Monday, July 11, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: RATCHET DEADLOCKED







Ratchet: Deadlocked (known as Ratchet: Gladiator in PAL regions, and as Ratchet & Clank 4) is a 3D platformer–shooter video game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony. Released for the PlayStation 2 in 2005. A preview of this game appears in the back of the Jak X: Combat Racing manual.

The game's story begins as Ratchet, Clank, and Al are abducted and forced to compete in "Dreadzone", a violent game show in which heroes are forced to kill each other. Ratchet is given a "DeadLock" collar, which will explode if he becomes uncooperative. Ratchet defeats Dreadzone's most successful gladiators, the Exterminators, and becomes one of Dreadzone's most popular contestants. The three must find a way to deactivate the collars, and free the other heroes being held prisoner.

The gameplay is similar to other games in the series, but focuses more on shooter aspects rather than platforming. The player, as Ratchet, fights in Dreadzone tournaments across the "Shadow Sector" in the "Solana" Galaxy, with a large variety of weapons. This game was the first in the series to feature cooperative gameplay in a story mode, and also includes an online multiplayer mode. Some vehicles return from previous games, and new ones are introduced. For the first time, Clank was not a playable character.

Deadlocked was met with generally favorable reviews, although slightly lower than its predecessors, with some criticism being aimed at its darker tone, repetitive gameplay and level design, and the removal of Clank as a playable character.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Ratchet: Deadlocked is similar to that of previous Ratchet & Clank games, with a combination of shooting, action, and platforming, although it focuses more on shooter aspects of the series, with very little platforming. Deadlocked was the first game in the Ratchet and Clank series to have an adjustable difficulty level, and is also the first to have a cooperative story mode with two players.

The player controls Ratchet from a third-person perspective, competing in missions and tournaments, defeating enemies, or occasionally controlling vehicles. "Combat Bots", two robots which follow the player in most missions, give Ratchet extra firepower, and perform several tasks for him, such as planting explosives. Combat bots can be upgraded and given new paint schemes, head designs, and weapons. After completing missions, the player is awarded a certain amount of "Dreadpoints" and bolts, the game's form of currency. Bolts can also be picked up from defeated enemies, or found in hidden "Jackpot" crates.

There are ten weapons in Deadlocked, fewer than most other games in the series. Weapons can be modified using a large range of "Alpha" and "Omega" mods, which improve weapon abilities. Alpha mods improve statistics such as rate-of-fire and ammunition capacity, while Omega mods add a secondary effect to weapons, such as napalm, or the ability to freeze enemies. The Omega mods can only be equipped if a weapon supports it ("Remember: some weapons aren't compatible with certain Omega mods"). As the player progresses, more weapons and mods become available, such as the "Arbiter", a rocket launcher, and the "Magma Cannon", a shotgun-like weapon. Weapons and mods are bought from vendors, which also sell ammunition, using bolts. As weapons gain experience, they will upgrade to more powerful versions, to a maximum of level 10 (further upgrades, however, can still be bought in "challenge mode"). The game's health system, Nanotech, can also be upgraded through experience. Whenever the player takes damage, it can be partially restored by breaking nanotech crates.

Clank, Ratchet's robotic best friend, is only a playable character if his skin is unlocked, and cannot be used as a jet-pack device by Ratchet, unlike older games. Instead, he acts as mission control, giving the player advice during gameplay. A skin for a second player in cooperative mode, however, named "Alpha Clank", can be used.

In cooperative mode, the second player takes the place of the combat bots. The Bot's gadgets can be used by the players instead, when necessary. Players in cooperative mode must share weapons and ammunition supply, and as a result, both players cannot use the same weapon at the same time.

There are four playable vehicles throughout Deadlocked. The "Hovership", a laser equipped aircraft, the "Puma", a type of armored car, and the "Landstalker", essentially a large platform with four spider-like mechanical legs and weapons, can all be used by two players simultaneously at any time. The "Hoverbike", a hovering vehicle used for both racing and combat, can only be used by one player.

After completing the game, the player may choose to enter "challenge mode". In challenge mode, weapons can be upgraded further, more mods can be purchased, and additional "Extras" are made available.

The game also features online and local multiplayer modes. Up to four players may play locally in offline multiplayer matches. The online mode supports a USB Keyboard and a USB Headset, and all levels from single player are available in multiplayer. Players can play in "Conquest" mode, in which teams try to capture territory, "Deathmatch" mode, where players gain points by killing each other, "Capture the Flag" mode, where up to four teams attempt to capture their opponent's flags, "King of the Hill" mode, where players gain points by staying in a holographic circle, and "Juggernaut" mode, similar to deathmatch, but where one player has vastly improved abilities.

Plot

Following the events of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Ratchet, Clank and Al have been given the job of running the Starship Phoenix. After the crew are informed that many heroes have disappeared, robots overrun the Phoenix, taking Ratchet, Clank, and Al captive.

They are transported to the Shadow Sector, a lawless region of the Solana Galaxy. Ratchet meets Gleeman Vox, the creator of Dreadzone, a barbaric game show in which contestants try to kill each other. Ratchet is being forced to compete in Dreadzone, and is now wearing a "DeadLock" collar which will explode if he becomes uncooperative or boring. Collectively referred to as "Team DarkStar", Ratchet and crew must fight for their lives. Al serves as the mechanic for Ratchet's new combat bots, Merc and Green, while Clank serves as his "Mission Engineer". Ratchet and the combat bots (or a second player) compete across a series of battle courses and tournaments on different planets, clearing challenge after challenge, while Ratchet becomes Dreadzone's most popular contestant.

Ratchet gains victories against the Dreadzone Exterminators, a group of contestants who serve as bosses. Eventually, Gleeman Vox offers to make Ratchet the head of the Exterminators. Ratchet, disgusted by Dreadzone, flatly refuses the offer. Enraged, Vox orders that Ratchet be sent to the "Gauntlet of Doom", a course thought to be unbeatable. After Ratchet successfully completes the Gauntlet of Doom, he returns to his DreadZone containment area, where Clank has found a way to shut down the containment fields holding the other heroes prisoner. Ratchet travels to Dreadzone Station's control level to destroy the central computer.

Upon his arrival at the control level, Ratchet discovers that Vox has wired the station to explode, and if Ratchet cannot deactivate the explosives, everyone there will die, including the fans. Running a massive gauntlet of enemies and destroying three power generators, Ratchet deactivates the containment fields and unlocks the station's escape shuttles. Ratchet's final battle with Vox follows. After his defeat, Vox reactivates the self-destruct sequence via remote control, planning to kill both himself and Ratchet to gain "the best ratings I've ever had!"

The last shuttle, however, piloted by Al, swoops in to rescue Ratchet. Ratchet leaps aboard with Merc, Green, and Vox's pet, where Clank removes his DeadLock collar. Dreadzone Station explodes soon afterwards, blowing Vox apart and leaving his robotic arm the only thing left of him. After the credits, Nefarious and Lawrence make a cameo appearance, still trapped on the asteroid. Nefarious states that they were supposed to be coming in range of a space station, to which Lawrence retorts he had no idea it was going to explode. Nefarious gets angry and short-circuits, and we hear a clip from Lance and Janice as the game ends.

Gladiators

Ace Hardlight= Becomes DreadZone top gladiator after killing crowd favorite Captain Starshield at the start of the game. Ace was originally a hero but was warped by Vox. Defeated in Vindicator tournament, peak DreadZone rank= Grand Champion

Captain Starshield= Crowd favorite and all time top gladiator until his death at the hands of Ace Hardlight, peak DreadZone rank= 1

Quaternion X= Second gladiator after Captain Starshield, created scorpion flail. Dies before the start of the game, supposedly at the hands of Hardlight, peak DreadZone rank= about 2

Shellshock = Lowest ranked eliminator has very good weapons but is supposedly dumb and stupid. Dies on Kronos right before Avenger tournament, peak DreadZone rank= 9

Reactor= Originally a school teacher, makes his way to DreadZone as a "brutal destroyer". Dies in Crusader tournament, peak DreadZone rank= 6

Eviscerator= Famously a master of disembowelment. Dies in Vindicator tournament, peak DreadZone rank= 4

Hydra girl= Only female gladiator, dates Ratchet at the end of the game, peak rank= 8

Ratchet: Deadlocked was released in North America on October 25, 2005 and in Japan on November 23, 2005. It was released as Ratchet: Gladiator in Europe and Australia, on November 18, 2005 and November 24, 2005, respectively.

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