Image captured by Hatmonster
This year I resolved to finally dig into those games that I’ve been meaning to revisit over the years. The goal is simple: successfully complete one game on the list a month. Will they all be just as enjoyable as they always were, or will the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia get knocked-off in the process? Well, it’s that question which inspired this venture, so I’m looking forward to finding out!
To kick off this challenge of mine, I decided that for the month of January I would revisit Ratchet: Deadlocked. It’s a game that I remembered enjoying, but also one that’s mysteriously mostly absent from the steel trap that is my memory (usually no game can escape it!). Oddly enough, it seems like I’m not the only Ratchet fan that tends to forget that this game exists. Is it really that terrible an entry in the series? Well, I’m happy to report that I achieved success this month by not only completing the game, but I believe I’ve also got an answer for that question!
It turns out that Ratchet: Deadlocked is less of a side-story than it is a direct sequel to Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. The story picks up what seems to be a few months after Up Your Arsenal. Ratchet is now the captain of the starship Pheonix, while captain Sasha is now the newly-elected mayor of Metropolis…for some reason. The game opens with Ratchet receiving a warning from Sasha that an underground death game known as “DreadZone” has been abducting any and all heroes who have ventured to close to the “Shadow Sector”, a lawless region of space that the show operates out of. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly where Ratchet is currently on patrol. The moment he ends the call, the Pheonix is boarded and Ratchet, along with Clank and AL, are captured. The rest of the story is more or less what you’d expect, Ratchet fighting to survive in DreadZone while trying to figure out a means of escape. It’s smaller the save-the-galaxy scope of most Ratchet games, but I found that it didn’t really matter all that much.
Deadlocked is indeed different from the other PS2-era Ratchet games, though not as much as you’d think. There’s still plenty of weapons to cause mayhem with, plenty of robots to use them on, and plenty of places do it in. The key difference is that the combat is the overwhelming focus in Deadlocked; absolutely everything revolves around it. I initially thought this focus was going to take away much of what I loved about the original games. However, as I blasted, bombarded, and bombed my way through mission after mission, I realized that this was still the Ratchet formula I’ve always known and loved; it was just exploring the series’ more…destructive tendencies.Case and point: there’s a gun in this game called the “Harbinger”, a ‘gun’ that makes the RYNO look like “[A] weak [sissy] from the sissiest place in Sissyland.”
IT’s a short game, maybe 6 hours, but I realized that I never had a dull moment. The missions were short, they were varied, and they always kept the pressure on. I’ve never had as much fun with the action/combat portion of Ratchet than I did here. For five minutes I’d be blasting my way through enemies, in the next five I could be laying waste in a spider tank, and in the next five I could be fighting a boss! And after each victory I get rewarded with this:
video by Youtube user: “Mr. Master”
Now imagine that playing as you watch just how many points you racked up in the last mission. It feels great!
Most importantly, Deadlocked preserves the off-beat humor that charmed us in the original games. Characters like Shellshock (a giant robotic Arnold Schwarzenneger impression), your combat bot partners, and especially Dallas and Juanita!
video by youtube user: DeadlockedGladiator
It wouldn’t have been a Ratchet and Clank game without the humor, and these guys delivered it in spades!
So, my answer for why this game is so easily forgotten? Well, I think it’s because it’s a matter of timing. It’s not part of the PS2 “trilogy”, its short, and it is a bit of a departure from the normal Ratchet formula. It’s not a must-play for Ratchet fans, but I’ll say that any fan who does play it is going to enjoy it!
That’s it for January then, onward to February. It will finally be my long awaited return to Assassin’s Creed II! This is the game against which I’ve evaluated all other AC games, so I’m looking to find out if the rose-colored glasses it inspired are still justified.
See you at the end of the month!