Review of Ratchet & Clank

Gene Michael Stover

created Sunday, 11 May 2003
updated, Tuesday, 13 May 2003

Ratchet & Clank is a video game for the Sony Playstation 2. It's published by Insomniac Games, released in 2002. (I'm hardly playing it while it's the newest thing in the stores.)

Ratchet & Clank is in the "platformer" genre of video games. I hadn't had much enjoyment from the few platformers I've played, but Ratchet & Clank changed that. I highly recommend this video game. It was a ton of fun to play.

Let's see ... how to describe R&C? Imagine that I'm a video game producer who wants to make a platformer game. I hire the play-style & worlds designers from Spyro, an artist from Spyro & from Star Wars (with all those weird-looking species), & a dialogue writer from the silly, sarcastic game Blasto (& I let him write some of the jokes). It's a really neat style. You run around blasting baddies & picking up "bolts", which are money in their universe. The worlds have lots of moving things. All that is like Spyro (which I didn't like, but R&C is so much better). The worlds are also multi-species, & you visit a sci-fi metropolis like in a comic version of the taxicab driver's story in the movie Heavy Metal. And some of the puns are hilarious, like when Ratchet crashes his home-made spaceship on a planet, & the "help desk" (which is the narrator & in-game instructions, a woman with a silky smooth business voice) says "Due to your stellar piloting, you are now stranded on a planet without a spaceship".

Another feature of the game is the large number of weapons & gadgets. I think there are over 35. I have found about 10 so far. There are magnetic boots, a "hydro-displacer", a hoverboard, & tons & tons of guns: flamethrowers, lasers, guided missiles, & more. My favorite is the Glove of Doom. It lets you throw an egg into a room. From the egg hatch four robotic scurrying critters with sinister giggles. They run around \& blow things up. I like to drop one in a room, especialy if there are tough baddies in it, & then explore something else briefly. When I return to the room, there are no more baddies -- but there's all this reckage. Ha ha!

An advertised feature is that you can blow-up everything. I wouldn't go so far as to say you could blow up everything. In fact, you can blow up the enemies (of course) & some other (sometimes surprising) things, but you can't blow up everything. You can't even blow up most things. Still, you can blow up a damned lot of things.

It also has a cute story, & the characters are likeable. The soundtrack ranges from pretty good to excellent. I'd say the soundtrack is most excellent on the planet where the baddies are logging the forests & at the robot factory. The worlds (levels) are large, & I had a hoot exploring them.

Even though my favorite genres are horror (like Silent Hill) & adventure (like Soul Reaver), I loved Ratchet & Clank. It might be the most easy-going, outright fun I've had with a video game in years. I highly recommend it.