Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando Review

Developer: Insomniac Games Publisher: SCEA
Release Date: November 11, 2003 Also On: None

I have to admit straight-out, I overlooked Ratchet and Clank last winter. After receiving a copy of Going Commando and beating it, I decided to rush to the store and immediately purchased the original. You’ll probably do the same, that’s if you are like me and had overlooked the first one also.

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Going Commando has over 15 guns available. Like in RPG’s, you can gain experience, which will increase your health bar as the game goes along. Weapons upgrade after a lot of use. Going Commando forces the player to strategically use their weapons, if you don’t, you won’t succeed very well. For instance, you want to sue the gravity bomb on large batches of enemies, but since it has limited (and expensive) ammo, you want to use it sparingly. The “Bouncer� is an expensive, but essential weapon in your arsenal, since it can wipe out tougher enemies with the use of only one or two “Bouncer Balls� (please note that that isn’t their actual name, they are balls and so the name sounds right).

Going Commando has a large amount of diversions from the action and platforming elements of the game. These mini-games include hover-bike racing, Star Fox-like space shooters, and a puzzle where you must open “gates� so that electrical currents can pass through.

The hover-bike racing is kind of similar to the one in the original Jak and Daxter, but better. Boosts, boost pads, sharp turns, etc. are all abundant. There are five hover-bike challenges per course, all of which range in difficulty. The more difficult races include weapons, racers who attack Ratchet, and side-tracks, otherwise known as shortcuts.

The Star Fox-like flying/shooting sequences are less entertaining and well, tweaked. Shooting is done with X, turbo with square, secondary weapons with circle, and roll with R1 and L1. Many of these missions just involve killing enemy ships, but one forces you to blow up a ship that vanishes every few seconds.

If you are low on ammo or if you just want to conserve it, you can use your wrench as a weapon. Pressing R1 and then square will have Ratchet “boomerang� his wrench at enemies; circle is how you use your equipped weapon. Weapons can be equipped with triangle or you can double press triangle to go to the last weapon that you used. An auto-targeting system is in place and strafing with L2 makes dodging enemy fire simple. For a more accurate shooting system, you can go into first-person shooting (which is manual) by pressing and holding L1.

Going Commando features very few Clank levels, in fact, I think there are only two, but three at the most. In these levels, you will have to rely on other robots to do your bidding. One level later on in the game will combine Ratchet’s action with Clank’s adventuring. In this level, you go back and forth between the two, trying to escape from a building where you were imprisoned.

Going Commando has a few collision detection issues; objects sometimes go through Ratchet. One level, I was standing on top of a building, after hovering up there, and found myself standing fifteen or so feet above the actual roof. While this is rare throughout the game, it still makes it an imperfect title. Going Commando is a long game compared to other platform titles. It took me about fifteen and a half hours, including time that I spent adventuring and doing optional side-quests, until I beat the final boss.

There is no lack of different worlds or environments by any means. Since I’m not currently in the game’s menu, I can’t accurately say, but I would guess that there are about 20 worlds total, a huge feat for a game that retails for only $39.99. Truth be told, I spent hours upon hours playing Going Commando; this is the most fun and time spent on a game since the March release of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. If it were up to me, Going Commando would be Game of the Year in a heartbeat, this title can’t be passed up; it is possible that this is the best action/platform title ever.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 9.8
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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