I recently played a game with a very naughty name, “Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal”. (I know. Tee hee.) I originally bought this game used, but I didn’t trust the disk, and the store’s remaining copy was in even worse shape, so I didn’t use it. (I was afraid it would crack, killing my PS2, myself, and half the globe in the process.) And I didn’t bother returning it because, due to an awesome sale they had, it was free anyway. So I held on to it, despite my utter refusal to use it, and over a year later (I kept getting distracted), I finally got around to ordering a brand new copy from Amazon. (I am aware that my logic in this paragraph makes no sense at all.) Anyway, long story short, I finally got to see how awesome this game was.
Let’s just start off by explaining the story really quickly, shall we? In this game, an evil robot, I mean, a nefarious robot, called Dr. Nefarious has raised an army and is bent on killing all living things (which he calls “squishies”), leaving the galaxy to be populated by nothing but robots. (Hopefully, he’ll spare ducks, at least. We’re cute.) And the one in charge of the fight against Nefarious is Captain Qwark because he’s defeated Nefarious in the past. I’m not sure how he managed it, though, because Qwark is a complete and utter idiot that’s actually sided with the villains in the past. (And to illustrate just a portion of his stupidity, he draws out all his battle plans in crayon.) He’s also assembled a team of some characters from the previous games he calls the Q-Force (including Al, Skidd, and Helga, the last of which still scares the quack out of me). And a monkey. (I believe poor Ratchet’s counted among the Q-Force himself, though he doesn’t wear the uniform. Because it’s stupid.)
Now that that’s out of the way, I have something to confess. While I have always liked the series, I never was super into it. I was a fan, but not a fan fan, you know? Sure, I loved all the awesome guns you could use to obliterate your enemies. I liked exploring a variety of different planets. I liked the different gadgets, like the swingshot and those magnetic shoes. I also loved how the series was so darn funny. Oh, the hearty laughter it’s induced. The stories were usually fairly interesting, too. All that was great. But, what made other series stand out for me were the characters. I just couldn’t get into this series as much because I didn’t care tons for the characters. Sure, Qwark was fun, but that wasn’t enough.
Until this game came along. This game is just awesome, and I think it is much better than the previous two (and they were great, as well). It’s still tons of fun. I think the humor is even better than ever. And then there were the characters. I just felt they did much better with the characters this time, too. In the previous two games, often times it seemed they did hardly anything with many of the characters. The character would appear once and then often times never be heard from again. This time, as I said, not only does Captain Qwark seem to play a bigger role, but they did more with some of the characters from the first game, too. (Skidd is just hilarious “and stuff”. Dude.) I also like Ratchet more than I did before. And I always liked Clank. Everyone likes Clank.
And another thing I specifically like in terms of characters is a good villain. I feel the most important characters in a story are the main good character(s) and the villain, but usually, they don’t put as much effort into the poor villain. (Don’t hate them because they’re evil!) This game even succeeded in that area with Dr. Nefarious. He is seriously the best thing that’s happened to this series. Dr. Nefarious may be evil, but he’s also pretty funny, from his monologues to the times when he freezes up and picks up signals from overly corny soap operas until someone (such as his butler, Lawrence) gives him a good whack. I even like Lawrence, as well, who is sarcastic and manages to insult the doctor quite often without Nefarious ever catching on.
But, I’ve ranted about the characters long enough. I still have a bit more to say about the game itself. This game is more war-related than the previous two (but luckily, not in a boring way), and besides the usual gameplay of exploring different planets and stuff, sometimes you go on missions where you help out the Galactic Rangers. There’s also this sort of hub type area (something the other games didn’t have), the spaceship called the Phoenix. (Which I find to be a very bad name for a spaceship. You’re just asking for people to destroy it and see if it really does come back to life like a phoenix, or whatever the spaceship equivalent is. “Let’s just see if you live up to your name, Phoenix! Pow pow! Guess not!”) Here, you can buy weapons and armor, train, play vid comics, all before heading out on your next mission.
And I also love the vid comics. This is a series of little side-scrolling platformer games starring Captain Qwark that tells of Qwark’s past fights against Nefarious. (I think it’s a very creative way to go about it without having to have flashbacks.) These little games are quite fun. Qwark can jump around and shoot his gun and punch things and collect tokens (if you get all the tokens, I believe you get a Titanium Bolt). And the humor’s included here, too. I love how Qwark looks like he’s skipping whenever he walks, and there’s a “boing” sound effect when he jumps. There are also funny narratives at the beginning and end, with the occasional dialogue during the game, mainly from Nefarious and Lawrence. It’s delightful. It filled me with delight.
Also in this game, you can collect trophies (I don’t know if they get you anything, though), and you can collect Titanium Bolts to buy new skins. There’s still the usual Skill Points, too, which you get for completing certain tasks. I usually can’t do most of them because you don’t know what the task is until you do it. I also got to check out this game’s Insomniac Museum. I was naughty and used a Youtube video to find it. (Really should’ve seen if I could’ve found it myself, though.) It’s early on in Metropolis. Very early on, to the left, jump up and break a window, jump to the next building, and the teleport thingy is to the left. Just make sure the PS2 is tricked into thinking it’s between 3 and 4 AM (because what would you be doing up at that hour, huh?). Once again, it had things that weren’t in the final version of the game, including an early level in the Qwark vid comics. And a thing that threw boxes at me. Which I promptly killed. Strangely, many of the things they took out were because it was too complex. (Too complex for the game, but not too complex for the museum, huh? Suspicious. I believe the squirrels with hacksaws must in some way be involved again….).
Anyway, on to my random comments. First of all…guess what? Guess. Guess, darn it! The last game had a gun that turned enemies into cute sheeps. This game has a gun that turns things into very adorable ducks. At least, I’m sure they’re adorable. I never saw them because I never had the gun. I spent 1,000,000 bolts buying the best armor for the final boss (which was brutal and definitely gave me PTSD), and I was quite impoverished afterward. Darn duck gun was over 100,000 bolts, I think! I know ducks are God’s gift to mankind, but come on! Do I appear to be made of bolts! Robots might be, but not us squishies! I think it’s quite clear I’m made of marshmallow. Try as I may, I couldn’t save up enough bolts. Shouldn’t have wasted money on that dumb Shield Charger. Piece of junk. Oh, look at me, I’m a portable shield that only works on some stuff. Forget you!
But, anyway, enough of my rambling. This game was just fantastic, and it really made me a fan of the “Ratchet and Clank” series. It’s tons of fun. It’s hilarious. The guns are awesome. The characters are even awesomer (especially Nefarious). Anyone wanting to try this series out must start with this one. To be honest, I’m unsure if anywhere in this post did I ever actually talk about the game part of this game. Oh, well.
A Squishy Duck