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"Greetings, hero, and welcome to DreadZone. Rest assured, you are now far out of the reach of hope. There will be no rescues, no pardons, no possibility of escape. You are now a contestant on the greatest holo-vision program the galaxy has ever known. A celebrity gladiator, battling for the pleasure of a billion screaming fans across the Shadow Sector and beyond. Chances are you'll be dead by tomorrow, but those of you who play the game with skill and strategy will earn a chance to win your freedom. So, good luck hero...we'll be watching you!"
Gleeman Vox

The fourth game in the Ratchet & Clank series, released as Ratchet: Gladiator in Europe and Australia, and is considered by many to be by far the darkest entry in the series.

After succeeding in foiling Dr. Nefarious' plot to destroy organic life, Ratchet continues his work onboard the Starship Phoenix alongside Clank and Big Al. However, the trio is soon kidnapped by Gleeman Vox, a sinister TV executive who wants Ratchet to be a contestant on his The Running Man-esque gladiatorial combat show DreadZone. What's worse, it's an offer Ratchet and friends can't refuse, as they've been fitted with explosive collars that'll blow their heads off if they decline to participate... or if they're just not up to snuff compared to the other competitors. With no other options, Ratchet must fight to earn their freedom, all while getting constantly slandered by Vox. Unfortunately, Clank is relegated to mission control and can't ride around on Ratchet's back while they're all in this mess (hence why his name isn't in the title this time), but he's still not alone in the field; two combat robots named Merc and Green become his backup, helping him destroy enemies, hack objects, and get around. That's good, because Ratchet will need to rely on whatever help he can get to escape this place where heroes are forced to kill each other.

Befitting of the nature of DreadZone, Deadlocked greatly reduces the platforming sections of the series, turning many of them into health-reducing hazards rather than perilous one chance challenges, and instead focuses on straight combat with bigger and badder weapons and enemies.

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

The tropes are blasting straight at you, live from the Battledome:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Ratchet spends the entire game wearing armor that often upgrades whenever he gains a rank. Of course, most of the other heroes we see don't wear armor at all, so it's strange.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap:
    • Well, not level per se, but since Ratchet's HP upgrades by gaining experience, it counts. While getting 100 during first gameplay is possible, try getting 999 during subsequent playthroughs.
    • Weapons as well. The highest level achievable by a weapon in the past two games were four and eight, respectively, including challenge mode. In Deadlocked, weapons can reach level ten on a first playthrough, and Lv. 99 in challenge mode. To be fair, those last 88 levels do come more quickly individually than the first 11, but still... (Later games would cap out at level ten, stylized as "Lv. X".)
    • The game allows you to hold a whopping 99,999,999 bolts, far, far more than you would ever need to complete the game. Even with bolt mods equipped, it takes a truly ludicrous amount of time to even get close to holding that many of them.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Dallas consistently pronounces his cohost Juanita's name as "HWA-nita".
  • All There in the Manual: Insomniac's official site had in-universe newsletters by Dallas and Juanita and a short comic story about Captain Starshield that revealed many details and throwaway gags on the game. The strategy guide also has some of this and it notably fleshes out the backstories of Ace Hardlight and Shellshock.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: From the Venus skin's description:
    It's tough to shoot all the boys while wearing a skirt, but Venus pulls it off in spades! The shooting that is, not her skirt.
  • Ammo-Using Melee Weapon: The Scorpion Flail is, as the name implies, a flail. The "ammo" in this case is swinging it, which causes the flail to gain a much larger range and produce a massive shockwave around where it impacts.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The game relies on Instant-Win Condition for the challenges—even if Ratchet dies just after finishing a challenge, it'll count as a victory and he won't have to start over.
    • If you die enough times on Hero Difficulty, the game will remind you that you can lower the difficulty by simply reloading your save file.
    • Players who are used to the controls of the previous games have the option of switching to the classic control style instead of using Deadlocked's default Lock-Strafe controls.
    • Bolt Cranks stay locked after being completed, keeping players from having to waste time completing the whole level all over again after dying.
    • Boss fights automatically max out your ammo to ensure that you have a fair fight against them.
    • Challenge Mode gives you a Bolt Multiplier off the bat to make it easier for players to buy the very expensive Mega Weapons and Alpha Mods.
    • Most vehicle levels provide a starting platform where you can repair any damage the vehicle takes as much as you need.
  • Announcer Chatter: As this game is set on a game show, your actions are being watched by two announcers - Dallas and Juanita - who commentate on everything going on. These range from scripted lines (such as the ones at the start of almost every mission) to the several dozen randomized lines that Dallas has for multiple contexts.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
    Juanita: Our Vox News investigation has uncovered shocking, untold stories from his dark, evil past! The destruction of civic property... illegal hoverbike gangs... inadequate dental hygiene!
  • Beam Spam:
    • Quasar Turrets pelt the enemies with massive lasers, though the spam is dictated by how many turrets you throw down.
    • The Laser Backs take a moment to charge their attack before pelting a single spot with multiple energy projectiles.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Dallas seems to think he and Juanita have this. Juanita would agree with the belligerent part.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Latin, "Vox" is usually associated with voice. "Vox populi", for example, is "The voice of the people". Makes sense, considering his occupation.
  • Black Comedy: Most of the humor in game is based around how dangerous DreadZone is and how cruel the people staffing it are, as per the Darker and Edgier direction taken by developers.
  • Blatant Lies: Saying Dallas and Juanita's smear campaign against Ratchet is an increasingly transparent bullshitting contest is being generous. For starters, many of the photos are blatantly doctored (a cutout of Ratchet's face is often put on other bodies, and the tape is plainly visible) and one scene has them dub over three kids to make them say they hate Ratchet, even though they're playing with Ratchet toys and accessories, and they don't even attempt to disguise their voices or properly lip synch their dialogue.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Played straight, like the rest of the series, but notable here because the game still manages to get quite a few High-Pressure Blood jokes in, (in Announcer Chatter and the manual) which creates a bit of Fridge Logic.
  • Blood Knight: Ace Hardlight and, amusingly, Ratchet. Our hero is really stoked to have a shot of the Gladiator life and is clearly enjoying himself throughout the game.
  • Blood Sport: The Dreadzone hosts a variety of Gladiator Games, DeathCourses, and no shortage of carnage. And Ratchet's forced to fight or die.
  • Bottomless Pit:
    • Lampshaded in the introductory dialogue for "On the Prowl", where Dallas refers to one as "The Pit of Endless Falling and Eventual Dying".
    • There's also this line by Merc later:
      Merc: Boss, if you miss this Swingshot, you will face a painful, horrible death. No pressure.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Your reward for the long and difficult sidequest of getting all six of the Exterminator Cards? You unlock the Ninja Ratchet skin, which just makes Ratchet slightly stronger and faster.
  • Brand X: Lampshaded by Dallas in one of his random comments:
    Dallas: Ratchet has this game on ice, ladies and gentlemen! The juice is cold, and the generic brand X gelatin is definitely jiggling!
  • Breather Episode: Deadlocked, while Darker and Edgier, serves as the bridge between the original and Future trilogies, and is one of the few games without an Omnicidal Maniac as the Big Bad. Instead, Gleeman Vox kidnaps superheroes to fight to the death in a reality show.
  • Brick Joke:
    • After the credits, Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence, marooned on a distant asteroid in the last game, are shown drifting through space through the ruins of the Battledome. Nefarious gets angry and malfunctions, playing his famous soap opera.
    • Another one: the 'Leaderboard' that shows contestant rankings, and their status as 'active' or 'deceased', is updated throughout the game. By the end, Kid Nova and Hydrogirl are the only two, besides Ratchet, that are still listed as alive. Both of them get voiced dialogue in the final cutscene, thanking you for shutting down DreadZone and freeing them. The only other survivor listed is Agent Zero, but perhaps he is not seen as he is a Shout-Out to an earlier Insomniac project.
    • What happens to Al in this game... his very first line in the first game is that he is not a robot guy, but he is now (well, partly).
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: The Landstalkers, on a high enough difficulty. On Shaar, they'll even use their mortars on you. The same applies to Dropships, which on Exterminator can take a hit from a Level 99 Supernova.
  • Call-Back: If you look closely, you'll notice that the weapon Captain Starshield uses in the opening movie is the (unupgraded) Lancer from Going Commando.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The Plumber doesn't appear in this game (although his appearances return to their regular schedule in ToD). Lampshaded at the end of the credits:
    Due to a sump pump emergency in the Rygyllian Nebula. the Plumber was not able to appear in this game. He will return. One of these days.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Theres a couple nods to the original game. The first DreadZone commercial has a Tyhrranoid turning into a Psytopus enemy from Pokitaru, and Vox namedrops the Blarg in the same commercial. Orxon also reappears as a DreadZone course.
    • Going Commando gets a few nods too. Vox uses a payload of Megacorp Blade Balls as mooks for you to fight. The Miniturret Launcher is mentioned to be plagiarized from the Miniturret Glove. Both Al and Captain Starshield are shown having an unupgraded Lancer in their possession.
    • There are a lot of nods to Up Your Arsenal. Shellshock is mentioned to have taken part in the Obani Moon Wars, and Dallas mentions that he should've gotten a job at Annihilation Nation. Courtney Gears' encounter with Ratchet and Clank is brought up, and Al does a jig to her "Death to Squishies" song. Merc mentions owning a VG-9000 game console. Hydro Girl is mentioned to come from Aquatos. Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence get a cameo appearance in the post-credits cutscene, still stuck on an asteroid.
    • While series trademark weapon R.Y.N.O. doesn't appear here, it is mentioned in Harbinger's description as being Vox Industries' answer to it.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Bosses are immune to secondary effects of Omega Mods such as slow-down from Freeze mod or Brainwashing.
  • Creator's Pet: In-Universe example: Ace Hardlight is this to Gleeman Vox, who creates tons of merchandise for him, despite the fact that kids prefer other superheroes. When Ace died in the arena, it was met with cheering from the audience, despite Vox trying to make it look like a tragedy.
  • Cute and Psycho: Juanita can get quite... unhinged sometimes. The way she practically Squees at seeing contestants about to die horribly is actually kind of creepy.
  • Darker and Edgier: Deadlocked is considered to be the darkest installment of the R&C series yet by many fans. Considering that the premise is "Ratchet and his friends are kidnapped, have explosive collars put on their necks, and have to fight for their lives in a televised gladiatorial tournament", and that the art-direction literally became darker and edgier in things like menus and level design, it's a fair point. It's still Ratchet and Clank, though, so the extra dosage of grimdark is Played for Laughs just as much as everything else. Even Ratchet's death animation in this game counts: in the first three, he comically spun around on one foot before falling onto his back when he ran out of health, but in this game he falls to his knees and then falls forward onto the ground, which looks far more dramatic.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts:
    • The Dual Vipers are a "quantity over quality" weapon (the instruction manual even refers to them as this), and eventually they'll take hundreds of bullets to kill huge enemies. They get better in Challenge Mode, though and can be modded to have additional effects.
    • The Mini-Turret Launcher, since the turrets spray enemies with tons of bullets. Its upgraded form, the Quasar-Turret Launcher, shoots large lasers instead.
  • Demonization: The show attempts to do this to Ratchet, even dubbing over dialog from kids that are clearly cheering for him.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Some feel this happened to Clank, who was turned to an NPC in accordance with the change of gameplay style for this game. The reverse is true for Al, as this game features his biggest role yet.
    • Captain Qwark, who had significant roles in the past three games, only makes a voice over cameo in the ending and gets a character epilogue pic with Scrunch the monkey. Per word of Mike Stout, this was an intentional move on the dev teams part, since they feared players would get burned out on Qwark if he had a big role yet again, so he was put on the backburner for this one game.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: One of the major gameplay additions is the ability to mod your weapons. Mods are split between Alpha Mods (which boosts statistics such as max ammo, rate of fire or XP gained) and Omega Mods (which adds effects such as Chain Lightning, Acid or dropping Napalm).
  • Developer's Foresight: In one challenge, going into an area you're not supposed to prompts a unique reaction from Dallas, the announcer.
    "What's this sneaky Lombax doing behind the arena? This could be... nothing. It's nothing, he's getting ammo."
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Holoshield Launcher of all things can become this, though for completely different reason one would expect. Due to how its upgrading works, it is possible to max it out very quickly with a bit of grinding - the Leviathan king with its laser attack on Sarathos is ideal for this. The fully upgraded version is a respectable tool in its own right, if completely lacking in offensive capabilities, sapping nanotech directly from enemies and coming with 5 ammunition mods and 5 speed mods, which can be used on more useful weapons, making them much more efficient.
    • The Freeze Mod also qualifies due to being available as early as Kronos and for its sheer game-breaking nature when combined with crowd control weapons (i.e. the Scorpion Flail) or powerful weapons like the Fusion Rifle (which is also available alongside it on Kronos). Even the dreaded Executioners and Laserbacks don't stand a chance against you with the latter combo.
    • Speaking of which, the Fusion Rifle itself counts, with or without the Freeze Mod. While a tad pricey, it deals jaw dropping damage out of the gate and becomes one of the strongest weapons in the game with upgrades, works just as well as a normal weapon as a long range weapon due to its accuracy, and it can one-shot pretty much any foe outside of an Executioner, and even those guys can be mowed down in one or two hits. Its only real handicaps are its low ammo capacity and slow rate of fire.
  • Don't Try This at Home: "Go to a friend's house!"
  • The Dragon: Ace Hardlight, though it's clear early on that the two do not like each other, as Ace is only catering to his employer, and Vox is only trying to maintain their villain/dragon relationship because he feels Ace is the most marketable exterminator in the 'Zone. He's all for replacing Ace, and this becomes more apparent as Ratchet grows in popularity.
  • Early Game Hell: The game becomes this on Hero Difficulty. Two or three hits from just about anything, and you're dead, meaning your health upgrades are barely any help, and your weapons are even weaker than before. As you level up, the game gets more manageable, but far from easy. And lets not even get started on Exterminator Difficulty...
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • Due to the abundance of enemies with strong laser beams as attacks, it is ridiculously easy to grind so that you can level up the Holoshield Launcher. It can be fully upgraded as early as Sarathos.
    • There are at least two challenges ("Whack a Swarmer" on Shaar and "Endzone" on the DreadZone station) that make it ridiculously easy to grind for upgrades, especially when you buy a Jackpot and XP alpha mod.
    • One of skillpoints on Torval requires you to beat any mission on Exterminator difficulty. It also has a mission which consists of following twelve drones on a hoverbike and shooting them down. They don't attack you at all, so the only danger comes from explosive barrels that are easy enough to avoid or shoot down, making it a cinch even on the hardest difficulty.
    • Skill Points in general, besides the three that require you to play at Exterminator difficulty, can be done on any difficulty level. Needless to say, the lowest one makes any of them much easier.
  • Elite Mooks: Enemy Landstalkers and 70mm Stalker Turrets, A.K.A static Landstalkers. You can incapacitate them by EMP, but they are more than able to obliterate you before that.
  • Epic Flail: The Scorpion/Leviathan Flail. Looks like a normal, if futuristic, flail... until you press the fire button and it slams the ground in front of you in a huge radius. It even gets lampshaded by one of the trophies in the PS3 release relating to the weapon, "Epic-Flail".
  • Explosive Leash: The eponymous Deadlock collars, which can either explode or shock the wearer depending on the situation.
  • Fallen Hero: Ace Hardlight was a former member of a heroic team, but by the events of this game he's a bloodthirsty fighter who slays heroes for fun.
  • Fame Gate: Progressing through the game requires two things: medals and Dread Points. While the medals are rewarded just for completing each location's campaign, Dread Points are earned from doing the otherwise optional Dread Challenges - that said, the Dread Points stick around into Challenge Mode, unlike the medals, so you can usually skip the challenges on the second/third/etc. go-around if you don't feel like doing them.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the PS2 version, there's a nasty showstopping glitch that can randomly occur either when you start or finish a challenge, which slows the game to an unbelievable crawl (as in "one frame every minute or two" slow). Trying to exit out of the game without letting it go through this and return to normal (which can take at minimum a half hour) will mess up your save file—the story campaign remains unchanged, but you lose all of your Dread Points that you've gotten up to that point (and the opening cutscene and early expositionary dialogue still play as if you're on the first level), making the game impossible to finish and forcing you to start a new save file. It is strongly recommended you keep at least two separate save files in preparation for this. And to add insult to injury, this was not fixed in the HD collection.
  • Gangsta Style: The second cheat you unlock makes your character do this with the Dual Vipers/Raptors - the left one is held completely sideways, while the right one is tilted slightly.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: On Kronos, Shellshock keeps running away before you can finish him off. Over the course of the planet, you end up fighting him six times before you finally get to finish him off.
  • Gladiator Revolt: Team Darkstar tries to start one.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Eviscerator gets noticeably less character establishment than the other Exterminators. Other than the implication he's VERY Ax-Crazy, we really don't learn much about him. He's even the only one to lack Boss Banter. The announcers do mention he's a great chef, though, and the official strategy guide implies there was an Eloquent in My Native Tongue theme going for him.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Some Skill Points require you to kill certain enemies with certain weapons or in a certain time. Problem, you aren't told what enemies are what, so that means either checking the stats menu every time you kill something or just using the internet.
    • Others require you to search for every last special treasure box on given planet. Needless to say, some of them are pretty well hidden.
    • Getting the Exterminator Cards, since you aren't given any clue how to get them. The only proof that they're collectible is that the last cheat requires you to get all of them.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Dual Vipers/Raptors, two rapid-fire pistols with one held in each hand.
  • Harder Than Hard: Exterminator Difficulty. Let's just say that there's a very good reason you have to beat the game at least once to unlock it, because it does not let up on you if you aren't beefed up on all the weapon upgrades and mods. Making matters worse is that beating every challenge in this mode is mandatory for 100% completion.
  • Hard Light: Ace, um, Hardlight is capable of creating holographic clones that fit this trope during the battle with him.
  • Hate Sink: Ace Hardlight, who somehow manages to be even more loathsome than the bloodthirsty Gleeman Vox. He's an arrogant, cocky, cold blooded and sadistic scumbag who willingly sold out his heroism to Vox, all for the thrill of fame and fortune and the chance to kill or maim whoever he wanted for kicks. He has absolutely nothing remotely likable or humurous about his personality—everyone in universe hates him, even his own boss, who can't even give away his merchandise. Even his Jacob Marley Warning does nothing to mitigate how vile and unlikable he is. When Ratchet (supposedly) kills him, absolutely nobody mourns his loss.
  • Healing Boss: Ace Hardlight employs self-healing during his fight, but he has a finite number of medpacks on hand and comments when he runs out.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: DreadZone News goes to ridiculous lengths to slander Ratchet as a bloodthirsty psychopath (funny, considering the kind of program they're reporting on...) Vox later insists he was only doing it to build up Ratchet's "bad-boy image". This seems to be an aversion as the public fully adores Ratchet, even preferring him over the "hero" Ace Hardlight who they 100% loathed.
  • Hidden Depths: Discussed.
    Dallas: What kind of psychopaths came up with this challenge? ...What's that? Reactor and Shellshock? I never knew they were friends. Did they used to carpool?
  • Hollywood Acid: Enemies hit by the Acid Mod will be drenched with green highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid that does damage over time.
  • Hong Kong Dub: In-universe, after Ace Hardlight's "death", Dallas and Juanita try to slander Ratchet again by dubbing over the three kids to make it sound like they hate Ratchet for what he did. Thing is, they don't even attempt to disguise their voices, and their dubbing clearly doesn't match up with the on screen visuals. The kids aren't even talking much and are playing with toys of Ratchet!
  • Hope Spot: In one cutscene, Al successfully takes off Clank's Dreadzone collar- only for Ace Hardlight to show up, shoot the geek, and force Clankt to put it back.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Couch Potato —> Contestant —> Gladiator —> Hero —> Exterminatornote 
  • Immoral Reality Show: The whole premise.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Rather than the RYNO, the Harbinger takes this role in the game.
  • Interface Screw: After collecting enough skill points, the player can activate Mirror Mode, which only visually affects gameplay... but reverses the left and right buttons in menus.
  • Interface Spoiler: The stats menu gives you information about what you've done in the game. This includes kills with weapons (which are named in the menu, so you know you'll be getting a Miniturret Launcher and an Epic Flail) and enemies killed (which spoils that you'll be fighting robot ghosts and robot zombie ghosts at some point).
  • Jacob Marley Warning: Ace to Ratchet near the end.
  • Kent Brockman News: Dallas and Juanitanote , whether actually on the news or announcing.
  • Kill It with Fire: Putting the Napalm Mod on explosive weapons will have a pool of burning napalm pouring down. Any enemy that comes in contact with it will be set ablaze.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Freeze Mod contains liquid hydrogen at the temperature of -253°C, which can slow down your enemies or even freeze them like ice blocks. Killing them while frozen will break them apart.
  • Kill Sat: The Harbinger/Supernova is quite powerful. Observe.
  • Knockback: The more Impact Mods you add to your weapon, the easier it is to knock down your foes.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: Implied to have happened offscreen in the opening to the "Zombie Attack" challenge:
    Dallas: Tonight, it's Team Darkstar versus the robot zombies. The zombie team just flew in from Catacrom Four and folks are they dead tired! Ah ha ha! Ah ha ha! Ahhaha- [defensively] What?!
  • Last Disc Magic:
    • The Miniturret Launcher, which is acquired very late into the game, is one of the most powerful weapons in the game, and also one of the easiest to upgrade.
    • Time-Bomb Omega Mod is also unlocked rather late and is arguably the best one for some weapons.
  • Life Drain: The Nanoleech Mod has a chance of spawning health from fallen enemies. Try adding more for better results.
  • Limit Break: Damaging enemies fills up a special meter. Once full, it can be spent to perform a special move:
    • In single player, the bots fire the Alpha Ravager - a laser-shooting bouncing grenade. It can be later replaced by the Beta Ravager, which is disc-shaped and bounces from enemy to enemy before exploding.
    • In co-op, both players have a meter that they must fill. When both are full, the players can spend them to activate one of two powerups - Berserk (temporarily quadruples the power of all weapons) or Nanoshield (absorbs damage equal to max health, essentially acting as a second lifebar that cannot be healed).
  • Lovable Coward: Some of Green's banter. Dallas at the end.
  • Made of Explodium: The cover in the game explodes when you drive over it.
  • Magic Countdown: Averted, oddly enough, by the Battle Dome's final self-destruct sequence. In this video, the station is stated to have 60 seconds at 35:30, and the station does indeed detonate at 36:30.
  • Malicious Slander: Done to Ratchet by Dallas and Juanita, under the Vox' orders.
  • Meaningful Background Event: When Clank outlines his plan to loosen the deadlock collars while Ratchet fights the Eviscerator, a floating camera descends into the frame behind him, explaining how Vox and Ace become aware of his scheme.
  • Merchandise-Driven: DreadZone is largely about selling toys. On that note, see Misaimed Marketing.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Landstalker can take a lot of punishment and according to the game, 'it has more than enough plasma mortars to destroy a small star system'. It is very slow however, though it has a small strafe-jump to help you dodge incoming fire. Also when they're enemies.
  • Misaimed Marketing: In-universe. DreadZone is a high-stakes gladiatorial arena with death filmed live and uncensored. The target audience for the merchandise is the 8-12 demographic.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the prologue, Ratchet wakes up at DreadZone station stuck in an uncomfortable suit of armor, is told that the collar he's wearing will blow his head off if he doesn't cooperate... and then, almost immediately starts fantasizing about the "money and babes" that the gladiators get and has to be brought down to reality by Clank, followed by a scene where Big Al *ahem* dances to the tune of "Death to Squishies" from the previous game. Needless to say, it's pretty jarring.
  • New Game Plus: Beating the game unlocks Challenge Mode (you start a new playthrough, but you keep all of your weapons and experience, get a Bolt Multiplier, you can buy Alpha Mods and Mega Weapons plus some new upgrades for your Omniwrench and robots and you can further upgrade your HP) and Exterminator difficulty.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Juanita borders on this.
  • Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: This game features robot zombies and ghost robot zombies.
  • No Cure for Evil: Subverted for Ace Hardlight, surprisingly enough. He carries around 3 Med Packs that allow him to heal a large chunk of his health. But once they're used, they're gone, and he can't get any more.
    Ace: I'm out of Med Packs. Uh, not that I need them.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, in the past, Dallas set someone's backpack on fire ("I'm sorry you couldn't put it out in time.") and put a Tyhrranoid in someone else's locker, which required them to get therapy (which is apparently going pretty well).
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: The "Ninja Ratchet" cheat, unlocked by collecting all of the Exterminator Cards, is not actually just a skin, it actually also makes Ratchet a bit faster and stronger.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Vox mentions that Ratchet reminds him of a young Acenote . Ace does not appreciate the remark.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • The Ghost Mine Launcher is, like its name says, a gun that launches mines. However, before they are shot, the gun holds the mine at the end of its barrel. The fun part is that the mine is actually fully operational at this stage, and touching enemies with it triggers an explosion (that still consumes ammo, sadly). The fact that it launches mines also means that it doubles as a grenade launcher; it's arguably even more useful than the game's actual grenade launcher. So in one gun you have homing mines, a grenade launcher, and a area-of-effect melee weapon!
    • The Fusion/Anti-matter rifle is intented to be used as a sniper rifle, but as the game shows its crosshairs even when the scope is not in use it can be used in regular combat. Insomniac probably believed players would use it while standing still, and made it deal massive damage and penetrate targets to balance it out - needless to say, being able to run and jump around while blasting enemies with it makes it much more useful than it first appears to be.
  • Oscar Bait: Parodied with Reactor's in-universe biopic, which portrays him as an inner-city teacher who rose to fame as a gladiator.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: ''Robot'' zombies. Though they still seem to splatter a green blood-like substance upon death (their fuel source??) and the description for one of the wrench upgrades states they have bones so...
  • Pinball Projectile: Once the Dual Vipers fully upgrades into Dual Raptors, their bullets begin bouncing off of enemies and walls.
  • Purple Is Powerful: When you buy the Mega versions of your weapons, their icons change from white to blue. As you get closer to level 99, the icon slowly shifts from blue to a deep purple, a color it stays at once it reaches the maximum level.
  • Quad Damage: One of the replacements for the Alpha/Beta Ravager in co-op story mode - since Merc and Green aren't around to use it - is an ability that grants both players "a hefty bonus to any damage you inflict" for 30 seconds, activated by both players pressing L3 in sync.
  • Reactor Boss: Well, Reactor is a boss, but the battle is not this trope. That would be the final three quests before battling Vox, where you have to destroy three generators, each protected by lasers circling around and armies of enemies such as Laserbacks and Executioners.
  • Recursive Ammo:
    • Adding the Mini Bomb Mod to weapons with explosives will release multiple bouncing deuterium fusion mini-bombs that causes even more damage.
    • The Stalker Mine deploys a ghostly mine that releases two extra mines when it detonates.
  • Scary Black Man:
    • Reactor, in a sense.
    • Merc, to an even lesser degree.
  • Robotic Undead: Zombie robots note  are treated with all the fear that undead people would be. Several events involve desecrating a Robot Burial Ground and fighting the resultant horde of mechanical zombies.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Hitting enemies with the Brainwash mod causes them to turn against their allies.
  • Shout-Out: They're listed on the franchise's page.
  • Spoonerism: Courtesy of one of Dallas's many random quotes:
    Dallas: Team Darkstar is making their mark in DreadZone! Team Markstar is making their dark in RedZone! Oh, dear, I've gone cross-eyed...
  • Sticky Bomb: The Time Bomb mod, exclusive to your three explosive weapons, makes their projectiles stick on to enemies for a few seconds before exploding, inverting the entire screen negative when it does so.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: In Europe, at least, since the last two games lost their subtitles and gained a number. More noticeable in the trophy list on PS3, which simply calls the second game Ratchet & Clank 2 (even if you're in the US) and adds a 3 to Up Your Arsenal.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Ace Hardlight is pretty much loathed by everyone in universe, even by fans of DreadZone. So it isn't much of a surprise that his sales in merchandise are pathetically low at best. (Despite Vox's best efforts to push him in the spotlight.)
  • Sweeping Ashes: Some weapons can reduce enemies they kills into ashes when fully upgraded, with the most obvious example being the Supernova.
  • Taking You with Me: Vox attempts to do this to Ratchet in the ending by detonating the DreadZone station, under the belief he would get his best ratings yet if they died together on live holo-vision. Thanks to a timely arrival from Clank and the other escapees, he doesn't succeed.
  • Take That!: Given Vox News' dishonesty and tendencies toward slandering people they don't personally like, the person running the channel (and DreadZone) being completely detestable, their utter lack of awareness of what audiences want, and its name sounding similar to Fox News, it's safe to say somebody on the writing team had a lot to say about the channel.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: One of the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue pictures is of Dallas and Juanita in a television series featuring their life in a household. Said picture consists of Dallas walking to, among other things, a classic wiretrap that triggers the Harbinger.
  • Think of the Children!: Parodies this at least twice.
    • One of Dallas's random quotes has him say he will tell his kids to stop watching this show, as soon as he has kids.
    • At the start of the final mission of the Ghost Station, Dallas says that parents with impressionable kids should turn this show off. Juanita says kids with impressionable parents should just pretend they're watching "Reading Robot".
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Harbinger. While it can oneshot almost everything outside bosses, it only has 3 shots without adding ammo mods and it's the only weapon whose ammo can't drop from crates or enemies.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ratchet, in comparison to his growing personality from the last three games.
  • Trade Your Passion for Glory: Ace Hardlight.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Courtney Gears, who recovered from being destroyed by Ratchet via a "miraculous recovery".
  • Unscaled Merfolk: Hydro Girl, who hails from Planet Aquatos.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Ratchet, In-Universe. Though Juanita and Dallas portray Ratchet as someone who the audience SHOULDN'T root for, the audience loves him anyway, as they apparently realize that what Juanita and Dallas say about him isn't true.
  • Verbal Tic: Dallas has a very noticeable way of referring to his co-host as "JUANita".
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Ace Hardlight, the star "hero" on DreadZone, who is one of the game's primary villains — but in an aversion of this trope, he lacks the publicity that the show's producers desperately want, with most of the audience cheering for Ratchet instead.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Played for laughs with one of Dallas's quotes during challenges involving the Puma.
    Dallas: Don't scratch the paint on that Puma, we're giving it away at bingo night!
  • Weaponized Car: The Puma is a giant truck-like vehicle with two small machine-gun blasters and a large cannon on it.
  • Weapon of Peace: Lampshaded with the Arbiter.
  • Weapons and Wielding Tropes:
  • We Can Rebuild Him: How Big Al is revived from getting blasted.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Played for Laughs. As part of DreadZone's increasingly transparent smear campaign against him, newscasters Dallas and Juanita blatantly doctor photos to make it look like Ratchet is taking part in various misdeeds, such as being a gangster or using banned performance enhancing drugs to cheat in their tournaments. In one of their photos, you can clearly see the tape attaching the cutout of Ratchet's head onto it, and one is just a picture of Clank with devil horns and a goatee scribbled onto it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Into The Nexus answers what happened to DreadZone after Vox's defeat. The show following its cancellation was replaced with a continuous loop of the same specific episode of Lance and Janice.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: The beginning of Stygia's third mission, Shields Up!:
    Dallas: This challenge would have been simple. Ratchet just needed to grab the ship and bingo-bango, the shield is up. Too bad we destroyed the shield. Too bad he has to hack a ton of orbs. Too bad I said "bingo-bango". Who writes this junk?!
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Oddly averted - Vox sticks by Ace and keeps trying to push Ace Hardlight merchandise even after it's become apparent that his popularity is tanking and Ratchet's is skyrocketing. He even tries to sabotage Ratchet's image by having Vox News run a (poorly-done) smear campaign against him. Literally the only time Vox ever even considers making Ratchet the new face of DreadZone is when Ace dies.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Gleeman Vox attempts to replace Ace Hardlight with Ratchet once the Lombax defeats Hardlight. However, since Hardlight told him not to do so and he realizes that Gleeman is corrupt, he refuses.

"Ratchet? Clank? It's me, Captain Qwark! There's a nasty rumor going around about heroes being kidnapped. But don't worry, it's baloney! I mean, come on! Nobody came to capture 'me', right?! Just imagine making a show about galactic heroes without Captain Qwark! HA! Well, anyway, you guys missed the last three meetings of the Qwark Cadets Fan Club! But don't worry, I've got extra copies of the newsletter, and I even saved some of the snacks! Hope you like custard!"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ratchet Gladiator


DreadZone's Demise

In Ratchet: Deadlocked, Gleeman Vox is the villainous head of an illegal combat sport called DreadZone. Considering the fact that he was more concerned with DreadZone's ratings than the wellbeing of the heroes forced to compete (Ratchet and Clank being among the many), and was completely willing to kill every single hero and fan remaining if Ratchet failed to thwart his plans, him being left behind in the abandoned Battledome while his media empire literally blows up in his face is nothing short of cathartic.

How well does it match the trope?

4.92 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / AssholeVictim

Media sources: