Secret Agent Clank Review
Ratchet has been framed for a crime he didn't commit, and it's up to Clank, make that Secret Agent Clank, to solve the mystery behind the frame-up. The spunky little robot has more than his high intellect to help him in this mystery; he also has an arsenal of high-tech spy gadgetry at his disposal that would make James Bond jealous.
The run-and-gun gameplay that the series that invented the platform-shooter genre is famous for is still here, but in smaller doses. Now that Clank's a secret agent, the gameplay is heavily tilted towards the kind of stealth action that will constantly conjure up thoughts of the Sly Cooper games. You'll need to avoid searchlights and patrolling guards and use your gadgets to stealthily take down enemies or disable security systems. The stealth gameplay is not up to the high standards of the Ratchet and Clank series, and is in fact pretty average for the genre – perhaps a little below average due to persistent camera problems that will have you at times struggling to see what you need to see. Trip an alarm and you'll face a swarm of guards or security robots, but you can take them out with a few kicks and punches in fights that don't require any skills beyond the ability to mash buttons. The crazy battles that make the Ratchet & Clank games so much fun are unfortunately boring and repetitive in this entry. Perhaps aware that the stealth gameplay was on the weak side, the developers included a number of other sequences for Clank that adds some variety to the game. Some of these aren't too bad, but the ones that are rhythm-based are simply painful and frustrating.
You'll get your chance to play as Ratchet and his sequences are closer to the series' trademark action, but Ratchet is locked in prison and not free to roam fantastic and exotic worlds. His levels consist of timed arena-based combat sequences fought against fellow inmates. Unfortunately a tight camera combined with claustrophobic quarters make for battles that involve fighting the camera as much as they do the enemies, and you'll will have to try and gun down most enemies while they are off-screen and out of view. You'll often feel like you're running in circles firing your gun rather than battling enemies.
There are two other types of levels in the game that don't involve either of our heroes. The first is puzzle-based and features three little robots that must work together to get past obstacles or solve switch and other similar style puzzles. The puzzles themselves are not all that challenging, but the gameplay in these levels is consistently better than in Clank's or Ratchet's levels and they provide a nice little change of pace. The last type stars Captain Qwark, the Ratchet & Clank series' resident bumbling and clueless galactic hero with an inappropriately inflated ego. His levels are action-based shooters, but what makes them more enjoyable is that they showcase the series' trademark humor far better than any other part of the game. It's not until you play Qwark's levels that you realize how much of that humor that you know and love seems to be missing from the rest of the game.
Secret Agent Clank first appeared on the PSP, and unfortunately it shows. The graphics are pretty crude and grainy, and I'm not comparing them to those of PS3 games either. The game is rather ugly for a PS2 game, paling in comparison to games like God of War or the other Ratchet & Clank games available on the system. Also, the game insisted on playing with vertical bars on both sides of the widescreen monitor used while playtesting the game. There was an in-game option to select widescreen graphics which did absolutely nothing – the black bars remained no matter which setting was selected. It's just another disappointment in a game that's a disappointing entry in a storied series. This one's best left to diehard fans that can't bear to let anything Ratchet & Clank pass them by. Everyone else should let it go quietly away into the dark.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 55%. Secret Agent Clunk.