Video Game: Ratchet: Deadlocked

"This is more fun than a bus-load of cheerleaders!"

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 "Dread-Zone". Dread-Zone 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:

  • 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.
  • Announcer Chatter: Throughout the whole game. Containing many Crowning Moments of Funny.
  • 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 the announcer 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 one of your robot teamates later:
      Merc: Boss, if you miss a 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 Deadlocked he falls to his knees and then on his chest, which looks far more dramatic.
  • 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.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: 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 just 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.
  • Explosive Leash: The eponymous Deadlock collars, which can either explode or shock the wearer depending on the situation.
  • Fallen Hero: Ace Hardlight.
  • Gladiator Revolt
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Eviscerator gets noticably 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.
  • 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.
  • Hidden Depths: Discussed.
    Announcer: 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?
  • Immoral Reality Show: The whole premise.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kill Sat: The Harbinger/Supernova is quite powerful. Observe.
  • Lovable Coward: Some of the robot sidekicks' banter. Dallas at the end.
  • Made of Explodium: The cover in the game explodes when you drive over it.
  • Merchandise-Driven: "DreadZone" is largely about selling toys.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the prologue, Ratchet wakes up at DreadZone station stuck in an uncomfortable suit of armour, 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 "money and babes" 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 the Squishies" from the previous game. Needless to say, it's pretty jarring.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Juanita borders on this.
  • No Cure for Evil: Subverted for Ace Hardlight, surprisingly enough. STOP HEALING ALREADY!
    Ace: I'm out of Med Packs. Uh, not that I need them.
  • Not So Different: Hints of this regarding Ratchet and Ace Hardlight come up in Deadlocked, although Ratchet eventually manages to avert this.
  • 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...
  • Shout-Out: During his 'slander campaign' by Dallas and Juanita, Dallas refers to him briefly as "The Butcher of Bogon."
  • Scary Black Man: Reactor, in a sense.
    • Merc, to an even lesser degree.
  • Taking You with Me: Vox attempts to do this to Ratchet in the ending. He doesn't succeed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Courtney Gears, who recovered from being destroyed by Ratchet via a "Miraculous recovery".
  • Unscaled Merfolk: Hydro Girl, who hails from Planet Aquatos.
  • Verbal Tic: Dallas had a very noticeable way of referring to his co-host "JUA Nita".
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ace Hardlight, the star "hero" on the DreadZone reality show, 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.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Gleeman Vox attempts to replace Ace Hardlight with Ratchet once he defeats him.

Alternative Title(s):

Ratchet Deadlocked