Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando Review


Ratchet and Clank are back just a year after their successful debut on the PS2. In fact, a year has also passed in Ratchet and Clank’s world since they put an end to the Blarg. In the intervening time Ratchet and Clank have been milking their success for all its worth, but are rapidly becoming yesterday's news. Relegated to the second-tier talk show circuit, Ratchet and Clank are facing a return to obscurity when they are summoned by Ambercrombie Fizzwidget. Fizzwidget is the absent-minded CEO and Chief Scientist of Mega Corp and he needs our heroes help. It seems that the company's top secret proto-pet has been stolen by a mysterious ninja-like criminal and that in the wrong hands the innocent-looking little critter can cause quite a bit of damage. Ratchet jumps at the opportunity, more to have something to do than anything else, so Fizzwidget outfits Ratchet with some body armor and new weapons and sends him off to save the day.

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The basic gameplay elements in Going Commando remain true to the original game. You've got your oversized wrench that can be used to smash enemies and objects, and you can dispatch enemies with a wide variety of weapons. Destroying objects and defeating enemies will reward you with bolts that can be spent to buy more ammunition or new weapons at vendor kiosks on some of the planets. Also, you can still revisit any of the worlds that you’ve been to before to look for additional secrets, and in fact you may need to do so to reach previously inaccessible areas. Once again the emphasis is on action, and while there are platform standards such as moving platforms, gaps to jump, and objects to move, you’ll spend a good portion of your time blasting various robotic and alien enemies.

This gameplay style worked quite well for the first game, so it would have been perfectly acceptable if the game’s developers left everything as is and provided a new story and new locations in Going Commando. Luckily for us gamers, that did not happen and new elements have been added to the gameplay that make Going Commando even more fun to play than the original game. Some of these changes are minor, but still welcome, such as the ability to toss your wrench boomerang style to take out enemies from a short distance. Also, you can now aim most weapons to get a better shot at your enemies and conserve your ammo. The aiming feature works more like a simple target lock than a sniper scope, but it turns out to be a pretty useful enhancement.

A more substantial change to the game comes in the form of the toughness of Ratchet. Armor now allows him to absorb hits without taking damage and he can now level-up with experience, increasing the amount of damage he can take before dying. Killing enemies will reward Ratchet with overall experience, but he’ll also gain experience with the weapon used to dispatch them. Once he accumulates enough experience with a weapon, it becomes automatically upgraded to a more powerful version. For example, go on a killing spree with your Lava Gun and you’ll be rewarded with an even more deadly Meteor Gun.

Overall, Going Commando introduces 19 new weapons to the game, and some of the weapons from the original game are back as well. Not all of the weapons are meant for killing, though. Several weapons are an integral part of the game’s puzzles, such as a tractor beam that allows you to move around objects and robots and a gun that is used to enable machinery to move platforms or bridges.