Video Game / Ratchet: Deadlocked

Greetings, hero, and welcome to DreadZone. Rest assured, you are now far out of the reach of hope. There will be no rescues, no pardons, no possibility of escape. You are now a contestant on the greatest holo-vision program the galaxy has ever known. Chances are you'll be dead by tomorrow, but those of you who play the game with skill and strategy will earn a chance to win your freedom.
Gleeman Vox

The fourth game in the Ratchet & Clank series, released as Ratchet: Gladiator in Europe and Australia.

Ratchet is kidnapped (and slandered) by Gleeman Vox, a sinister TV executive who wants Ratchet to be a contestant on his The Running Man-esque gladiatorial combat show "Dreadzone". Dreadzone greatly reduces the platforming sections of the series, turning many of them more into health-reducing hazards rather than perilous one chance challenges, instead focusing on straight combat, with bigger and badder weapons and enemies.

An HD version of the game was released on the PSN in 2013; it was free as an apology to those who waited for the Vita version of Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault to be released. It was released in May in North America, and Europe and Australia finally got the game after four months, in September.

This game contains examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Ratchet spends the entire game wearing armor that often upgrades whenever he gains a rank. Of course, most of the other heroes we see don't wear armor at all, so it's strange.
  • The Ahnold: Shellshock.
  • All There in the Manual: Insomniac's official site had in-universe newsletters by Dallas and Juanita and a short comic story about Captain Starshield that revealed many details and throwaway gags on the game. The strategy guide also has some of this and it notably fleshes out the backstories of Ace Hardlight and Shellshock.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: From the Venus skin:
    It's tough to shoot all the boys while wearing a skirt, but Venus pulls it off in spades! The shooting that is, not her skirt.
  • Announcer Chatter: Throughout the whole game. Containing many Crowning Moments of Funny.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
    Juanita: Our Vox News investigation has uncovered shocking, untold stories from his dark, evil past! The destruction of civic property... illegal hoverbike gangs... inadequate dental hygiene!
  • Baleful Polymorph: In this game the Morph ability is a mod that can be attached to any weapon.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Dallas seems to think he and Juanita have this. Juanita would agree with the belligerent part.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Latin, "Vox" is usually associated with voice. "Vox populi", for example, is "The voice of the people". Makes sense, considering his occupation.
  • Black Comedy: Most of the humor in game is based around how dangerous Dreadzone is and how cruel the people staffing it are, as per the Darker and Edgier direction taken by developers.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight, like the rest of the series, but notable here because the game still manages to get quite a few High-Pressure Blood jokes in, (in Announcer Chatter and the manual) which creates a bit of Fridge Logic.
  • Blood Knight: Ace Hardlight.
  • Bottomless Pit:
    • Lampshaded in an early cutscene, where Dallas refers to one as "The Pit of Endless Falling and Eventual Dying". Strangely absent for most of the game though, as it focused more on combat than platforming.
    • There's also this line by Merc later:
      Merc: Boss, if you miss this Swingshot, you will face a painful, horrible death. No pressure.
  • Brand X: Lampshaded by Dallas in one of his random comments:
    Dallas: Ratchet has this game on ice, ladies and gentlemen! The juice is cold, and the generic brand x gelatin is definitely jiggling!
  • Breather Episode: Deadlocked, while Darker and Edgier, serves as the bridge between the original and Future trilogies, and is one of the few games without an Omnicidal Maniac as the Big Bad. Instead, Gleeman Vox kidnaps superheroes to fight to the death in a reality show.
  • Brick Joke:
    • After the credits, Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence, marooned on a distant asteroid in the last game, are shown drifting through space through the ruins of the Battledome. Nefarious gets angry and malfunctions, playing his famous soap opera.
    • Another one: the 'Leaderboard' that shows contestant rankings, and their status as 'active' or 'deceased', is updated throughout the game. By the end, Kid Nova and Hydrogirl are the only two, besides Ratchet, that are still listed as alive. Both of them get voiced dialogue in the final cutscene, thanking you for shutting down Dreadzone and freeing them. The only other survivor listed is Agent Zero, but perhaps he is not seen as he is a Shout-Out to an earlier Insomniac project.
    • What happens to Al in this game... his very first line in the first game is that he is not a robot guy, but he is now (well, partly).
  • Boss In Mooks Clothing: The Landstalkers, on a high enough difficulty. On Shaar, they'll even use their mortars on you.
  • Call-Back: If you look closely, you'll notice that the weapon Captain Starshield uses in the opening movie is the (unupgraded) Lancer from Going Commando.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Plumber doesn't appear in this game (although his appearances return to their regular schedule in ToD). Lampshaded at the end of the credits:
    Due to a sump pump emergency in the Rygyllian Nebula. the Plumber was not able to appear in this game. He will return. One of these days.
  • Creator's Pet: In-Universe example: Ace Hardlight is this to Gleeman Vox, who creates tons of merchandise for him, despite the fact that kids prefer other superheroes. When Ace died in the arena, it was met with cheering from the audience, despite Vox trying to make it look like a tragedy.
  • Cute and Psycho: Juanita can get quite... unhinged sometimes. The way she practically Squees at seeing contestants about to die horribly is actually kind of creepy.
  • Darker and Edgier: Deadlocked is considered to be the darkest installment of the R&C series yet by many fans. Considering that the premise is "Ratchet and his friends are kidnapped, have explosive collars put on their necks, and have to fight for their lives in a televised gladiatorial tournament", and that the art-direction literally became darker and edgier in things like menus and level design, it's a fair point. It's still Ratchet and Clank, though, so the extra dosage grimdark is Played for Laughs just as much as everything else.
    • Even Ratchet's death animation is Darker and Edgier in this game: in the first three, he was comically spinning on one foot before falling on his back when he ran out of health, but in this game he falls to his knees and then on his chest, which looks far more dramatic.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Dual Vipers are a "quantity over quality" weapon (the instruction manual even refers to them as this), and eventually they'll take hundreds of bullets to kill huge enemies. They get better in Challenge Mode, though and can be modded to have additional effects.
  • Demonization: The show attempts to do this to Ratchet, even dubbing over dialog from kids that are clearly cheering for him.
  • Demoted to Extra: Some feel this happened to Clank, who was turned to an NPC in accordance with the change of gameplay style for this game. The reverse is true for Al, as this game features his biggest role yet.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: One of the major gameplay additions is the ability to mod your weapons. Mods are split between Alpha Mods (which boosts statistics such as max ammo, rate of fire or XP gained) and Omega Mods (which adds effects such as Chain Lightning, Acid or dropping Napalm).
  • Developers' Foresight: In one challenge, going into an area you're not supposed to prompts a unique reaction from Dallas, the announcer.
    "What's this sneaky Lombax doing behind the arena? This could be... nothing. It's nothing, he's getting ammo."
  • Don't Try This at Home: "Go to a friend's house!"
  • The Dragon: Ace Hardlight, though it's clear early on that the two do not like each other, as Ace is only catering to his employer, and Vox is only trying to maintain their villain/dragon relationship because he feels Ace is the most marketable exterminator in the 'Zone. He's all for replacing Ace, and this becomes more apparent as Ratchet grows in popularity.
    • Additionally, and unrelatedly, the name of one of the Combat Bot skins unlocked in challenge mode.
  • Epic Flail: The Scorpion/Leviathan Flail. Heck, one of the trophies in the PS3 release for getting a Skill Point for killing enemies with the eponymous weapon is even named "Epic-Flail".
  • Explosive Leash: The eponymous Deadlock collars, which can either explode or shock the wearer depending on the situation.
  • Fallen Hero: Ace Hardlight.
  • Gangsta Style: The second cheat you unlock lets you do this with the Dual Vipers/Raptors.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: On Kronos, Shellshock keeps running away before you can finish him off. Over the course of the planet, you end up fighting him at least 6 times.
  • Gladiator Revolt: Team Darkstar tries to start one.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Eviscerator gets noticeably less character establishment than the other Exterminators. Other than the implication he's VERY Ax-Crazy, we really don't learn much about him. He's even the only one to lack Boss Banter. The announcers do mention he's a great chef, though, and the official strategy guide implies there was an Eloquent in My Native Tongue theme going for him.
  • Guide Dang It!
    • Some Skill Points require you to kill certain enemies with certain weapons or in a certain time. Problem, you aren't told what enemies are what, so that means either checking the stats menu every time you kill something or just using the internet.
    • Getting the Exterminator Cards, since you aren't given any clue how to get them. The only proof that they're collectible is that the last cheat requires you to get all of them.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Dual Vipers/Raptors.
  • Hard Light: Ace, um, Hardlight is capable of creating holographic clones that fit this trope during the battle with him.
  • Hate Sink: Ace Hardlight, who somehow manages to be even more loathsome than the bloodthirsty Gleeman Vox. He's an arrogant, cocky, cold blooded and sadistic scumbag who willingly sold out his heroism to Vox, all for the thrill of fame and fortune and the chance to kill or maim whoever he wanted for kicks. He has absolutely nothing remotely likable or humurous about his personality—everyone in universe hates him, even his own boss, who can't even give away his merchandise. Even his Jacob Marley Warning does nothing to mitigate how vile and unlikable he is. When Ratchet (supposedly) kills him, absolutely nobody mourns his loss.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Dreadzone News goes to ridiculous lengths to slander Ratchet as a bloodthirsty psychopath (funny, considering the kind of program they're reporting on...) Vox later insists he was only doing it to build up Ratchet's "bad-boy image".
  • Hidden Depths: Discussed.
    Dallas: What kind of psychopaths came up with this challenge? ...What's that? Reactor and Shellshock? I never knew they were friends. Did they used to carpool?
  • Hollywood Acid: Enemies hit by Acid Mod will be drenched with green highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid that does damage over time.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The whole premise.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Rather than the RYNO, the Harbinger takes this role in the game.
  • Interface Screw: After collecting enough skill points, the player can activate Mirror Mode, which only visually affects gameplay... but reverses the left and right buttons in menus.
  • Interface Spoiler: The stats menu gives you information about what you've done in the game. This includes kills with weapons (which are named in the menu, so you know you'll be getting a Miniturret Launcher and an Epic Flail) and enemies killed (which spoils that you'll be fighting robot ghosts and robot zombie ghosts at some point).
  • Jacob Marley Warning: Ace to Ratchet near the end.
  • Kent Brockman News: Dallas and Juanitanote , whether actually on the news or announcing.
  • Kill 'em All: Vox loses it and tries to blow up the station in the endgame.
  • Kill Sat: The Harbinger/Supernova is quite powerful. Observe.
  • Kill It with Fire: Putting the Napalm Mod in explosive weapons will have a pool of burning napalm pouring down. Any enemy that comes in contact with it will be set ablaze.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Freeze Mod contains liquid hydrogen at the temperature of -253°C, which can slow down your enemies or even freeze them like ice blocks. Killing them while frozen will break them apart.
  • Knockback: The more Impact Mods you add to your weapon, the easier it is to knock down your foes.
  • Life Drain: The Nanoleech Mod has a chance of spawning health from fallen enemies. Try adding more for better results.
  • Lovable Coward: Some of Green's banter. Dallas at the end.
  • Made of Explodium: The cover in the game explodes when you drive over it.
  • Magic Countdown: Averted, oddly enough, by the Battle Dome's final self-destruct sequence. In this video, the station is stated to have 60 seconds at 35:30, and the station does indeed detonate at 36:30.
  • Merchandise-Driven: "Dreadzone" is largely about selling toys. On that note...
  • Misaimed Marketing: In-universe. "Dreadzone" is a high-stakes gladiatorial arena with death filmed live and uncensored. The target audience for the merchandise is the 8-12 demographic.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the prologue, Ratchet wakes up at Dreadzone station stuck in an uncomfortable suit of armor, is told that the collar he's wearing will blow his head off if he doesn't cooperate... and then, almost immediately starts fantasizing about the "money and babes" that the gladiators get and has to be brought down to reality by Clank, followed by a scene where Big Al *ahem* dances to the tune of "Death to Squishies" from the previous game. Needless to say, it's pretty jarring.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Juanita borders on this.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: This game features robot zombies and ghost robot zombies.
  • No Cure for Evil: Subverted for Ace Hardlight, surprisingly enough. He carries around 3 Med Packs that allow him to heal a large chunk of his health. But once they're used, they're gone, and he can't get any more.
    Ace: I'm out of Med Packs. Uh, not that I need them.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, in the past, Dallas set someone's backpack on fire ("I'm sorry you couldn't put it out in time.") and put a Tyhrranoid in someone else's locker, which required them to get therapy (which is apparently going pretty well).
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: The "Ninja Ratchet" cheat, unlocked by collecting all of the Exterminator Cards, is not actually just a skin, it actually also makes Ratchet a bit faster and stronger.
  • Not So Different: Hints of this regarding Ratchet and Ace Hardlight come up in Deadlocked, although Ratchet eventually manages to avert this.
  • Oscar Bait: Parodied with Reactor's in-universe biopic, which portrays him as an inner-city teacher who rose to fame as a gladiator.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: ''Robot'' zombies. Though they still seem to splatter a green blood-like substance upon death (their fuel source??) and the description for one of the wrench upgrades states they have bones so...
  • Pinball Projectile: Once the Dual Vipers fully upgrades into Dual Raptors, its bullets will be bouncing of enemies and walls.
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Reactor, in a sense.
    • Merc, to an even lesser degree.
  • Recursive Ammo:
    • Adding the mini bomb mod to weapons with explosives will release multiple bouncing deuterium fusion mini-bombs that causes even more damage.
    • The Stalker Mine deploys a ghostly mine that releases two extra mines when it detonates.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Hitting enemies with the Brainwash mod causes them to turn against their allies.
  • Shout-Out: They're listed on the franchise's page.
  • Spoonerism: Courtesy of Dallas:
    Dallas: Team Darkstar is making their mark in DreadZone! Team Markstar is making their dark in RedZone! Oh, dear, I've gone cross-eyed...
  • Sticky Bomb: The Time Bomb mod makes explosive projectiles stick on to enemies for a few seconds and inverts the entire screen negative when it explodes.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: In Europe, at least, since the last 2 games lost their subtitles and gained a number. More noticeable in the trophy list on PS3, which simply calls the second game Ratchet & Clank 2 (even if you're in the US) and adds a 3 to Up Your Arsenal.
  • Taking You with Me: Vox attempts to do this to Ratchet in the ending. He doesn't succeed.
  • Take That!: Given Vox News' tendency to slander people they don't personally like, the person running the channel (and Dreadzone) being completely detestable, their utter lack of awareness of what audiences want, and its name sounding similar to Fox News, it's safe to say somebody on the writing team had a lot to say about the program.
  • Think of the Children!: Parodies this at least twice.
    • Dallas says he will tell his kids to stop watching this show, as soon as he has kids.
    • Dallas says that parents with impressionable kids should turn this show off. Juanita says kids with impressionable parents should just pretend they're watching "Reading Robot".
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ratchet, in comparison to his growing personality from the last three games.
  • Trade Your Passion for Glory: Ace Hardlight.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Courtney Gears, who recovered from being destroyed by Ratchet via a "miraculous recovery".
  • Unscaled Merfolk: Hydro Girl, who hails from Planet Aquatos.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Ratchet, In-Universe. Though Juanita and Dallas portray Ratchet as someone who the audience SHOULDN'T root for, the audience loves him anyway, as they apparently realize that what Juanita and Dallas say about him isn't true.
  • Up to Eleven: In Going Commando, weapons could be upgraded 3 times: to the upgraded default, then buying Mega Versions in Challenge Mode, which could then be upgraded to Ultra Versions. Up Your Arsenal had weapons that could be upgraded to level 5, then buying the Mega Version to get to level 6, then being used more to max out at level 8. This game has a first-game max level of 10 for the weapons, and Mega Versions go all the way up to 99!
  • Verbal Tic: Dallas has a very noticeable way of referring to his co-host as "JUANita".
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ace Hardlight, the star "hero" on Dreadzone, who is one of the game's primary villains — but in an aversion of this trope, he lacks the publicity that the show's producers desperately want, with most of the audience cheering for Ratchet instead.
  • Weapon of Peace: Lampshaded with the Arbiter.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: How Big Al is revived from getting blasted.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!
    Dallas: This challenge would have been simple. Ratchet just needed to grab the ship and bingo-bango, the shield is up. Too bad we destroyed the shield. Too bad he has to hack a ton of orbs. Too bad I said "bingo-bango". Who writes this junk?!
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Gleeman Vox attempts to replace Ace Hardlight with Ratchet once the Lombax defeats Hardlight. However, since Hardlight told him not to do so and he realizes that Gleeman is corrupt, he refuses.