Video Game: Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time

The third entry in the Ratchet & Clank Future saga on the PlayStation 3, after Tools of Destruction and Quest for Booty, and the seventh (canon) game in the Ratchet & Clank series overall.

Dr. Nefarious returns to take control of the Great Clock, a "marvel of science and sorcery" that regulates time throughout the universe, and is located in the exact center of the universe... give or take fifty feet. As in Secret Agent Clank, the duo spends most of the game separated, trying to reunite and stop Nefarious, while they both learn the truth about their respective pasts.

This game contains examples of:

  • 2-D Space: Played straight to a ridiculous degree when there are force fields in a narrow ring around a planet that you can't get by without disabling.
    • More generally the space sections play like this - in comparison to the free-flying in Going Commando and the on-rails sections in Tools of Destruction, Size Matters, and Secret Agent Clank, you can only fly on a flat, 2D plane.
  • Anti-Villain: General Azimuth, who risks destroying the universe in an attempt to bring back the Lombaxes using the Clock.
  • Apocalypse How: The initially harmless-seeming Fongoids caused a Class X-3 in the backstory, destroying 83 star systems. Dr. Nefarious' plan to abuse the Great Clock for his own benefit would instead have caused a Class X-4. Azimuth very nearly DID cause one.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "The Nefarious space station: an impenetrable fortress fraught with danger and... uh... windows."
  • Art Shift: Flash Backs and photographs are typically drawn rather than CG rendered
    • Arguably, the entire game's art style is one. Compared to ToD, it looks a lot more cell-shaded and cartoony.
  • Ascended Extra: The Groovitrons and Mr. Zurkon, both just 'combat devices' in Tools, become fully fledged, upgradable weapons in this game. Given that both were major Ensemble Darkhorses, this comes as no surprise.
  • Back from the Dead: Via the "six minute rule" as mentioned by The Plumber, Clank is able to briefly use the clock to prevent Azimuth from killing Ratchet.
  • Bag of Sharing: While wandering the Great Clock, Clank can destroy boxes and repair things to earn bolts. That Ratchet can use to buy things.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends as a recording of Orvus delivers a monologue, one without an addressee, and the other to Clank. They are both incredibly heartwarming.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Fred's hobbies are listed as moonlight strolls along the beach, reading, and mauling unsuspecting enemies with brutal efficiency.
  • Brick Joke: When we're introduced to him, there's a gag about Sigmund having a cuckoo clock-type extension in his chest compartment. Near the game's end, when he tries to confront Azimuth, he uses it to get a few hits in.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: "So much for clean underwear."
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Captain Qwark.
  • Censored Title: Apparently, "Ratchet & Clank Future: Clock-Blockers" was deemed too inappropriate for the game.
    • But the name latter ended up as being a skill point in a later game.
  • Central Theme: Letting go of loss and moving on.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Subverted. Qwark saves and sort-of-adopts Snowball in the Agorian Battleplex. Despite being spared, the aforementioned War Grok doesn't do much of anything for the rest of the game. Aside from turning on his master.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: As soon as you rescue Clank, he starts nagging at you to go confront Nefarious.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The obligatory scene with the Plumber. Within it, you can see a handful of mementos from Tools of Destruction, like "Body By Qwark", Tachyon's crown (but not his scepter or the giant walking throne), the Dimensionator and Nuclear Powered Rocket Sled (which is still in pieces). Ratchet's Omniwrench Millenium 12 is also featured quite prominently in that scene, despite the fact that Clank had never seen Ratchet use that particular wrench.
  • Continuity Nod: This has a lot, possibly due to its likelihood of being the last game in the series. (Except it wasn't.)
  • Cool Old Guy: Orvus. Guy saved the universe and created Clank. Loves puns. Also perhaps the most quotable character in the entire series.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Great Clock.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Near the end, Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark, surrounded by his guards, surrender to Dr. Nefarious. Never mind that there are only eight guards, and they later fight Nefarious with the exact same level of preparation.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: R1 was used to zoom in for the past games' Sniper Rifles. In this game, it's the fire button. Be prepared to waste a lot of ammo getting used to the Plasma Striker.
  • Developer's Room: The Insomniac Moon, unlocked by collecting all 40 Zoni and defeating Lord Vorselon for the final time. Filled with Dummied Out content.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Albeit an intentional example with the saucers on Nefarious's space station. Still an impressive sight, though.
  • Disney Death: Ratchet.
  • Disney Villain Death: Cassiopeia. Though Lawrence has another theory on why she disappeared...
    Lawrence: Perhaps she thought about marrying you and decided to make a run for it.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Orvus is prone to this.
    Orvus: Did you see what I did there?
  • Dumb Muscle: The Agorians. Though they're actually Genre Savvy enough to recognise this and hire another race (see My Brain Is Big below) to do the thinking for them.
  • Dying Moment of Funny: Nefarious. Even if he isn't really dead.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Orvus.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Rift Ripper 5000 summons one of these. It's called Fred...
  • Empty Room Until The Trap: Lampshaded. After going through two of these in the Valkyrie Citadel, Ratchet is not surprised by the third.
    Cassiopeia: So, you...
    Ratchet: Yeah, I know, another death trap.
  • Eternal Engine: The Great Clock.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Azimuth pulls one of these when he isn't allowed to use the Great Clock to go back in time.
  • Face Palm: Another Funny Background Event from Ratchet while Qwark is boasting, this time near the beginning of the game.
  • Failure Knight: General Azimuth is this until he goes a bit crazy and tries to reverse his failure.
  • Fantastic Rank System: Alister Azimuth is a "Four Bolt Magistrate".
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The monster summoned by the Rift Inducer 5000 is named "Fred".
    • Also, Snowball, Qwark's Agorian War Grok.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Qwark somehow tames a War Grok.
  • Foreshadowing: Vorselon's message to Ratchet: "Only one lombax need perish tonight. If you'd be willing to take his place..."
    • There's also part of Clank's encounter with the Plumber, just prior to the six minutes hint: "No, you'll have to do this one alone..."
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: While Nefarious is rehearsing his (Epic Romantic Action Comedy) Space Opera, if you're watching very closely, you can see Qwark's emblem on his blaster.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: An unlockable upgrade for the Constructo Pistol.
  • Funny Background Event: In the Agorian Battleplex - while Qwark is trying to woo the audience, in the background Ratchet is being mauled by the War Grok.
  • Gainax Ending: Parodied. According to a radio broadcast, the season finale of Lance and Janice was one of these. Doctor Nefarious is not happy.
  • Game Within a Game: "My Blaster Runs Hot - The Game". It's a twin-stick shooter that has Qwark facing down hordes of robots.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: To quote Lawrence: "Might I suggest engaging the safety, so as not to kill any more troops?" Qwark also majorly fails gun safety when he gestures to his "intelligence" by pointing a gun to his head.
  • Ironic Echo: When first asked why he didn't leave with the Lombaxes, Azimuth wistfully answers: "Sometimes the universe has a cruel sense of humour". At the end of the game, Orvus concludes his final message to Clank by saying: "The universe has a wonderful sense of humour. The trick is learning how to take a joke."
    • Arguably, Ratchet falling at the Great Clock could be considered an echo of the same thing happening on Planet Reepor in Tools of Destruction, OR the aforementioned "mid-air rescue" of Clank at the Valkyries' base.
    • It's not just that. When we first meet Azimuth, he tries to kill Ratchet which leads to a rail grinding segment. At the end, he accomplishes this temporarily, anyway, which — in the long run — leads to another rail grinding segment.
  • Just Between You and Me: Hilariously played with in the trailer:
    Ratchet: What is it this time Nefarious?
    Dr. Nefarious: Part of me wants to let you live long enough to find out. But the other part of me really wants to kill you!
    [A klaxon sounds off]
    Ratchet: Well... now we know what he went with...
  • Juxtaposed Halves Shot: The American case cover uses this with the eponymous characters to contrast them as "Flesh and Steel".
  • Kent Brockman News: Kip Darling and Pepper Fairbanks on the radio.
  • Killed Off for Real: This game features an impressive deathcount of important characters: Clank's father Orvus (debatably), Alister Azimuth, Lord Vorselon, Cassiopeia, Carina and Libra.
  • Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics:
    Qwark: This Lombax is young. He does not understand that being a hero is 45% strength, 60% bravery, and 10% raw intelligence.
    Ratchet: That's 115%!
    Qwark: You're welcome.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The RYNO V.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Dr. Nefarious' ultimate goal. He even provides the page quote.
    • Since this would mean allowing every evil plan ever foiled by the heroes to succeed, from Chairman Drek onward, logically, General Azimuth's plan would have caused this too, since it would have prevented Ratchet from ever meeting Clank.
  • Market-Based Title: Like its immediate predecessors, A Crack In Time dropped the "Future" from the title.
  • Meaningful Echo: Not an immediately obvious one, but so perfect it can't be anything but intentional. Late in the game, Ratchet rescues Clank by using his Hoverboots to catch him in mid-air and save his life. This mirrors the ending of the original game when Clank uses his Thruster-Pack to push Ratchet in mid-air and save his life. The latter happens in the adventure where the two first meet, the former when they meet up again after their first significant time apart from each other. It's also worth noting that, in their respective games, both the Hoverboots and the Thruster-Pack are used for the same tasks: gliding through the air and crossing horizontal distances quickly.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Azimuth's pocket watch becomes one after his Heroic Sacrifice. The hoverboots Azimuth gives Ratchet were originally Kaden's.
  • Mistaken Identity: Vorselon mistakes Ratchet for Azimuth early on, despite them looking nothing alike.
  • More Dakka: The 'Rapid Fire' mod for the Constructo Pistol. Shoots so quickly even tapping the fire button for a split second will fire off 2-3 shots.
    • Made even more ridiculous by the RYNO V, which (in V1) has 1500 ammo and goes through it in around one minute. It also plays the 1812 Overture whenever fired. There's a skill point earned for killing 15 enemies in a row without stopping. The name of said skill point is 'The Simple Art of Armageddon.'
  • My Brain Is Big: Terachnoids. Loading screen trivia implies that they actually house multiple brains in their massive skulls, as the smartest was born with seven and a half.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Alister Azimuth gets one of these moments after you defeat him, since he's about to get the entire universe destroyed.
  • My Greatest Failure: A big plot point in Tools of Destruction was that Tachyon was able to defeat the Lombaxes and conquer the galaxy due to having improved Lombax technology. Crack in Time reveals that Azimuth was the one who gave Tachyon access to the tech. (Ironically, he did so because he believed that Tachyon's improvements would help defend the galaxy.) This mistake weighs on Azimuth so much it drives him a bit insane, which comes to a head in the climax of Crack.
  • Mysterious Waif: Clank, more or less. Not a very standard one, but his backstory certainly fits.
  • No Scope: While this was effective in previous games, A Crack In Time discourages the tactic by giving the Plasma Striker the ability to shoot weak points on enemies for extra damage. These can only be seen and hit when scoped in.
  • Off Model: In the scene where Ratchet rescues Clank, Ratchet uses the Hoverboots to catch up with Clank in freefall. Except that Ratchet is still wearing his normal boots in the scene. Turns into The Dev Team Thinks of Everything when you manage to trigger the scene with the Hoverboots equipped; the blue flames match up perfectly with the jets on the boots.
  • Only Friend: Qwark barrels right past simply implying this during the intro to Ratchet's side of the story, and states it like a fact. While this was true early on in the series (mostly) it certainly isn't this far down the line. Still heart-wrenching, considering that Ratchet and Clank are certainly each others' closest friend, and were, at one point, the only one the other had.
    Qwark: Luckily for Ratchet, Captain Copernicus L. Qwark was on the case! His mission: rescue the lombax's one and Only Friend. Yup, without Clank, Ratchet was alone in the universe — alone. Alone. Alone!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Nurse Shannon. The Nefarious hologram might count too, due to the fact that Ratchet's so short.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: My Blaster Runs Hot is a rare In-universe example.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Agorians.
  • Put on a Bus: While Talwyn doesn't appear in the game, it is suggested that she simply didn't come with him on this particular mission rather than dropping off the radar entirely.
  • Recurring Boss: Lord Vorselon.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Alister Azimuth. Somewhat overlaps with Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Nefarious's room in his flashback. He also appears to be eating the crayons he used to, er, decorate.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Discussed by Ratchet and Azimuth. When Ratchet realizes that if they use the clock to change time, he'll never have met Clank, Azimuth suggests those that actually activate the clock will remember the previous timeline, noting that he can't guarantee it. Proven to be true when Clank uses the clock to rewind time by six minutes to save Ratchet. Unless of course that was his quantum actuator doing its thing...
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Demonstrated several times over the course of the game by Qwark, mostly, but Ratchet gets an impressive scream as the War Grok throws him across the arena.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Ratchet and Azimuth's motivation. Later subverted when it turns out it wouldn't really work and Ratchet and Clank must stop Azimuth.
  • Shout-Out: Two of the trophies are "It Belongs in a Museum" and "88MPH"
  • Slow Clap: In response to Qwark's speech in the Agorian Battleplex.
  • Smoke Out: Unfortunately, Qwark didn't realize the smoke bomb doesn't actually cause Offscreen Teleportation.
  • Stealth Pun: In the second cutscene (the one with the "Orb of Gratuitous Immobilization") you can hear part of the Westminster chime. This is right before we're informed that Clank is in the Great Clock.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Azimuth figures out that Ratchet's a real Lombax instead of a holo-guised assassin due to his striking resemblance to his father, Kaden.
  • Take Me Instead: "...All I ask is that you name something impressive in my honor! Perhaps a school, or a food court."
  • Tempting Fate: Discussed.
    Captain Qwark: "The key to surviving situations like this is to refrain from phrases like 'it's too quiet in here' and 'everything's gonna be alright'."
  • There Is Another: Alister Azimuth, just about the only Lombax aside from Ratchet remaining in the universe. Sadly, he doesn't live past this game.
  • Too Many Halves: In one of his many boasts, Qwark explains to Ratchet that "being a hero is 45% strength, 60% bravery, and 10% raw intelligence". Ratchet doesn't fail to lampshade that something doesn't add up.
  • Tron Lines: Ratchet's armor. Come to think of it, it does make Ratchet look like he came from The Grid...
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Nefarious during his flashback to life post-asteroid.
  • Verbal Tic: All Fongoid males have one. The loading screen trivia mentions that scientists have no idea why it's the case, but also that the leading theory of time travel as the cause was dismissed as "both laughable and impossible" by the scientist who came up with it.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Azimuth begins to break down towards the end, killing Ratchet to meet his goals. His ranting during the final boss battle is also increasingly unhinged; it takes a My God, What Have I Done? moment to calm him down.
    • It's heavily implied that Nefarious went through one after being rescued from the asteroid, before recovering... no thanks to that anger management class.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Libra, one of the three leaders of the Amazon Brigade, sounds suspiciously like Dr. Girlfriend.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Happens at the beginning of the last mission, but Qwark can brace the walls forever, and all you have to do is just blow up some Mooks in the enclosed space before the trap is released.
  • The War Sequence: The Battle of Gimlick Valley, near the end of the game.
  • We Have Reserves: Dr. Nefarious's response to accidentally killing his minion with an "unloaded" gun is to simply press a Big Red Button to call in the next (completely terrified) minion.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Azimuth after his Face-Heel Turn.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The game fails to resolve several plotlines that Tools of Destruction left hanging. The upcoming comic series may resolve them yet, though.
    • It is never revealed what happened to Talwyn's father, Max Apogee, and in fact, Talwyn doesn't appear in the game at all.
      • Actually, if you listen in on the radio, you can catch a report that seems to imply that Max teamed up with Angela from the second game (now apparently confirmed to be a Lombax), and docked on Kerchu where they used the Dimensionator to flee to wherever the Lombaxes were. The radio also plays a song dedicated to Ratchet from Talwyn, indicating that she wasn't totally forgotten and implying that they parted on good terms.
    • At the end of Tools of Destruction, Tachyon yells at Ratchet that he is the only one who knows Ratchet's true purpose in Polaris and his true name. This is brought up in the final cutscene where Clank confirms that he detected no lie in Tachyon's voice. Despite this, this ends up never being referenced again, and Azimuth's account makes it sound like Ratchet being left behind was just a mistake.

Alternative Title(s):

Ratchet And Clank A Crack In Time, Ratchet And Clank Future A Crack In Time