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Video Game / Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

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"For the sake of our own survival... and for drama... we must set aside our petty squabbles and act as a singular unit!"
Captain Qwark

Copernicus Qwark's Awesomely Epic 3D Adventure Through Time & Space (co-starring, but not important in any way, Ratchet and Clank), also known by the less popular name Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, is the series' second foray into the world of co-op gameplay and the first to focus on it, set after the comic book series and the Future trilogy.

Nefarious, eager to stir up trouble again, baits Galactic President Qwark out under the premise of an award ceremony where he will receive a 'Tool of Justice Award'. Qwark, being Qwark, drags Ratchet and Clank along with him. Eventually, Nefarious's plan to unleash a Light Eating Z'Grute goes pear-shaped as it draws the attention of the Creature Collector, which captures the four playable characters and strands them on planet Magnus.

All 4 One was not as critically adored as the past Ratchet & Clank titles, although the reviews were mostly positive: it has a score of only 70 on Metacritic, compared to 87 for A Crack in Time. Many of the criticisms were toward the predictable and bland storyline, the auto-camera, and the focus on multiplayer, offline and online.

Perhaps using these tropes for good will yield better results:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Difficult to say where this falls into this trope. Apparently, Ratchet and Clank are still retired throughout the game... but it doesn't seem like much of a retirement. By the ending, Ratchet comments on how it didn't exactly work out and the both of them agree that they prefer hero work. Still, they claimed to be retired throughout two separate adventures...
  • Abandoned Laboratory:
    • Not of the standard variety. There are several of Dr. Croid's labs scattered throughout the levels and, if you have enough creatures, you can enter them and complete challenges for RYNO parts.
    • The Exploratorium Power Station may count, as well.
  • All Myths Are True: The fairy tale about the Loki and the Cragmite hero.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Loki. Interestingly, the Big Bad goes on to subvert this where the Cragmites are concerned. During the final battle, he even laments the fact that they're gone. He wanted to take revenge on them for the Cragmite hero who sealed the Loki away in the first place.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The egg-shaped objects are actually journal entries from Dr. Croid.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: Downplayed. While the aesthetic is the same, the art style looks much more simplified than previous games, altering the protagonists' portions to look "rounder" (Ratchet's facial features, Qwark's general body), thinning or shortening certain characters (the titular duo themselves, being almost the same height), and color coding the characters a bit more overtly (Nefarious loses a lot of the red color scheme in favor of a purple one, although the player can unlock those colors). This artstyle would see use in most of the later games, up until the 2016 reimagining.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The RYNO VI. It's got a high rate of fire and does insane damage...but has an ammo capacity of 12.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Qwark and Nefarious get a moment like this late in the game. Subverted in that Nefarious is insulting Qwark even as the latter is apologizing... and throughout his own apology. Possibly played straight by the very end, when Nefarious is thoughtfully looking at a photo of the group.
    • There's also an instance in the ending cinematic. After the Loki is expelled from the Z'Grute enhanced body of the Grivelnox, he desperately looks for a new host and finds Qwark. Nefarious bats the Loki away from him without any visible hesitation.
    • Becomes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when you look back to to the time Qwark saved Nefarious from falling to his death.
      Nefarious: Why did you save me?
      Qwark: I dunno. You would’ve done the same for me, right?
      Nefarious: Yeaaaaah!
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Turns out that the Big Bad isn't Nevo. It's Mr. Dinkles, who's been using Nevo.
  • BFG: The Warmonger is a rocket launcher that even looks huge in the hands of Qwark, being about three-quarters as long as he is tall.
  • Blatant Lies: Nefarious's trap for the heroes — a ceremony for Qwark to receive the Tool of Justice Award.
  • Book Ends: The entire first level is spent taking down a Z'Grute, and the final boss absorbs a Z'Grute's light-eating powers, possibly even the same one that you fought.
  • Breather Episode: This game's simpler, more light-hearted plot is in contrast to the Cerebus Syndrome of Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time.
  • Brick Joke:
    • The Octonok Bay Tharpod, who gets eaten by the boss of the level and doesn't return until after your team has defeated them.
    • Ratchet comments on how well Dr. Croid seems to be doing, after being reunited with Nevo.
      Ratchet: Well, Dr. Croid seems to be doing better. Still keeps feeding me those treats... but otherwise, he seems surprisingly sane.
    • In the same cutscene, Ratchet proceeds to snatch the bag of treats away from Croid.
  • Bystander Syndrome: There's a short instance of this, right after the group gets free of the Creature Collector. Fortunately, Ratchet decides that (true) retirement can be put off a little while longer.
  • Call-Back: There's an indirect one in one of the later cutscenes, when Susie (whose parents are missing or dead, thanks to Ephemeris) is about to 'lead an assault' on the station. Ratchet immediately seems to get what it's about and convinces her not to continue with the ill-advised attack.
    Ratchet: A few years ago, I'd be doing the same thing. But running into something you're unprepared for isn't going to bring them back.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue:
    • Happens a few times during combat, when characters will take the time to talk. Fairly common when the player characters are Ratchet and Clank.
    • There are also one liners tossed about whenever a certain character achieves (or fails) something. For instance, every now and then you can hear Clank say "My father would be so proud" when he completes something first or kills x enemies. Once in a great while, Ratchet will tease Clank when he dies instead of shouting for him.
  • Censored Title: Originally, it was supposed to be "Ratchet & Clank: 4-Play". This is referenced in the platinum trophy, "4-Play". If "4-Play" failed, Insomniac had also planned "Bros b4 Foes", "Fiends With Benefits" and "Multiple Organisms".
  • Chain Lightning: The Darkstar Fission Tether is a variation in that the lightning doesn't connect between enemies. Instead, it connects to other Darkstar Fission Tethers that are in use.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lawrence, who comes back after his Screw This, I'm Outta Here moment and helps Cronk and Zephyr down onto Magnus.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Each character has a color primarily associated with them, which is used all over the game: Ratchet is orange, Clank is blue, Qwark is green, and Nefarious is purple. For starters, the HUD elements, including the health bar, ammo, and bolt count, are framed by the character's color, and their slots in the Quick Select are filled with the color as well. Each character's Vac-U is also their color, and their exclusive weapons share their colors as well. Other uses include bolts that are collected by a player having an aura of their color surrounding them, ammo pads showing a character's color surrounding the icon if they can collect ammo from that pad, enemies showing a colored reticle around them corresponding to who's attacking them, the Holler Button making a character flash their color, the sprint making a character emit a trail of their color, activation pads for things such as the Cluster Cannon that require all the players to each use one pad turning the color of the players who are actively waiting, and the post-level score recaps having each character's column on the chart in their color.
  • Combination Attack:
    • The Co-Op Overload is a technique that you can use; when multiple players lock on to the same enemy and use the same weapon, they begin to use the weapons faster, and a white circle appears around the lock on reticle that gets larger and turns red the more that your squad attacks the enemy. Once the attack's gone on long enough, the game dramatically slows down as an explosion occurs, usually affecting enemies in a radius around the one targeted. Depending on the weapon, different effects occur; the Combuster causes an explosion, the Critter Strike causes a shockwave that can morph other enemies, and the RYNO VI causes the users to produce a screen-clearing Smart Bomb.
    • The Mortar Toss is a team-powered Ground Pound attack, where one player launches another into the air so that they can slam down from above.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Even after it's become obvious that the Tool of Justice award was a fake, Qwark still thinks it's real fairly late into the game.
    • Then there's Dr. Croid. Oh boy. Turns out that he's not entirely sane, and fancies himself a Lombax Whisperer. This ends as well as one might expect. He translates Ratchet's request for help as "He's hungry".
  • Commuting on a Bus: Cronk and Zephyr make a reappearance.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Some of the throwaway lines during gameplay make nods to earlier installments. Kip Darling makes a comment about Stunderwear, for instance, and then there are a few of the trophies or skill points. ("Upping Your Arsenal" and "Deadlocked and Loaded" stand out, in particular.)
    • The arthropods from Sargasso make a reappearance in Terawatt Forest, too. There are even mentions of creatures whose habitats are scattered throughout Polaris (Reepor, Sargasso, etc)
    • The escape pod used to leave Dr. Croid's lab is the same model used in Tools of Destruction to get from The Hall of Knowledge on Kortog to Fastoon. It, like the pod before it, crashes. Much more spectacularly, though.
    • When the group finds the first holo-journal you can clearly see Body By Qwark sitting in the background. What it was doing in the Deadgrove is anybody's guess...
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Though the game has been specifically designed to be playable with friends or alone.
  • Cover Drop: In the "Memoirs of a Savior" shorts, Qwark declares the title of the game to be Copernicus Qwark's Awesomely Epic 3D Adventure Through Time & Space (co starring, but not important in any way, Ratchet & Clank) before being alerted that the actual title is Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One. However, look on the back of the cover jacket of your game, and you will find an alternate cover with that very title, scribbled awkwardly by Qwark himself.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Ratchet is puzzled by the lack of this when the Plumber makes his appearance. Though it’s later revealed that his hint of the game was about not having advice to defeat Nevo since he wasn’t really the Big Bad or even evil at all.
  • Curse Cut Short: Barely 3 minutes into the game, when a Light Eating Z'Grute siphons the energy from the hovering platform Nefarious and Lawrence are standing on.
    Dr. Nefarious: Son of a- BAAAAAAGH!
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: For those already used to the controls from the Future trilogy, this game may be a pain to re-adjust to. The Triangle button is used for the Swingshot instead of selecting a weapon, as that's assigned to the Right Stick instead, and the game won't pause when you select a weapon (unless you're playing in Single-Player mode, or everyone opens the wheel in multiplayer mode).
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Ratchet, who demonstrates this even in the trailer.
      "Ladies and gentlemen, your president!"
    • With all four players in a game, Snark-to-Snark Combat is guaranteed to happen within the banter.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • The Qwark-exclusive Quantum Deflector is a big ball-shaped shield that surrounds Qwark, and if he stands still, expands to allow his allies to take cover in it as well.
    • The Reflector is a late-game gadget in the form of a handheld shield that allows the players to block lasers, and where necessary, reflect them to solve puzzles.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The latter half of Octonok Cay.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The true Big Bad isn't Nevo, but Croid's pet Mr. Dinkles, who was possessed by the Loki Master.
  • Dramatic Irony: Qwark refers to Nefarious in "Memoirs of a Savior" as, "someone they'd never enter into a shaky alliance in a bout of desperation."
  • Dreamworks Face: Very noticeable on Nefarious in 'A Nefarious Affair' after Qwark asks "You would've done the same for me, right?" Quite interesting to see on a robot.
  • Dug Too Deep: The Access Shaft in the Deadgrove— the Wigwump was not amused.
  • Enemy Mine: The basis of the game, with four 'enemies'. (Obviously averted in Ratchet and Clank's cases, being friends and all.) Especially notable with Ratchet and Nefarious, who, at one point, seem to bond through a mutual hatred of Qwark.
  • Flat Joy: Lawrence's reaction when Nefarious orders him to reanimate a Z'Grute from cryosleep.
    Lawrence: Oh, goody. I get to reanimate something.
  • Fastball Special: The Mortar Toss is a technique your team gains access to as soon as they pick up the Vac-Us. The move is done by having one player pick up another in their Vac-U, then having the carrier aim their ally at a high target or an enemy and firing them. Once the launched teammate presses Square, they drop down from the air in a bigger-than-normal Ground Pound.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Subverted. Mr. Dinkles himself isn't evil, he's just playing host to the leader of the Loki.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We're shown the last of Dr. Croid's logs first. It's kind of sad to find the first of the lot, knowing what's going to happen in the end.
  • Foreshadowing: In one of Dr. Croid's logs, he mentions using a "vectomorphic tricilloscope" on his pet, Mr. Dinkles, and discovers a strange form of energy inside of him. It's actually the Loki Master, the final boss of the game, possessing the pet for now.
  • Friendly Enemy: Nefarious seems to be moving toward this, looking longingly at a photo of him with the other playable characters in The Stinger.
  • Glory Hound: Qwark's reason for setting out to collect the 'Tool of Justice Award'.
  • Grenade Launcher: The Plasmabomb Launcher shoots explosives in an arc, allowing it to root out enemies behind cover.
  • Ground Pound:
    • The traditional Hyper-Strike makes its return. While Ratchet's is done with his Omniwrench as usual, Clank and Qwark do double axe-handles, and Nefarious does a fist slam. This move can be done in combat, but is best used on anklebiters. Its more prevalent uses include activating switches and breaking open a new yellow-and-red crate that can only be opened with this method.
    • The Mortar Toss, where one player sucks another into their Vac-U, then launches them into the air, where the launchee preps a big slam attack. Ratchet stomps down with both feet, Clank tucks in his arms and legs and increases in size to slam like a weight, Qwark delivers an elbow drop, and Nefarious does a cannonball.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Nefarious. First he's evil, then he's forced into being not-so-evil, then he's just there, then he's helping to defeat another galactic threat, then he's evil again. And then maybe not.
  • Helicopter Blender: Downplayed with Clank's Comet-Strike. In lieu of an Omniwrench, he uses one of the propellers of his Heli-Pack as a boomerang.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Light Eating Z'Grute's presence is what led the Creature Collector to Luminopolis. Well done, Nefarious.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the final cutscene, it sounds like Ratchet is complaining about the whole treats thing. Less than a minute later, he steals the bag of treats from Dr. Croid.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • The Combustor, the fireball-shooting pistol, makes a return as the first weapon in the game.
    • The Pyro Blaster flamethrower also returns from Tools of Destruction.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Frost Cannon shoots a continuous beam that slowly turns the enemy into a popsicle.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Ratchet's response to the Plumber's appearance. Makes sense that it was Ratchet who was puzzled by the lack of "cryptic advice that will help us beat Nevo", considering how that turned out last time. Though the Plumber’s response that he didn’t have advice to defeat Nevo may still be a cryptic hint, since it’s not Nevo who ends up being the Big Bad, but Mr. Dinkles.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Clank convinces Nefarious to fix Spog, the bad doctor growls, "But speak of this to no one!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the PS3 games and the comic.
  • Lighthouse Point: The end of Octonok Cay.
  • Lightning Lash: The Arc Lasher is an electric whip similar to the Shock Ravager, but with less range and area. However, it makes up for that with the ability to stun enemies.
  • The Lost Woods: The Deadgrove, Terawatt Forest.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In 'A Presidential Retreat', Nefarious asks Ratchet if he can kill Qwark, and Ratchet says no. Nefarious then says that he can do this, piquing Ratchet's interest, but Clank stops him from considering it any further.
  • Meaningful Name: The Loki share a name with a Norse entity closely tied with mischief and mayhem.
  • Noodle Incident: It turns out the Z'grute is only the latest in Qwark-related monster attacks.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When you play as Qwark and Nefarious, if Qwark is killed, Nefarious will yell, "No one kills Qwark but me!" Also, the ending cinematic where Nefarious backhands the Loki away from Qwark.
  • Only Sane Man: Doesn't show up often, but 'A Presidential Retreat' gives us Qwark, fantasizing about the eponymous retreat-slash-waterpark, Nefarious cajoling Ratchet to let him kill the Captain, Ratchet considering the plea and Clank trying to keep things moving along. Poor little guy.
  • Percussive Maintenance:
    • As per usual, this applies to Dr. Nefarious. Qwark is beyond willing to give him a smack when he freezes up.
    • Appears to be part of how Nefarious repaired Commander Spog, as the Dr. concludes it with a little boot to the head.
  • Port Town: What the Tharpod Fishing Village in Octonok Cay was before the W.A.S.P messed everything up.
  • Power Fist: The Blitzer is a pair of metallic boxing gloves that, when "fired", cause the user to charge forward through the air, similarly to the Charge Boots of previous games, complete with their fists out front.
  • Promoted to Playable: This game marks the first time both Qwark and Dr. Nefarious are fully playable characters, discounting the Qwark Vid-Comics from Up Your Arsenal.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: It doesn't show in the subtitles, but the emphasis on "This is the future!" squarely falls into this trope.
  • Retirony: Subverted. The player is lead to believe they'll be doing this to Commander Spog, but you end up fixing him after the boss fight.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: As per usual, bolts are in crates and other objects, just ripe for the taking. The game actually lampshades it with a crate factory in the N.E.S.T..
  • Russian Reversal: One of the skill points is "On Planet Magnus, Vegetables Eat You".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The very instant things go bad, Lawrence runs away... then again, this wouldn't be the first time he's done it.
  • Secret Weapon: Dr. Croid's "Last Resort" project. The game doesn't even try to hide the fact that you're just assembling a new RYNO.
  • Shock and Awe: In many flavors:
    • The Arc Lasher is an electric whip that stuns the enemy.
    • The Thundersmack shoots clouds that linger in the air and strike enemies with lightning.
    • The Darkstar Fission Tether has lightning tendrils come out of it and connect to the enemy, as well as any other Darkstar Fission Tethers in use.
  • Signature Move: Every character has one weapon that's exclusive to them:
  • Single-Biome Planet: Magnus actually averts this— it's where most of the game takes place (with the exception of the opening level and one level up above the planet's stratosphere), but still features the usual array of themed levels.
  • Smart Bomb: The Co-Op Overload for the RYNO VI causes the users to rapidly rotate in circles as electricity crackles between them, causing an explosion that wipes out every enemy and causes huge damage to anything that has more than "lots" of health.
  • Socialization Bonus: Playing with other human players increases the amount of bolts given in general, making it easier for everyone to afford things.
  • Splash Damage: Whenever a Co-Op Overload occurs, an explosion follows.
  • Status Quo Is God: "Sometimes it feels like the universe just rights itself."
  • Stealth Insult: The "Intergalactic Tool of Justice" award Nefarious uses to lure Qwark at the game's beginning.
  • Strawman News Media: Kip Darling and Pepper Fairbanks make their return on the airways of Luminopolis, continuing the not-so-proud tradition set by Darla Gratch way back in Ratchet & Clank.
  • Stylistic Suck: The "Memoirs of a Savior" videos, being written and animated by Qwark himself. He's not very good at it, like always.
  • Take That!:
    • One comes up right away in Luminopolis:
      Kip: The depravity of this creature knows no bounds, folks. He just destroyed Rusty Pete's Healthy Hamburger Shack! His wheat grass and tree bark burger was a favorite of hipsters everywhere!
    • When signing up for the Hall of Knowledge online database, Cronk complains about what sounds like a crappy pop-up ad.
    • Your reward skill point for beating the game in single player counts, too. It's "Forever Alone".
  • Techno Wreckage: Uzo City, the Exploratorium Power Station.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The only ones who don't have some kind of issue with one another are Ratchet and Clank. Ratchet, Clank and Qwark don't exactly trust Nefarious due to his past villain work, Ratchet and Nefarious don't like Qwark because he's an idiot, Nefarious isn't a fan of any of the other three because they've all stopped his evil plans before, and even Clank scoffs at some of the dumber ideas or lines that come up.
  • Tempting Fate: The Tharpod who steered the boat toward the lighthouse in Octonok Cay. Here's the gist of what he says:
    Tharpod: Well, I'm off to go live a life free of Sepiads and tragic irony!
    • It will surprise nobody to hear that, roughly 30 seconds later, the King Sepiad eats him. Subverted after the fight with it, when the Tharpod comes crawling out of its mouth, raving about the horrors he's seen inside the Sepiad.
  • Toilet Humor: An example of Doctor Croid's Lombax whispering skills.
    Ratchet: Dr. Croid, we're going to stop Nevo from hurting anyone else but we could really use your help. Do you understand what I'm saying?
    Croid: I think he needs to poo! I'll go get a baggie.
    Qwark: Hey doc, make it two. 'Been a looong trip.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Dr. Nefarious, a villain in multiple past instances, is forced to cooperate with three of the people who regularly foil his schemes in order to escape and solve the mysteries of Planet Magnus.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Captain Qwark and Clank, thanks to the player, can now fight on the same level as Ratchet.
  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Again, Uzo City.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's a co-op game, and you're handed vacuums that let you suck up your friends early on. People are going to go flying everywhere. Including into the incinerator. Not to mention that if you turn "grief mode" on you can suck up other players whether they want to or not.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Played hilariously straight with Cronk and Zephyr, who are stuck in orbit due to the asteroid field making landing risky. You even get to hear Cronk subscribing to the Hall of Knowledge online database, which is where they get their information.
  • Weapons That Suck: The Vac-Us, which play a major role in gameplay. When working together with your friends, you can launch them into the air in preparation for the big ground-pounding Mortar Toss, chuck them across large chasms, or, if they fall in battle, cart them in the Vac-U for a bit to revive them. They can also open specific crates and carry certain objects such as Voltergeists, activate several devices that only respond to orbs being pulled, and spin things with their suction. As for combat uses, in addition to giving your allies some airtime, you can also suck small enemies into the Vac-U, then blast them through other enemies.
  • You Would Do the Same for Me: Late in the game, Qwark saves Nefarious from a nasty fall in a cutscene. When asked why he did so by Nefarious, Qwark asks Nefarious "you would've done the same for me, right?" Nefarious's response is a pause and a stretched-out "yeaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" While he doesn't save Qwark from a fall himself, Nefarious does later save his life firsthand by backhanding the Loki when it tries to possess Qwark.

"Nefarious, old friend, you gotta admit, the sight of two dudes just hugging it out warms the cackles of you mechanical heart, heh?"


Video Example(s):


Tool of Justice Award

Qwark is being offered an award for a heroic deed he had no part in, the award certainly sounds like an insult, there are no cameras or spectators at the site of the ceremony, the podium is fashioned from old planks of wood and its located between the gaping jaws of a Light Eating Z'Grute frozen in cryostasis. Since Qwark is a narcissistic idiot, he sees nothing suspicious about it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (19 votes)

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