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The DreadZone logo

DreadZone is an illegal gladiatorial combat sport in Deadlocked. It was a holovision program filmed in the Shadow Sector of the Solana Galaxy, and produced by the Vox Network. The brainchild of Gleeman Vox, the premise of the show as that heroes would be forced to compete and fight for their survival against gladiators, including the top gladiators known as the Exterminators. It was filmed in the Battledome, a large arena on the DreadZone Station, and several battlecourses across planets in the sector. DreadZone was commentated by Dallas Wanamaker and Juanita Alvaro, the anchormen of Vox News. It had trillions of fans, but outside the Shadow Sector was largely unknown.

Ratchet, Clank, and Al were forced to compete in DreadZone shortly after learning Captain Starshield had just been killed on the show himself, competing as Team Darkstar. Though he was underestimated at every turn, Ratchet beat several DreadZone records, and ultimately defeated Ace Hardlight, the five-time grand champion of the show, to become grand champion himself, all while Clank and Al worked to undermine the show from within. Eventually, the group were able to find a way to free the heroes held captive aboard the DreadZone Station, and Ratchet defeated Gleeman Vox.

History

Early history

What if these interplanetary heroes that I hear so much about could be coerced into risking their lives, not for such tawdry concepts as freedom, justice, or universal survival, but for cold hard bolts and the entertainment of billions?

Gleeman Vox' idea for DreadZone, Deadlocked manual, p. 12

Gleeman Vox had the idea for DreadZone after seeing heroes on the news. After a few phone calls following his idea to force heroes to fight on a gladiatorial combat show for bolts, the show was born.[1] Vox had aspirations not just of top holovision ratings and multimillion bolt merchandising deals, but also to spread battlecourses from planet to planet and galaxy to galaxy, eventually ruling all of known space.[2] Dallas Wanamaker later claimed that DreadZone started over "two guys fighting over a breakfast burrito".[3]

Gleeman Vox met with Ace Hardlight shortly after Ace had gone into hiding following the destruction of his homeworld.[4] Other heroes were captured for DreadZone and forced to wear deadlock collars, devices that would electrocute those entering restricted areas or detonated if a contestant was uncooperative or boring.[5] The heroes were mostly captured beneath the notice of the rest of the universe.[a]

DreadZone became a hugely successful operation, gathering at least six trillion fans[8] across four galaxies,[2] with four trillion sentient life forms watching the show in the Shadow Sector.[1] Ace Hardlight was grand champion for five seasons,[8] though Captain Starshield during his run came close, having beaten every record ever set on DreadZone during his time and performed well enough that the other Exterminators refused to fight him.[9] Ace Hardlight eventually killed Starshield in an episode that was a huge ratings hit for the show.[10]

DreadZone ran for at least five seasons over up to six years prior to Ratchet's arrival.[b]

Deadlocked

Ratchet was kidnapped and forced to participate in DreadZone just a week after Starshield's death.[6] He was placed in Team Darkstar, a team that included Clank and Al, who would have been killed under normal protocol were it not for Vox instead recruiting them to save bolts, along with combat bots Merc and Green, who had been acquired from a former deceased contestant.[5] Ratchet's first battle was scheduled shortly after another hero, Mobius Man, was killed in the Battledome.[12]

Although Ratchet was estimated to merely be fodder for contestants such as Hydro Girl and Gray Thunder,[12] he went onto exceed expectations. As well as defeating all four Exterminators, he made it further in the Maraxus Prison battlecourse than any previous contestant,[13] going onto being commended for his performance in the battlecourse being one of the best in DreadZone history.[14] In spite of being slandered by Vox, Ratchet was very popular amongst the fans.[15] After Ratchet defeated Ace Hardlight but refused Vox's offer to become champion Exterminator himself, he was sent to one final battlecourse, the Ghost Station, an experimental course that had never been used before in DreadZone due to being mathematically proven to be unbeatable.[16] Once again, defying expectations, Ratchet beat the course.

Ratchet and Team Darkstar attempted to lower the Battledome's containment fields and free all the heroes held on the DreadZone Station, though Gleeman Vox instead rigged it with six gigatons of nitroglycerin. This framed the final episode of DreadZone: if Ratchet did not lower the containment fields in time, the station would explode, killing all heroes, DreadZone staff, and fans.[17] Unusually, Vox framed himself as the villain for this episode, with Dallas and Juanita praising and rooting for Ratchet.[18] Ratchet managed to free the heroes, as Clank and Al evacuated them on escape shuttles. Vox fought Ratchet in one final battle, hoping for a grand finalefight that would be the best ratings he'd had. Instead, after defeating Vox, Ratchet was evacuated on a final escape shuttle, and was able to survive. Some heroes, including Kid Nova and Hydro Girl, contacted Ratchet thereafter to thank him for freeing them.[7]

Following the end of the show, the void left by the show was soon filled by a continuous loop of Lance and Janice episode 10,972 titled "I Like You, But I Don't Like-You, Like-You".[19]

Contestants

Obtained from the Rank-O-Meter throughout Deadlocked.Dread Points refers to their final points by the end of the show.

Exterminators

All Exterminators were defeated at the end of DreadZone.

Contestant Description Dread Points
Ace Hardlight Ace Hardlight is a former hero who disappeared before becoming champion of DreadZone. Ace achieved a record of killing thirteen DreadZone contestants in one season after he killed Starshield, The Brown Ranger, and Mad Monkey McKnight.[8] Though he is heavily marketed by Vox, but unpopular with viewers, resulting in poor sales.[20][15] 277,550
The Eviscerator A creature with blades on his arms used as weapons, described as a "master of disembowelment and a fantastic chef".[21] Eviscerator is incapable of speech, but is nonetheless intelligent; as such, DreadZone developed means to communicate with him by feeding him test bots.[22] Eviscerator killed four victims in the same season as Ratchet.[12] 145,800
Reactor Formerly a high school math teacher, Reactor is a robot who had a nuclear explosive surgically implanted into his chest as he joined the DreadZone circuit, done to impress his girlfriend, Courtney Gears.[22] Reactor had a notable fan in the form of Vernon.[23] 103,100
Shellshock Ivan Von Shellshocktonberg is a cyborg who was a veteran of the Obani Moon War. The Obanian Army enhanced him twice: first with a mechanical headpiece after a parasailing accident paralyzed him from the neck up, and later with both a fully mechanical suit and parts of his brain tissue replaced by a super-charged AI chip from a coffee machine, rendering him immune to pain, after a missile accident.[24] Shellshock defeated the Omega Twins before he fought and lost to Ratchet.[25] 78,400

Heroes

DreadZone recruits heroes by luring them with false distress signals pointing to the Shadow Sector, where they are kidnapped.[c]

Contestant Description Status Dread Points
Ratchet Was a member of Team Darkstar, and broke a number of DreadZone records. Active 357,000
Captain Starshield During his run, Starshield beat every record ever set on DreadZone, and other Exterminators refused to fight him.[9] Eventually was killed by Ace Hardlight on Catacrom Four. Deceased 234,400
Quaternion X Mentioned only. Deceased 201,700
Hydro Girl A superheroine adventuress from Aquatos, present in the same season as Ratchet. Her fight, along with a hero named Gray Thunder, was scheduled just after Ratchet's first, and advertised as one more exciting.[12] Active 139,090
Quasar Flare Mentioned only. Deceased 131,300
Plasma Ray Mentioned only. Deceased 124,900
Kid Nova A sidekick for an unknown hero.[28] Kid Nova also called Ratchet after the DreadZone Station was destroyed to thank him. Active 109,380
Agent Zero Mentioned only. 107,670
The Omega Twins Teenage girls who were killed by Shellshock.[25] Deceased 71,200

Several other heroes appeared in the show but did not rank on the leaderboard. A hero named Mobius Man was set to appear before Ratchet and performed poorly, while one named Gray Thunder was set to appear after.[12]

Gladiators

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Other

In addition to the heroes, several lawyers from Megacorp were made contestants on DreadZone after they attempted to bring litigation to Vox Industries over the use of patented technology in the Mini Turret Launcher.[29]

Tournaments

Tournament Information
Marauder Tournament The Marauder Tournament was the first tournament Ratchet fought while in DreadZone. Ratchet had to beat the challenge to show he was worthy to become a contestant.
Avenger Tournament The Avenger Tournament was the second tournament Ratchet took place in during his time at DreadZone. As part of the tournament Shellshock was fought on Kronos before the main event at the DreadZone Station.
Crusader Tournament The Crusader Tournament was a DreadZone tournament in the Battledome at DreadZone Station. Ratchet had to fight his way through the challenges and destroy Reactor in a one-on-one battle. When he won the tournament, Ratchet earned the rank of Crusader and unlocked Crusader armor for purchase.
Vindicator Tournament The Vindicator Tournament was a DreadZone tournament, in which Ratchet fought. After a series of deadly challenges, Ratchet fought the Eviscerator in a one-on-one battle and earned the rank of "vindicator" after defeating him.
Liberator Tournament The Liberator Tournament was the final tournament Ratchet took place in at DreadZone. Ace Hardlight fought him at the very end. The prize was Liberator armor.

Challenges

Marauder Tournament

  1. Advanced Qualifier

Avenger Tournament

  1. Manic Speed Demon
  2. The Tower of Power
  3. Climb the Tower of Power

Crusader Tournament

  1. Static Deathtrap
  2. Marathon
  3. Reactor Battle

Vindicator Tournament

  1. Murphy's Law
  2. Air Drop
  3. Eviscerator Battle

Liberator Tournament

  1. Swarmer Surprise
  2. Accelerator
  3. Ace Hardlight Battle

Behind the scenes

Cut audio files, DreadZone implemented a new regulation during Ratchet's servitude as a DreadZone gladiator, which set new height requirements to all DreadZone gladiators. Because of this new regulation, Nano Man was required to be executed because of his small stature. Cut audio also reveals that the Marauder Tournament was classed as a proper tournament, and took place further into the game.[citation needed]

The captive listed on the Rank-O-Meter, Agent 0, is a likely reference to the character c:spyro:Agent Zero in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage.

Notes

Annotations

  1. Despite the popularity of DreadZone, the show and the practice of kidnapping heroes was still only referred to by Sasha Phyronix and Captain Qwark as a rumor.[6][7] After both Ace Hardlight and Starshield's disappearance, their whereabouts were still not well-known despite appearing on such a popular holovision show.[6][8]
  2. Ace Hardlight being five-time grand champion[8] suggests he was champion on five seasons. Dallas apologized for subjecting Juanita to his behavior for six years,[11] though it is unknown for how many of them DreadZone was operating.
  3. Starshield was lured to DreadZone by a false distress signal to the sector after one of his adventures.[26] The same method was later used on Ratchet.[27]

Citations

References

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