previews\ Sep 23, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando - PS2 - Preview 2

Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando.


I can hide out under there.  I just made you say underwear...


No, not THAT kind of commando, the kind that involves hunting, fighting, shooting and killing!  In a family-friendly sort of way, of course.


With more of everything you loved about the original and a ton of cool additions to look forward to, Going Commando will no doubt be a strong contender for your gaming dollars this Christmas.  The preview demo, which includes only a small fraction of the final content, included four separate gameplay sections: Maktar Resort, Gladiator Arena, Battle Sphere and Hoverbike Challenge.


Maktar Resort:  This portion of the demo hinted at what the basic gameplay elements will be like.  You've got battles, item collecting, an impressive selection of weapons, and what appears to be a good amount of world space to explore.


One instantly noticeable enhancement: the camera.  You now have even greater control over the camera, and can pan out further than ever before.  It sounds trivial, but is a very important part of the game, which includes some of the biggest, most wide-open areas you'll find in a platformer.  Those wide-open areas would be hard to see and navigate with a lower-quality camera.


At this point in the demo, not much else seems different.  There seems to be more battles, but it's only the beginning...


Gladiator Arena:  You want more battles?  You got 'em!  At the Battle Arena, you'll have to take out an onslaught of enemies over the course of six rounds.  Then you'll have to take out a tough boss.  Then another boss.  And you'll have to destroy 30 enemies in 30 seconds!


One of the bosses is essentially a robotic octopus.  He spreads his legs and spins around, trying to knock you off the platform with all his might.  Below the platform are deadly lasers, and every time he hits a health slot is depleted.  The same is true for any unfortunate falls into the laser pit.  The first Ratchet & Clank was anything but a cakewalk, but it wouldn't have won any awards for being the most challenging game ever created.  Going Commando has gone in the right direction though, and should provide a much lengthier experience.


Battle Sphere:  The battle sphere is an awesome surprise.  When you think of a battle sphere, what comes to mind?  The thing the American Gladiators used?  The ball that Crash rolled around in in his last adventure?  Neither guess would be correct.


Ratchet & Clank's battle sphere is a circular level (or perhaps an area of a level, depending on how the final game is set up).  It's shaped like a miniature planet, and as Ratchet walks around, gravity magically keeps him from floating off into space.  It's so cool to see for the first time and is one of the most unique levels I've seen in a platformer in years.  Much acclaim goes out to the developers – you guys rock!


Hoverbike Challenge:  If Ratchet & Clank had their own cart racing game, what would it be?  You'll get to find out in Going Commando.  Jump into a hoverbike (a small hovercraft-type vehicle that looks like the deformed pod racers used in Bombad Racing).  Simply put, this mini-game is awe-awe-awesome!  It's as much fun as most full-fledged cart racers, and it has a greater purpose than racing for the fun of it.  Winners will be able to delve deeper into the rest of the game, and while I don't know what's being planned, I wouldn't be surprised if there were several hoverbike challenges in the game.


As I said before, this is only a small fraction of what the final game will have to offer.  More mini-games are a given, and judging by the direction the game is taking it's likely that there will be other unique levels to explore and immerse yourself in.  Keep your pants on gamers, 'cause Going Commando hits stores next month.

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