Video Game / Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy

"So it seems the answer begins not with careful research or sensible thinking. Nay! As with many of fate's mysteries, it begins with but a small act of disobedience..."
Samos the Green Sage

The debut game of the widely loved Jak and Daxter series, released for the PlayStation 2 in December of 2001.

In this first game, the Heroic Mime Jak and his buddy Daxter travel to the mysterious Misty Island, against the advice of the wise Green Eco Sage Samos. Not long after arriving, Daxter winds up getting knocked into a well of Dark Eco — but instead of being instantly vaporized, he is transformed into a creature called an ottsel, much to his chagrin. Thus the two set off to find a way to reverse the transformation. Unbeknownst to them, their quest will lead them to much bigger problems.

This game could be seen as the PS2's answer to Super Mario 64 (as well as taking a few cues from The Legend of Zelda) — what with the strong emphasis on Collect-a-Thon, run and jump platforming, bright and lively art, endearing characters, and fun levels and puzzles. Then everything changed in the sequel...

Tropes Used In This Game:

  • All Your Colors Combined: Done with the four main eco colors at the end of the game.
  • Almost Kiss: At the end, Jak and Kiera go in for one, but Daxter interrupts.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Lurkers. In the sequel, it turns out they're not evil; just aggressive, easily misled, and not terribly bright.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Eco.
  • Arcadia: Sandover Village.
  • Atlantis: The Lost Precursor City.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Gol and Maia.
  • Big Good: Samos.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Daxter.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: The Gambler in Rock Village is wearing one of these.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Let's just say that the inside of the Lost Precursor City doesn't resemble a city in any way, shape, or form.
  • Blackout Basement: A section of the Spider Cave is in total darkness; you light the path by hitting light-generating crystals.
  • Border Patrol: The Lurker Shark, which is the trope image.
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: If Gol and Maia would just remove that pesky Blue Eco Launcher from the Silo, it would make it so much easier to kill Jak and Daxter.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Getting all of the Precursor Orbs in the game.
  • Bubblegloop Swamp: Boggy Swamp.
  • Chokepoint Geography: You have to pass through Fire Canyon, Mountain Pass, and Lava Tube to reach Rock Village, Volcanic Crater, and Gol and Maia's Citadel respectively.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: All of the sages.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Fire Canyon, although how far it's played straight depends on what's on it.
    • Although both Fire Canyon and the Lava Tube could conceivably just be handwaved as the zoomer's heat shield protecting everyone standing around it since it's invisible, this trope is especially noticeable during the boss battle with Klaww and the Volcanic Crater Hub Level.
  • Cool Bike: Keira's Zoomer bike.
  • Cue the Sun: The final boss fight takes place just before dawn. The sun rises during the ending sequence.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Daxter and Samos.
  • Death Mountain/Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Snowy Mountain.
  • Deserted Island: Misty Island, though it's not that deserted. It's filled with Lurkers.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: 'Them buggers' has become a famous example. Didn't hinder the game getting a 3+ age rating.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is drastically different from the sequels in almost every way. The gameplay is a free-roaming collect-a-thon with Eco power-ups rather than a mission-based third-person shooter platformer with guns, and the humor and general tone is much more lighthearted and juvenile, with a joyful High Fantasy tone, rather than a cynical Grim Dark Cyber Punk future, and the plot is a very simplistic good vs. evil affair, not to mention the cast of characters is much smaller. And Jak doesn't talk.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Light Eco in the final fight.
  • Eternal Engine: Gol and Maia's Citadel.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Gol and Maia's base of operations is a large Precursor citadel that they've converted to suit their nefarious needs. When you're on Snowy Mountain and see this set of huge towers looming in the distance, it becomes pretty clear where the final level will be set.
  • Excuse Plot
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Thankfully averted by the Naughty Dog development team. A glitch can occur in the Precursor Basin on some versions of the game, making it impossible to win the Zoomer race (though this was fixed in the Updated Re-release on the Vita). Thankfully, they made it so that there are 101 Power Cells in the game, and only 100 are needed for the good ending.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Although this game is wholesome and family-friendly, especially compared to its Darker and Edgier sequels, Daxter does say "crap" in the opening cutscene.
    • When you turn on the Blue Sage's gate in Rock Village, watch Jak's facial expression when Keira bends down to look through the telescope...
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Averted. If you hit triangle, Jak will pull his goggles down to give you a first person view. This comes in handy when you come across the yellow eco, which allows Jak to shoot fireballs, as you can aim them.
  • Green Hill Zone: Sandover Village.
  • Great Offscreen War: It's implied over the course of the game that Gol and Maia are sending lurker troops to towns over night and ransacking villages for artifacts and eco. Near the end of the game, Keira mentions that they are becoming more and more aggressive now that they are close to their goal. You will never see any of this, however, as most of your adventure is in abandoned ruins and nearby areas outside of town, and in Rock Village, you get there after it happens.
  • Grimy Water: In Boggy Swamp.
  • Hub Level: Three of them.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Precursor robots.
  • Inferred Survival: It is strongly implied at the end of the game that the villains, Gol and Maia, were not truly killed, as Samos states that they are dead, "...probably." Funnily enough, the two never make so much as a cameo appearance throughout the rest of the series, telling us that they truly are no more. Though given that the rest of the series happens hundreds of years later, they probably succumbed to old age.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: A good few of these appear at some point in the game, for example the Fire Canyon and Lava Tube; you need to power up the Zoomer's heatshield to be able to pass through those areas. Then when you get to the Rock Village, you can't proceed to the Mountain Pass because a lurker called Klaww has thrown a flaming boulder in the way. Plus there's the ocean itself: Jak can swim safely in shallow water, but if he tries to go out into the ocean, a Lurker Shark will jump out and eat him.
  • Jerk Ass: Samos is frequently one to Daxter.
  • Jungle Japes: Forbidden Jungle.
  • Large Ham: Daxter, along with the Sages and the Rock Village warrior.
  • Law Of 100: While there are 101 Power Cells in the game, exactly 100 are necessary to unlock the full ending.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Three, actually. The first is Fire Canyon, the second is Volcanic Crater, and the third is Lava Tube.
  • Lost Superweapon: The Precursor Robot, which Gol and Maia spend most of the game unearthing and repairing.
  • Lighter and Softer: this game is rated E for everyone, while its sequels are rated T for teen. There's a good reason for that.
  • Limit Break: The Light Eco Jak uses in the final fight.
  • Mad Eco Sage's Beautiful Daughter: Keira.
  • Mars Needs Women: Although Daxter has an excuse, being that he used to be human.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Plenty of them throughout the game.
  • Noob Cave: Geyser Rock at the start of the game.
  • No-One Could Survive That: Gol and Maia's demise. Samos even flat out states that they probably didn't survive. That being said, they haven't reappeared in any of the sequels, outside of a cameo Gol gets during one of Daxter's dream sequences in his self-titled game.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Maia does this so often it's hard to tell what her accent is.
  • Palmtree Panic: Sentinel Beach, of course.
  • Plot Coupon: The Power Cells. Specific numbers of them are used to move the plot forward a bit somehow, and there are 101 in total.
  • Power-Up: Jak can use Eco (a source of natural energy) to either heal or briefly obtain certain powers.
    • Healing Potion: Green Eco comes in both small and large balls. Small ones heal Jak by one (it takes fifty to refill an entire section), larger and rarer ones will refill an entire section of Jak's health.
    • Playing with Fire: Jak can shoot fireballs from the palms of his hands when he's powered up with Yellow Eco.
    • Super Speed: Jak gets a boost of speed whenever he uses Blue Eco. He can also power up ancient precursor artifacts once he gets close enough, as well as magnetically draw in nearby Precursor Orbs.
    • Super Strength: Jak's attack power is doubled whenever he gets charged up with Red Eco, as well as having his physical attack range increased a bit.
    • Averted with Dark Eco: if Jak touches it, he'll be injured; if he's submerged, he'll die instantly.
  • Precursor(s): The name of the mysterious, seemingly extinct race in the game.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the opening, Daxter says something about "precursor crap". The game got an E rating in the US and a 3+ rating in the UK. Other than the word "bugger", there's no other cursing in the game.
  • Psycho Serum: Dark Eco.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In a sense, Jak when he uses the Light Eco to blow up Gol and Maia's robot. His entire body is wreathed in shimmering white light except the red lens on his goggles and his blue irises, which makes the Three-Point Landing and resultant Kubrick Stare he pulls just before blowing the robot apart in one shot more striking.
  • Rising Conflict: A quest to help Daxter return to his former self becomes a quest to stop the Big Bad Duumvirate from bringing about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • The device our heroes find at the end of the game.
    • At the end of the game, the Red Sage mentions that Keira could very well become the replacement for Gol; however, this is never mentioned again until The Lost Frontier.
  • Shout-Out: A plant enemy that was present in Naughty Dog's previous series, Crash Bandicoot, appears as a harmless houseplant in Samos' hut.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat / Ham-to-Ham Combat: Between Daxter and Samos. Example, in the opening scene, after Daxter's transformation:
    Samos: Daxter, you finally took a much-needed bath, but in a bathtub filled with Dark Eco.
    Daxter: Look, old man! Are you gonna keep yappin' or are you gonna help me outta this mess?
    Samos: I'm gonna keep yappin', because in my professional opinion, the change is an improvement! And besides, I couldn't help you if I wanted to.
    Daxter: WHAT?!?
  • Spiritual Successor: Surprisingly, more of one to Spyro than Crash, given the open-world exploration.
  • Steam Punk: Some elements of it exist in the game.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Jak can swim in most water and can dive underneath the surface without being timed. He will, however, rise up automatically after a set amount of time. If he's caught below an object that prevents the automatic surfacing, he'll drown when the time runs out instead. It's not a good idea to swim too far out, either...
  • Tactical Suicide Boss:
    • Klaww. If he didn't do the move where he prepares the huge boulder, he'd be nigh-invincible. note 
    • The Dark Eco Plant extends its leaves for no apparent reason every time you kill its minions, allowing Jak to climb on them and punch the boss in the chin.
  • Take Your Time: It doesn't matter what you go off and do after the robot is activated, it won't be able to open the silo until you get there.
  • Triang Relations: Type 4: Jak and Daxter both have feelings for Keira, but she only has feelings for the former.
  • Underwater Ruins: The Lost Precursor City.
  • Un Evil Laugh: Parodied in Gol's outtakes.
  • Vader Breath: Obviously all that Dark Eco experimentation couldn't have been good for Gol's lungs.
  • Weird Currency: Precursor Orbs. Especially due to their shape. They too, also serve as part of the Collect-A-Thon element, as each location has a set amount of them (some of them are even hidden very well out of the naked eye) and the whole game sports 2000 of them for 100% Completion. They're used to exchange for some of the Power Cells (1530 in total are needed for that).

Alternative Title(s): Jak And Daxter The Precursor Legacy