where they encounter Captain Qwark once again. They defeat Qwark and find an Infobot that shows the devastation of Gorda City on planet Oltanis. This causes Ratchet to realize how selfish he was being and the importance of stopping Drek. Ratchet and Clank make amends, boarded the Blarg starfighter and head to Oltanis. Ratchet explores the planet alone because Clank attracts lightning from the storm. He purchases an Infobot that advertises the Ultra-Mechs on Quartu, the planet where Clank was created.
On Quartu, they help a scientist destroy the Ultra-Mechs he help create. The scientist rewards them with an Infobot, which leads them to the Gadgetron site on Kalebo III. There, they meet the CEO of Gadgetron. Ratchet volunteers to be a star on their newest line of hoveboards. The CEO gives him the Holo-guise and they return to Quartu. They infiltrate the Robot factory and come across the computer, which Clank refers to as "Mom," that creates the Sentry bots. An Infobot comes out and reveals that Drek has planned to destroy Ratchet's home planet, Veldin, using the Deplanetizer, in order to place his new completed planet in an ideal orbit. Angered by this, Ratchet makes it his objective to stop Drek, much to Clank's delite. They head to Drek's Fleet and find out where he is going to be.
When they encounter Drek (piloting a giant mech-suit) on Veldin, he reveals that he is the one who polluted his planet in the first place. He tells them that he's making money with this process. Once the new planet is populated, he will pollute it, thus starting the whole process all over again. Ratchet and Clank defeat Drek on the Deplanetizer platform, which causes him to propel across space and crash into his own constructed planet, killing him. With the superweapon flipped and facing the constructed planet, Ratchet and Clank activate the Deplanetizer and destroy it. This caused fragements of the planet to fall on Veldin. One of the fragments knocked them of the platform. Clank grabs a ledge while Ratchet grabs his leg. This causes Clank's arm to break and send them falling. Clank breaks their fall with the Thrusterpack. Ratchet starts to walk home and Clank, who misunderstands this and feels disappointed, starts to walk away until Ratchet told Clank that he still needs to fix his arm, which makes Clank happy. The two walk home together, ending their first adventure.
In a post-credits scene, Ratchet and Clank watch Qwark, who went by the name "Steve McQwark" at the time, advertise the Personal Hygenator on TV. Horrified by what is happening on the advertisement, Ratchet shouts at Clank to turn it off, which Clank does without hesitation.
Before completing Spyro: Year of the Dragon, Insomniac Games began planning for their PlayStation 2 project, which would decidedly move away from brighter colors, cartoony characters and platforming mechanics in favor of a much deeper story. Their first project was a game codenamed I5, representing their fifth game, and Girl with a Stick, as the game featured a female protagonist who whacked enemies with her stick, which would be an adventure-role playing game similar to the Tomb Raider and The Legend of Zelda series.
The team were unenthusiastic about the project, and when presenting it to Sony Computer Entertainment America's executive producer Connie Booth, they were advised against it, and ultimately made the decision to drop the project. This led to the brainstorming of ideas for what would eventually become Ratchet & Clank. One idea that Insomniac was a game titled Monster Knight, featuring a knight named Madi who would catch, grow and wield intelligent monsters as weapons, armor, gear and vehicles, that would grow throughout the course of the game; this idea formed the basis for the weapons, gadgets and role playing game-like progression systems seen in Ratchet & Clank. Ultimately, the proposal for Ratchet & Clank by Insomniac employee Brian Hastings of an alien traveling through planets and collecting weapons was adopted.
Insomniac avoided referring to Ratchet & Clank as a platformer, wishing to distance the game from "collectathon" platformers of the time after having made three in a row. Insomniac wished to elevate the genre, and as such referred to it as an action-adventure game instead, although the video game press referred to it as a platformer nonetheless.
Insomniac employee Brian Hastings first proposed the idea of a reptillian alien traveling through planets and collecting weapons. His original reptillian design barely resembled the final form, aside from the large hands and pilot gear, and his design became more cat-like as time went on. He was then conceptualised as a fuzzy caveman, led to space by a robot on a mission to save the galaxy, before the caveman's club was replaced with the OmniWrench 8000, and the caveman became a mechanic. This led to the final design of Ratchet.
Originally, it was decided that the protagonist would have a backpack containing several robots performing functions, but this was scrapped and the robot instead became the backpack, as it was less of a visual mess. The original design for the robot, much like the protagonist, was very reptillian, and the large eyes were retained for the final design of Clank. Giant Clank initially had red eyes and two giant cannons in his back.
The first few levels designed by Insomniac dictated the visual rules governing the universe: lush brightly colored environments; ambient movement in the background such as waterfalls, spaceships, and air cars; retro-future architecture; and long vista views to direct the player towards a traversable destination and a more visually impressive environment. Architecture was designed to be plausible but chunky in its construction, similar to a Tonka truck, and combined science fiction architecture with the natural world. Planets would have large easy-to-read traversable paths to fit with the hybrid platformer and shooter gameplay.
The team were careful to set reasonable design goals, and not aim to cram too much into an initial design, so as to avoid making cuts later.
The tone of the humor for the game, with the right level of snarkiness and dry humor, was determined after seeing Jim Ward's performance as Qwark in the scene providing an advertisement for Al's Roboshack. Chairman Drek was inspired by the environment surrounding Insomniac Games' offices while they were working at Universal Studios. The staff surrounding them, which Insomniac employees often assumed to be movie executives, inspired Drek's design as a corporate villain.
When showcasing the project to Sony, Insomniac initially used the unfinished I5 engine to build and run levels, but they were mostly behind technology-wise due to shelving the original project. When Naughty Dog showed Insomniac Games much of the technology it had been developing for Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, the team took a keen interest in the background rendering engine (used to render seamless environments with no load times in Jak and Daxter), and took Naughty Dog up on their offer to share the technology in exchange for also sharing improvements made. The team would continue to use and optimize the technology throughout the development of the series. On reflection, Ted Price stated that Naughty Dog's generosity gave them "a huge leg up and allowed us to draw the enormous vistas in the game".
The game was heavily focus tested, beyond what the team had done during the Spyro days, with over two hundred consumers testing before release, allowing them to test the technology and to fine-tune the difficulty and item pricing.
The team came across many difficulties however. The disc burning process changed drastically from the PSOne days to the PS2, meaning the team would often leave entire levels out of the burned disc memory. As the game featured a much more involved story, their late state on developing the cinematics proved problematic, as they waited until the script and story were finalised first, but it left them little time. In spite of reducing their ambitious goals with many levels, they nonetheless would often work on immense level designs that could not be achieved, though this did lead to a much more collaborative level-design process. Finally, the team decided early on to use the Maya software to create 3D models as well as to render particle effects and textures, but frequently pushed it to its breaking point, meaning they would have to use proprietary tools instead for gameplay setup, lighting and texturing.
The soundtrack was composed by David Bergeaud, who had previously scored the Insomniac title Disruptor and who would score the next games in the series up until A Crack in Time. Scoring the game was a collaborative experience with the studio and he was given a great deal of creative freedom, blending orchestral, electronic, and rock together for many tracks.
A weapon called the Revolverator was going to be included, but was cut during development. It was designed as a drill that Ratchet would strike enemies with, then proceed to spin them over his head. It was cut as this action would leave Ratchet open to attack, and that it would require additional development resources while not fitting the tone of the series. The weapon's model was reused as a drill owned by the Miner on planet Hoven, and later featured in the Insomniac Museum in Going Commando.
A few changes needed to be made in order for the game to work best for the Japanese market. This included changing the inside humor that would be less well received outside Japan, as well as changing character models as three fingered hands was not culturally acceptable.
|GameRankings||89.74% (based on 69 reviews)|
|Metacritic||88 (based on 43 reviews)|
|Official PlayStation Magazine (US)||10/10|
Ratchet & Clank received positive reviews from critics upon release. Reviewers noted that while fatigued by platformers at the time, its challenges and depth made it unique, and praise was given to its graphics and soundtrack and the fact it could be recommended to a broad range of players.
GameSpot praised it for avoiding "most of the traps that hold back the majority of modern platform games" and presenting a "fantastic, well-balanced story driven adventure", commenting that both fans of platformers and third-person shooters would enjoy it. IGN noted that while not "the most innovative or original" experience, it was "beautifully crafted, deep with scenarios, long and filled with various challenges, weapons and gadgets", and a worthwhile purchase for platform, action or regular game fans.
The game has also received criticism. Many reviewers criticised the game for feeling familiar to other games of the time. GameInformer noted its slow start prior to planet Rilgar due to familiarity with other platformers, even if it was noted that it rapidly picked up the pace afterwards and became more enjoyable. IGN criticised Ratchet's character as not being unique.
Ratchet & Clank reached Greatest Hits status, showing it had sold over one million copies. It was also the first Western game to be bundled in with the PlayStation 2 in Japan after breaking into the top 100 chart, showing its appeal in Japan.
Work began on a sequel before the completion of Ratchet & Clank, due to Sony's confidence in its success.
A reimagining of the game was released in 2016, tying into a movie based on its story. In the game, many levels, weapons, and characters could not reappear, as the team was low on time and resources to implement them.
Retroactively, Insomniac Games believed the humor included in the original game to be cringeworthy and less sophisticated, and therefore toned it down for the 2016 reimagining.
|Drek||Kevin Michael Richardson|
|Heldesk Girl||Mona Marshall|
|The Plumber||Neil Flynn|
|Big Al||Chris Hatfield|
|Helga von Streissenburgen||Mona Marshall|
|Skid McMarx||Neil Flynn|
|Novallis mayor||Jack Angel|
|Darla Gratch||Sylvia Aimerito|
|Hoverboard girl||Melissa Disney|
|Drek's lieutenant||Neil Flynn|
|Shady salesman||Chad Einbinder|
|Scrap merchant||David Kaye|
|Blarg scientist||David Kaye|
|Gadgetron CEO||Jim Ward|
|Commando||Kevin Michael Richardson|
|Announcer||Kevin Michael Richardson|
|Bouncer||Kevin Michael Richardson|
|Resort owner||Chad Einbinder|
- ↑ Promotional images
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Postmortem: Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank p1 Gamasutra. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 IGN Presents The History of Ratchet & Clank p1 IGN. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
- ↑ The Art of Ratchet & Clank, p.8-11
- ↑ The Art of Ratchet & Clank, p.12-13
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Art of Ratchet & Clank, p.17
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Devs Play S2E02 · "Ratchet & Clank" with Ted Price and Tim Schafer, DoubleFineProd YouTube. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Ratchet & Clank: 10 Years of Concept Art Insomniac Games (archived). Retrieved October 21, 2017.
- ↑ Comics Above Ground: How Sequential Art Affects Mainstream Media by Durwin S. Talon (page 80) Google Books. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ The Art of Ratchet & Clank, p.53-54
- ↑ The Art of Ratchet & Clank, p.99
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Postmortem: Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank Gamasutra. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
- ↑ IGN Presents The History of Ratchet & Clank p2 IGN. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Postmortem: Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank Gamasutra. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ Davud Bergeaud Interview: Ratchet & Clank Maestro VGMO. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 Insomniac Live - Ratchet & Clank YouTube. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- ↑ Ratchet & Clank GameRankings GameRankings. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- ↑ Ratchet & Clank Metacritic Metacritic. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- ↑ 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Ratchet & Clank Review Archive of GameInformer. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- ↑ [hhttp://www.gamerevolution.com/review/33463-a-good-mechanic-is-hard-to-find-review A good mechanic is hard to find. Review] Game Revolution. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 Ratchet & Clank Review GameSpot. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- ↑ Ratchet & Clank Review Archive of GameSpy. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Ratchet & Clank Review IGN. Retrieved May 12, 2015.