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Aranos is a planet in the Bogon Galaxy featured in Going Commando, with brief mentions in Ears of War and All 4 One. A planet covered in ice-capped mountains with a homogeneously frigid climate, it was introduced as the setting of the first mission, in Angela Cross' flying lab.

It was visited again after Ratchet and Clank were imprisoned by Thugs-4-Less in the flying lab, which they had taken control of and converted into a prison. The planet's surface was never visited throughout the game. The entirety of Ratchet and Clank's visits were spent on the flying lab, which was situated in Sector Seven of the planet.

History

Going Commando

Thief holding Ratchet at gunpoint

The Unknown Thief holding Ratchet at gunpoint.

In the beginning of Going Commando, Megacorp founder Abercrombie Fizzwidget enlisted Ratchet's help to retrieve a top-secret experiment, which had been stolen days prior by Angela Cross, known then as the Unknown Thief. After two weeks of training, Ratchet was sent to Aranos, where Fizzwidget had located Angela's flying lab (coordinates 37A).[1] Ratchet's first objective was to retrieve the experiment, in the mission "Infiltrate the flying base".

Ratchet was nearly successful in doing so, thanks to Angela's outdated Megacorp security forces,[1] though Angela ultimately confronted Ratchet in the experiment room and prevented him from taking it. She made off with the experiment, and afterwards recruited Thugs-4-Less to replace her security after having left.

Clank's admirer rescue

Clank's admirer rescuing Ratchet and Clank.

Much later in the game, Thugs-4-Less sent out an arrest bounty on Ratchet and Clank, who were accused of trying to assassinate Fizzwidget[2] (a set up by Megacorp and Thugs-4-Less after Ratchet and Clank aligned themselves with Angela against Megacorp). The duo were eventually captured on Boldan and sent back to the flying lab on Aranos. Thugs-4-Less had overtaken the lab, and converted it into a luxurious prison, evidently complete with nutritionists (Mathematician), fitness trainers (Helga), and life coaches (Mystic).[3]

Thugs-4-Less Prison Video Brochure 1

The flying lab.

Once in the prison cell, Clank determined that there were no means of escape. However, soon after, Clank's admirer appeared through a small opening in a vent, through which Clank crawled and found a way out with Microbot support, in the mission "Free Ratchet from prison cell". Clank explored the lab and caused a power failure on decks 4–14,[4] allowing Ratchet to escape as the emergency generators did not reactivate the cell's walls.

Plumber with Ratchet and Clank

The Plumber on Aranos.

Ratchet and Clank met back up in the mission "Meet up in the hangar bay", and then subsequently completed "Turn off forcefield". Soon after, they met the Plumber, who had been called in from the Solana Galaxy to clear some toilet pipes, but ended up finding a stuck Qwark statuette. Ratchet purchased the action figure for 20,000 bolts, which he would then trade for the Armor Magnetizer from Qwark fanboy Stuart Zurgo on Todano.

At the end of "Explore the rest of the flying base", Ratchet and Clank received a transmission from Angela Cross, who was on the Thug Fleet on planet Gorn to ascertain how to defeat the Protopet. She was eventually caught and captured, prompting the duo to set out and rescue her.

Post-Going Commando

Aranos comic

Aranos as it appears in Ears of War.

In Ears of War, President Qwark revealed that Markazian planet thief Artemis Zogg had stolen Aranos, meaning his threat was not restricted to the Solana Galaxy, but potentially the entire universe.[5] In All 4 One, Ephemeris at some point raided Aranos for creatures to serve the Loki.

Geography

Overview

Aranos appears to be uniformly covered in snowy alps, with little terrain variation. However, this may appear to be the case merely because Aranos is only visited on the flying lab, which may have a localized flight path. As such, little is known of the planet's geography itself.

Flying lab 1

The exterior of the flying lab.

The flying lab is a large ship located in sector seven.[6] It is a long, grey ship with a whale-shaped envelope in front, small wings on its sides, a small glass gondola beneath it, and large, red thrusters at the back in a cylindrical shape. The lab often appears to be surrounded by a few small starfighters moving at roughly the same pace. There are many facilities within it, with a mix of small corridors, large rooms with lava pools (possibly used as a means of producing thermal energy), and often rooms with views of the alps. It was presumably used by Angela for her own biological experiments, until the Thugs-4-Less transformed it into their own prison.

First visit

Flying lab map 1

Map layout of the first visit.

During the first flying lab mission, only the back-most end of the ship is visited. It begins with Ratchet entering through a hatch to a small, glass gondola, with an elevator leading up to a linear path of rooms mostly containing narrow corridors.

Flying lab 2

An interior room of the flying lab.

The first corridor has a glass floor and is lined with moving pumps. Across the room is a ladder that leads to the next small room, which has a door leading to the next corridor. This small corridor is lined by large rotating mechanical gears with pulsating energy through the room and leads to a larger room with windows providing a view of the outside. The room leads to a bridge across an open, outside area, which is not breathable due to the ship's high altitude, meaning Ratchet's Megacorp Helmet will automatically equip. Across the bridge is a balcony in a dark, wide open room with pipes, dark cabinets, and green screens showing Megacorp Security Robots, and several wires connecting them. This room has an elevator leading up to a higher balcony floor, and a door opens into the experiment room.

Flying lab 3

The holding room for the experiment.

The experiment room is cylindrical-shaped, with a large number of green screens connected by wires surrounding it, and two hatches leading to two other areas on the ship. It is initially divided in two by large gates at the end, with one directly behind the experiment's small cage on top of a transfluxer coil[7] pillar, and another directly behind that. Angela opened the first gate to ambush Ratchet, while another opened behind that when MSRs attacked. The hatch on the left at the end of the room leads to front-most left wing, and a glass hatch on the ship leads from the wing to a room back inside. An elevator here leads to a very narrow corridor into a room with turbines lining it. A door leads to another small room with a fork at the end: a door on the right leads to a dead end, while one on the left leads to an open space, from which Ratchet jumped off the flying lab to his ship.

Second visit

Flying lab map 2

Map layout of the second visit.

The second visit retains this basic pattern, though new areas of the ship are visited as well. These areas usually seem to represent various mechanical and engineering feats of the lab, including large engine fans, series of pistons and gears, as well as several extended segments of lava.

Path to free Ratchet

Flying lab 8

The initial room after escaping.

The path to free Ratchet appears in "Free Ratchet from prison cell" and is traversed entirely by Clank after crawling through a vent in Ratchet's cell. The vent leads to a pillar in a round room next to the cell, with a pool of lava that periodically rises and lowers, surrounded by red lights that periodically flash green. Several small pillars in the lava are used to traverse to a ledge at the end of the room, which has a container for a Hammer Bot, and a small elevator shaft leading up to another room. This room is fairly small, with an opening on the left to another room, blocked by a large glass box containing electricity that the Hammer Bot can break.

The room through the opening is wider, with fans on the ceiling and lava below a metal grating, and a path on the right around to the end, which contains a door on the left, and a large venting opening at the top on the right of the room, which can be reached by propelling Clank up using the seesaw with the Hammer Bot. The ventilation shaft has a short path on the left to a round, more open space in the vent with two Microbot containers. To the left of this is another vent that bends left before leading to a room on the other side of the door in the earlier room from which the vent was entered, which also contains a seesaw. A switch on the floor opens the door to the earlier room, while propelling Clank with the seesaw leads to an opening to another vent. The vent is blocked off by a door just behind the opening, with a Microbot port on the door allowing it to be opened with two Microbots. The vent then leads directly to a bridge in a more open room.

Flying lab 9

A room guarded by MSRI and chickenbots.

The next room is surrounded by lava on the outer edges around the floor, with an upper ledge on the right end of the room that can be reached by two elevators along it. On the left end of the room is an elevator up to an opening near the top, leading into a small, round room with a glass floor above electric cables and two Microbot containers. The room has an opening on the right into another identical room, which in turn has an opening on the right to the upper ledge on the end of the earlier room. At the end of the ledge is a door opened by Microbots into a vent bending left, containing a power generator for decks 4-14,[4] connected by a laser, with a switch below it to deactivate it. The vent behind this is blocked off by grating, but opened after the power is down. Behind this is Clank's path in "Meet up in the hangar bay".

Ratchet's path to the hangar bay

Flying lab 10

The large room with lava on the floor.

Ratchet's path in the mission "Meet up in the hangar bay" begins from his cell. Ratchet's cell is one of three on a row, each surrounded by red forcefields with no means of escape aside from the vent,[4] and opposite the row of cells is a room with a large pump in the wall. In the end of the room is a path bending right to a taller, more open room, with a pool of lava at the bottom instead of a floor, and pumps across the walls. A floating platform just across from the entrance, which can be stood on with the Gravity Boots, leads up to a wall on the left with a grav-ramp across the wall; at the end of this grav-ramp is a floating platform that returns down to a door at the end exiting the room to another.

Flying lab 5

Ratchet's path.

This room starts narrow, with a jump slot on the right leading up to a more elevated area on the right. On the left of this elevated area is a block with a jumpable wall on the left, from which a small floating platform on the wall can be reached. Landing on this platform will a series of platforms that lead up right to an elevated ledge at the end of the room, with an opening to a corridor with stairs down to an elevator shaft leading upwards to the next area.

The next area is a wide room with lava at the bottom, and a glass bridge across it from the elevator to a wall jump on the left placed on a pillar within the room, and a series of floating platforms across the wall to the right of the pillar that lead up to the top of the pillar. On top of the pillar is a door leading outside the ship, with a grav-ramp across the side of the ship below one of the wings containing glowing red platforms from which MSRs can appear. This grav-ramp eventually leads to a door back inside into wide room, with an elevated ledge on the right end of the room, reached using a series of floating platforms across the wall the back. On top of the ledge is a door out to the hangar bay.

Clank's path to the hangar bay

Flying lab 11

Clank's path.

Clank's path in "Meet up in the hangar bay" begins in the ventilation shaft where his path to free Ratchet left off, right after the power generator, with the door behind closed off. The ventilation shaft bends left to a dead end, with an opening on the right into a room with a rising and descending pool of lava. The lava pool has several platforms which can be used to traverse it, one large ledge on the right half-way across the lava pool, and a ledge at the end with a Bridge Bot container and a lava pool on the left (crossed using the Bridge Bot), with a ledge behind it with an opening to a round room with a pool of lava and a large, round elevator shaft shaped like a cog in the middle. The elevator leads up to a bridge into another open room with a wide lava pool at the bottom, an small elevated floor with two Microbot containers and one Bridge Bot container on it on the left at the end, and an opening on the right at the end to a small room.

The room contains a Microbot container and a hammer bot container, and an opening to a room on the left which is initially blocked by three large boxes, destructible with the hammer bot. The opening leads to another room, with two elevated ledges on either side, and a gap across them with a lower floor, crossed using the Bridge Bot. The ledge on the other end has a door on the left end of it, opened with four Microbots, and behind the door is a small tunnel that leads directly to the hangar bay.

Hangar bay

Flying lab 6

Hangar bay.

The hangar bay is an area on the side of the ship near the front, with a landing pad for the Star Explorer. The area is entirely outside, though the air is breathable. Much of the ground is made of glass plates, held together by solid plates. The walls on the sides are covered in machinery, aside from the top-left wall which contains windows for one room. The hangar bay has four exits: the tunnel connected to Clank's path, the door adjacent to it on the right-hand wall connected to Ratchet's path, a door on the back leading to the path to deactivate the force field, and a higher-up door in an elevated area reached by a ladder that leads to where Ratchet and Clank found the Plumber. Above the two doors at the back are searchlights on top of a roof.

Directly below the hangar bay is a small ledge located a large portion of moving machinery, including fans and pumps, on the hull of the ship, which can be reached by gliding from the edge of the bay. The ledge contains a platinum bolt, as well as a Levitator pad to return to the top.

Path to the force field

Flying lab 7

Corridor on the path to the force field.

The path to disable the force field is located behind a door on a ledge at the back of the hangar bay, reached by climbing a ladder first. The door is initially locked, and can be opened with the Infiltrator. Behind the door is a series of long corridors filled with a pool of lava, with a Levitator pad at the start of the first. From where the path starts, a tunnel across the pool of lava reaches another ledge at the end. To the right of the ledge is a small, round room with screens on the walls, and an opening to another corridor with a Levitator pad in front of the pool of lava. This corridor has several machines, including drills on the side and electricity, serving as obstacles to reach the ledge at the end. The ledge is placed on top of the lava, which is visible below a circular glass floor in the center, and has another Levitator pad on the right to cross a final lava corridor, with more electricity and drills, and a rising and descending pool of lava. At the end of this is a ledge with a door to a small room full of screens and computer terminals, where Angela contacted Ratchet and Clank. A small switch in the room opens a hatch in the window back to the hangar bay which also deactivates the force field compounding ships on the landing pad.

Path to the Plumber

The path to the Plumber is located behind a door at the back of the hangar bay, adjacent to the ladder used to reach the door to the path to the force field. This is a long room, with a long pool of lava across it that periodically raises near the top before descending near the bottom again. A ledge behind the door inside has a ladder used to climb up it, and at the top of the ledge is a Levitator pad that can be used to cross the pool of lava to reach the elevated ground on the opposite end of the room. Across the pool of lava are slopes in the ceiling on either end, which can only be passed when the lava is descended. The end of the room where Ratchet met the Plumber has several pipes in the walls, one of which was clogged by the Captain Qwark action figure,[8] and a Levitator pad to return.

Behind the scenes

The first Aranos visit was programmed by then-junior programmer Tony Garcia and designed by Mark Cerny. As a tutorial level, it was referred to internally as "Level 0", as it was added after everything else. In order to add ambiance to the level and make the world feel more vibrant, jet planes and moving skies were added to the background.[9] Tony Garcia also added a ring effect in the tunnel, and using a moving background, created an illusion that the ship itself was moving, despite the level being non-moving.[10] Subtle effects were also added, such as rotating fans on the side of the ship, as something that the player may not notice when present but could notice if it was absent. Ratchet was also made to wear the Megacorp Helmet when outside the ship to make it feel more realistic.[11] This decision was made later on, as Ratchet did not wear the helmet in this area in early alpha builds of the game.[12]

For enemy setups, the developers did not want the enemies to simply warp in, leading to the Megacorp Security Robots hanging from the walls to attack as one of many ways the developers chose to be more creative when enemies were appearing.[13] As the playtesters were often not switching weapons, a HelpDesk message was added to encourage the player to switch to the Gravity Bomb.[13] Additionally, many players were unaware that they had to slide down the tube to continue with the level after defeating the enemies following the cutscene, and so had to draw attention to it with the camera; this was one of many reasons that 90 degree turns were left out of level design in the series afterwards.[13]

References

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