Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I've spent the last few evenings on another planet, sucking people, blowing them, with a little guy on my back. It's been fun. I've been playing Ratchet and Clank on the PlayStation 2. It's fantastic. Yes, it's a platform game, but it's also a gory shoot-em-up - think Jak and Daxter meet Quake. There's the usual jumping from rock to rock, but there are 35 fantastic weapons and gadgets - I can't decide which is my favourite one:

There's the suck cannon, which initially acts like a vacuum cleaner. Point it at a horde of small enemies, say a crowd of evil frogs. Switch it on, and they will get sucked up into the gun. Once there are five in there, the gun is full and the frogs become the ammo: press 'fire' again and you can shoot splatting amphibians at the advancing frogs.

Then there's the glove of doom. Again, this works best in a room full of enemies. Chuck a bomb on the floor and it splits up into five tiny chuckling robots which run around chaotically, exploding gleefully upon contact with any baddie. Great fun.

The plot entails saving the universe, so you travel from planet to planet, each with very different landscapes and creatures. So the battlegrounds are varied: a disused space-station whose corridors are filled with mutant frogs and snakes; a city with vertiginous skyscrapers and flying cars; a sewer system where you have to race the rising water…

It's all beautifully drawn with very real perspectives - crawling out onto a ledge above the city actually gave me a sense of vertigo. I don't often get engrossed in computer games, but Ratchet and Clank has me totally hooked. I can't wait to see what happens next. [Though perhaps nothing will, because I can't get past the bloody boss monster on the space-station right now.]

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