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Always Outnumbered. Never Outgunned.

One of the most iconic and long-running PlayStation video game franchises. The series follows the adventures of Funny Animal alien Ratchet and his Robot Buddy Clank as they save the galaxy through Platforming, puzzle-solving, humor, and prodigious firepower.

The series was created and developed by Insomniac Games after they were finished with the first three Spyro the Dragon games and it is published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. This series maintains the whimsy and humor of the Spyro games, with a kitchen sink of sci-fi elements and a bunch of Impossibly Cool Weapons.

Ratchet & Clank media:

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    Video games 
Titles developed by Insomniac Games:
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002, PS2) — The original game, where a fuzzy mechanic named Ratchet and a diminutive robot named Clank must team up to stop the Blarg from destroying planets across the Solana Galaxy.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (2003, PS2) — Takes place in a new galaxy and introduces RPG-like progression elements to the established gameplay formula, along with collection quests and arena battles. Ratchet and Clank are hired by the Bogon Galaxy's Megacorp to rescue the experimental Protopet from a mysterious thief, only for the duo to change course once they learn how much danger it truly poses.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004, PS2) — Continues developing the gameplay formula established in Going Commando further and included an online multiplayer mode. Ratchet and Clank return to Solana to learn that a mad supervillain named Dr. Nefarious is planning to exterminate all organic life in the galaxy, so they join forces with a few other heroes (or close enough) to stop him.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked (2005, PS2) — A darker, far more combat-oriented follow-up to the original trilogy. Ratchet and friends are captured by the underground TV executive Gleeman Vox, fitted with explosive collars and made to compete in DreadZone, a gladiatorial reality game show where heroes are forced to fight one another to the death.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (2007, PS3) — The first installment of the Future saga, and the first game in the series to make use of high-definition graphics and occasionally motion controls. Emperor Tachyon, the tyrannical ruler of the Polaris Galaxy, is dead-set on exterminating the last of the Lombaxes. After the despot and our duo meet face-to-face, Ratchet thus sets out with Clank to foil his plans, all while learning about his species' history and fate along the way.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (2008, PS3) — The second installment of the Future trilogy, a short downloadable title that serves to set up the plot of A Crack In Time while also experimenting with a few gameplay elements. After Tools of Destruction, Ratchet travels across a space pirate-ruled planet for clues as to Clank's whereabouts, getting caught up in some robotic pirate business along the way.
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (2009, PS3) — The third and final installment of the Future trilogy, known for its more exploration-based approach to spaceship gameplay as well as its more unique approach to Clank's levels. When Dr. Nefarious returns and plans to use the mysterious Great Clock to take over time and space, Ratchet and Clank each set out to foil him, while learning even more about their own pasts.
  • Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (2011, PS3) — A co-operative multiplayer spin-off game, essentially combining the multiplayer style of Gauntlet with the series' usual jumping and shooting gameplay. After being abducted and stranded on a mysterious planet together, Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark and Dr. Nefarious must work together in order to escape, while at the same time unraveling the mystery surrounding the planet's strange creatures.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (2012/2013, PS3/PS Vita) — A competitive multiplayer spin-off combining classic Ratchet & Clank gameplay with Tower Defense mechanics. As multiple planets have their defenses compromised by a shady character from Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark's history, the three mobilize as the Q-Force to restore these defenses before they face destruction by invading forces.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (2013, PS3) — An epilogue to the Future trilogy, known for toying with gravity-manipulation gameplay and interaction with the "Netherverse" dimension. Learning that the brother-sister crime duo Neftin and Vendra Prog aim to bring the creatures of the Netherverse into their reality, Ratchet and Clank pursue them across the Zarkov sector to foil their plans.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2016, PS4) — A "re-imagining" of the original Ratchet & Clank game that implements elements and weapons from later entries in the series, meant to tie into the film. While following the same basic story as the original game, this version has a few differences, and is narrated by Captain Qwark.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (2021/2023, PS5/PC) — A new game with the first original story since Into the Nexus, featuring the duo trying to stop a Cosmic Flaw that threatens all reality.

Titles developed by High Impact Games:
  • Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (2007/2008, PSP/PS2) — A Gaiden Game where Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark find themselves wrapped up in a conspiracy surrounding the tiny Technomite race, a lost civilization apparently responsible for the technology used across the Solana Galaxy.
  • Secret Agent Clank (2008/2009, PSP/PS2) — A Gaiden Game taking place as an episode of the series' Show Within a Show. Big crime is up in Solana. Ratchet is in jail for a theft he (hopefully) didn't commit. Captain Qwark is putting together his autobiography. When the chips are down, it's up to Secret Agent Clank to solve the case.

Mobile games:
Remastered versions:
  • Ratchet & Clank Collection (2012/2014, PS3/PS Vita) — A high-definition remaster of the first three games in the series, with porting done by Idol Minds.
  • Ratchet: Deadlocked HD (2013, PS3) — A high-definition remaster of Deadlocked, once again ported by Idol Minds. It was initially given away as an apology gift to buyers of Full Frontal Assault due to the Vita port of the game not releasing on time.

    Comic books 
  • The Adventures of Captain Starshield (2005) — A six-episode webcomic taking place before Deadlocked, giving a little bit of background to the character Captain Starshield who appeared briefly in the game.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Bang Bang Bang! Critical Danger of the Galaxy Legend (2005-2008) — A two-volume manga series published by Shogakukan that very loosely retells the events of the first four installments while also telling new stories revolving around the duo. Features noticeably cruder humor than the rest of the series and was only released in Japan.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2010-2011) — A six-issue miniseries published by DC Comics' WildStorm imprint and takes place in the canon timeline between A Crack in Time and All 4 One. While taking a much-needed rest on Veldin after their most recent adventure, Ratchet and Clank are suddenly faced against Artemis Zogg, the mastermind behind the recent disappearings of planets across the universe.

    Animated films 

    Crossovers with other games 
As playable characters:
  • Resistance: Fall of Man (2006, PS3): A Clank backpack, Ratchet's Omniwrench, and the Gravity Boots can be unlocked in the multiplayer mode.
  • Resistance 2 (2008, PS3): A Clank backpack can be unlocked in the multiplayer mode.
  • ModNation Racers (2010, PS3): A downloadable costume pack of Ratchet and Clank is available for purchase.
  • LittleBigPlanet 2 (2011, PS3): A downloadable costume pack of Ratchet and Clank based on PlayStation Move Heroes is available for purchase.
  • Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare (2014, 360/PS3/XBONE/PS4/PC): Ratchet's ears can be obtained as a bonus costume in the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 versions of the game.
  • Rocket League (2015/2016/2017, PC/PS4/XBONE/Switch): Decals featuring stylized artwork of Ratchet and Clank as well as balloon toppers of the duo made to promote Rift Apart were given away for free to players that logged onto the game between August 17th, 2021 and January 3rd, 2022.
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (2015, 360/PS3/XBONE/PS4): Ratchet's head appears as a bonus head piece in the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
  • Among Us (2018/2020/2021, PC/iOS/Switch/XBONE/Series X/S/PS4/PS5): The PlayStation 4 and 5 versions of the game receive exclusive costume pieces in the form of a Ratchet hat, outfit, and a Clank pet.
  • Sackboy: A Big Adventure (2020, PS4/PS5): Downloadable costumes of Ratchet, Clank, and Rivet are available for free.
  • Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (2020, PS4/PS5/PC): Cosmetic items and emotes based on Ratchet and Clank were made available as rewards for completing special limited time live events. The Ratchet live event was held from July 26 to August 1, 2021; while the Clank live event was held from August 6-15, 2021. Completing both events would reward players with a special banner featuring Rivet from Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

Tropes and examples not fit for this world:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Not only do several weapons come at rather insane prices, varying on game and level, the demands of the populace to get story-crucial information or gadgets is just plain brutal. It gets to a head in Going Commando:
    Ratchet: What?? Now even the COMPUTERS are charging us?! That's it, this galaxy (Bogon) blows.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Adventures of Captain Starshield webcomic serves as this for the titular captain, who was killed in the opening cutscene of Deadlocked.
  • Alien Blood: It's rare, but some enemies spew green slime when killed, such as the Horny Toads and Alien Swarmers in the first game.
  • All There in the Manual: Many fans and critics did not know what Ratchet was supposed to be until the later games were released, but the back of the European boxart for the first game clearly called him a Lombax.
    • It's also stated in the unlockable concept art of the first game: "Oh, and in case anyone asks you, Ratchet is a Lombax." From that point onwards each subsequent installment made sure to refer to him as a Lombax more and more frequently before finally coming to a head in Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time, where he is referred to as a Lombax at every given opportunity.
    • In A Crack in Time, one can listen to a number of radio stations that broadcast music and news; amongst the news items are a few relevant details for long-time fans, including the fate of Angela Cross from Going Commando.
    • An unusual example is Ratchet's age, which has only been featured in Jak X: Combat Racing if you had Deadlocked save data on your Memory Card. He's 18 in that game, released at the same time as Deadlocked, so it's possible to work out his age in the other games, too. That being said, Word of God states that he is around 14 to 17 in the first game making it slightly harder to discern how accurate Jak X is.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: Three Galaxies, if you want to get technical. One line in Tools of Destruction references an "Andromeda System," but that's as close as the script gets to Earth. That is to say, not very. There are a few minor references to Earthly things, though, like Copernicus Leslie Qwark and the Tesla coil (and spikes in A Crack in Time). Orvus also makes a reference to baseball during one of Clank's tutorial levels in A Crack in Time. One of Merc's random comments in Deadlocked is to ask Ratchet if he's read Chaucer.
    • The hidden Dan Johnson statue in Into the Nexus has the description stating he "once lived on a primitive planet called 'Earth.'" Being an Easter Egg, it's likely to be a joke rather than canon for the setting.
  • Always Over the Shoulder: The "Lock-Strafe" mode, which forces Ratchet to face the same direction the camera is pointing at all times and forcing him to straft, hence the name. It was introduced in Up Your Arsenal, and proved so popular that whether or not it was coming back was one of the most frequently-asked questions leading up to Tools of Destruction,
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore:
    • In the Japanese release of Tools of Destruction, Ratchet has a slightly-altered character model with green clothing, anime eyes, and thick, black eyebrows which brings Ratchet's in-game look into line with the official Japanese art and Ratchet & Clank manga.
    • In the PS2 era, the inverse was true: Ratchet was usually a lot angier and swarmy on the US covers, compared to his more fun-loving and adventerous look on the Japanese covers that were closer to his in-game personality.
  • Androids Are People, Too: The robots, like Clank, are treated on the same level as the organic characters. Most of the time, anyway; there are robots who are treated as lesser-than, but the racial politics and implications of this are never explored.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • In Going Commando, you can buy five Gadgetron weapons from a Gadgetron store on Barlow. Despite the fact that the main weapon producer in this game is Megacorp, you can still get ammo for the Gadgetron weapons from Megacorp's ammo crates or weapon vendors, and in Challenge Mode you can even purchase their Mega variants from Megacorp vendors, because having to go back to the sole Gadgetron store in the game just to keep a few weapons stocked wouldn't add anything of value to the game. The same can be said of the Megacorp weapons in Up Your Arsenal, where Gadgetron is once again the main manufacturer of Ratchet's armaments; you won't have to go back to Slim on Aquatos to make sure you can still use Megacorp's weapons.
    • Rift Apart added many accessibility and player-forward features like high-contrast filters and being able to skip every puzzle, as is Insomniac's style starting with the Spider-Man (PS4) games.
  • Armor of Invincibility: One in every game that has armor, of course, and it always covers Ratchet completely. Humorously, the best armor has consistently provided less protection from one game to the next, except for Into the Nexus, where it stays the same.
    • Going Commando: Carbonox Armor - 90% reduction
    • Up Your Arsenal: Infernox Armor - 80% reduction
    • Tools of Destruction: Trillium Armor - 65% reduction
    • A Crack in Time: Hyperflux Armor - 50% reduction
    • Into the Nexus: Nether Armor - Also 50% reduction
  • The Artifact
    • The Thruster-Pack and Hydro-Pack upgrades in the later games. In the first game, they were mandatory upgrades needed to complete the game, and the Thruster Pack originally had a distinct moveset from the Heli-Pack. From Going Commando and onward, it was only treated as cosmetically different from the Heli-Pack, and as of A Crack in Time, the Thruster-Pack was abandoned altogether. The Hydro-Pack is still used, but rarely due to how sporadic swimming segments are in the later games.
    • The Omniwrench has become this in later games. While it was a very practical default weapon in the first game, the abundance of long range, hard hitting and heavily armed foes in the sequels, which mandate the heavy amount of firepower you acquire throughout them, makes the Wrench seem like an emergency weapon. These days its only real use is for smashing crates, which may be why it still has a dedicated button.
  • Artifact Title: To a certain degree, Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty, where Clank makes only three appearances: in the prologue book, Ratchet's hallucination on the beach, and in the final cutscene. It must be said however that finding Clank's location is Ratchet's main objective in the game.
  • Artificial Gill: The O2 mask allows Ratchet to survive in toxic atmospheres, underwater, and even space with unlimited air supply. In Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, the Megacorp Helmet serves this purpose instead.
  • Artistic License – Space: A lot of the planets featured in the series fall into this category. The most obvious example is that nearly all planets, regardless of size and mass, seem to possess the same Earth-like gravity, even moons and some asteroids. There is also a strange absence of gas giant planets despite the fact that in real life, they're just as common as terrestrial planets. Justified in that the gameplay involves a lot of jumping puzzles, which would be much harder if, for example, you had to recalibrate your jump aim with every planet.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: It doesn't take much looking past the cute, cartoony art style and humor to realize that the entire universe from the ground up is deeply, horrifyingly dysfunctional and has only been getting better at all because the main characters keep killing the worst of the lot.
  • Ascended Extra: The Groovitron and Mr. Zurkon, both just "combat devices" in Tools of Destruction, became full fledged, upgradable weapons starting with A Crack in Time.
  • Baby Planet: Has appeared in Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal and A Crack in Time as small spheroids you can walk around, similar to Super Mario Galaxy When it was brought back for A Crack in Time, many accused it of ripping off Mario despite Going Commando doing it five years before Mario Galaxy (although Nintendo had ideas for it as early as post-[1]).
  • Badass Adorable: The eponymous duo. Also their gender-bent Alternate Selves, Rivet & Kit.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • Averted to some degree, as in the second game Ratchet returns to his apartment and picks up some of the items from the previous game, having memory card data from the previous game allows you to obtain weapons from it, and Clank still has some of his upgrades.
    • Played straight in the PS3 games, even though they all take place in the same galaxy and very little time passes between the games.
  • Beam Spam: The RYNO IV locks on to enemies and blasts them with this until you let go of the button, while the Harbinger from Deadlocked shoots out very small satellites that then lock onto the ground, before basically destroying everything on the screen with lasers of death.
  • Benevolent Architecture: The grindrails certainly count. Even in the parts where there's any practical reason for them at all, they're very conveniently navigable.
  • BFG: Way, way too many to count—most games start you off with a basic rapid-fire gun and a slow-firing area effect weapon (usually either a grenade launcher or a shotgun), but by halfway through you'll be toting half a dozen guns bigger than you are, with effects like "portable black hole launcher, aim away from face" or "fires missiles which split into mini-missiles which launch bomblets that squirt lightning". In addition, there's usually an Infinity+1 Gun (usually in the form of the RYNO) which decimates everything but requires lots of money or collectibles to get. Even the starting weapons sometimes count; one of Going Commando's starting weapons is the rather plain Gravity Bomb, which upgrades into the Mini-Nuke.
  • Berserk Button: Twice. Both Drek and Nefarious should have known that threatening Veldin, which just happens to be Ratchet's home planet, was their biggest (and possibly, last) mistake.
  • Big Head Mode: There's usually at least one cheat per game that increases character's head size, whether it's just Ratchet, just Clank, both of them, or both of them plus enemies and other characters.
  • Boss Banter: Particularly in later entries. Gleeman Vox From Deadlocked, Emperor Tachyon from Tools of Destruction, Klunk from Secret Agent Clank, and Azimuth in A Crack in Time talk up a storm while fighting you. The earlier bosses do so, too; however, they do so more between stages of their fight rather than in the middle of it.
  • Brawn Hilda: Helga, Qwark's "pleasantly plump" personal fitness trainer, as well as the Valkyries from A Crack in Time.
  • Breather Episode: Deadlocked serves as the main bridge between the original and Future trilogies, being one of the few games without an Omnicidal Maniac as the Big Bad. Being a Darker and Edgier game, it gives Ratchet some Character Development on fame as a DreadZone contestant to set up the Future trilogy.
  • Brick Joke:
    • A subtle one. In Up Your Arsenal, in the first vid-comic, it is stated that Qwark fought a crew of "Robotic Pirate Ghosts", which is mockingly lampshaded accordingly by the narrator of the comic. Cut to Quest for Booty, guess what you're fighting? That's right, Robotic Pirate Ghosts.
    • In Going Commando, a one-off gag mentions "lawn ninjas" (lawn gnomes Dual Wielding katanas) from Megacorp. In Up Your Arsenal, lawn ninjas are actual enemies in the level where you find Qwark, who previously disguised himself as the CEO of Megacorp.
    • In the original 2002 game, after doing a hoverboard commercial for Gadgetron, Ratchet finds out it doesn't kick in for another two years. If you play 2004's Up Your Arsenal, you get a 10% discount if you have a save of the first game!
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": The series uses "Nanotech" to represent HP. In theory, this means that the characters have nanomites inside their body that will instantly repair any damage taken — until the supply runs out and the character succumbs to their injuries. In practice, this functions identically to a standard health bar. Similarly, Nanomites are dropped by enemies and absorbed into your health and weapons, and with enough, either will upgrade. So XP, in other words.
  • Camera Centering: Many titles allow you to tap a button to automatically center the camera in the direction your character is facing. The Lock-Strafe mode enforces this at all times.
  • Captain Superhero: Qwark. As Rusty Pete notes, it's unbelievable that he's the captain of anything.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Taking a trip across the galaxy is pretty much the equivalent of driving across town. But of course, realism was not something the developers were aiming for.
  • Cat Folk: Lombaxes. Although the concept artist was intending to have Ratchet be a mix of cat and dog-like features, the pointy ears and whisker dots around the nose means they lean closer to cats.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The first four games and the two games on the PSP are episodic and have moderate continuity between them, and are closer to episodic one-shot shows like in the 80s and 90s. The Future series is a long arc covering two full-length games and one downloadable game and it deals with some fairly heavy personal issues, with backstory and continuity becoming much more important, more like cartoons in the 2010s and 2020s.
  • Chainsaw-Grip BFG: Heavier guns tend to have two grips on them. A slight variation in that the second grip is usually on the side. Presumably, it was done in the PS2 games so that Ratchet only has to use one animation for most of the guns, and continued in the PS3 ones because of how it was used throughout the series. That said, some weapons are held like this with the weapon hanging below the handles, like the Blackhole Storm and Meteor Gun.
  • Chick Magnet: Clank seems to put no effort in attracting half the female NPCs he and Ratchet ever encounter, despite being a robot. Or in a few cases, because he's a robot.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Big Al. He upgraded Clank with the Heli-Pack in the original game, joined the Q-Force in Up Your Arsenal, was kidnapped along with Ratchet and Clank in Deadlocked, and then disappeared (although you can hear an ad for "Big Al's Roboshack and Gaming Superstore" in A Crack in Time). His last canon appearance is during the 2010 comic book.
    • Helga has the same problem, only appearing in the first game and Up Your Arsenal before disappearing until the re-imagining game.
    • Zig-zagged with Talwyn and her two warbot friends, Cronk and Zephyr. All three of them were important characters in Tools of Destruction, often helping Ratchet and Clank with War Sequences and hacking things. In A Crack in Time, neither Cronk nor Zephyr appear, and Talwyn gets mentioned twice: once in the first cutscene with Ratchet in it (he says that Talywn said that the sector he and Qwark went to is crawling with bad guys) and once if you ever visit the Corvus Sector (a song will play on the radio that Talwyn requested). Then in All 4 One, Cronk and Zephyr are your Mission Control and Talwyn gets mentioned once (when you fight the Wigwump, they say that they don't want to be the one who has to tell Talwyn her friend was eaten by said creature). In Full Frontal Assault, Talwyn, Cronk, and Zephyr never appear or get mentioned at all (unless you count multiplayer skins, which all three of them appear as). Then all three of them return in Into the Nexus.
  • Company Cross References:
    • Fellow PlayStation 2 platformer duo Jak and Daxter got a few references throughout the original series:
      • Posters of the duo make a handful of appearances in Going Commando, and one Item Get! cutscene has Ratchet and Clank imitating Jak and Daxter's Power Cell collection animations; Ratchet collects the item in the background while Clank dances in the foreground, and they even borrow The Precursor Legacy's musical sting for it.
      • Ratchet contemplates a planet called "Daxx" in Up Your Arsenal, "Dax" being Daxter's nickname.
      • In Deadlocked, Jak appears as a skin. In the campaign, only a second player can use it, but it's not restricted in multiplayer.
    • In the Japanese, Korean, and Collection releases of Up Your Arsenal, a cheat code allows you to unlock a skin for Ratchet based on the helmeted Pipo Monkeys from Ape Escape.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Given the sheer number of weapons that have appeared in the game, it's unsurprising that some would fall into this category, but special mention should be given to the Hover Bomb Launcher in Going Commando. It fires a powerful but agonizingly slow moving explosive projectile that must be manually steered to its target. You can't move while the projectile is active, the projectile automatically detonates if Ratchet takes damage, and the camera is fixed looking at Ratchet while it's moving, so you can't use it to attack anything that's out of Ratchet's line of sight. Its flaws are especially noticeable given that the same game features another weapon, the Spider Bot, which functions almost identically to it except that the camera follows the Spider Bot around and can therefore be used to attack enemies while safely away from them. The only upshot is that it has the highest damage output for a single shot of any weapon in the game, making it handy on bosses despite not being the intended use-case.
  • Cool Ship
    • Ratchet's (stolen) third ship in the first game.
    • Ratchet's Star Explorer in Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, especially once you upgrade it with weapons and give it a slick paint job.
    • The Phoenix in Up Your Arsenal.
    • The Aphelion in all of the PS3 games, with a twin-prong hull and wings that split open like an X-Wing.
    • The Nefarious ship from Rift Apart, whose front hull is a glass dome that splits open to allow access.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Played straight with most robots in the series, but the soldier robots on Damosel in the second game can function with only legs.
  • Crate Expectations: All of the games in the series have dozens of crates that are usually there to be broken for bolts. The games also feature red exploding crates, that count down when Ratchet so much as touches them, ammo crates that are full of ammo, Nanotech crates that contain health, and metal crates, which can only be broken by explosives (or the Walloper in the first game). The third game introduced the multiplier crate, which for a short while doubled the amount of bolts Ratchet got from other crates, enemies, and the environment in general, and the Inferno crate, which turned Ratchet into an unstoppable dual-wrench-wielding engine of destruction. In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, there's the camo crate, which is almost invisible, and has more bolts than average crates. It should be noted that crates went through a huge graphical update during the transfer to HD, especially the rubble they leave around, so this is hardly due to laziness on the part of the graphic developers. This trope is given a huge lampshading in Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, when the main characters come across a crate factory in their travels. As the Mission Control says, "They have to come from somewhere!"
  • Crosshair Aware: Many enemies and bosses in the series will do far-reaching attacks from above that are indicated on the ground with crosshairs, such as one part of the Annihilation Nation Dual Boss in Up Your Arsenal, certain arena enemies in Tools of Destruction, and Vorselon in A Crack in Time.
  • Crunchtastic: Well, actually, Qwarktastic, but close enough.
  • Curse Cut Short: Klunk disguised as Clank in Up Your Arsenal while the group is at Qwark's memorial service.
    Clank: What a load of bull-
    Ratchet: Shhh!
  • Cute Machines: Clank and Kit, which makes sense as they're designed to look like infants.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Playing all of the games in succession can be an exercise in frustration, as the functions of the shoulder buttons keep changing:
    • In the first game, L1 and L2 activate first person mode, and R1 and R2 are crouch (which is used for long jumps, high jumps, and wrench throwing).
    • In Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, L1 is first person mode, R1 is crouch and Charge Boots (once you get them), and L2 and R2 are used for strafing.
    • In Deadlocked, the default control scheme is Lock-Strafe, so none of the shoulder buttons do that. L1 is now another jump button, R1 is another fire button, L2 is for first person view (and if you tap it followed by Square, you can throw the wrench without going into first person) and Charge Boots, and R2 is another Quick Select Button.
    • Size Matters is the most infuriating one: L is first person mode, R is crouch. But unlike in earlier games, crouch in itself is not used for long/high jumps and wrench throwing; one must hold both L and R together for that. This is mainly because the PSP lacks L2 and R2 buttons.
    • In Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time, L2 becomes the solitary strafe button, crouch is moved from R1 to R2, and R1 becomes the fire button. You will kill yourself while trying to long jump over a gap for the first time. Even then, the crouch was replaced in QfB with Ratchet holding the Wrench out, the idea being that you can move while being able to throw your wrench or do high jumps and long jumps.
    • In Full Frontal Assault and Into the Nexus, L1 becomes strafe (and ready a wrench throw), R1 becomes the only fire button (and Circle is the exclusive Swingshot button), and R2 is to ready a high jump or stretch jump, and for using the Hoverboots (when you get them).
    • In Ratchet & Clank (2016), R2 is used to fire your weapon, L2 is used to strafe/ready a wrench throw, R1 is used to high jump and long jump, and L1 is used to use the Jetpack. You can however switch the R2 and L2 buttons with the R1 and L1 button, respectively, in the options menu, although changing them will also change the buttons you use to cycle through the Quick Select rings (from L1/R1 to L2/R2). Also, instead of Select, the map is brought up by the Touchpad Button. In addition, both Circle and R2/R1 can be used to shoot, but ONLY Circle can be used for the Swingshot.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The move from the first to the second game. Quite apart from the darker level lighting in several levels, Ratchet becomes a commando, he works for a MegaCorp of dubious moral authority, the thief goes after his friend, there are hired thugs and a psycho hitman out to get him, less cutesy enemies, murderous children's pets that can reproduce within seconds, lots of unfriendly futuristic buildings to explore, and less whimsical musical scores.
    • And then of course there's Deadlocked. Ratchet, Clank, and Al are held against their will on a gladiator TV show that features the killings of many famous heroes. If they don't comply, their Deadlock collars will either electrocute them or worse, blow their heads off. Other fun elements include the very dysfunctional relationship between the commentators who slander Ratchet at every turn, and the lengths the villain goes to in order to increase the ratings of the show.
    • Tools of Destruction isn't much more darker than Deadlocked, and visually is brighter and more saturated than any of the games before it, but the game involves a galaxy mostly conquered by an omnicidal emperor who is the last of an Always Chaotic Evil race wiped out by the lombaxes at least 50 years before the events of the first game. Said emperor is looking for the secret weapon used by the lombaxes to bring back his evil race. Meanwhile, Ratchet would learn that the lombaxes have been subjected to a genocide 20 years earlier, and he is the last known lombax left (asides from Angela Cross and Alister Azimuth).
  • Death Course: Lampshaded. Our Lombax friend provides the page quote before travelling to an arena that's like a Gladiators stage with deathbots and all the foam padding replaced with spikes and lava.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Played straight and avoided in equal measure: some enemies fit this perfectly, others get bits blown off them.
  • Denser and Wackier:
    • The manga series is this to the entire franchise, as it focuses more on the characters getting into light-hearted and silly situations and responding to them in increasingly bizarre ways. It also uses more Toilet Humor than the rest of the franchise.
    • The 2016 movie / game is this compared to the original it's based on, replacing the tense relationship Ratchet and Clank have during Act 2 with crudery and less witty humor.
  • 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 the first 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, to the point where games like Ratchet: Deadlocked have almost no platforming at all, and even the 2016 re-imagining of the first game downplays the platforming in favor of combat.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • Many examples. Nearly all weapons have some sort of corresponding NPC commentary, and every enemy dances differently when you use the Groovitron. You can even defeat Nefarious with the Chimpinator/Chimpositron, and he turns into the wind-up monkey used for mechanical enemies (sadly not in the cutscene). In the first game, you can also blow up the Captain Qwark robot at the fitness course with a well-aimed Devastator missile, even though there's no reason to return to this area past the stage of the game where you can get the Devastator. (Except if you're a perfectionist, as one of the skill points requires blowing the robot up.)
    • One of the Megacorp weapons facilities opens up with a guided tour of some of their rockets and missiles, where you can accompany a bunch of bots around to learn the history of Megacorp. You can destroy each of the rockets you're seeing, and they all get destroyed in different ways. The second rocket will hurt you if it falls on you, and can kill any enemies and/or tourists it lands on. The third one, the robot version of Mr. Fizzwidget, will tell you "sent Bobo the Squirrel into space" as a test, but they never saw said squirrel again. Blow it up and sure enough, a squirrel will appear. Finally, the last one launches up into space, disappearing completely. Furthermore, protecting all the tourists from the killer squirrels in the area nets you a skill point, but deliberately destroying tourists as they exit the bus (the tour won't start until there's a large enough group ready to go around) means you get a series of increasingly threatening warning messages. However, there's more to it than that. Later in the level, you'll encounter a very large and very tough security bot, who you will have a hard time beating with all your weapons, or it will be destroyed by the rocket that launched earlier.
  • Disney School of Acting and Mime: The PS2 era games constantly used these kind of broad gestures and acting, both for comedy and the smaller size of TVs and render resolutions of the early 2000s. This started getting downplayed in the Future era games, and the in-game cutscenes from the 2016 reimagining of the first game outright avoid it.
  • The Ditz: Captain Qwark in Size Matters, or any entry after the original. An entire page could be filled with the number of stupid things he's said and done whilst believing otherwise.
  • Door to Before: One of the game's trademark features and a way it set itself apart from other platformers of its day. In other games, you would either have to backtrack through the part you just did, or would get booted back to the level select to go back in again. Ratchet & Clank however would always end each path with some convenient way to get back to the beginning, including flying taxis, ziplines, grind rails, doors, ladders, or when all else fails, a teleporter, which was praised in more than a few reviews at the time.
  • Double Entendre: The titles are clever plays on naughty phrases.
    • "Ratchet & Clank", when replacing the & sign with the word "and", has an acronym of RAC, aka rack, which means tits.
    • "Going Commando" means not wearing underwear.
    • "Up Your Arsenal" is a reference to "up your arse", the British term for ass.
    • "Deadlocked" refers to bondage gear.
    • "Size Matters" refers to penis size.
    • "Secret Agent Clank"'s initials are SAC, aka sack, which means scrotum.
    • "Tools of Destruction" is a reference to sex toys or "tool" which means penis.
    • "Quest for Booty" is the journey for sex.
    • "A Crack in Time" refers to butt cracks. The original name for it was "Clockblockers", which does get used as a skill point name in "Into the Nexus".
    • "All 4 One" refers to a foursome. At one point, it was going to be called "Four Play".
    • "Full-Frontal Assault" is pretty obvious.
    • The working title for "Into the Nexus" used to be "Into the Nether Regions". It was made into a trophy instead.
    • "Rift Apart" is a pun on "ripped a fart".
    • This only applies to the American releases of certain games — Going Commando either had no subtitle or was renamed to Locked and Loaded in Europe, Up Your Arsenal just became Ratchet & Clank 3, and Full Frontal Assault became QForce. Size Matters and the Ratchet & Clank Future entries have avoided the title changes, however, except for the removal of the "Future" from the eponymous releases.
  • Double Jump:
    • Ratchet can, of course, although it's less of a second jump and more of a mid-air flip that nudges him higher a bit. All 4 characters can in All 4 One, and all 3 can in Full Frontal Assault. Clank can do this in the PS4 re-imagining.
    • In A Crack in Time, Clank can use his propeller while in the air up to three times.
  • Double Unlock:
    • Buying the upgraded forms of your weapons. First you need to enter Challenge Mode to even have the option of seeing the upgraded form. Then you have to get the weapon you want to upgrade to the max level in order to gain access to the upgraded form. Then you need to have enough money to actually buy the upgraded form.
      • Ratchet & Clank (2016) adds another step to this. In addition to all of the above, you also need to collect the 3 cards in the set for each weapon to reveal the Omega form of each weapon.
    • Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus requires a triple unlock to get the RYNO VII, the strongest weapon in the game. First, you have to find all 9 blueprints for said weapon. Then, in order to actually build the weapon, you have to open a vault, which requires 6 keys. However, one of the keys is in possession of the Smuggler, who will exchange it for all 100 of the Gargathon Horns on Planet Thram.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first game is basically from a whole different series from the every entry that came after it:
    • The art direction is somewhat different; the lighting is brighter and the design and general aesthetic are more cartoony and mechanical, unlike the sleeker, more futuristic look the series quickly adapted to. Case in point: all the ships in the first game have landing gear, while in all other games they hover over the ground.
    • Ratchet is more of a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal who only really wears pants. 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. 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.
    • Combat as a whole is more "puzzle-like", with enemies having simple attack patterns and weapons seemingly being designed with certain enemies or environments in mind, to the point that some weapons act as hard-counters to certain enemies, and others are near-useless unless the level design accommodates them. This is partially because, as mentioned above, none of the weapons upgrade, meaning they're all viable until the end of the game.
    • 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 Heli-Pack, Thruster-Pack, Hydropack and O2 Mask, whereas those are equipped by default in the later games (the first three are justified since Clank was fresh out of the factory in the first game).
    • The Magneboots force Ratchet to walk at half his normal pace, limit the weapons he can use to 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, making it feel more in line with the Spyro games.
    • Clank's voice is more monotone and he acts like more of a know-it-all. He also doesn't have his aversion to contractions, as he says "He hasn't got enough bolts" when meeting the Plumber on Novalis, and "That's not fair" to Helga withholding the Swingshot for money; the "Making Of" video in Going Commando would establish he doesn't use contractions, as there's a scene where David Kaye says one during a voice recording session and promptly is reminded of this by sound designer Jackie Evanochick, before rerecording the line without it.
    • 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 the first 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 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 the first game and Going Commando, you need to manually equip the Swingshot to use it. Up Your Arsenal 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.
    • Similarly, you have to equip certain context-sensitive gadgets like the Trespasser and Hydrodisplacer to use them, while later games would allow you to simply use them when the context arises.
    • The first 2 games only have one ring in the Quick Select. Up Your Arsenal would give you another ring to put your stuff in, and starting with Deadlocked, you can fit everything you need in the Quick Select.
    • In the original game, getting Skill Points doesn't actually unlock cheats. You need to beat the game and perform some of Ratchet's moves in a certain order in Challenge Mode in order to gain the ability to turn the cheat on and off.
    • In the first game, when you throw the wrench, you're stuck in place until it returns.
    • In the first game and Going Commando, you can't cancel a long jump or high jump by doing a Hyper-Strike. Up Your Arsenal is the first game that lets you do that.
    • The first two games have a lot more Cash Gates than later games do.
    • Ratchet being the last Lombax wasn't brought up until Tools of Destruction, where before that it was assumed that there were other Lombaxes that simply hadn't been met yet. This has become a point of fan contention regarding Angela, the Lombax from Going Commando, regarding where she was during the later games and whether she even is a Lombax in the first place.
    • In general, the humor of the PS2 entries is far more satirical and anti-capitalistic, with a big emphasis on predatory marketing, awful labor conditions and Big Bads that are outright Corrupt Corporate Executives, and whose subordinates tend to be media personalities that are often just as amoral. From Tools of Destruction onwards, this is downplayed in order to focus on more conventional space stories and jokes.
  • Enemy Mine: Why Dr. Nefarious joins up with Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark in All 4 One.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: The Mini Nuke isn't actually nuclear, but the mushroom fireball definitely makes it look that way.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Just like the heroic characters, the villains are diverse with a mixture of both robots and organic creatures.
  • Evil Laugh: Shown off by most of the main villains at some point or another. Dr. Nefarious gets a particularly impressive one before the final battle in "A Crack in Time".
  • Evolving Attack: From the second game onward, weapons gain experience and level up as you use them, often gaining new abilities. The Spiral of Doom in ACiT gets to shoot 3 spirals instead of 1 when it upgrades, for example.
  • Exploding Barrels: Red crates will explode if they're hit with anything, whether it's Ratchet swinging his wrench or an enemy shooting it. Touching it will set off a timer, and the crate will explode after a few seconds.
  • Fake Difficulty: More often than not, success or failure relies less on skill and more on how big your weapon is. That, plus the fact that despite having armor suits (in later games) that are supposed to reduce damage, some enemies can still finish you off in a few hits: it will just take slightly more hits with better armor.
  • Fake Longevity: This mainly lies in unlocking cheats, and various bonus content, which requires acquiring "skill points" which require the player to accomplish various objectives, but in most games, they never tell you what they are, and even then, some skill points require playing Challenge Mode just to unlock said cheats/bonus content, or even to get new weapons (such as the RYNO, which even in regular, non-challenge mode is so expensive in some games, that players might have to resort to farming in order to get it), or even fully upgrade existing weapons.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero:
    • Qwark, who falls into this trope after he finally realizes his life was in genuine danger and becomes a coward to avoid putting his life on the line. While he still is a coward, after Up Your Arsenal he does try to make a few attempts at becoming a real hero, mainly by tagging along with Ratchet.
    • In the comic series, Qwark pulls this on Artemis Zogg, screwing Zogg out of a chance to be Galactic President. In this case, it comes back to haunt everyone, as Qwark's shenanigans are what drives Zogg to villainy.
  • First-Person Shooter: In Going Commando's New Game Plus, Up Your Arsenal, and Deadlocked, the series has had the option of being played as one. Yes, even in the platforming sections.
  • Forced Transformation: The Morph-O-Ray, the Sheepinator (twice), the Qwack-O-Ray, the Boar-Zooka, the Mootator, any weapon with the Morph Mod, the Pork Bomb Gun, the Transmorpher, the Chimp-o-Matic, the Critter Strike, Transmorpher Mines, the Winterizer, and the Topiary Sprinkler (which is actually plant-based), to date.
  • Free Rotating Camera: The "Third Person" view.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The RYNO, which stands for "Rip Ya a New One".
    • Kept in the French version, where it becomes the TELT (T'Eclater La Tronche = Breaking Your Face)
    • In the Italian version they changed it into MIPS (Muori In Pochi Secondi = Die In Few Seconds), but they randomly changed back into the RYNO from the second game on.
  • Flanderization: Qwark gets more and more stupid as the series goes on.
  • Funny Robot: Clank, Mr. Zurkon, Nefarious, and Lawrence.
  • Game Within a Game:
    • Using the Dynamo on the pyramid in Clank's apartment in Going Commando will let you play a Space Invaders-style game.
    • The Captain Qwark-themed Vid-Comics in Up Your Arsenal.
    • "My Blaster Runs Hot" in A Crack in Time.
  • Genre Mashup: On two levels:
    • The original game was one of the first platformers to take its combat gameplay as seriously as a game like Doom, with plenty of options to choose from.
    • Going Commando meanwhile reinvented the franchise by introducing RPG Elements in the form of XP for health and weapons, allowing weapons to upgrade through use. This was very forward-thinking, as now nearly every video game will have XP and leveling up to some degree.
  • Girl of the Week: Well, Girl of the Console Generation, anyway:
    • Sasha, Ratchet's love interest from the third game, has a brief cameo at the beginning of the fourth and has a prominent role in the comic book as Ratchet's ex.
    • Additionally, Talwyn has a large role in Quest for Booty as well as her first game, Tools of Destruction. She's back for Into The Nexus, and there's a colossal amount of Ship Tease for her and Ratchet. The comic book also alludes to their relationship, with Sasha giving Ratchet some advice and support on the matter.
  • Global Currency: Even the people over in the other two galaxies use Bolts. Though they're shiny golden bolts that look like currency from R&C2 onward, rather than the large, prosaic bolt-ish ones of the first game, and undergo more insane inflation in each and every game.
    • Examples of the inflation (which may or may not be intended by the developers): in the first game the R.Y.N.O., the most expensive weapon, cost 150,000 bolts (which was considered an insane number that most people would not acquire in one playthrough), while the most expensive weapon in Going Commando, the Zodiac, cost 1,500,000 bolts. In perhaps the most extreme example, the RYNO IV's weapon upgrade in the New Game Plus for Tools of Destruction costs 50,000,000 bolts.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority:
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Swingshot, which has multiple forms and abilities. In the first game, it's a wrist-mounted grappling hook shooter that shoots out a metal cable, and can be used to swing from or pull Ratchet to grappling points. Going Commando keeps the design, but adds the ability to pull things to Ratchet. In Up Your Arsenal, it's replaced with the Hypershot, which is a wrist-mounted Swingshot-Dynamo hybrid that shoots out an energy beam that latches onto the target, and can also activate certain platforms. Deadlocked keeps the energy beam rope, but removes the platform-activating ability. From Tools of Destruction onward, the Swingshot returns in the form of a blue and orange glove, but is functionally the same energy beam from Deadlocked.
  • Grind Boots: This pair of red boots is the Trope Namer. In the original game, Ratchet needs to buy them from Fred on the Blarg Tactical Station; from then on, they appear in most of the games, and are one of the few things in the series to (usually) not be affected by Bag of Spilling.
  • Harmless Freezing:
    • Enemies in Deadlocked frozen with the Freeze Mod will break out and continue fighting if left unattended.
    • In A Crack in Time, the Cryomine glove can freeze enemies and you can visibly see icicles forming on their bodies. However, this weapon easily deals the least amount of damage of all weapons in the game. (Even the Groovitron deals damage when fully upgraded.)
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Ratchet gets one after Qwark tries to kill him in the first game. He's eventually pulled out of it by the realization that if he doesn't stop Chairman Drek, no one will.
    • Ratchet also suffers from this after the events of A Crack in Time, which is explored in the comics but isn't fully resolved until the end of All 4 One.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Alister Azimuth at the end of A Crack in Time. See Redemption Equals Death down below.
    • Ratchet makes one prior to the fight with Tachyon in Tools of Destruction, albeit without his death — Tachyon opens a portal with the Dimensionator to the Lombaxes' current location and tells Ratchet that he can stay and die, or go through the portal and meet the rest of his species. Ratchet stays, knowing that Tachyon will just kill his friends once he's through the portal and that he can't trust Tachyon not to come after him and kill the rest of the Lombaxes later.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ratchet and Clank.
  • Hollywood Board Games: Tools of Destruction parodied Battleship with the "You Sank My Battleship" skill point. You earn it when you destroy (sink) 3 of the battleships in the Rakar Star Cluster by shooting them with a blue orb.
  • Homing Projectile: Multiple throughout the series.
    • Since the first game lacked strafing, Insomniac made up for it by giving some of the weapons really strong homing. The Blaster's bullets will almost always hit as long as the enemy has the green targeting circle on them, and the best way to use the Devastator is to fire it in the general direction of the enemies.
    • In Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal, any weapon with a Lock-On mod can do this.
    • In Deadlocked, the main gimmick of the Hunter Mine Launcher is that you can leave mines around, and said mines will home in on any enemy that steps into their range.
    • In Tools of Destruction, the Predator Launcher lets you lock on missiles that fire as soon as you let go of the fire button.
    • The Cryomines in A Crack in Time behave in the same way as the Hunter Mine Launcher mines, except they freeze enemies instead of blowing them up.
    • An upgrade for the Warmonger/Peacemaker in Into the Nexus and R&C '16 allows the missiles to do this.
  • Hover Skates: Ratchet uses a pair of hoverboots to speed around and jump off ramps in A Crack in Time, Full Frontal Assault, Into the Nexus and Rift Apart. Considering they were a Lombax invention, with the A Crack in Time pair belonging to Ratchet's father, they have become almost as associated with the series as Lombaxes and the Omniwrench.
  • Human Aliens:
    • Captain Qwark looks like a normal human... until you look at his hands and find he only has three fingers instead of five.
    • The Markazian species (which characters like Talwyn Apogee from Tools of Destruction and Cora Veralux from the 2016 movie are) look very similar to humans and are only differentiated by their pointed ears, dotted skin and tails.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal
    • Lampshaded in many battle arenas where the announcer asks how Ratchet can carry all his weapons.
    • It gets explained in the movie: the weapons are stored in a locker in the Galactic Ranger base, and Ratchet's Galactic Ranger suit comes with a "telequipper" that can teleport the weapons from that locker to him.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Doctor Nefarious came about in the third game, Up Your Arsenal, yet he's since become the series' most recognizable villain, even being made playable in All 4 One alongside series mainstays Captain Qwark and the titular duo. Thus far he's appeared or been mentioned in eight games.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: The games are even hyped on this trope, where many fans are as excited to see what cool new weapons will be features as much as any story element or gameplay mechanic.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The Chopper from Going Commando. It's a shuriken gun that costs only 5,000 bolts, basically chump change, that can be bought really early in the game. The shuriken that it fires then will do loop-do-loops, phase out of reality, go through map geometry, and give any physics teacher a hernia, to hit opponents. After it hits an enemy 3 times (any enemy will do, it's not picky), it disappears. The weapons can even do a complete 180 with no change in speed whatsoever, literally reversing momentum, just to hit the enemy it was tracking. It gets worse when you get the upgrade, which splits into three upon hitting an enemy, and then even worse with Up Your Arsenal's equivalent upgrade, which can split into as many as sixteen, all with equally insane tracking skills.
  • In a World…:
    • An In-Universe example in A Crack in Time. On the radio, you may hear an ad for the holo-film "My Blaster Runs Hot", which uses this phrase twice.
      Narrator: In a world where greed and corruption rule the streets...
      Evil Mastermind Gabriel Von Cabindish (played by Captain Romulus Slag): Ahoy there, young scalywags! This be a holdup! Nobody moves, and nobody gets hurt!
      Narrator: ...where lawlessness and chaos have seeped into every fiber of our society...
      Woman: My baby! Someone stole my baby!
      Narrator: a world where people steal babies, one man has the courage to stand up for what's right.
    • Satirized at the start of the movie trailer:
      Narrator: In a world...
      Chairman Drek: Commence deplanetisation!
      -bad guys blow up the world the narrator was about to talk about-
      Narrator: <sigh> In another world...
  • Inconsistent Spelling:
    • In A Crack in Time, at one point, the Blarg get mentioned, but an extra "A" has been added to their name.
    • The famous hoverboarder and member of the Q-Force is either named "Skid McMarx", "Skidd McMarxx" or "Skidd McMarx".
    • Speaking of the Q-Force, that was their name in Up Your Arsenal, but in Full Frontal Assault, the team name became the "QForce" (notice the lack of a dash).
  • Industrial World:
    • Some of the worlds Ratchet and Clank visit are such, especially if said world is owned by Gadgetron or Megacorp.
    • In the original game, Orxon, the Blarg's homeworld had become so polluted, its atmosphere has become too toxic for most organic species.
  • Inevitable Tournament: Every game from Going Commando onwards features at least one, including the entirety of Deadlocked. They tend to award new weapons, armor, and of course bolts for prize money.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Since Tools of Destruction, Cronk and Zephyr seem to have dubbed Ratchet "Rookie". Occasionally, they'll shorten it to "Rook".
    • Bordering on Affectionate Nickname, Ratchet's been fond of calling Clank "Pal" instead of saying his name for a long time, now. The affectionate part becomes rather obvious in A Crack in Time.
      Ratchet: You think I'd leave my best pal out here alone?
    • The Zurkons seem to have adopted "(Measly) Furball" for Ratchet. Most of the villains usually go with "furball".
    • Inversely, a Running Gag in the movie universe is that nobody knows what species Ratchet is, often guessing something else like a squirrel. This is because Lombaxes being from the Polaris galaxy was retroactively applied to his first adventure in the Solana galaxy, where logically nobody would have heard of them.
  • Interspecies Romance: All of Ratchet's love interests except Angela (although he only showed interest in one) plus Qwark mating with a one-eyed monkey.
  • Involuntary Dance: The Groovitron.
  • It's a Small World, After All: Most of the time, when you go to a planet, you just go to one area, and the entire rest of the planet is ignored. This is somewhat lampshaded in some games, as a few of them give you a "planet - location" name in the planet selection screen, like "Planet Kerwan - Metropolis". Partially excused in that you are usually visiting a specific location on that planet for a defined story reason.
  • Joke Item: Though unintentionally so, most of the recurring Ratchet & Clank weapons in Going Commando certainly qualify, if only for the fact that they're so freaking useless. It seems that Insomniac forgot to scale their power with the new weapons, so what you've basically got is a Visibomb Gun, a weapon that could take out almost any non-boss, including tanks and dropships, in a single hit in the first game, that takes at least two shots to down a medium-powered Mook in the second game. As a result, the only returning weapon that has any use at all is the Decoy Glove, since it's the only one that was never intended to be used offensively in the first place (where it will promptly last five seconds because its health wasn't adjusted either). Up Your Arsenal takes it in the opposite direction by making the recurring weapons from Going Commando extremely overpowered and also allowing them to upgrade the same way as the others.
  • Kent Brockman News: Darla Gratch of Channel 64 News in the first three games, Dallas and Juanita in Deadlocked, Kip Darling and Pepper Fairbanks in A Crack in Time.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Ratchet himself could qualify, as he's a cute little furry cat... thing with a very, very, big arsenal.
    • The Protopets from Going Commando are another example, considering they're basically carnivorous, foul tempered tribbles.
    • Also from Going Commando, the prototype for the Protopet, the Gadgetron Hound of Cuddly Death.
  • Large Ham: In pretty much any scene with Dr. Nefarious in it, expect there to be a lot of scenery chewing. Lord Vorselon in A Crack in Time has his moments as well.
    Clank: "Is (Vorselon) always this dramatic?"
    Ratchet: "Yeah, it's kinda his schtick."
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Captain Qwark.
  • Laughably Evil: Dr. Nefarious is this in spades. Every time he gets hammy, he'll likely overload and play a soap opera until one big knock to his head gets him back into consciousness.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: The Lava Gun in the second and third games.
  • Lethal Joke Weapon: Almost every game has a weapon that turns enemies into animals. They have fairly short range, are slow, and only one enemy can be targeted at the time. However, their speed and range increase as the gun levels up, the morphed targets start dealing damage to other enemies a few upgrades in, and the gun (usually) doesn't consume ammo - at max level, they can even outdo their peers in damage output without costing a dime after the initial purchase. The only downside across most of the games is that they don't work on bosses, but for bolt grinding they are more than ideal.
  • Level in Reverse: The "mirrored level" cheat that appears in most games, which reflects the level across the Y-axis. There have also been a few times where Ratchet has to escape a ship he just fought through as it blows up, like the Blarg Warship in the first game and the Leviathan in the third.
  • Level-Map Display: All the games have a map that you can look at, typically accessed with the Select button. Each game also has a Map-O-Matic/Mapper gadget you can find, which makes said map also show secret areas.
  • Lighter and Softer: After the increasing action and innuendo focus in the PS2 games, Tools of Destruction walked things back to a more Disney/Dreamworks mix, with a stronger focus on characterization and a more exagerrated and saturated art direction, which the series has remained at ever since.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: The early games had several live-action ads of people testing real-life versions of the weapons from the games. Each ad involved the weapon working surprisingly well at first... and then little too well.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The RYNO.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Present in all the games, although especially absurd in Secret Agent Clank.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Mostly in the PS2 games, wherein Ratchet occasionally had a bit of jerk to go with his heart of gold, but especially the original after Qwark double-crossed him and he vented his anger on Clank. Around the PS3 era, he started to be played more as a traditional hero, particularly in making it his life goal over just "making it big".
  • Medium Awareness:
    • In Going Commando, after Ratchet and Clank fail to catch up with the thief again, they take a few seconds to wonder why they're always late. They both proceed to look at the player accusingly.
    • After slightly denting the Fourth Wall on a couple of prior occasions (like saying he'd see the duo in a year or so, referring to the game's release schedule), the Plumber really presses against it in Tools of Destruction, as he "almost didn't recognize [Ratchet and Clank] in high-def". This refers to the fact that the Plumber was wearing glasses (which he had never worn before), but also to the fact that Tools is the first RAC game on the HD-capable PlayStation 3.
    • Captain Slag further demolishes it in Quest For Booty, accusing Ratchet of unplugging his controller during the recap of their boss fight in the previous game. Rusty Pete says Ratchet beat Slag "After several lucky shots and a few cheat codes..."
    • Klunk also yells at Clank saying "No fair, you cheated!" when you beat him.
    • Dr. Nefarious gets a good one in A Crack in Time: Initiate super-wavy flashback effect!
  • Metamorphosis: A series of commercials for the series showed weapons from the games being used in real life in a Jackass inspired way. Many of these included involuntary one-way transformations, where one guy gets turned into a chicken despite protesting, a few friends turn one of their mum's into a sheep by accident and two guys transform one of their friend's girlfriend into a cow just to mock him.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Qwark.
  • Money Is Experience Points: Bolts are typically used to buy and upgrade weapons. You could also use bolts to refill health and ammo, but that was usually for a pitiful amount.
  • Money Multiplier:
    • Every game that has Challenge Mode. Originally just "Bolts have 2x the value" in the first game, and changed to a multiplier that increases as you kill enemies in every game after that, all the way up to 20 for most games.
    • Up Your Arsenal and Tools of Destruction have crates that, when broken will give the player 2x the bolts for a limited time (and this will also multiply your multiplier in Challenge Mode). All 4 One also has these crates, but they only give the player who broke it the bonus, and also let them break crates by merely being near them.
  • Monster Arena: From the second game onwards, there's at least one arena where you face off against waves of enemies, sometimes with special conditions attached. They include the Gladiator Games and Megacorp Games in Going Commando, Annihilation Nation in Up Your Arsenal, the entire fricking game in Deadlocked, the Imperial Fight Festival in Tools of Destruction, Ratchet's segments in Secret Agent Clank, the Battleplex in A Crack in Time, the Destructapalooza in Into the Nexus and Zurkie's Battleplex in Rift Apart.
  • More Dakka: And then some.
  • Motif: There have been three games where someone wants to bring their species back (and if you count Rusty Pete and the pirates in Quest for Booty, you could even say four).
  • The Musketeer: Ratchet wields his trusty Omniwrench on top of his Hyperspace Arsenal. It's quite useful early in the game, though it gets less and less relevant as things progress. Although the boxes may disagree!
    • Due to the way the hit points system operated in the first game, it was possible - though sometimes difficult - to progress through the whole game using only the wrench. In later installments, it receives a number of upgrades to ensure that it remains useful for puzzle-solving even after it becomes redundant as a weapon. To this day, a speedrunning type for Ratchet games is beating it with only the wrench, called Wrench Ninja runs after two skill points from the second game.
  • Name and Name: Ratchet the Lombax and his Robot Buddy Clank.
  • Nanomachines: Used as health and healing items, as well as what upgrades your health and weapons.
  • New Game Plus: Exists in every game except Quest for Booty, All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault - you keep all weapons, bolts, and some gadgets and items, but lose everything else. From Going Commando onwards it's known as Challenge Mode and features a few more twists - the enemies are tougher, it's easier to score higher numbers of bolts, and you can purchase further upgrades for your weapons.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zombie robots, zombie robot ghosts, ninja robots, zombie ninja robots, lawn ninjas, robot pirates, robot pirate ghosts — the list goes on.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Courtney Gears is a parody of Britney Spears.
  • No Indoor Voice: Dr. Nefarious neatly combines this with Large Ham.
  • No Scope: The fandom calls it "hip-sniping", and the series has gone from allowing it to forcing a defiance of the trope. Going Commando's Pulse Rifle, Up Your Arsenal's Flux Rifle, and Deadlocked's Fusion Rifle are all snipers that can be used just as effectively, if not more so at close range than at regular sniping distance. Then Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters has the Sniper Mine, which for some reason is more powerful when zoomed in further (complete with a gauge to show shot power that increases with zoom). This encourages the player to use the scope properly to snipe at long distances, since shooting short ranged targets while zoomed is difficult and the power of no-scoping is Nerfed. A Crack in Time, Into the Nexus, and Ratchet & Clank (2016) attempt to defy this with the Plasma Striker, a sniper whose scope shows enemy weak points, while going for no-scopes does less damage, forcing you to try and use the sniper as a sniper instead of a slow-firing One-Hit Polykill pistol.
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • In Going Commando, there's a Gadgetron vendor on Barlow that has the Bomb Glove, Walloper, Tesla Claw, Visibomb Gun, and Decoy Glove. Having a save from the first game in which Ratchet has one of the aforementioned weapons acquired will allow you to get whichever weapons that save had for free.
    • Up Your Arsenal has two: on Aquatos, you run into Slim Cognito, who will get 5 Megacorp weapons over the course of the game: the Miniturret Glove, the Lava Gun, the Bouncer, the Plasma Coil, and the Shield Charger, in that order. As in Going Commando, having a save with any of those weapons will let you get them for free when they're available. In addition, you'll receive a 10% discount on Gadgetron weapons if you have a save from the original Ratchet & Clank that is placed after the completion of the Hoverboard race on Kalebo III, and having any save from the first game will reward you with Ratchet's Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal appearance from the first game as a skin.
    • In A Crack In Time, the Buzz Blades, Mag-Net Launcher, Mr. Zurkon, and Groovitron Glove will be discounted if you have a Tools of Destruction save, and you'll get a skin of Ratchet in his current armor plus a pirate hat if you have a Quest for Booty save (often used as a hack to show Ratchet's face in the final armour, which otherwise covers his entire body).
  • One-Man Army: Ratchet regularly mows down enemies in numbers upwards of 50 or more on every planet he visits, with only his weapons, armor, and a little platforming assistance from Clank.
  • On-Site Procurement: A few games have had Ratchet find weapons and items just laying around.
    • In the original game, he finds the Hydrodisplacer on the BTS, the Suck Cannon on Eudora, the Magneboots on Orxon, and the Morph-O-Ray on Oltanis.
    • In Going Commando, the Sheepinator is hanging around on Todano.
    • In Up Your Arsenal, the Charge Boots are floating on Daxx and the Refractor is found on Marcadia, right before a section where you need to use it.
    • Repeatedly enforced in Full Frontal Assault: while the weapon upgrades carry over each time, every time you start a level you have to seek them out first before you can use them.
  • Out of Focus: Applies to some of Ratchet and Clank's allies during the PS2 era, many of which haven't appeared since Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal.
    • This is especially notable with Talwyn, who was a prominent role in Tools of Destruction and teased as Ratchet's girlfriend, but has since been put in the background in favour of other character stories like Azimuth and Rivet. Her most prominent appearances were in the 2010 comic book, and in most of the scenes in Into the Nexus (where she doesn't appear in person until the very end).
  • Pass Through the Rings:
    • Going Commando has space races where you have to do this, and not missing any will get you a Platinum Bolt. These missions are completely optional.
    • Deadlocked has multiple side missions where you have to do this, in the Puma, Hovership, and Hoverbike.
    • Tools of Destruction has sections where you use the Robo-Wings. The first time at least, because after successfully completing the ring passing, you're free to fly around the entire level. Also applies to the Aphelion sections to regain health, as a nod to the Starfox inspiration her sequences have.
  • Planet of Hats: Most alien races seem to be homogenized groups who all do one particular thing. Terachnoids are brainy geeks, Grummels are merchants, even Lombaxes themselves are all inventors.
  • Planetville: Per the trope, all planets are treated as individual locations despite their enormous size. For example, the planet Pokitaru is known for the tropical Jowai Resort and absolutely nothing else. Notably, in the original Ratchet game the planets were sometimes referred to as being in a single solar system rather than an entire galaxy.
    • Averted however with All 4 One, the only Ratchet game to date set entirely on a single planet: Magnus, while still having the usual amount of biome diversity to be expected in a Ratchet game.
  • Power-Up Magnet: Some games have an upgrade that increases the range at which you pick up bolts. It's almost required in the first game, as bolts aren't gold with a yellow shine and thus are much harder to see and pick up.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Ratchet's "There are. No. TECHNOMITES!!" in Size Matters when they come across a so-called Technomite artifact.
    • And in Deadlocked when you're battling Vox, at one point Dallas says to Juanita, "Don't pretend that you care...YOU...NEVER...CARED!"
  • Punny Name: Slim Cognito, Otto Destruct.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The RYNO in every game it appears in. In each game it varies from firing a cluster of powerful missles or rapid-firing missiles, but it's always capable of putting many enemies down very quickly.
  • Real-Time Weapon Change: When the "Quick Select" menu is not set to pause when using. Can also be done by double-tapping the Triangle button to swap back to the weapon you were previously using. In Up Your Arsenal, this became the Tri-Select that let you tap Triangle to cycle between the last three'' weapons you were using.
  • Recurring Element: The guns Ratchet generally begins with are something pistol-related and something bomb-related. If he doesn't start with them, you can bet your bottom bolt that both of the weapon types will be obtainable very early on in the game. And while the franchse is well-known for its wide array of weapon types, many of them have been series staples since at least the second game, including a rapid-fire pistol, a shotgun, a bomb lobber, a rocket launcher, a morpher, a defense drone, and a superweapon.
    • The first Ratchet & Clank has him begin with the explosive-chucking Bomb Glove, while the machine-pistol Blaster becomes available for sale at 2500 bolts on Kerwan.
    • In Going Commando, Ratchet begins with the machine-pistol Lancer and the grenade launcher Gravity Bomb.
    • The first weapon Ratchet receives in Up Your Arsenal is the shotgun-like Shock Blaster. However, the second weapon he gets is the Nitro Launcher, a grenade launcher, while the machine-pistol N60 Storm becomes available for sale at 15000 bolts (13500 with a RAC1 save) on Florana, the very first level after the tutorial.
    • In Deadlocked, Ratchet begins with the machine-pistol pair Dual Vipers and the shotgun Magma Cannon. The grenade-launching B6-Obliterator is available to buy for 15000 bolts after completing the Marauder Tournament, the game's tutorial.
    • In Size Matters, Ratchet begins with the plasma pistol Lacerator and the corrosive Acid Bomb Glove.
    • Tools of Destruction starts Ratchet with the fireball pistol Combuster and the timed explosive Fusion Grenade. These two are also among the weapons Ratchet begins with in Quest for Booty, and although he loses all his guns after the opening, the Combuster and Fusion Grenade are the first two he recovers.
    • Ratchet begins A Crack in Time with the Constructo Pistol, while the Constructo Bomb is available to buy for 1000 bolts in Zolar Forest, the first level Ratchet plays.
    • In All 4 One, the quartet first gets Combusters for free from a weapon vendor in Luminopolis thanks to Qwark's Friendship Through Firepower Initiative. Later in the same level, the next vendor that appears sells the Plasmabomb Launcher for the dirt-cheap price of 500 bolts.
    • Full Frontal Assault is one of few games to avert this; the initial weapon pod at each Q-Force base provides a choice of the Combuster or rapid-fire Buzz Blades (once unlocked), but only the Heavy Weapon Pods in each level will reward the Plasmabomb Launcher (or the Warmonger). Of course, little is stopping you from invoking the order anyway.
    • Into the Nexus begins Ratchet with the pistol-like Omniblaster. The Fusion Grenade is collected halfway through the Nebulox 7 tutorial level.
    • In the PS4 Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet is required to buy the Fusion Grenade during the Galactic Ranger tryouts at the start of the game, while the Combuster is collected from a discarded crate in the first section of Ratchet gameplay after the initial Clank section on Quartu.
  • Recurring Traveller: The Plumber, lampshaded in the fourth game where he doesn't show up and is mentioned in the credits as such. A lesser example would be The Smuggler, who appears in all three of the "Future" games, and Into the Nexus, which is an epilogue to them.
  • Recycled Title: "Ratchet & Clank" has been the title of a 2002 video game, a comic series, a 2016 movie based on the 2002 video game, and a 2016 game related to the 2016 movie based on the 2002 game.
  • Ret-Canon: The 2016 movie / game compared to the 2002 original they're based on. Aspects like Megacorp, GrummelNet, the Solana Galaxy, and several species appear in this title instead of much later like in the original run of games. Notably, Ratchet being the last Lombax is directly highlighted a few times, compared to the originals where nobody seemed to care until Tachyon brought it up.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Almost everything can be smashed. Smashing almost anything gives you at least a few bolts. This means that randomly tossing explosives at scenery can result in profit. In some cases, there are skill points awarded for breaking stuff!
    • Just the opposite in the Great Clock, where you fix broken things.
    • Lampshaded in Ratchet & Clank (2016).
      Narrator Captain Qwark: The Lombax displayed a flagrant disregard for public property. Look at him, smashing crates, hrmph! The hubris!
      Shiv Helix: Maybe he was just saving up bolts so he could buy a new weapon to protect the galaxy with!
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Where to begin? Nearly every robot you meet will be humanoid in some fashion. If they're not, they're almost always non-sentient.
  • Robot Buddy: Clank.
  • RPG Elements: From the second game onwards, you and your weapons gain experience and level up, gaining more health and power in the process. In-Universe, it's justified as Nanotech, the technology behind your health meter and your weapons, which are used by everybody. When you kill enemies, you absorb their nanomites, powering up both you and your weapon.
  • Running Gag:
    • Several, such as "No <animals of the game> were harmed in the making of this game." (usually that game's morph weapon animal), a variation of the Morph-o-ray and R.Y.N.O. in (almost) every game, the inclusion of Dan Johnson (before it became out of respect), Dr. Nefarious malfunctioning, Dr. Nefarious yelling someone's name (usually Lawrence or Qwark), Qwark's crudely drawn "plans," et cetera.
    • The "No <animals of the game> were harmed" message takes it even further, being a gag in the credits for the original Spyro trilogy before Ratchet and Clank!
    • Captain Slag has a tendency to introduce himself as "Captain Slag, [intimidating title], and [much less intimidating title]!" For example, at the Rakar Star Cluster in Tools of Destruction, Slag dubs himself the Scourge of Polaris, as well as runner-up in a butterscotch-making competition.
    • The Great Clock is located in the exact center of the universe!...give or take fifty feet.
    • Attention is only called to it once — by Nefarious — but the series has a habit of stranding characters on asteroids in the middle of space. Nefarious and Lawrence in UYA (shown again in Deadlocked and referenced in ACiT), Tachyon in ToD, Qwark at the end of ACiT, and then Artemis Zogg at the end of the comic series, on the same asteroid as Tachyon, no less. Technically, it's happened to Ratchet and Clank, too, via the "Super Ironic Death Scenario" in A Crack in Time.
  • Sawn-Off Shotgun/Short-Range Shotgun: The double barrel mod in A Crack In Time turns your Constructo Shotgun into this, doubling the spread at the cost of range. The Choke Barrel does the opposite.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • Each planet in the series begins with the camera positioned to make a striking tableau of the starting area.
    • The very first trailer for Tools of Destruction was nothing more than the camera showing off HD, PS3-era Metropolis before panning to show the Ratchet & Clank logo on a blimp. The second trailer directly lampshades it with Captain Qwark boasting about the game's high-definition detail.
  • Serial Escalation:
    • Each game in the PS2 era focused more and more on the action with more explosive weaponry, until you get to Deadlocked which featured almost no platforming and whose levels were based on the online multiplayer maps rather than the other way around. They also go progressively cruder, until Up Your Arsenal had very balant sexual humor and Deadlocked featured bleeped swears in the United Kingdom release. This was corrected by Tools of Destruction and has remained consistent ever since.
    • In the original name, Chairman Drek added a new word to his official title as the story goes on, until by the end of the game an ad calls him "Ultimate Supreme Executive Chairman Drek".
  • Servile Snarker: Lawrence, full-on. He takes Nefarious' crap with stride and passive-aggressiveness.
  • Sharing a Body: Captain Slag and Captain Darkwater in Quest For Booty.
  • Shout-Out: It has its own page.
  • Show Within a Show: Or rather, within a game.
    • Secret Agent Clank, which plays a large role in Up Your Arsenal and fools many characters into thinking Clank is actually a secret agent, including Dr. Nefarious and the President of Solana.
    • On a meta level, the Secret Agent Clank PSP game, which is described in Tools of Destruction as an "upcoming episode" of the show, making it a defictionalized Game Within A Game.
    • And DreadZone from Deadlocked, of course.
    • There are dozens of others mentioned in dialogue, and many commercials for these shows are used to introduce new planets via Infobots and telescreens.
  • Signature Laugh: Clank has a Scooby-Doo-like laugh throughout the series.
  • Single-Biome Planet:
    • Most planets that you visit only have one area you go to, and the theme of that one area appears to be the entire planet.
    • All 4 One averts this with Magnus, where the majority of the game takes place; every area has a different theme, ranging from caves, to a facility built into a mountain range, to a port town.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Almost all levels are at a consistent "Level 3.5" on the scale, usually being made up of a starting area with 2-3 routes to explore that are themselves linear. There are a few exceptions:
    • Starting with Going Commando, "mining sandboxes" were introduced, huge wide-open levels filled with enemies and valuable crystals to collect and trade in for cash. These have tended to feature in every mainline game.
    • "Quest for Booty" gave us Hoolefar Island, which is a sandbox made up of linear criss-crossing paths, like a bowl of spaghetti. This template proved so popular it was brought back for Krell Canyon in A Crack in Time.
    • A Crack in Time also features space sectors, with lots of open space to fly around, get into dogfights, and land on tiny moons you can walk around.
  • Smart Bomb: There are a few examples of this.
  • Soap Within a Show: "Lance & Janice", which Dr. Nefarious is prone to broadcasting when he breaks down.
  • Space Fighter: Ratchet has had a couple of these:
    • The Blarg Fighter from the end of the first game certainly has the appearance of one, but a different fighter is used for the starfighter segments on Pokitaru and Veldin Orbit.
    • The Star Explorer from Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal (although it didn't really fight in the latter game).
    • The Aphelion appeared in every PS3 game, but it only fought in Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time.
    • The Star Jumpers used by the Galactic Rangers in the 2016 game / movie is also capable of space battles, as shown during the Deplanetizer assault halfway in.
  • Space Mask: The O2 mask is equally useful underwater and in open space. Whether it includes an eye shield varies from game to game but it never covers more than Ratchet's face.
  • Space Opera: Especially in later games, where the technology is often a driving plot device but is used for character drama and development. For example, in Going Commando game the plot was about stopping an invasion of self-duplicating pets. In Tools of Destruction it's Ratchet trying to find the Lombax Secret while grappling with whether he wants to use it to return to his race.
  • Spread Shot: A fixture of the series is weapons that shoot more shots for the price of one when upgraded, making them more potent, especially in the enemy's face.
    • Going Commando has the Seeker Gun, which shoots three missiles (one on each side of the middle missile) when upgraded to the HK22 Gun, and the Hoverbomb Gun, which shoots five bombs in a spread cluster in its Tetrabomb Gun upgrade.
    • Deadlocked brings the Arbiter, which when upgraded to the Silencer fires three missiles when fired, with each one moving at a diagonal angle on each side of the center missile.
    • Tools of Destruction contains the Combuster (which also appears in Quest for Booty), a fireball-shooting pistol that shoots three shots when upgraded to the Magma Combuster, as well as the Negotiator's upgrade, the Judicator, which shoots three rockets.
    • A Crack in Time has the Judicator's return, as well as the Spiral of Death's upgrade, the Spiral of Carnage, which shoots three sawblades; this is a lesser example as the blades don't always spread out to hit other targets and might even group up on the same one.
    • Full Frontal Assault has the return of the Combuster, which shoots three shots once upgraded to the Alpha Combuster at Level 3, as well as the Alpha Warmonger which fires a cluster of rockets.
    • Ratchet & Clank (2016) sees the return of the Combuster and its triple shot once again; this time, a Raritanium upgrade unlocked when you upgrade to the Omega Magmabuster in Challenge Mode allows you to increase the projectiles per shot to five.
  • Squishy Wizard: Clank is essentially one in his solo gameplay sequences in the first three games - low HP, physically weak, and needs to rely on special abilities or commandable allies. (Somewhat ironic considering that "squishy" is an in-game nickname/insult for organic lifeforms.)
  • Standard FPS Guns: Along with the crazy stuff like portable black hole launchers and devices that make your enemies dance uncontrollably, Ratchet's weaponry in each game usually includes a wrench, a rapid-fire pistol, a bomb lobber, a rocket launcher, a shotgun, a gun that turns your enemies into animals, and the RYNO — with the occasional sniper rifle or flamethrower thrown in. These guns usually also have their own quirks, such as ricocheting bullets or buckshot that freezes your enemies. And then explodes.
  • Stealth Insult: Pretty much any other line Lawrence has about his boss. It's rare that Nefarious notices these, making them even funnier.
    "If there's anyone equipped to beat an utter moron at his own game, it's you, sir."
    "Even drooling imbeciles can achieve success in certain fields, sir. Mad science, for example."
    "You put the wit in twit, sir."
  • Sticky Shoes: "Gravity boots" that allow Ratchet to walk on magnetized surfaces are a common item throughout the series.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Oh boy, is there ever.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • Captain Qwark's "vid-comics" in Up Your Arsenal, and the "My Blaster Runs Hot" arcade machine in A Crack in Time.
    • Also Captain Qwark's plans, which are always drawn in crayon. In one debreifing, he's still holding one.
    • Averted with the Space Invaders and Asteroids mini-games (with sheep) in Going Commando, which use the same modern graphics and sound effects as the main game despite featuring intentionally retro gameplay.
  • Tempting Fate: The writers love to punish those who tempt fate. Even Qwark managed to catch on by A Crack in Time:
    Qwark: The key to surviving situations like this is to avoid phrases like "It's too quiet in here" or "Everything is going to be alright".
    • Though he goes ahead and does it to himself again later in the game...
    Qwark: It usually results in catastrophe when I say this but, what the hey? Mission Accomplished!
  • Theme-and-Variations Soundtrack: Came into effect in 2009 and has been applied to every game since, including A Crack in Time, All 4 One, Full Frontal Assault, Into the Nexus, the PS4 game / movie and Rift Apart. Each game will introduce their primary (and sometimes only) theme triumphantly at the Main Menu, with reprises and variations of it heard throughout the rest of the game. Bizzarely, the 2016 game has a different main theme from the movie, but both can be heard in the game thanks to its use of clips from the movie.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: About two thirds of every weapon in the series.
  • Third-Person Person: Anyone who is part of the Mr. Zurkon brand of synthenoids will do this in their lines. Expect to hear "Mr. Zurkon", "Mrs. Zurkon", "Little Zurkon", and in the Ratchet & Clank '16 movie, "Evil Zurkon".
  • Time Police: The Zoni, to some degree. They can see the future, and take steps to assist Clank in surviving the conflict with Tachyon.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Qwark. This has impeded him in small spaces more than once.
  • Tornado Move: In Tools of Destruction one of the weapons is called the Tornado Launcher, a controllable tornado that sucks in any enemy and debris in its path.
  • Totally Radical: Skidd McMarxx personifies this trope - his ship is even called the Solarship Radical.
  • Unobtainium: Raritanium zig-zags this. In the first game, there's only one piece of it in the entire game, but then you can mine for it in Going Commando or get it by shooting enemies down in space. Then Up Your Arsenal and Deadlocked have no important appearance of it (some wrench upgrades are stated to contain Raritanium in the latter). Then Tools of Destruction and Into the Nexus have it and it's used to upgrade your weapons, but it's... well, rare, and you won't be upgrading too much... until Challenge Mode, where you'll probably be drowning in the stuff. In the meantime, All 4 One, Full Frontal Assault, Into the Nexus, and R&C 2016 all have the Warmonger, a rocket launcher whose rockets are stated to be tipped with Raritanium.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Many times throughout the series, we find out about Qwark's latest endeavors via animations scripted and narrated by Qwark himself — needless to say, there's very little truth in Qwark's own words, though the accompanying images usually show the true story, if not exposed by Qwark's Blatant Lies.
  • Video Game Achievements: The Skill Points, acquired by performing certain feats in the game, kind of like an ancestor of the Trophies − entirely optional challenges with memetic or punny titles. Most of the time the game tells you nothing about them until you actually do them; only Deadlocked, All 4 One, Full Frontal Assault and Into the Nexus give you the requirements beforehand.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Although they've been getting better with each subsequent game.
    • The Pyrocitor in the first game is actually an aversion of this trope... at the start of the game. Since most enemies are weak anklebiters with pathetic range early game and your weapon choices are limited, the Pyrocitor is a rather effective way at spewing your own "Instant Death" Radius. Unfortunately, enemy health and range grows throughout the game, and the later weapons that you can buy leave the Pyrocitor in the dust... unless you come across another swarm of anklebiters again.
    • The Lava Gun in Going Commando acts like a real-life flamethrower, and is consequently quite effective. Unfortunately, it upgrades into the much less useful Meteor Gun (which can be semi-fixed with the Lock-On upgrade). Up Your Arsenal fixes this, upgrading it into the Liquid Nitrogen Gun, an even more powerful colour-swapped version.
    • The Pyroblaster in Tools of Destruction functions just like the Pyrocitor... but does so much damage you won't care.
    • The 2016 game's Pyrocitor is pretty good too. While the original game's Pyrocitor was a rather average crowd control weapon, it's presented as a much more powerful weapon in this game, and both the length and width of its flames can be upgraded substantially.
    • The Scorcher in "Size Matters" starts out similar to the Pyrocitor, but once you level it up enough, it becomes the Incinerator and gets a dramatically increased range and power boost, and you can make it even more powerful with the Sunflare and Spitfire mods.
  • Video Game Flight
    • Going Commando:
      • The Glider, found on Tabora, lets you glide forever — but again, it's only used in certain locations, and it can't be used to fly upwards unless you want to stall and crash.
    • On Joba you can buy the Levitator, which allows you to fly for a limited time after getting fuel from certain pads. The fuel is fairly limited, so the item's use is limited to reaching places nearby that are across a chasm or very high up.
    • In Tools of Destruction, the Robo-Wings let you fly anywhere without hindrance, but they're only used in a few stages, and even then you can usually only use them after you've already cleared most of the area.
    • Clank's Jetpack attachment in Into The Nexus allows you to fly infinitely as long as you have fuel, which you must restock. Notably, you're able to fire while using it, allowing for kickass dogfight segments. Said jetpack also appears in the PS4 game.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dr. Nefarious is prone to literal breakdowns. Whenever he gets too angry or excited, his robotic brain overheats, causing him to seize up and begin broadcasting soap operas. It takes a hard whack to the head (usually courtesy of Lawrence) to get him back to normal.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Your enemies seem to have a large number of hobbies. For example, Dr. Nefarious — when not plotting organic genocide or universal domination — obsessively watches Secret Agent Clank, plays video games, rehearses his epic romantic action comedy space opera, calls in to radio shows to bitch about the season finale of his favorite soap opera, and hooks up with the leader of a robotic Amazon Brigade.
  • Weapons That Suck:
    • The Suck Cannon in the first game, Up Your Arsenal, and Size Matters. It can eat small anklebiter-like enemies, and in the latter 2 games, every type of crate, and fire them at enemies.
    • The Rift Inducer in the third game summons some sort of hole in the air that can eat enemies. (A Crack in Time's Rift Inducer 5000 is a subversion, since that weapon instead opens a portal for an Eldritch Abomination to grab enemies.)
    • "All 4 One" has the Vac-U, which - although mostly intended for puzzle solving - can be used to suck up small enemies and shoot them at other enemies, or project an ally high into the air for a powerful dive attack.
    • The Vortex Grenade in Into the Nexus pulls enemies into the vortex it summons so they get stuck.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • Captain Qwark is spelt with a W thanks to the existence of Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (who is ironically played by Armin Shimerman, who voices Dr. Nefarious, Captain Qwark's archnemesis). This has sometimes caused folks to spell it as "Quark", which is a real-world subatomic particle.
    • Apparnetly, the spelling of "Thyrranoids" was also for this reason.
  • You Don't Look Like You: The Hoverboots underwent a drastic redesign between A Crack in Time and Full Frontal Assault. This is what they look like in the former game, and this is what they look like in the latter. The same thing happened to Aphelion between All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault.

TV Tropes, one of many weapons and gadgets not fit for this world.


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Alternative Title(s): Ratchet And Clank


10,000 Bolts Required

Lampshaded in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, where the titular duo is required to obtain 10,000 bolts in order to progress through the story. This was eventually phased out in future entries of the series.

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