Ratchet is framed for a museum robbery, and Clank must assume his James Bond-esque alter-ego to find the real culprit. Meanwhile, Ratchet must survive in prison, and Qwark is writing his biography.
While Clank is the main character, and the one who gets the most screen time, he's only one of four characters the game cycles through as the story plays, each one with a different gameplay style and goals. They are as follows:
- Clank: Clank's graduated from sidekick to main character, and with the change in title comes the abilities usually associated with a R&C main character; experience points, gadgets, and upgradeable weapons, which in his case come in the Shoe Phone variety. His levels are a combination of classic Ratchet gameplay and stealth games. He also gets into some high speed chases and some other stock spy situations, which play out via Rhythm Game minigames.
- Ratchet: Ratchet is spending the game stuck in a prison planet, along with a lot of the villains and mooks he and Clank have defeated. They are trying to, well, kill him basically. Ratchet has to use weapons sent to him by Clank to keep himself alive. His game is essentially the Battle Arena of the game.
- Captain Qwark: Qwark is spending the game narrating his biography. Supposedly. Qwark being Qwark, he's kinda sorta lying through his teeth. The player plays his imaginary scenarios, which are quick action packed challenges and boss fights. The majority of the boss fights happen here.
- Gadgebots: Sometimes Clank needs some extra help. In those instances he calls the Gadgebots. They basically take the place of Clank's solo gameplay from the main games. Between three and four 'bots complete various tasks, with the player able to switch between the 'bots at will and command the others.
Good evening, troper! The wiki is expecting me.
- Affectionate Parody: Of the spy genre.
- Ammo Using Melee Weapon: The Plasma Whip. The returning Walloper is also changed into one.
- Bond One-Liner: So many, usually when the player kills an enemy, and occasionally in cutscenes.
- Brainwashed: How Ratchet is being framed. He has a mind control device stuck on his head.
- Calvinball: The card game at the casino, the rules of which are so unintuitive and complex, complete with trivia rounds and such, that the way the player interacts with the game is through a Rhythm Game.
- The Cameo: Dr. Nefarious makes one as one of Klunk's suits, during the final battle, named "Robo-Nefarious".
- Canon Discontinuity: An odd example. Insomniac Games confirmed nearly a decade after this game's release that while the game's events are canonically an episode of the series' titular Show Within a Show, they are thus non-canon to the main Ratchet & Clank timeline.
- Censor Box: Parodied. When Ratchet is in the shower fighting enemies and someone loses a towel, including Ratchet, censor boxes cover their crotches and bottoms, even though none of them have any naughty bits.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Klunk gets converted into a vaccuum cleaner after his defeat.Clank: Looks like it sucks to be him.
- Evil Twin: The true culprit turns out to be none other than Klunk, the evil clone of Clank created by Dr. Nefarious, still maintaining the goals of replacing Clank, defeating Ratchet, and subjugating the squishies. This makes the final battle something of a Mirror Match.
- Expy: The Kingpin, Klunk's alias for most of the game, is the Ratchet and Clank equivalent of The Donbot.
- Failed a Spot Check: Throughout the entire game, nobody notices the mind control device that has been placed on Ratchet's head until the very end. Fridge Logic comes in when you realize that Ratchet himself should have noticed the device on his head or the warden should have removed it from his person given that prisons typically confiscate everything you have with you, including headwear.
- Fun with Acronyms: Qwark's nickname for the biographer robot following him is "Barney", which is a shortned version of its offcial name: Biography Analysis Robot Neo Eight Yellow.
- Gaiden Game
- Gainaxing: The robot rancher Clank plays cards with has very large breasts that (somehow) bounce whenever she moves.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: In the end Klunk smashes the controls to the laser, so if Clank beats him the laser will destroy the galaxy.
- Jail Bake: How Clank smuggles weapons into prison for Ratchet.
- Kidnapped Scientist: The Kingpin abducts an unnamed scientist to build a powerful laser for him. Said scientist remarks this is the third time something like this has happened to him.
- Laser-Guided Karma: For trying to take the credit for Clanks accomplishments, by the end of the game Quark gets humiliated and nearly killed by Barney, the biographer he hired. Barney meanwhile gets blown up by Clank for being a double agent for Klunk.
- Layman's Terms: Combined with Buffy Speak to make absolutely certain that Qwark understands what's being said.Clank: You must remove the Eye of Infinity or we are all dead!Qwark: Duh, whose— uh? Whatsit?Clank: The big... shiny thing! Take it out of the laser!
- One Phone Call: Averted. Ratchet does get a free phone call, but it's because of him helping to stop a prison riot, not because he's legally entitled to one.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The opera Qwark takes part in late in the game is set to music from the 1875 opera "Carmen" by Bizet.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "I am telling you. That. Is not. Ratchet!"
- To be specific, Clank refuses to believe that the Ratchet who stole the Eye Of Infinity really was his best friend. Then towards the end, it's revealed that it really was Ratchet, except he's been brainwashed. Klunk had swapped out Ratchet's signature helmet with a mind control device, occasionally setting it to activate and change Ratchet, making him into a self-proclaimed "mastermind". All as part of his plot to destroy Ratchet's reputation and replace him as the hero of the galaxy... while once again masquerading as Clank.
- Rhythm Game: During some segments. If only they actually went along to the beat of the music.
- Shoe Phone: Clank's entire inventory is comprised of weapons and gadgets that look like mundane items:
- The Tie-a-Rang a bow tie which unfolds a saw blade when thrown.
- The Blackout Pen, a pen that shoots blots of ink that can obscure cameras and deactivate lasers.
- The Cuff Link Bomb, a crystal cuff link which can be launched from Clank's wrist and either explodes on impact or creates a sticky mine that explodes when other enemies are near.
- The Tanglevine Carnation, a carnation that, when thrown, turns into a Man-Eating Plant.
- The Holo-Monocle, a monocle which allows Clank to copy an enemy's appearance and create a holographic disguise.
- The Hypno-Watch, a wristwatch that, when thrown, flashes and attracts weak enemies.
- The Thunderstorm Umbrella, an umbrella that creates lightning.
- The Blowtorch Briefcase, a flamethrower disguised as a briefcase.
- The Holo-Knuckles, a pair of knuckle dusters which create hard-light projections to hit enemies with.
- The Therm-Optic Shades, a pair of glasses obtained in challenge mode that allow the player to see alien codes in first-person view.
- Show Within a Show: As confirmed by Insomniac, the events of this game are an episode of the Secret Agent Clank show in-universe. note
- Third Line, Some Waiting: There is the main story following Clank, a couple of side missions where Ratchet fights off other prisoners, and a third storyline that follows Qwark as he recounts his life story to a biographer. The first and third connect at the end.
- Tuxedo and Martini: The specific type of Spy Fiction which this game parodies. Clank along with Klunk is given a swanky tuxedo and bowtie combo for the duration, his weapons and gadgets are of the Shoe Phone type, he shows up to more than one fancy party and high stakes card game, and so on.
- Umbrellas Are Lightning Rods: Inverted and weaponized with the Thunderstorm Umbrella, a Shock and Awe weapon in the shape of an umbrella that fires lightning bolts at enemies.
- Unexpected Genre Change: The game is a Stealth-Based Game, as opposed to the series' usual action-shooting gameplay. It still has weapons that can level up if used, but Clank also gets health bonuses for sneaking past enemies.
- Utility Weapon: In a bit of a departure for the series, most of Clank's weapons can be used to progress him through levels. Throwties cut lines, tanglevines gum up machines, etc.
- Wealth's in a Name: Wealthy countess Ivana Lottabolts, with bolts being the local currency.
With the big mess and my giant bill!
They said I should stay and mop the floor...
But I told them my contract staaaaaaates...