Ratchet Deadlocked

aka Ratchet & Clank 4th Girigiri Gingano Giga-battle in Japan.

 

Purchase at Play-Asia

 

After three games where Ratchet and Clank are out saving the universe, it’s time for a change. In Deadlocked you’ll be fighting to save Ratchet from extermination. After a short trek into the Shadow sector to investigate the whereabouts of Captain Starshield, Ratchet is captured by Gleeman Vox. Vox owns the Dreadzone, a live battlefield where contestants are pitted against battle bots for amusement on TV.

 

To deal with the impending arenas Ratchet is paired up with two battle droids created by the bumbling cat-like scientist, Al. The battle droids can blast lasers at droids, like a mobile gunpod. But it’s their other abilities that are imperative for Ratchet to survive Dreadzone. For starters they can throw out an EMP shockwave to stun fast firing turrets. After a successful EMP Ratchet can run in with his Magma Gun and blast the turret away. Bots can also launch out grind cables, so Ratchet can cross over far gaps. The duo of bots can also act as a team to turn bolt switches. One bot can activate the switch and another can use the shield link ability to create a temporary shield while the bot is turning the switch. Each successful kill builds up the battle bots ravager meter. When this is full you can press up on the d-pad and unleash a spray of lasers to take down a group of enemies. Controlling the battle bots and Ratchet is a like a juggling act. Most of the orders are done by pressing buttons on the d-pad. Simple enough, but in the heat of battle you need to run around with Ratchet using the analog stick while firing with the R1 button and switch weapons with triangle. It takes some time to get used to the set up before you can efficiently give orders.

 

Don’t leave the fighting up to your robot allies because Ratchet is built for action. In his new armored suit Ratchet is still nimble enough to dash around enemies and do flips to avoid on coming fire. Ratchet also has a new arsenal of weapons, well sort of new. The dual vipers you start out with are your basic dual firing laser guns, just like the N60 Storm. The Magma Blaster fires like a shotgun and the Shock Blaster in the Ratchet universe. Later on Ratchet will also be able to pick up a Fusion Rifle for heavy damage and a missile launcher. Now the arsenal might not seems as interesting as the multitude of weapons in R&C 3, but the mod system makes up for it. There are two types of mods you can add to weapons. Alpha mods can increase a weapon’s ammo, range, or speed. These are simple upgrades that can be interchanged at anytime. While you can equip one alpha mod per weapon level, you an only add one omega mod per weapon. Omega mods let you add “elemental” damage to a shot. Add in the freeze mod to your dual vipers to make a fast firing freezing ray. Or you can add in a napalm mod to the holoshield mine launcher to make mines that explode in a burst of damaging lava. The mod system makes Ratchet prepared for any battle situation.

 

Since the game is eighty percent shooting, you’ll want to be ready for battle. Instead of running through long corridors or avoiding falling into a bottomless pit, Deadlocked throws you into the action. You’re almost always shooting your way to the goal. This is a pro and a con at the same time. The action is fun, but the platform elements are missed. At times it seems like the small amount of reflex challenges like using the swingshot to move around are in the game for nostalgia. Replacing platform challenges are new action elements like grinding along long cables with your dual vipers in hand. While on rails Ratchet quickly glides down metallic cables. There are rings with explosives in the way that Ratchet needs to jump over and the occasional break in the line which forces Ratchet to jump on an adjacent cable. The rail shooting sequences, while short, keep the levels from just being rounds of arena combat. Vehicle combat is also a larger part of Deadlocked than any other Ratchet title. You’ll pilot the Landstalker, a hulking mech with lock on rockets and laser cannons. There’s a ship that also has lock on rockets and you guessed it dual lasers. There’s also a new bike for Ratchet to ride on where he can race his way through ring checkpoints all the way to the finish line.

 

Battling in the planetary arenas is fun, but computer AI is no match for a human. Which is why Deadlocked added in lots of multiplayer options. You have the standard competition modes like deathmatches, capture the flag and king of the hill. These are a bunch of good choices to keep gamers looking for arcade style action online. What we really dig out of the multiplayer options is the all new cooperative player mode. With one PS2 and two controllers two people can take on the Dreadzone. During the co-op mode players can challenge any single player level just by opening up your single player save into co-op mode. But since you have a friend it wouldn’t be fair to have any battle bots by your side, which forces players to work together to complete levels. Each player gets their own set of gadgets like the shield link, hacker ray and EMP blaster to use. If you want to activate a switch one player will have to pull out the hacker ray. Locking down a turret requires that one player switches over to the EMP blaster. It might not be as efficient as having two robots, but it sure is fun. To keep players from moving on to far from each other are the explosive collars that each contestant wears. Stray too far away from your friend and you get a quick warning. If you don’t get back in time the collar well… use your imagination. If one player happens to get gunned down a respawn counter will automatically appear. As long as the other player stays alive the downed player will come back to life.

 

If there is anything missing in Deadlocked it is the clever writing that was in some of the other titles. It’s not to say that Ratchet Deadlocked isn’t funny, it has its moments when it pokes fun at TV shows. It is more that the story and the characters are out of place. The plot is more like a late night Sci-Fi channel movie and Ratchet just got drafted into the role. Thankfully, this doesn’t cut into the overall fun in the game. The best parts of Ratchet Deadlocked are the action sequences and since this is most of the game Deadlocked doesn’t disappoint.

 

Worldwide Release Details

Ratchet Deadlocked is in stores as of today: October 25, 2005 in the US. A Japan release is set for November 23, 2005 under the name Ratchet & Clank 4th Girigiri Gingano Giga-battle.

 

+ Pros: Plenty of action, shooting with a friend in the co-op mode and a new weapon mod system.

 

- Cons: Platform elements from the other games have been phased out.

 

Overall: As an action packed, sit down and shoot title Ratchet Deadlocked hits the mark.

 

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