One of the top games of last year for the Playstation2, Ratchet and Clank is arguably the finest platformer ever created. With huge levels, incredible graphics that truly showcased the power of the Emotion Engine, and great gameplay, Ratchet and Clank raised the bar for all platformers. However, Insomniac Games is set on raising that bar even higher with Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, the latest installment in the Ratchet and Clank franchise.
After having ousted Chairman Drek in their last adventure, Ratchet and Clank go back to a somewhat peaceful way of life. That all changes in an instant, however, when they are kidnapped by the mysterious Abercrombie Fizzwidget of the Bogon Galaxy. Fizzwidget is the CEO of MegaCorp, the largest, and only, corporation in the Bogon Galaxy. Fizzwidget is upset that his newest invention has been stolen by a mysterious masked figure, and desperately wants his product back. He recruits Ratchet and Clank to look into this theft by promising both characters something they dearly want. He offers Ratchet the plaudits of a grateful galaxy, the promise of adventure, and the chance to become a true commando. For Clank, the bribe is even easier, as Fizzwidget simply offers him a job at MegaCorp as an accountant.
One of the best things about the first Ratchet and Clank was the ability to blow up pretty much anything you wanted with a vast array of weapons, not to mention the incredible number of gadgets that let you do some incredibly fun, and funny, things throughout the universe. In Going Commando, there will be a whole new assortment of weapons, and a whole new way to use them. Insomniac is incorporating a totally new system that lets characters grow by leveling up, unlocking new features for the 20+ weapons and gadgets in the game, which should give a whole new dynamic to the game. Throughout the course of the game, over 50 weapons and gadgets will be available to the player, a sizeable increase over the first title, which offered a total of 35.
Not only are there more weapons in Going Commando, there is also a lot more to explore. The world of the next Ratchet and Clank game will take place on 20 all-new planets, each of which are approximately 1.5 times bigger than the original game. In addition to the newer, larger levels, there are 'maxi-games' throughout the world that allow Ratchet to level up and test his skills in such areas as Gladiator Arenas and Spherical Worlds. These new features will allow Ratchet to show off his combat skills, earn money, gain levels, and more, and they can be replayed countless times for maximum enjoyment.
The new 'character growth system' is probably the biggest departure from the last game, as it borrows heavily from the RPG genre, allowing Ratchet to increase not only the strength and variety of his weapons, but also his armor. Ratchet starts the game in a brand-new commando suit, which has five different levels of armor. He can gain more experience, increasing his 'nanotech' points (essentially hit points) from a starting level of 4 up to a maximum of 80 by the end of the game. This will be accomplished not only through the normal gameplay, but also the 'maxi-games' found throughout the game.
"We are elated to have one of the most talented and imaginative teams, Insomniac Games, reunite the dynamic pair of Ratchet and Clank in the next installment of the series," said Ami Blaire, director of product marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment America. "Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando incorporates many of the same compelling elements that clearly differentiated the series' first game from everything else in the market last year. No doubt, this will be another genre-breaking title that will leave gamers hanging onto the edge of their seats this holiday season."
We don't doubt it either. As fine as the first Ratchet and Clank was, we can only imagine how much better Going Commando can be. Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando is scheduled for a fall 2003 release, so look for more information on this title as it becomes available.
5/5/2003 Ryan Hartmann