Video Game / Ratchet & Clank (2002)

The first game in the Ratchet & Clank series, it was a modest hit for the Playstation 2.

The game is about how the titular duo meet and then team up to stop Chairman Drek and the Blarg from destroying planets across the galaxy in order to build themselves a new homeworld. In exchange for a chance to see the galaxy, Ratchet helps Clank look for the great hero, Captain Qwark.

A re-imagining of this game has been released, complete with updated gameplay, and it ties into the film of the same name.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Acronym Confusion: Captain Qwark offers the heroes a PDA.
    Ratchet: Public Display of Affection?
    Qwark: No no no, Personal Delivery Assistant!
  • Anti-Hero: It's safe to say that while Ratchet is the hero of the game, he is not a nice guy for the first two thirds of the game. His reasons for going off on the adventure are purely self-serving (i.e. he wants to get off of Veldin to have some fun, with the Blarg just being an obstacle) and he acts rude and abrasive towards Clank, who is dead set on trying to stop Drek's plans. And once Captain Qwark betrays him, he becomes a borderline Villain Protagonist due to his obsession with getting even with Qwark taking priority over saving the galaxy and souring his relationship with Clank. He eventually comes around once he sees the consequences of his actions unfold (i.e. Oltanis getting ravaged by the Blarg because he was too busy fighting Qwark when he could have stopped them) and learns to be nicer to Clank and more responsible from there on.
  • Arrow Cam: The Visibomb Gun in this and the next game.
  • Artistic License – Physics: While it makes sense that the Gemlik moon base has some form of artificial gravity, the lack of atmosphere (which prompts the need of an O2 mask through all of it) makes one wonder how the Heli-pack and Thruster pack could possibly work in an environment where there is no air.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The Birdbots on Novalis and the Blarg Paratroopers on Batalia and Gaspar both have brain dead AI, even by the standards of the games enemies. They just mindlessly shoot their guns in a narrow path while standing frozen in place, even if Ratchet is standing right next to them. They'll occasionally fly or flip around to reorient themselves, but they have the reaction time of a sloth and will more than likely be smashed to pieces by your wrench before then.
    • The Robotic Dog-like enemies on Gaspar sometimes love to walk into lava while pursuing you.
    • The Gadgebots have awful AI. You often lose one or two of them, the way they follow you is spotty, slow and clunky.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Ameboids infesting Blackwater City, annoyingly enough.
  • Autosave: The games save in between levels.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: In the Gemlik Base, Captain Qwark is inexplicably able to breathe and talk in the open vacuum of space when confronting Ratchet, the latter needing an O2 mask just to transverse the level.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: This is the only game where Ratchet doesn't have shoes, aside from Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank, as well as some unlockable skins in other games. Though he can equip the Grind Boots or the Magneboots for cosmetic effects.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The hoverboard race hosting girl in Blackwater City.
  • Big Good: Captain Qwark for the first half of the game, only to be knocked off his pedestal midway through when it's revealed he aligned himself with Drek, who is sponsoring his big comeback.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Although the French version of the game is globally excellent from the translation itself to the voice acting, when Clank is reunited with his "mother" on planet Quartu, he departs saying he will do his best to make her proud. She responds with "you already have", which was translated to "Tu l'as déjà". While it is a grammatically correct litteral translation, it just sounds awkward; a more accurate translation would have been "Tu l'as déjà fait" or "Je le suis déjà".
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Ten of Ratchet's weapons can be upgraded (for 4 gold bolts and 10,000-60,000 regular bolts, depending on the weapon in question) to a golden form that gives bonuses such as increased damage, improved range and ricocheting shots. Getting all of these gold weapons will unlock some bonus content on the goodies menu.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends on Planet Veldin.
  • Boring, but Practical: Some of the weapons, notably the early ones.
    • Bomb Glove; your default weapon along with the Wrench. It has a large ammo capacity and deals decent damage, but has a short range and is somewhat slow.
    • Pyrocitor; a Flamethrower acquired early in the game, useful for crowd controlling small enemies, but suffers from short range and unremarkable damage.
    • Blaster: Another early weapon, a simple handgun that deals moderate damage and has an auto-targeting function, but it chews up its ammo fast, and its bullets only have a short range.
    • Mine Glove: A homing mine that functions similar to the Bomb Glove and Glove of Doom, but many can be deployed at one time. The mines have short range and move somewhat slow, but combining it with the Taunter makes it even more useful, as the noise increases the mines homing range significantly.
    • Drone Defense: A series of floating orbs that protect Ratchet from most incoming attacks (sans melee attacks and projectiles). They also home in and self-destruct on enemies if you get close to them, and they have a large ammo capacity.
  • Breast Expansion: Perform a few sideways flips in front of the girl who gets you into the hoverboard race in Blackwater City.
  • Brick Joke: Ratchet when he sees the Plumber again on Batalia: "Hey, the plumber's back!".
  • Brought Down to Normal: Clank during the final boss battle; the first part of the battle against Drek's giant mecha is fought with Giant Clank, but after a small chunk of Drek's health is mowed down, he uses a shrink ray to change Clank back to normal size—with Ratchet still piggybacking.
  • Can-Crushing Cranium: In the cutscene after you buy the Ultra Nanotech, to demonstrate your newfound strength.
  • Cash Gate: Infobots (which open up new planets) and essential upgrades all cost high amounts of Bolts. At one point you even have to bribe Qwark's Bodyguard to be able to see him.
    Bodyguard: You see how it works? You grease the hinges, the door opens.
  • Character Development: Ratchet starts off as a selfish jerk, nearly becomes a Villain Protagonist in the second act due to this, and finally grows into a hero once he sees the results of his selfish actions and learns to be nicer and get his priorities straight.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After the Gadgetron hoverboard race, Ratchet asks if he can get a discount in Gadgetron gear only to be told that the employee discount only kicks in after two years with the company. In Up Your Arsenal (released two years later), you can import a Ratchet and Clank save to get that discount.
  • Coat Full of Contraband: The RYNO Salesman apparently kept the RYNO in there, although we don't actually see it there. He only tells Ratchet it was there after he buys it.
    Ratchet: Urgh, this thing is heavy!
    RYNO Salesman: Yeah, try carrying it around in your trenchcoat for 2 months.
  • Cowardly Mooks: The Mine Layers are a robotic enemies that runs away from Ratchet whenever he gets close. During their run, they will deploy 6 stationary mines per interval.
  • Crapsack World: Orxon, the former homeworld of the Blarg. It is a completely uninhabitable wasteland of abandoned buildings, pools of acid, vicious local wildlife, a platoon of remaining Blarg soldiers, and a sickly-green atmosphere that is so toxic, that Ratchet can't even set foot outside of his ship when first visiting (and thus Clank has to travel out alone) and he and the remaining Blarg need O2 masks to breath in it.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • During the ship battle on Gemlik Base:
      Qwark: Son of a...! *radio static*
    • During the Novalis infobot:
      Drek: ...and if you don't like it, you can take your whiny, sniveling, snot-nosed populations, form a line behind me and KISS MY—-We're still on? Well turn it off, you idiot!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Drek.
    Novalis Chairman: This is your last chance! Stop this madness now!
    Novalis Chairman: Really?
  • Decapitated Army: Just defeating Chairman Drek is enough to completely thwart the Blarg's invasion plan, and blowing up Drek's ill-gotten new world along with him sure helped.
  • Derivative Differentiation: According to an interview with Ted Price, after making a trilogy of collect-a-thon games in the vein of Super Mario 64 and its many other imitators, Insomniac Games realized that making yet another game like that would be a dead end in the long run, so for Ratchet and Clank they tried to start playing up the combat aspects of the game over just jumping around and collecting things, and they even tried to avoid calling it a platformer in development (which didn't stop critics from calling it one anyway). The sequels would continue playing up the combat aspects over the platforming even more and more.
  • Developers' Foresight: Normally, when you load a save, you get a brief cinematic of your ship flying to a planet. However, if you load a save on the first Veldin or your initial visit to Novalis (before you actually have a ship), you instead get a picture from space of the planet you're on, without a ship flying towards it.
  • The Dragon: The Robot Lieutenant is this to Drek early on in the game, but he promptly disappears after the duo encounter him in the logging site on Eudora and gets replaced by Qwark.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The guy the duo encounter on Batalia is one, though since his whole squad apparently went AWOL on him and left him to fight the Blarg alone it's pretty understandable.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Dying in battle against Captain Quark, which is done using Blarg Jet Fighter, makes your attacks do more damage on your next attempt.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: It is the only Insomniac Games Ratchet game (Secret Agent Clank and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters both have the same Ratchet design but are made by High Impact Games) to have Ratchet with no shirt and no shoes (unless you equip the Magneboots or Grindboots from the items menu for a cosmetic effect). Every other game, he has some sort of armor or clothing that covers those bits.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In contrast to the sequels, the original game is drastically different in several ways;
    • The art direction is somewhat different; the lighting is brighter and the design and general aesthetic are more cartoony, unlike the sleeker, more futuristic look the series quickly adapted to.
    • Ratchet is more of a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal only really wearing blue jeans. Later games have him fully dressed and in more sci-fi gear.
    • The gameplay is slower paced, with less emphasis on combat and more on platforming and puzzles. Due to the lack of strafing and the inability to upgrade weapons (barring buying the golden versions) and only having four hit points (which can be upgraded to eight), the game can be a bit harder to some—even the creators noted that the design of the game was more around the difficulty of using the weapons than about fighting the enemies, which the sequels eschewed. The game also puts some emphasis put on Backtracking, something that was heavily downplayed in the sequels.
    • The weapons are much more simplistic and nowhere near as plentiful as they are in the sequels, and the enemies are likewise much less numerous and threatening.
    • Ratchet in this game is noticeably mean and unlikable, constantly picking on Clank and not caring about saving the galaxy from Drek. In fact, he makes it clear that he'd rather be hoverboarding and getting revenge on Qwark than spend his time helping people.
    • The Thruster Pack has a distinct moveset from the Heli-Pack, including a hover strafe and slam move—whereas the sequels just treated it as cosmetically different.
    • You have to earn your Helicopter, Thruster and Hydropack, O2 Mask, whereas those are equipped by default in the later games
    • The Magneboots force Ratchet to walk at half his normal pace, only use his wrench and won't allow him to jump, in sharp contrast to the Gravity Boots that every other game uses.
    • Ratchet's voice actor in this game is not James Arnold Taylor, it's Mikey Kelly.
    • While the game has a fairly large cast of characters, several of who would becoming recurring extras, many of them only appear briefly, and outside of Ratchet, Clank, Qwark and Drek, there are no other major characters you interact with.
    • Clank's voice is more monotone and is more of a know-it-all.
    • Qwark is a mildly competent, if airheaded, villain that is Faux Affably Evil, unlike his later characterization as a Dirty Coward and Flanderization into a cowardly buffoon.
    • There is not a tournament in this game; Going Commando had the first two in the series.
    • The Goodies/Extras menu doesn't show up until you beat the game.
    • The Challenge Mode multiplier works a bit differently; rather than it starting at none and increasing as you kill enemies, all bolts are simply worth 2x more.
    • The game doesn't pause when you enter the Quick Select menu; while some of the other games allow you to toggle this on or off, the pause defaults to "on" in every other game.
    • Buying ammo is different; when you first buy a new weapon, it only comes half-loaded, and when you go to buy ammo, it starts at 1 and you have to scroll to the right to get to the highest amount you can purchase. Going Commando would do this differently, starting the counter at whatever you need to fill your gun's ammo to the max, and Up Your Arsenal would introduce the "buy max ammo for all weapons that don't have it" choice.
    • On the note of shops, this game is the only one to have a picture of someone talking to you when you're in the shop. The Future games and the re-imagining do have someone talk to you, but there's no picture.
    • The Charge Boots don't exist; the only boots are the Grindboots and Magneboots.
    • In this game and the next one, you need to manually equip the Swingshot to use it. UYA was the first game that would allow you to jump off a ledge and swing from a target without having to do the extra step of equipping the Swingshot.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom
    • Drek mentions this as an eventual side-effect of his planet looting; when a large portion of a planet is extracted to be added to Drek's new world, the sudden change of mass would cause the crippled planet to "spin out of control and drift into the sun where it will explode in a flaming ball of gas".
    • Drek intended to pull this off on Ratchet's homeworld, Veldin by using the Planet Buster bomb and eventually the Deplanetizer superlaser, although this ironically ended up happening to his own planet instead, via the very weapon that was meant to destroy Veldin.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Ratchet becomes so obsessed with killing Qwark and letting Drek kill millions of innocent people, that he pretty much becomes a Villain Protagonist until his Heel Realization in the Oltanis Orbit.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Chairman Drek. He seems to come off as humorous or composed, but he has a very short fuse when things don't go his way, and it's clear by the end of the game just how much of a genocidal monster he really is.
  • Fake Difficulty: The dev team noted that a lot of the games challenge was built around the fact that it was just hard to control and use your weapons, since there's no strafe function (other than the borderline useless one the Thruster Pack offers) nor a proper lock on function to help you aim your weapons (although a very loose one exists for a couple of them) and you can't pause the game with your quickselect, which can make combat slower and more frustrating than it needs to be. The sequels and the 2016 reimagining deliberately rectified these issues.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The creature Qwark is fighting in the commercial for Al's Robo Shack is a Blargian Snagglebeast. Not only does it (and the spot from the advert) appear as bosses but it also hints that Qwark is working with Drek. As an added bonus, when Qwark welcomes Ratchet and Clank to his base on Umbris, he's riding the same kind of helicopter the Blarg troopers use.
    • When Ratchet & Clank first leave Veldin, Drek is seen observing them and asking one of his subordinates to deal with them. All we can see of said subordinate is just his shadow but, once you've played the game once, you'll immediately recognize Qwark's head and antenna.
  • Grenade Hot Potato: Ratchet does this in the Bomb Glove demonstration animation. However, Ratchet's weapons has never ever been able to harm himself, making it more jarring.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Ratchet gets one after Qwark's betrayal, becoming a major Jerkass as a result. At this point, the only thing keeping him from dumping Clank and packing it all in is a need for mutual cooperation. He does become determined to get back at Qwark though and gets better when he defeats him.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • The Ultra Mech Unlimited, a series of 40 foot tall robots made into giants by an enlarging machine, armed with a missile launcher and mace-flail armed on it's shoulders. Amusingly, they are marketed as a personal defense system, when they are clearly weapons for the Blarg. Fortunately, Clank uses their enlarging machine to turn himself into Giant Clank, capable of punches, firing missiles and a Wave Motion Gun blast, and mops the floor with all of the Ultra-Mechs while the Enlarging Machines inventor sabotages it so it will only work for Clank.
    • Chairman Drek uses a giant flying Mecha during the final boss battle, which is briefly fought against by Giant Clank, only for Drek to use a built-in cannon to shrink him back down, and the rest of the fight is fought on-foot.
  • Insistent Terminology: Insomniac Games head Ted Price made it clear in an episode of Devs Play that the game is a third person shooter with some platforming elements, but Insomniac Games does not consider the game a platformer and even avoided calling it one in production, although that didn't stop critics and audiences from referring to it as a platformer.
  • Jerkass: After Umbris, Ratchet becomes revenge-obsessed and very cruel towards Clank. At one point, when told that billions of lives are at stake, Ratchet states that he has "his own fish to fry".
  • Kill Sat: Drek's Deplanetizer, built to destroy Veldin after the failure of the Planet Buster Maximus.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: The Taunter. On it's own, it seems like an obnoxious noise-maker that can't even directly harm your opponents, and just leads them in your direction and smashes crates. However, certain situations such as an enemy between you and an electric force field (one situation where you perform this will get you a skill point and another is needed to obtain a Gold Bolt), and combining the Taunter with the Mine Glove weapon (which the Taunter can automatically activate and increase its homing ability) turns it into a fairly useful item.
    • Mundane Utility: Its sound waves can be used to destroy boxes, especially detonating the explosive ones from safe distance, which is useful due to absence of Box Breaker in this game.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Planet Gaspar, complete with Convection Schmonvection.
  • Look Behind You: When Clank warns Ratchet that robots aren't easily fooled after watching a video promoting the Hologuise, he tricks Clank into looking back.
  • Metal Detector Puzzle: The Metal Detector Gadget allows you to find a few extra bolts, but it's never required to complete the game.
  • Minimalist Run: Completing the game with only the minimum number of weapons (you get the Wrench and Bomb Glove by default, you need the Visibomb Gun to destroy certain targets, and the Blaster is needed to fight Drek) and no health upgrades.
  • Motive Misidentification: When Ratchet and Clank corner Drek on top of the Deplanetizer:
    Clank: There must be a better way to find a home for your people.
    Drek: You think that's what this is about? Who do you think polluted the last world? I did. This is about one thing and one thing only: cash, and lots of it. See, I've been paid for every square inch of my new world. Once the new inhabitants move in, I'll begin polluting this world as well, and the whole thing starts all over again. Ah... brilliant.
  • Mythology Gag: Some of the trees on planet Eudora are directly recycled from a previous Insomniac game, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Clank, the alias given to him by Ratchet in lieu of his long serial number name.
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: The Drone Device releases 6 orbiting drones that protects Ratchet from projectiles and detonates on anyone who dares to come close to him.
  • Overly Long Name: Clank's "Real" name, which is a very long serial number that he doesn't get to finish before Ratchet cuts him off and gives him his nickname.
  • Planet Looters: The Blarg, or at least Drek.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: In the second act between Ratchet and Clank, in one of the most infamous example of this trope.
  • Power-Up Letdown: The Morph-O-Ray allows you to turn enemies too large for the Suck Cannon into chickens, allowing you to stock up on Suck Cannon ammo whenever you want. The giant chickens produced by the Gold Morph-O-Ray, however, are too big for the Suck Cannon.
    • Plus, thanks to a Good Bad Bug, Morphing and then Sucking an enemy will give you more bolts than just killing it.
  • Railroading: The game forces you to complete certain levels in order to finish others and backtrack to finish previous levels. For example, in order for Ratchet to go outside on Orxon, he needs the 02 mask from Pokitaru. But in order to get the O2 mask from Pokitaru, he has to complete a flight mission—but in order to pilot the ship, you need the Pilots Helmet, which is located on Gaspar. And before that, you're forced to get the Magneboots with Clank on your first visit to Orxon in order to complete Batalia, since the Anti-Air Defense Cannon is only accessible by a magneboot pathway.
  • The Reveal: Three:
    • The big one: Captain Qwark is actually working for Chairman Drek.
    • Veldin is the planet Drek intends to destroy to make room for the new Blarg homeworld.
    • Drek was the one who polluted Orxon in the first place and the whole thing was just a giant real estate scam that he plans on doing over and over again.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: So much that Ratchet's destruction of Drek's planet is seen as a good thing.
  • Sampling: The music for the Umbris level samples some vocals from Sonic CD, specifically the japanese theme for Quartz Quadrant's Bad Future.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: On Planet Eudora, when Ratchet and Clank confront the Robot Lieutenant, the big robot looks as though he's going to attack Clank, so he does a kung-fu pose, prompting the Lieutenant to run away. We then get to see that Ratchet was behind Clank, holding his wrench and looking very threateningly at the Lieutenant.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Beating the game with the bare minimum of required weaponry; the only weapons you absolutely need in order to complete the game are the Visibomb Gun (for destroying out of reach targets) and the Blaster for the final battle with Drek.
  • Shout-Out: The music for Qwark's base on Umbris samples some vocals from the japanese soundtrack of Sonic the Hedgehog CDnote 
  • Side Quest: A surprisingly big parts of some planets can be skipped without blocking your process. For example only one path of Gorda City Ruins leading up to grind rails has to be explored. Similarly path on Eudora not blocked by Trespasser puzzle leads only to Suck Cannon which, while useful, can be ignored.
  • Take That!: In a video playthrough of the first game, Insomniac CEO Ted Price said that Drek's appearance and personality was based off of executives he encountered while he made games with Universal as their distributor. He also added that he's his favorite villain in the series because of that.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ratchet starts off as abrasive for the first third of the game, and becomes a total jerk in the second act due to becoming obsessed with revenge.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Fortunately, Ratchet comes around in the third act when he sees the consequences of being such an asshole unfold before his eyes (i.e. Oltanis being devastated by the Blarg due to Ratchet not being there to stop them) and starts acting nicer and more responsible after that.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Captain Qwark.
  • Unfortunate Names: Chairman Drek; especially when you know that "Drek" in Slovenian is slang for feces.