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Ratchet & Clank
The logo for Ratchet & Clank.
Developer(s)Insomniac Games
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Year introduced2002
Genre(s)Action-adventure, Platform, Run and gun

Ratchet & Clank (ラチェット&クランク?) is a series of 3D platform/shooter video games. The franchise was created and developed by Insomniac Games for the PS2, PSP, and PS3 consoles, with the exclusion of Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank which were developed by High Impact Games. The series has been exclusively on Sony consoles. The game follows the exploits of Ratchet (a bobcat-like creature known as a Lombax that is very handy with tools) and Clank (a diminutive sentient robot that befriends Ratchet) as they save the galaxy from several evil forces.

Setting[edit]

The universe of Ratchet and Clank takes place in a science fiction setting, where there are many inhabited planets and the normal rules of relativity do not apply. Numerous biological and robotic species populate these worlds, some of which range from highly developed metropolises to those filled with primordial ooze.

Lombaxes

A lombax is a fictional species from the series. Lombaxes appear similar to bipedal anthropomorphic cats with a tail similar to that of a lion. Unlike most other organic species in the games' universe which have two fingers and thumb on each hand, lombaxes possess four fingers and a thumb. The species has an instinctive affinity towards gadgetry and machines. In A Crack in Time, a female reporter on space radio claims that female lombaxes don't have tails and confirms Angela Cross to be a Lombax who has been missing for three years. Ratchet and Angela Cross are the last known lombaxes in Ratchet's dimension after A Crack in Time. Lombaxes originated from the planet Fastoon.

Characters

The main characters in the series are Ratchet, a Lombax mechanic presently residing on the Apogee Space Station, from the planet Veldin, and his robot sidekick Clank, who was originally from a robotic line designed for causing destruction but accompanies Ratchet due to the robot line's assembly computer altering him for purposes of good. The player controls Ratchet for a majority of each game, though certain missions will require the player to directly control Clank. Otherwise, Clank sits on Ratchet's back (in a backpack-like fashion) and is used to provide useful jumping, hovering, and diving abilities through various upgrades. These upgrades are given over the course of the first game, but Clank retains them through the later ones. Throughout the series, the duo often encounter Captain Qwark, an ego-driven, phony superhero that may help or hinder Ratchet and Clank's missions somehow. And also, there's the primary antagonist of the series, Dr. Nefarious, who attempts to have his revenge against Ratchet and Clank. The plumber also follows the series, and is introduced from the first game helping Ratchet obtain a space craft. The plumber shows up when least expected to give advice and gadgets. In the latest game and last game of the trilogy, he shows up in Clank's memory banks.

Game structure[edit]

Each game is broken out as a series of missions that take place on numerous planets across the galaxy. While most missions must be completed in a certain order to progress the main story, other missions are optional but can lead to useful rewards. Once the player has completed a mission on a planet, they can typically return to any previous planet they have visited to attempt missions they could not complete before. In addition to missions based on the platforming and weapon elements, missions may include minigames such as various races and arena combat. Typically, one or two of these minigames must be performed as part of the main story, but further optional challenges can be done to earn greater rewards, typically in the form of "bolts", the unit of currency used throughout the game. There are also missions that focus on Clank controlling a set of robots using a simplistic set of commands to travel through areas that Ratchet cannot.

In addition to the main gameplay missions, the player can attempt to find special large bolts that are typically hidden or difficult to get to that can be used to upgrade or buy powerful weapons. There are also skill points spread throughout the game, which require the player to complete some unknown task guided only by the name of the skill point. For example, a skill point may be rewarded by completing a mission using only the Omniwrench. Skill points are used to unlock extra features such as concept artwork or additional outfits for Ratchet. Each game (excluding Quest for Booty) also presents a special "Challenge mode" available after the player has completed the main story; in this mode, the player runs through the story missions again facing more difficult enemies, but has the ability to further increase the strength of the weapons.

Weapons and devices[edit]

The Ratchet and Clank games feature a mix of platforming and action gameplay elements presented in the third-person perspective, focused on the use of unique and unusual weapons and gadgets that Ratchet gains over the course of each game. Ratchet starts each game with his versatile Omniwrench for melee attacks, but new weapons are available by completing missions or buying them through a vendor. Most weapons have a limited amount of ammunition, requiring the player to use weapons effectively to avoid running out of fire power. Ammunition can be restocked from vendors or by breaking crates scattered about the levels. In most later games, weapons can be upgraded through both repeated use of the weapon and by purchasing weapon modifications. The weapons in each game can range from standard weapon archetypes such as machine guns or sniper rifles to unique weapons such as transformation guns and decoy launchers. Typically the weapon set is a mixture of new weapons for that game and weapons returning from a previous title. In the case of Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, the weapons returning from the previous game can either be purchased or the save file from the previous game can be used to obtain them for free.

In addition to weapons, Ratchet gains many gadgets which have varying uses. Some gadgets are necessary to travel about some worlds, such as grind boots that allow Ratchet to grind on rails, or a swingshot (portable, reuseable grappling hook) that allows him to grapple a target and swing across gaps. Other gadgets can be used in combat as a means to distract foes. Other gadgets are necessary to collect in order to unlock certain doors and thus continue on missions; in these cases, the player typically must solve a puzzle minigame in order to successfully use the gadget and unlock the door.