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Aquatos is a planet in the Solana Galaxy featured in Up Your Arsenal. It is an ocean planet covered entirely in water which is home to the Deep Sea Hideout, an impenetrable base owned by Dr. Nefarious. The planet is also the location of vast sewers, populated by amoeboids, where sewer crystals can be obtained. Slim Cognito also operated his secret vendor here.

Ratchet and Clank were sent to infiltrate Nefarious' base on Aquatos by Captain Qwark, leader of the newly formed Q-Force. The duo first traveled through the sewers alongside Skidd McMarx, who brought a Hacker to help get through the fortress. They first encountered Slim Cognito, who sold Megacorp weapons, and then split up to infiltrate the base. Clank entered the ventilation shafts with the help of Skrunch, while Ratchet used the Tyhrra-Guise to get by the tyhrranoids undetected and reach Nefarious' office. After meeting up there, they then encountered the Plumber, who traded sewer crystals for bolts.

History

Prior to Up Your Arsenal

A famed superheroine from Aquatos known as Hydro Girl gained popularity in the Solana Galaxy.

The Galactic Rangers once traveled to Aquatos for the Aquatos sewer war. There are conflicting accounts of this tale by the Rangers themselves: one Ranger claimed to kill a king amoeboid with his bare hands, while another claimed that the amoeboid swallowed him and he had gone AWOL until appearing a week later floating in a toilet on planet Barium.[2]

At some point, Dr. Nefarious established an underwater base on Aquatos, which he believed to be impenetrable.[3] Also, Slim Cognito fled the Bogon Galaxy after a run-in with law enforcement when he mistakenly sold a Suck Cannon upgrade to a minor.[4]

Up Your Arsenal

Captain Qwark drew up plans to infiltrate Aquatos after founding the Q-Force, in which Ratchet and Clank would sneak into the base. In this plan, Clank would go through the ventilation shafts with the help of Skrunch as the Banana-Guided Autonomous Monkey Device, while Ratchet would use the Tyhrra-Guise and his "extensive knowledge of the tyhrranoid language and customs" to sneak through and enter Nefarious' office and steal any information. Ratchet protested against the plan, while Qwark was confident it would succeed.[1]

When Ratchet and Clank arrived for "Infiltrate the underwater hideout", they were surprised to find Skidd, referring to himself as "Shadow Dude", helping in the mission. Though Ratchet protested at first, he changed tune when Skidd mentioned he was using the Hacker to help them get through. After fighting through amoeboids and hover bots, the two eventually encountered Slim Cognito. Skidd fled in fear after Slim's whispers, and Slim then sold them both Megacorp weapons, explaining he had moved to Solana after a run-in with the cops.[4] Slim sold them both the Lava Gun and Miniturret Glove, however he also gave them for free at the behest of Abercrombie Fizzwidget[5] (depending on if the player had purchased them in a Going Commando save).

In "Find Nefarious' Office", Ratchet and Clank split up as per the plan: Ratchet used the Tyhrra-Guise to fool some one-eyed tyhrranoid guards, while Clank, along with Skrunch, traversed the ventilation shaft with the help of gadgebots. Eventually, they found Nefarious' office, and discovered Nefarious possessed the complete Secret Agent Clank holo-vid collection, while Clank downloaded an encrypted star map.[6] They then left through a sewer pipe where they encountered the Plumber, who offered them bolts in exchange for sewer crystals. However, they could not initially obtain all the crystals until they returned with the Gravity Boots.

Slim Cognito contacted Ratchet and Clank when more powerful weapons went on sale. When they arrived at the Thran Asteroid Belt for "Find Captain Qwark", Slim contacted them to inform them he was selling the Bouncer. After arriving on Koros for "Get inside command center", he sold a mint condition Plasma Coil still in its box.[7] Finally, when they arrived on Mylon for "Battle your way to the launch site", he sold a Shield Charger that he had just picked up.[8]

Deadlocked

Hydro Girl was kidnapped by DreadZone and forced to complete, while helping to build a shelter for injured seals.

Aquatos was caught in an interplanetary tanker accident, as a tanker ship for planet Zexxon crashed, injuring many baby seals struck from radioactive waste. Ratchet was framed by Vox News for this attack, with Dallas Wanamaker and Juanita Alvaro falsely claiming he had piloted the tanker.

Though many heroes died during the competition, after Ratchet destroyed DreadZone, Hydro Girl survived, and sent a transmission to Ratchet from Aquatos, thanking him for his help.

Geography

Overview

Deep Sea Hideout 1

The Deep Sea Hideout.

Aquatos is a dark, blue planet seemingly covered entirely in oceans. No visible land can be seen on the planet's surface from space, and the only known areas with any life or civilization are located underwater. The Deep Sea Hideout is a massive underwater tower located on the ocean floor of Aquatos. The surrounding area is dotted with large insectoid machinery that are connected to the tower through long tubes, which grow a bright orange, and are possibly responsible for the orange lights visible from outer space. The machines have some sort of entry or exit point on the top, and serve an unknown purpose.

The Star Explorer lands in one of the main compartments, with windows providing a view of the ocean floor. An elevator in a tunnel is used to access the first area, an underground area, while a submarine and teleport become available later to access the sewers and to reach Slim Cognito's vendor, respectively.

Underground area

Deep Sea Hideout map 1

Map layout of the first area of the Deep Sea Hideout.

The underground area is where the first mission, "Infiltrate the underwater hideout", takes place, and is reached with a tunnel from where the Star Explorer lands. It is made up of underground tunnels and pipelines, and has several smaller bodies filled with filthy green water, housing many and amoeboids. Most of the area is initially inaccessible, requiring the use of the Hacker to operate a total of three bridges, and several buttons to open doorways.

Deep Sea Hideout 2

The interior of the Deep Sea Hideout.

There are a total of four pools of seawater, that connect to a separate section of the ocean outside the area, with thick walls of seaweed blocking off access to the true depths outside. Two pairs of the pools are connected, allowing access to a separate drainpipe (both of which were blocked by king amoeboids). At the end of the area is an elevator through a tunnel exit to Slim Cognito's compartment.

Slim Cognito's room

Deep Sea Hideout 3

Slim Cognito's room.

Slim Cognito's room is visited at the end of "Infiltrate the underwater hideout", and can be reached using a tunnel at the end of the first underground area, or a teleporter from the compartment in which the Star Explorer lands. It is a metal compartment with windows in the floor and ceiling providing a view of the ocean floor. Slim himself is found hidden in a metal tube in the center, and a teleporter is used to return to the Star Explorer. A nearby submarine is used to access Nefarious' base.

Nefarious' base

Deep Sea Hideout map 2

Map layout of Nefarious' base in the Deep Sea Hideout.

Nefarious' base is an area seen only in the mission "Find Nefarious' Office". It is a supposedly impenetrable[3] base guarded by one-eye tyhrranoids, forcefields, and lasers. Ratchet infiltrated using the Tyhrra-Guise to fool them, while Clank used the ventilation shaft.

Upper area

The ventilation shaft leads to an upper area of Nefarious' base, which is guarded with lasers, sentinel bots, force fields, pressure-activated buttons, and other security measures. The only available path leads to a bridge in the main area. Said bridge can be operated to block access for both the below and bottom paths by functioning as a barricade for below, and a missing passage for above. Past it is a large circular area on-top of a structure in the center of the room, with a spinning set of lasers covering its surface.

Past that area is another bridge and a linear route, aside from a small room with several gadgebots, that ends in a large room with a button-activated elevator platform. Above said platform the continues, with only a force field and a bot port blocking access to Nefarious' office.

Main area

Deep Sea Hideout 4

The Main area.

The main area opens with a round room, with a ventilation shaft at the back which Clank uses to access the upper area, and at the end is a force field guarded by a one-eyed tyhrranoid. Past this is a pit full of slime, crossed using floating platforms to another force field. Behind it is a larger room around a central, circular machine structure. Here is also where the aforementioned bridge part is found, which can be raised to provide a path for Clank in the upper area.

Past the bridge is a set of lasers, and a second force field blocking the path, deactivated by stepping on a switch in between two rotating lasers. A fourth force field blocks the path to a room filled with a slime pit, for which one of the tyhrranoids has a controller to extend to those with clearance, which leads to Nefarious' office.

Office

Deep Sea Hideout 5

Nefarious' office.

Nefarious' office is a round room with a large screen at the back, and several terminals surrounding the outer areas. Nefarious has a desk chair in the middle, and on the left, shelves filled with Secret Agent Clank holo-vids. An open pipe on the left leads to the sewers.

Sewers

Deep Sea Hideout sewers map

Map layout of the sewers.

Aquatos has a sewer system, which can be reached with a pipe from Nefarious' office, and a submarine from the base where the Star Explorer lands. It has been described as one of the smelliest sewers in the galaxy.[9]

Deep Sea Hideout 6

The open area of the sewers.

The sewer system is elaborate, containing three levels and a huge number of tunnels. In several of these levels are circular rooms filled with crates, some of which include Gadgetron vendors. The first of six portions of the sewers can be reached on foot, while the rest require the Gravity Boots to access them, with three of them also requiring the Map-O-Matic to have an actually available map. The three sections that require the Gravity Boots are entirely dry, meaning the Charge Boots are unavailable. In between the different sewer areas are bridges connecting them, and below the bridges is a river of sewage water, with a powerful current that returns to the submarine.

Deep Sea Hideout 7

The interior of the sewers.

The sewers are home to 99 sewer crystals, which can be sold to the Plumber for 2,000 bolts each (or 20,000 in challenge mode). Sewer crystals are found both in small containers on the ground and from the bowels of king amoeboids. King amoeboids are either seen as a large mass of slime blocking the tunnels, or will drop down from gratings if prey approaches.

Multiplayer

Aquatos Sewers is a multiplayer map set in a portion of the sewers. It has a unique layout of tunnels based on the sewers visited in the game, and can be used for Capture the Flag and Deathmatch modes only. Unlike the single-player area, the walls do not allow for Gravity Boots movement.

Behind the scenes

Mike Stout designed the Aquatos level, and Jerrod Putman programmed the main segment.[10] Stout also designed both the Clank segment[11] and the Tyhrra-Guise segment,[12] while Paul Cazarez was handed the sewers.[13] The design was one of the first levels that Stout started from a paper design. It was also one of the first levels Stout placed all the enemy segments for, though Stout was inexperienced at enemy segments and had to split them with Colin Munson in exchange for designing puzzle segments in one of Colin's levels.[14] The three different segments (main, Nefarious hideout, and sewers) are actually separate game levels entirely, and the submarine transition is just a variation on the flying ship transitions to mask it, which Al Hastings packed into memory.[15]

The main design requirement for the main Aquatos segment was that Stout had to design a level about a member of the Q-Force helping Ratchet around the level.[16] Stout did not want this to be an escort mission where Ratchet had to protect Skidd, feeling that escort missions were always bad.[16] The biggest difficulty was getting Skidd to run through the level. Skidd used the same system as the Galactic Rangers in the battlefield segments, as Insomniac Games' designers were not using scripting at this point, meaning that Stout and Putman had to work it out together.[14] It was difficult to program all the different cases of where the player should respawn after dying while keeping Skidd working.[16]

One of Stout's mandates when designing the Clank segments was that Insomniac wanted Clank gameplay to have Secret Agent Clank elements, setting up elements that Secret Agent Clank would use later on. Insomniac's designers had also felt that the Gadgebots were not very interactive, and wanted it to be more involved; the solution was to involve Skrunch with the banana gun.[11] Another mandate was that the player would be able to bully Skrunch for enjoyment.[17] Before obtaining the gadgebots, one problem was that some players would not notice the corridor separate from the main hallway where the gadgebots could be found.[18]

The goal for the Tyhrra-Guise segment was to create a rhythm game inspired by Space Channel 5, with the twist that Ratchet was talking to tyhrranoids. The final version was similar to the original design, but it was very difficult for focus testers to understand the interface, and some focus testers did not understand that they actually had to play for this segment. Stout wrote many of the tyhrranoid lines, though they were rewritten by Brad Santos, the writer for Up Your Arsenal.[12]

The sewers segment was an attempt to repeat the Tabora and Grelbin collectible missions from Going Commando but with fewer resources, and the same enemy repeated. It was going to be designed by Mike Stout, but design was handed to Paul Cazarez after Stout realized it would be awful,[13] while Tony Garcia programmed it.[19] Cazarez had to set up around 300 enemy setups, none of which could be the same, and despite the original goal of saving programming work compared to Tabora and Grelbin, ultimately saved little work.[13] Garcia also struggled with programming as the amoeboids had to be split in any orientation without it looking disorienting.[19] The swimming section for each part of the sewers were added as a shortcut back to the start to prevent the player from getting lost.[20]

Citations

References

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