Review by Showtime1080

"Good platform game"

You're quickly thrust into the chair of a fighter jet. An overpowering race of aliens has landed on your planet and you're job is to take them out. You must join your fellow comrades in the intergalactic war to protect the beautiful land.

Oh, my!

The once peaceful state of Veldin, where the beautiful flowers bloom and water gently glides across the floor has turned into an epic battleground! Two hording races of aliens, both intent on proving their mighty strength, fight an intense battle full of violence and agony. Huge bird-like robots trample little girls. The fighting forces people to fall off of cliffs. Fighter jets zoom around the war zone, firing 1000-degree lasers that scorch the skin of the fighting aliens. The ground shows big holes where bombs have exploded and the sticky green acid of alien blood.

The enemies are big, green, beefy monsters, who can hit targets in the head from far away with their pinpoint accuracy. On top of that, the defending side is outnumbered in more ways than one: they lack numbers AND they lack the technological advancements the green pigs have.

But they have a secret weapon. They have you. You are Ratchet; a commando of epic proportions. You heroically accept the challenge of joining their force against the attacking empire --- and with that promise, you've unknowingly embarked on a tremendous adventure that'll span each and every planet in the galaxy. Starting with the homeland of Veldin. Where the rich green grass plays stage to the battles of you vs. the other alien race. This time you're starting out with meager weapons. A simple blast of a shotgun and an axe of some sort is all you come equipped with.

No matter.

You side step and shoot the gun with the mobility of a trapeze artist. To avoid the incoming lasers you execute a sidestepping somersault that can literally hop over the incoming laser beams. You double jump by powerfully thrusting your hips in mid-air, effectively doubling the height of the original leap. You dive forward and roll to quickly close the distance between you and your foe. You jump on a wall then utilize the momentary contact your body makes with the wall to thrust upward and reach even higher. All of this executes with precision by Ratchet and you're sidekick, Clank, which means enemies have little chance to kill you even with the initial meager weaponry.

But during the battle, you'll learn that this is just the 1st step. This fierce battle that seems almost too enormous for a single side to win, is actually just a mere glimpse into the REAL war.

Upon learning that, you'll also realize that these weapons just won't suffice. You'll need more power. And this is where the president and your commander swoops in like loving parents and provides you the ability to not only upgrade your powers, (a gradual, step-by-step progression of might and strength), but to do away with the shoddy weapons altogether.

New weapons like something called the “Suck Cannon” which can suck up enemies and spit them out as make shift bullets. Or the “Plasma Whip” which is a long whip dripping with flames that slashes and cracks the ugly skin of the enemy empire. You'll come across incredibly clever weaponry, like the pistol that can alter the mindstate of the victim, but are they necessary? Do you really need a gun that can make holes in the ground to form a real-time trap? Why not just trust your marksmanship and blast them to pieces with the less fancy but all the more efficient shotgun?

As you ponder your weapon choice, a *WARNING * appears from your commander. She wants you to travel to a lush green jungle to rescue an old acquaintance that holds a secret power.

The intergalactic battle has been put on temporary hold, while you locate this acquaintance in the jungle. A necessary sidequest for you to perform.

*WARNING *

Immediately after fulfilling that mission, even before you have a chance to celebrate your accomplishments, the commander screams at you to travel to Florana to again join fellow teammates who've been pinned down by a huge army.

So you're back to the once-peaceful-but-now-barren world of Veldin on foot fighting enemies. You've acquired quite a few more weapons in your arsenal, but you quickly forget about the fancy stuff in favor of the nobler laser and shotgun. Your teammates are huddled together shivering in the bunker, while 5,6,7 of the enemy rush at them, desperately trying to take off their heads. But your presence fuels the pinned down teammates you quickly fight them off.

* WARNING *

Now they're coming from the air, swooping in from the sky like angry little bees. Just like that, the gameplay has changed and you're sitting in a non-movable machine, which feels odd from the acrobatics you were just performing. But you man the turret gun and begin shooting them down. One and after another fly into the zone and get obliterated by your turret firing.

But again, your commander's dire need whisks you away on another sidequest to recover another special power. These sidequests usually place you in a sprawling wide-open area, where you must follow a maze like, trap heavy gauntlet course that takes quick feet, quick reflexes, and most importantly a brutal demeanor to take out the guards infesting the area. These maze like dungeons provide all the necessary armor, weapons, and special abilities to use in the intergalactic war.

But acquiring the goods isn't easy.

For each and every dungeon comes booby-trapped with spikes, moving platforms, fireballs lasers, vast pools of water, many many things to block your way. Using a special device, some dungeons force you to deflect laser beams that are searing from holes in the walls. The mirror-like device can bend and deflect the beam, so you have to manually gauge the precise movement of the laser beam so that its reflection reaches a keyhole.

On one planet, you're on a game show. A fully produced, fully camera-ed, fully directed, game show complete with theme music and a cheering and applauding audience. These devious people have constructed an obstacle course full of fire and evil robots, and its been designed to create the greatest chance of failure and subsequent goriness. Nobody has ever made it across, in fact, before your turn, you observe a contestant last all of 3 seconds as he misses the 1st jump and falls into the lava. Which brings the crowd to its feet and causes all the cameras to come swooping in for a death shot.

But the prize for completing the course is worth it. For its just another weapon to use in the intergalactic war.

You'll travel to many brightly colored planets. Visiting lush green jungles, slashing piranhas that launch themselves at you. Then you'll be on a game show, and then you'll be in a filthy sewer outrunning a huge sea monster down a claustrophobic tunnel, that just BARELY fits the monster. All you can see is the meaty flesh of the fish wobbling towards you. The game throws you through many different locations, all in an effort to recover special items to win the intergalactic war. And this mighty intergalactic war requires top-notch weaponry to save the land but the dire need is so serious as enemies have grown fiercer, your commanding officers have employed an odd tactic to relieve pressure.

They use comedy.

Who would imagine the repercussions of a failed mission attempt would result in the hostage's brain being turned into the mannerisms of a monkey? The hostage is a beast, whose stomach is the size of your entire ship, but he waddles along the ground, looking for food and makes that croaking monkey cry at the mere sight of a banana. Instead of simply reporting the mission objectives your commander stumbles out the important information as part of a rap song. Even you and your sidekick Clank tend to squash awkward tension filled moments by cracking jokes. And fat momma jokes at that.

Whether an attempt to diffuse the evilness of war or just part of their lewd sense of humor, the comedy works beautifully.

The comedy even stretches to the online portion. Where the typical gameplay of Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Siege are supplemented by the microphone. Who knows what laughter other humans can bring. Although the modes are generic, the Ratchet and Clank mechanics, of twirling around and avoiding fire, along with the innovative weapons makes for a unique experience. Defense plays as much a part of the matches as the actual shooting.

It's too bad the online mode cannot duplicate the chaos that is the singleplayer. You won't find yourself bombarded by distress calls from your commander like in single player. You don't experience this heroic sense of purpose from saving the people in the war. Still, Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal represents totality in the platform genre while adding a twist of humor and creativity to raise it about all else.




Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/23/05


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