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Al, also referred to as Big Al, is a recurring support character in the Ratchet & Clank series. He is a robotics engineer and computer hacker, notable for providing upgrades to Clank. Al owns a large RoboShack in Kerwan's bustling city Metropolis, and also has a brother named Bob on Pokitaru. He is also a huge fan of Captain Qwark, and an avid collector of Qwark vid-comics.

In Ratchet & Clank, Al first met Ratchet and Clank when they arrived at Al's RoboShack inquiring about Captain Qwark's location. Though Al had not seen Qwark since Qwark filmed a commercial for his RoboShack, he did instead sell Clank his first upgrade, the Heli-Pack. Later, in Up Your Arsenal, Al served as a technical engineer for the Q-Force, providing his expertise as a hacker from aboard the Starship Phoenix. In Deadlocked, he was a member of Team Darkstar, having been kidnapped and forced to participate in DreadZone.

History

Before Ratchet & Clank

When Al was young, his father called him an "energetic degenerate", something he was hurt by at first but took pride in.[1] He was taught all he knew about robotics engineering by his brother, Bob.[2] At some point joined the Captain Qwark fan club,[3] and his favorite vid-comic was when Captain Qwark met his evil twin brother, Commander Quasar.[1] Al's favorite movie was Mandles, Sandles for Men. The Saga Continues?, starring Jet Baxter and Courtney Gears.[4] Al is also a

Al founded his RoboShack on Kerwan, and hired Captain Qwark for a commercial, in which Qwark claimed that Al had been making gadgets for him since he was "knee-high to a sand mouse".[5]

Ratchet & Clank

Al meeting Ratchet and Clank in his roboshack.

Ratchet and Clank viewed the commercial for Al's RoboShack in an infobot acquired from Agnogg Buckwash on Novalis. After seeing the commercial for Al's RoboShack, Ratchet and Clank both opted to travel to Metropolis to inquire about Qwark's whereabouts.

During "Visit Al's Roboshack", the two approached Al, who informed them that he had not seen Qwark since they filmed the commercial. However, after recognizing Clank's XP-18 sisterboards, he offered his assistance by providing him with a Heli-Pack upgrade for 1,000 bolts.[6] This was the first upgrade Clank received, as he later received an upgrade from Al's brother Bob on Pokitaru.

Following Chairman Drek's defeat, Al hosted a wiener roast, which Ratchet and Clank attended, and mentioned during an interview for Behind the Hero.[7]

Re-imagined

The 2016 re-imagined game and movie are in-universe fictional accounts of the original Ratchet & Clank.
The re-imagined game describes Captain Qwark's account of events, while the re-imagined film is an in-universe holofilm. As Qwark is an unreliable narrator, and the holofilm is fiction, any events that contradict the original are non-canon (though those which correspond still apply). Please see Project:Bulletin board/Canon for the wiki's coverage of canon.

Clank outfitted with Al's Heli-Pack upgrade.

In Qwark's retelling of events, Al appeared on both Kerwan and Pokitaru but without his siblings Bob and Edwina. Al was a collector of holocards, who kept in touch with Ratchet and Clank regarding their collections. On Kerwan, the duo visited him to receive an upgrade for Clank, after being recommended by Cora Veralux. Al doubtfully claimed he had a "will we, won't we" romance with her and granted the Heli-Pack for free once they arrived at his roboshack, on account of their friendship with Cora.

Ratchet riding in a raft with Al and Feltzin.

Later, Al appeared in the Pokitaru Tiki Lounge and Karaoke Bar for a comic book convention, about to speak on a panel about everything wrong with comic book-based holo-films, featuring great bloggers including himself, Stuart Zurgo, and Obsidie Vand Schmoot. Felton Razz requested his help, and Al granted Ratchet and Clank an upgrade for their class-g Star Jumper's weaponry, allowing them to destroy the blarg's hydroharvesters. After that, he provided Clank with a new Thruster-Pack, for which he had downloaded the holo-plans for the night before, granting them access to the Jowai Resort Pumping Stations.

Up Your Arsenal

Ratchet and Clank meeting Al on Marcadia.

Al was sent to the Capital City, Marcadia by President Phyronix to fix the planet's laser defense system, which had been damaged by a tyhrranoid invasion. However, he used the defense network to play a Qwark vid-comic, Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder, by bypassing the server and reprogramming the graphics sub-processor. After Clank identified a feedback loop in his signal processor, Al fixed it, repairing the defense shields, and loaned them the vid-comic.[8]

The Q-Force.

The vid-comic helped Captain Qwark regain his memory. Qwark then formed a team, the Q-Force, on which Al was inducted into for his mastery of electronics.[9] He provided logistical support to the team throughout the war against Dr. Nefarious. He also developed a crush on fellow team member Helga von Streissenburgen.[10] When Nefarious beamed a message onto the Starship Phoenix, Al traced it back to Daxx, considering Nefarious' six-pass alpha-key encryption to be amateurish.[11] Al also entered Clank in the Robowars cage match toasterweight division, for which Clank would be required to swap out his arms for a blowtorch.[10]

Al analyzing Skidd.

Al later gave Ratchet the fourth Qwark vid-comic, Deja Q All Over Again, which made Ratchet realize that Nefarious would attack Metropolis as the next target. He also worked on reversing the transformation of fellow team member Skidd McMarx to a robot by the Biobliterator, after finding that an imprint of Skidd's psyche was still found within the robotic Skidd.[3]

Ratchet rescuing Al and the rest of the Q-Force.

When Ratchet obtained the master plan left by Qwark at the crash site, Zeldrin, he gave it back to Al to decode it. He considered its omega-class asymmetric encryption to be a worthy challenge and gave them the fifth Qwark vid-comic, The Shaming of the Q, found in Qwark's quarters.[3] Al's efforts to decode the disk led to Nefarious attacking the Starship Phoenix directly, though Al still decoded it and learned of Nefarious' plans with the Biobliterator. He learned first that the Biobliterator was recharging on Koros with plans to attack Veldin next,[12] and after fully decoding the plans, learned that a second had been built in secret on Mylon.[13]

After Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark defeated Nefarious, Al attended the premiere for the Secret Agent Clank movie, sitting with Bob and Edwina.

Going Mobile

Going Mobile is non-canon.
As Going Mobile was never installed as part of the main series, its events are considered non-canon. Please see Project:Bulletin board/Canon for the wiki's coverage of canon.

Contacting Al.

In Going Mobile, Al was contacted by Ratchet and Clank through the Communication Station and was told of their biomatter conversion into a Secret Agent Clank vid-comic. Al stated that reversing it would be easy and that they had to run their digital corporeal data through a Macro Corporeal Geo Fragmentation Ion Negator (or MCGuFIN), reversing the biodigitization process, and allowing them to return to the analog world. Al was reluctant to help them out at first, as he had planned to play his 'Amoeboids and Anterchambers' game, but resolved to help them out with the MCGuFIN he was using as a doorstop.[14]

Upon collecting the first part of the device they found out Al ran into an error in the transmission, as a power surge caused it to be split into six pieces, and spread throughout the vid-comic issue. He also opened several infolinks to more nodes, allowing them to further explore the network.[15]

Contacting Al again.

After collecting all pieces and returning to the Communication Station they spoke with Al again, who said that to activate it they had to access a special infolink in a secure area. The codes to which were kept in a safe at another location, specifically Maximillian's office at the Maktar Casino. A robot bouncer blocked their way, however, but he confided in them that they could be bribed and that the only way to get enough cash was to enter the Battle Arena's pay-off vault, which was protected by a barrier. He had a solution, however, and granted Ratchet the Circuit Jammer, allowing him to enter the vault.[16]

Deadlocked

Al was on the crew of the Starship Phoenix along with Ratchet and Clank, appointed as chief engineer.[17] He, alongside Ratchet and Clank, were abducted and forced to participate in DreadZone. Though Clank and Al were set to be terminated, as Gleeman Vox only wanted Ratchet, Vox decided instead to give them deadlock collars and make use of them first, giving Al the job as technical engineer for Team Darkstar. He provided Ratchet his two combat bots, Merc and Green, which he had acquired from a former deceased contestant.[18]

While Ratchet fought in DreadZone, Clank and Al secretly tried to figure out a way to remove their deadlock collars beneath the notice of the security cameras, with Clank using blueprints he had obtained from Venus.[19] Though Al was successful in removing Clank's collar, Ace Hardlight had discovered their plan and shot Al with his blaster, hospitalizing him.[20]

Al had his arm and part of his head replaced with robotic parts. In this state, he and Clank acquired schematics for the Battledome, learning of a way to shut down the containment fields and release all the heroes. Ratchet did so, though it was merely a setup by Vox, who instead loaded the DreadZone Station with nitroglycerin and rigged it to explode if Ratchet did not shut it down in time.[21] Later, Al was able to flee the station in a final escape shuttle containing Ratchet, Clank, and several others. While aboard, he played messages of thanks aimed at Ratchet, including one from Qwark.[22]

Post-Deadlocked

Big Al went on to form the Ratchet Fan Club, with Vernon, Lucy and Eugene, three children rescued from DreadZone, as his first members. Nicknamed "Big Tool" by his troop, he gained popularity with the kids as he fought a malfunctioning vending machine, ate sandwiches with his shoes off, and fended off attacks from a rival group known as the Qwark Core Cadets. However, he was forced to step down from his position after getting into a fight over a set of Exterminator trading cards.[23]

Al began a holovision series known as Big Al's Bot Wars, which the citizens of Kerwan were forced to watch reruns of following Tachyon's attack in Tools of Destruction.[24]

Al's RoboShack was also reopened during the time of A Crack in Time, expanded to sell video games. A commercial for Big Al's Roboshack and Gaming Superstore could sometimes be heard on the radio.

Al was seen in Issue 5: Multiple Organisms, trying to help Qwark and Zephyr assemble a second Helios. Al's help was called for because the terachnoids were busy trying to find the stolen planets, though he no longer had any robotic parts attached to him from Deadlocked. He was mentioned in Issue 6: Bros Before Foes, but did not appear.

Al's RoboShack continued to run, and was mentioned by Pepper Fairbanks during All 4 One.

Al invented a new upgrade for Clank named the Spotlight, and installed it onto him before the events of Into the Nexus.

In Rift Apart, Al does not appear physically, but a parade balloon of him is seen during the Festival of Heroes in Megalopolis along with balloons of other characters like Qwark, Ratchet, and Clank. The balloons are later sucked into a pocket dimension, where Ratchet jumps from balloon to balloon to navigate through it.

Characteristics

Appearance

Al is a rotund, yellow-ish humanoid with pointy ears and short, red hair. He wears a lab coat and round yellow-green glasses, with a telescope attached to one side. Beneath the lab coat, he either wears a T-shirt featuring either a Qwark logo or a logo for his roboshack. He also typically either wears blue or black pants, and sometimes a belt featuring his tools.

Personality

Al is a friendly and helpful character who is characterized as a stereotypical computer geek, by both his voice and speech. Though willing to help out with his technical expertise, Al is fearful of combat, and can lash irritated when his work environment is interrupted by smell or mess,[1] when his coffee is not ready,[10] or when his concentration is interrupted.[8] Al is an avid collector of vid-comics, gamer, and both a member of a Qwark fan club[3] and Ratchet fan club,[23] dreaming of one day having vid-comics written about himself.[1]

Al has other known interests aside from his love of vid-comics. He is a fan of and dances to Courtney Gears' music, a fact he prefers to hide from others,[18] and his taste in music drove him to including an internal code reader playing his top 40 favorite songs, such as "Shamus on Youmus" and "I love You so Much I'd Eat Dirt", in a modified helmet for Merc and Green.[25] Al once accidentally mentioned having a crush on Helga von Streissenburgen while the Starship Phoenix intercom was on.[10]

Al makes a point of being proud of his intellect and his skills. He also often talks out loud and make frequent use of technical terms that go over other characters' heads as a way to demonstrate his knowledge.[8][3] Al very much enjoys being intellectually challenged when hacking,[3] while sneering at simpler challenges.[26] Al's pride also extends to his skills at gaming, leading to him denying Merc and Green their VG-9000 access to prevent them from beating his high score.[1]

Abilities

Al is a potent robotics engineer, learning many of his skills from his brother Bob.[2] He was able to very quickly recognize Clank's compatible sisterboard with little investigation.[6] Al is also a skilled hacker, able to bypass encryption to trace the origin of a transmission,[26] and decode a data disk with top-secret information for Dr. Nefarious' plan.[3]

Behind the scenes

Original Al concept art.

Re-imagined Al concept art.

Al was the very first non-player character added into the original Ratchet & Clank.[27]

A wanted poster of Ratchet and Clank was featured on the side of Al's RoboShack during the commercial cutscene, though it did not feature in gameplay.

Al accidentally mentioned a crush on Helga during Up Your Arsenal while the intercom was still on, but unused dialogue suggests that this was supposed to be expanded in an actual plot point, depicting him owning up about his feelings and the two flirting shortly after.[28]

Aside from Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark, Al is the only member of the Q-Force to be heard in the Future series. He is also mentioned by Space Pirates in the Ublik Passage.

Al also featured in PlayStation Home.

Gallery

Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Deadlocked script § "Al"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "Whadda we got here?"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Up Your Arsenal script § "Take Datadisk to Big Al (gameplay)"
  4. Deadlocked menu § "Bounty Hunter"
  5. Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "infobot - Ad for Al's Roboshack", Ad for Al's Roboshack
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) script § "Hey, you're that robot guy, right?"
  7. Going Commando script § "Behind the Hero, Part I", Behind the Hero, Part I
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Up Your Arsenal script § "Repair the Laser Defense Shield (gameplay)"
  9. Up Your Arsenal script § "Phoenix 3"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Up Your Arsenal script § "Other"
  11. Up Your Arsenal script § "Phoenix 5"
  12. Up Your Arsenal script § "Get to the bridge (gameplay)"
  13. Up Your Arsenal script § "Access big gun control panel (gameplay)"
  14. Going Mobile script § "Communication Station (second visit)"
  15. Going Mobile script § "First four MCGuFIN pieces"
  16. Going Mobile script § "Communication Station (third visit)"
  17. Insomniac Games official website 2005
  18. 18.0 18.1 Deadlocked script § "Tutorial (gameplay)"
  19. Deadlocked script § "DreadZone Station 4"
  20. Deadlocked script § "Eviscerator Battle (gameplay)"
  21. Deadlocked script § "DreadZone Station 6"
  22. Deadlocked script § "Death of a Salesman"
  23. 23.0 23.1 Deadlocked, Extras § "Al and the Fan Kids"
  24. Tools of Destruction: Mentioned after asking IRIS what happened to Kerwan following the attack, and by Space Pirates in Ublik Passage.
  25. Deadlocked menu § "Crash V6"
  26. 26.0 26.1 Deadlocked script § "Return to the Phoenix (gameplay)"
  27. Ratchet & Clank (2002 game), Goodies § "Sketchbook"
  28. Up Your Arsenal, unused dialogue

References

Video games
Websites

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