Ratchet & Clank took the PS2 by storm in November 2002. It, and two sequels released in November 2003 and 2004, helped redefine what a platformer could be on what was then 'next gen' hardware.
Combined with the Jak and Daxter series and the Sly Cooper series, the early 2000s were truly a platforming Golden Age.
The Ratchet & Clank Collection, featuring those first three PS2 titles, will be available at the end of the month.
Better yet, it'll be a $30 package, a whopping $120 less than what buying all three new cost a decade ago, and half the price of a typical release today. It's an incredibly economical way to relive old favorites or get into a franchise you've somehow missed out on.
If you've never played, the game features Ratchet, a Lombax from the planet Fastoon who'd been sent away by his father to avoid an attack. He's soon joined by Clank, a robot who's light on combat, but gets fitted with attachments allowing Ratchet to go faster, higher, and further than typically possible.
They go about the galaxy to thwart the dastardly plots of evildoers like Dr. Nefarious. They also find themselves hindered by Captain Qwark, a fictional do-gooder whose portrayer means well, but suffers from crippling cowardice and a tendency towards traitorousness.
In the original Ratchet and Clank, our heroes meet when Ratchet stumbles upon Clank, who agrees to help Ratchet get off the planet he's stranded on. But Ratchet must in turn agree to help find Captain Qwark to stop the threat posed to the galaxy by Drek, who's ripping planets asunder to create on of his own.
Among myriad weapons (including the devastatingly fun RYNO), you also have fun ways to get around, like a hoverboard, grinding rails, and magnetized boots, as well as a ship to get between planets. With hilarious cutscenes and lots of variety, it won gamers over and got overwhelmingly positive reviews.
In the sequel, Going Commando, our heroes find themselves begged by Abercrombie Fizzwidget to recover a precious item stolen by thieves: a tiny blue creature known as a Protopet.
Additions to your available weaponry included the miniturret glove (that allowed you to toss out tiny defensive turrets) and the bouncer (that ejected a large bomb that split into many mini homing bombs). Other additions included weapons gaining experience towards an upgrade via usage, armor vendors, and arena battles.
The second sequel, Up Your Arsenal, was released not even a year after Going Commando and featured the introduction of Dr. Nefarious, who's appeared in many other titles since. Voiced by Armin Shimerman, he's the robot remains of the consciousness of a former living person and tries to wipe out other life out of spiteful enmity.
The game added multiplayer to the franchise for the first time. New items include the Qwack-o-Ray that turned enemies into ducks and a refractor to redirect lasers at sensors to trigger events in the environment.
Being upgrades to current generation technology, there are a few niceties that come along for the ride:
- A graphics overhaul to 1080p HD (as well as 720p 3D)
- 60 frames/second refresh rate
- PSN trophies—each game gets over 30 trophies
- A tenth anniversary avatar
- A chance to get at the demo for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time early (this series already has its own fantastic upgraded collection)
And on top of all this, a brand-new PSN downloadable adventure called Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault is planned for a holiday release. We're promised a return to the game's classic playstyle, control, and platforming in this tenth-anniversary gift to fans.
So if you're a fan of our Lombax and robot friends, the tail end of this year has a lot to look forward to!
The Ratchet & Clank Collection is available August 28 from Sony exclusively for PS3. Rated E 10+ for gamers 10 and over (Animated Blood, Comic Mischief, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco).
Jeff is currently playing Bubble Witch Saga; you can follow him on Twitter at JKLugar.