Review by DarkecoSage

"Insomiac leaves the Spyro series and moves towards its PS2 debut...but is it any good?"

Intro:
Insomniac is best known for its platinum hit series Spyro the dragon on the PlayStation one. The series got better as it aged and the little purple fire breathing hero practically became an icon for Sony, right up on the same level as Crash Bandicoot, Lara Croft, and Croc(forgive me if I miss any). However Insomniac decided to leave the Spyro series with the dawn of the PlayStation 2, and started form scratch on a brand new platformer series. That series would be known as Ratchet and Clank.

Story: Ratchet and Clank is about a lombax named Racthet who lives alone on the planet Veldin. One day whilst fixing up his ship something falls from space and crashes near Ratchet's home. It turns out its a robot whom Ratchet names "Clank". Clank is on a mission to stop a man known as Chairman Drek, who it seems, has been destroying planet after planet and is aiming at Planet Veldin next. Ratchet of course decides to help Clank find a "hero" capable of defeating Chairman Drek. He suggests the most famous hero in the galaxy, Captain Quark. From there to two set off on there adventure across the galaxy. The story from there on is pretty simple, but lacks depth. While the Spyro stories never really had anything really deep either, ti was the kinda game where it wasn't necessary. There were plenty of cut scenes, and the characters developed as the games progressed. With Ratchet and Clank however, the story doesn't really "grab" you as it should. It has potential, but its sadly not fully realized. The story does get more interesting during the last 30% or so of the game. The friendship of the duo gets a bit shaky and we get to see some character development towards the end. Overall while definitely not the best, it still satisfies.

Gameplay;
Ratchet and Clank isn't just a platformer, its also a third person shooter. A strange but gladly welcomed step for Insomniac. Throughout the game you get a good variety of some wacky guns and explosives. This of course, is the core experience of the game, and it works well. You save bolts(the currency in the game) and save up for weapons and ammo. You also get upgrades for Clank. Jet Boost, Grind Boots, and Gravity Boots are all things you'll need to finish your quest, and they add a creative and unique feel to the game as compared to other platformers. Clank is also a playable character at times. During certain missions of the game Clank becomes playable for his own mission. In order to proceed, he runs through a basic straightforward level, but with miniature robots to guide him there. You can give the little guy's orders like enter, attack, follow or stay. It gets repetitive at times. but it entertains nonetheless. There are also missions where Clank grows to a gigantic size and you get to destroy buildings and huge enemies. This is the better of the two types of Clank Missions. As for Ratchet, he controls very similar to Spyro. It works just like before, but adds a semi dull feel to the game. The level design is basic platformer style, and is easy to get through.

Sound:
This is definitely the weakest asset to the game. The music and sound effects to Ratchet and Clank is basically music form Spyro...but altered. The grunts from most of the weaker enemies in the game are the exact sounds Insomniac used for most enemies in the Spyro series. It can get a little distracting at times. The music, which has its moments in some levels, fails to impress mostly and lands just in mediocre quality. The voice acting fits, and has some decent effort put into the dialogue, but nothing too special.

Graphics:
While not the best looking game on the PlayStation 2, Ratchet and Clank still looks pretty good. The style just screams platformer, and it all holds up nicely without any slowdown. There's nice detail in the environments,and some of the characters are without flaws.

Final Verdict:
While Ratchet and Clank isn't the best platformer out there, it does deliver on a basic/good level. The Stages are fun to trek through, the guns are unique, wacky, and funny, and its really fun to blow all your enemies up on sight. The extra goals, such as grinding, work pretty well too. However, Insomniac failed to set this game that much apart from Spyro in terms of control and music/sound effects. The story could have also used more depth and more character development besides the few it did give. Overall it's a good game that shouldn't be missed if you liked Spyro, or platformers in general. It's also the beginning of a series that shows promise.
Story: 7
Gameplay: 8
Sound: 6.9
Graphics: 8
Lasting Appeal: 7
Overall Score: 7.9


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/29/08

Game Release: Ratchet & Clank (US, 11/04/02)


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