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Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando

In 2002 Insomniac games released the fantastic action-platformer Ratchet and Clank, and less than 9 months later the huge and amazing sequel Ratchet and Clank Going Commando is here to satisfy our platforming needs. The problems from the first game weren't just fixed, but were perfected. So many types of gameplay were added and every type is amazing.

After there recent deafeat of Chairman Excutive Drek (the first games main baddy) our heros Ratchet and Clank are back again and are a little out of work. After beating Drek there was nothing left to do for them so they just sat around waiting for the call....and no call was made. Since beating Drek Ratchet has grown more mature and wiser, so he is now a team player rather than a big-shot wise guy that he was in the first. He is much more tolerable this time around and you actually really care for him. While Ratchet and Clank are sitting around doing nothing they get that long awaited call for help from Abecrombie Fizzwidget. Fizzwidget has invented a little blue fuzzy animal called the protopet, but the protopets soon became ferral and dangerous causing harm to every owner. So it's up to Ratchet and Clank to suit up again and save the universe. Fizzwedget is the owner of the weapon, gadget, and armor selling company MegaCorp. Like Gadgetron in the first game, MegaCorp has vendors scattered all around the 20+ planets. You start off on the planet Oozla which is the headquarters for MegaCorp. In this game there are way more things to buy. Almost everything in this game is either upgradeable or modify-able. Not only are there weapons and gadgets to purchase but you can also purchase armor. You start off in a leathery suit, but as you progress there will be special Megacorp vendors with armor. And get this there are even weapon upgrades. Even Ratchet himself can be upgraded to be a better soldier. There are 18 new weapons and all of them have 4 levels of upgrades. You can upgrade the weapons just by using them, and Ratchet by killing enemies. For example the already powerful Gravity Bomb can be upgraded into the very powerful Mini-Nuke. The ship you fly in going to the levels is now upgradeable. You can purchase different wings, weapons and even new paint jobs to pimp out your ship...what did I just say? Your trusty Omni-Wrench 800 is back and though it cant be upgraded three other more powerful wrenches can be found in levels to come. There are over 10 gadgets also to give the game that Inspector Gadget feel to it. Also on certain levels such as Tabora you can find modifacation venders. Here you can buy mods for your weapons such as electric shock, acid, or an enchanced target.  There are also many nods and inside jokes for people who played the first Ratchet and Clank, and if you have a save from the first game on your memory card you can get five free weapons from the first game right away at an old Gadgetron sales lady.

Remember the sometimes annoying sliding that Ratchet did when he was running and came to a stop? Not here anymore. All of the problems of the first are not only gone, but fixed so it feels like there never was a problem.  One of the biggest problems from the first game is that if you were short on bolts you were forced to go back and forth from planet to planet.  This annoyance is no longer a problem due to the adding of Gladiator arenas, races, and flights dog-fights.  At any point in the game you can go to one of the battle arenas and fight of baddies for bolts.  And in the races once you finish the main race you are required to beat, you can go threw different races for bolts.  The same goes for the battles in the sky.  Don't worry bolts and ammo are once again found in crates scattered around the levels just waiting for you to bash open.  There are also tons of gameplay types put in to this fantastic platformer. Platforming, adventure, puzzle solving, rail-grinding, RPG elements in the upgrading, racing, flying, and the explosive action is all balled up into one wonderful, immersive game. What makes this even better is that the game is about 5 hours longer than the first so you'll be able to take in all of the elements for hours and hours. What is argueably the best new feature are the spherical worlds. In these worlds you play as giant Clank facing a boss of some kind. Everything in the world is destructible and can either be blown up or jumped on by Clank. The control in this game is flawless. The wrench swiping animation is beautiful. The control figuration is unchanged from the first game. Some people complained about the aiming system saying it was too loose and out of control, but it is now tight and responsive. The quick select feature for toggling threw your differnt weapons and gadgets is now changed so it pauses the game when you push the button, so enemies don't attack when you change weapons. Everything has been revamped so the game works better and feels like your really in control of these two characters. Even the clank levels are more responsive.

This graphics are nothing short of spectacular. Every weapon, ship, gadget, wrench, enemy and explosion are rendered perfectly. The menus are very slick and futuristic looking. Ratchet looks slicker and clank is shinier. The paricle effects go into more detail and look more like the real thing. The game still has the cartoony platformer look, but don't be fooled this is not a kiddie game. Each planet is distinctive and unique. My favorite level is the desert level Tabora. On this level you have to collect Tabora desert crystals to give to a gypsy to fix your ship. The sand is gritty and rough, the crystals are shiny and glistening and the sky is filled with a haze of sand while the glare of the sun shines threw reflecting on the crystals to make it look like a mirror. A very beautiful and creative level that words can barely describe.

The sound in the original was good this music is great. There are urban-cowboy guitar rifs on Tabora, Voodoo chants on Oozla and techno beats on Megalopilis and every tune is crisp and a pure joy to listen to. Each weapon shoots and loads differntly. The mini-nuke shoots the projectile out with tremendous force so you expect a tremendous sounding explosion, and boy does it deliver. Even the sound of the thruster pack being used is clearer and better sounding. Ratchet speaks with a deeper and more mature voice, and clank still has that charming giggle. Captain Qwark is back (hint hint he didn't die in the first game) and he still has that stereo-type super-hero voice with the definition in every word he delivers. Fizzwidget's voice is a mix between Captain Kangaroo and Bill Clinton. It's defining yet goofy.

Lasting Appeal:
The first game was in no way short but this game makes it look like it. There are more skill points, loads of specials to unlock. Four levels of upgrades, and only two levels are available the first time threw the game. Most of the higher priced weapons won't be able to be purchased the first time threw, so you need to play again. Plus if you play threw again you get bolts that are worth more and the new bolt multiplyer which is an icon that tells you how much the value of the bolts you collect go up. Every time you defeat an enemy the bolt multiplyer goes up one more point. It can go up to twenty points, but if you get hit it goes back to one so be careful. This game is the most addictive game I have ever played. The replay value in this game is outrageous. You'll be playing for hours and hours and hours for weeks to come. And get this the game gets 10% harder each time you go through again so you'll get a good challenge over and over. Fantastic replaybility.

This game has the best graphics I have ever seen on the PS2, some of the coolest sound-effects, hilarious voice-acting, laugh out loud cutscenes, great characters, tons of replay value, upgradeable everything, and just flat out fun. There is absouletly nothing wrong with this game.  It may seem over-whelming at first, but once you get into the flow of the game you find that everything goes together When I finished everything, got all of the extras, and beat the game a total of five times I felt like a part of me was missing since it was done. Not many games can do that to a man folks. My favorite game of all-time. You owe it to yourself to get this game.

-Blake Becker (GoinCommando)

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