Ratchet and Clank has been my favorite video game franchise for over a decade. It’s the series that really got me into gaming. Most of the games have been great, and a few have been weird, but overall I’ve loved this series that made my childhood. Since both the new reboot and movie have been released, I took a look at the original game. It wasn’t easy taking off my nostalgia tinted glasses, but it had to be done to fairly assess this game.
The plot of the game is about an alien mechanic, Ratchet, who stumbles upon a crashed ship with a little robot in it who he names Clank. Clank had apparently escaped a robot factory with information that an evil dictator, Drek, was plotting to destroy planets to create one new planet. Ratchet and Clank then decide to find a superhero, Captain Qwark, to alert him to the coming danger. The game then has the duo travel all across the galaxy to find Qwark and gather some pretty cool weapons and gadgets along the way. It’s strange that I remember this being a very humorous game, but there weren’t as many jokes as I recalled. Not that this isn’t funny at all, but they just didn’t throw as many as they often do. It was also strange to see Ratchet being a jerk to Clank, since they’re usually buddies, but also nice to see how they start at each other’s throats only to become best of friends. The villain is actually more intimidating than I remember. He never actually does anything, but the way he carries himself, and the cold and uncaring things he says makes him a great villain.
When I started this game, my first thought was that the controls were very stiff compared to later titles. Ratchet is slower. You can’t strafe, switching weapons makes you more vulnerable, as well as many other issues. On its own, it still felt fair most of the time. After getting used to the controls, the game became super easy. I had played the game so many times in the past that I was barreling through levels, finding secrets and gathering hidden items until I reached about halfway through the game I remembered: this game can get really hard. I finally hit the brick wall and actually had to pay attention to the game. It was challenging to get through the last few levels; I would die several times before reaching a checkpoint, get ambushed by enemies, run out of ammo, and then get tempted to throw my controller through the TV.
Whether this game is easy or hard to you, the main selling point of this series is the crazy weapons. The first game’s guns weren’t as wacky as later ones in the franchise. There’s a glove that creates little minions who go kamikaze on enemies, a rocket launcher that allows you to control the path of the missile, a boxing glove, a glove that creates decoys, and a gun that turns enemies into chickens.
So, is this game worth getting? It depends. If you love platformers and somewhat childish humor, you might like this game. If you can’t really stomach older looking games, maybe one of the later titles might be better. You can find this game on PS2 for anywhere from $3 to $15, on PSN for $15, or on the PS3 Ratchet and Clank Collection (which has the original trilogy of games) for around $8 to $25.