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Grelbin is a planet in the Bogon Galaxy featured in Going Commando. It is a cold planet covered in ice fields and mountains, with an aurora in its sky. The planet is home to the Tundor Wastes, a wasteland where moonstones and Raritanium can be found, along with very dangerous wildlife. Several mine shafts and caves containing Megacorp buildings can be found within the Wastes, and the home of Angela Cross is located adjacent to a large factory containing Receiver Bots.

Ratchet and Clank came to Grelbin after Angela invited them to meet her there, as she had found her old Megacorp ID badge that could be used to infiltrate the Megacorp Headquarters on planet Yeedil. However, she had been overrun by Protopets, which Ratchet and Clank had to defeat first. In order to reach her home, they required the Hypnomatic. The Mystic, who could use the moonstones to perform telekinesis, traded one of the parts with them for moonstones, and also granted them access to a cave system which could be used to create bridges to an elevated area in the ice fields where more moonstones could be found.

History

Grelbin was the homeworld of Angela Cross, and she received her home on the planet as part of Megacorp's generous employee bonus package.[1] The planet was home to arctic leviathans, dangerous beasts found under the ice with an icy breath. The Y.E.T.I.s were genetically engineered to hunt them down, but went out of control and then went out into the wild to live within the arctic landscape.[2] At some point after seeing Ratchet and Clank on Tabora, the Mystic came to Grelbin in search of moonstones.

When Ratchet and Clank rescued Angela from the Thugs-4-Less on Snivelak, she showed them a log entry by the Thug Leader about the distribution facility on Smolg. She also mentioned that she had an old ID badge on Grelbin that could be used to infiltrate the Megacorp Headquarters. The three decided to split up, with Ratchet and Clank going to Smolg, while Angela returned to Grelbin.

Angela found her ID badge, but was overrun by Protopets. She sent Ratchet and Clank a balloon-o-gram, which they received while searching the warehouse on Smolg. The two then decided to travel to Grelbin to find her.

Ratchet and Clank with the Mystic.

When they arrived, they were unable to reach Angela's home, as it was behind a factory filled with Receiver Bots which Ratchet was unable to interface with. Instead, the two found the Mystic, who gave them the mission "Bring Moonstones to Mystic", in which they would bring nine moonstones to him in exchange for him using the holistic resonance of the moonstones to move a rock.[3] The two obliged, and he moved the rock, and then gave the mission "Trade moonstones for Hypnomatic Part", asking for sixteen more moonstones in exchange for a Hypnomatic part. While they were unable to obtain sixteen in the area they had access to, in "Explore the caves", the two traveled through the cave system before finding a way to enable the bridges, to access an elevated part of the ice field, where they could obtain more. The two returned to the Mystic, and after a short exchange, he praised Ratchet for having "learned much" and granted him the Hypnomatic part, offering bolts for any more moonstones he found.[4]

Ratchet and Clank meeting with Angela on Grelbin.

After obtaining the Hypnomatic on Damosel, Ratchet was able to explore the factory and use the Hypnomatic to control the Receiver Bots, making his initial mission, "Find Angela", possible. The Receiver Bots created a path to the end, where he found Angela's apartment. He then defeated the Protopets and met with her. The three decided to go to the Protopet Factory separately, in order to bypass their orbital defenses.[5]

Geography

Overview

Map layout of the Tundor Wastes.

Grelbin is an extremely cold planet, and as visible from space, all its landmasses appear to be covered in snow, though its seas do not appear frozen. An aurora is seen in the sky, as well as three astronomical bodies, one large and two small, that appear to be close. Due to the cold temperature, Ratchet will shiver when idle and will freeze into an ice block if he falls into the water.

The Tundor Wastes is a mostly desolate wasteland area covered in snow, as well as pits of ice water in which the native arctic leviathans dwell. In addition to arctic leviathans, the genetically engineered[2] Y.E.T.I.s dwell within burrows in the ground and hide beneath the snow. A large factory[6] is found overlooking the Wastes, which is adjacent to an underground mine shaft[6], which is connected to an underground cave system to the south and west of the factory and the landing area. Angela's home is located east to the factory in an elevated area. In the distance, several mountains covered in snow with pointed ridges can be seen, which surround the elevated ice field.

The landing pad.

The Star Explorer lands by the factory near the south end of the Wastes, with a slope down onto the ice field. From here, two elevators are used to reach other buildings near the Wastes: one on the right leads to a factory, and one on the left, which is initially blocked until unlocked from inside, leads to the mine shaft.

There appear to be few signs of intelligent life on Grelbin, as the buildings only contain Receiver Bots and otherwise seem largely abandoned.

Ice field

The Mystic's campsite.

The ice fields are an expansive area where 101 moonstones are found. There are two sections to the ice field: a lower area adjacent to the factory where the ship lands, and a larger, elevated space surrounding it. The lower portion is surrounded by a steep rocky slope, meaning that the upper area can only be reached using bridges that are unlocked by in the mine shaft cave system.

The Tundor Wastes.

They are relatively hilly, uneven lands filled with burrows in which the Y.E.T.I.s dwell, and ice water pits in which the arctic leviathans dwell. In addition to these, several blue, crystal shells contain moonstones, while other moonstones are guarded by the leviathans. Many of the arctic leviathan pits are directly adjacent to moonstone shells.

On the west end of of the ice fields, near the landing pad, the Mystic has a camp set up around a rock spire with several large, purple rocks orbiting around it. His camp has a single chair next to a campfire. To the left of the camp is an elevator down to the mine shaft, initially blocked by a rock until the Mystic moved it after being given nine moonstones.

Mine shaft and cave system

The underground cave.

The underground cave network connected to a mine shaft is visited during "Explore the caves", and reached using a formerly blocked elevator just behind the Mystic's camp. The path begins with a balcony overlooking a deep pit in the mine shaft, with abandoned mine carts and a Glider pad, and many stalactites hanging from the ceiling. At the end of it is the mouth of a cave, with the skull of a large creature right at the mouth, and a rail passing through the cave along the bottom. The cave continues through the skeleton's rib cage and bends left through a long stretch of cave with thick, unstable stalactites throughout. The cave bends right and left again to a dead end, with an opening on the floor down to a more narrow cave, with lava at the bottom. This then leads down to the left to yet another opening in the floor down to a narrower area beneath it that leads to an underground platform.

The first room.

The platform connects to the underground structure, forming the mine shaft. Inside are fairly long rooms filled with machinery, with many rotating cogs in the ceiling, occasional mine carts, and tubes from which Receiver Bot v3.0's appear. A small room off to the side has a cave filled with Y.E.T.Is and a few mine carts, though the corridors inside the mine shaft structure are mostly the same. At the very end of the structure, an elevator leads up to a small corridor, with a Megacorp armor vendor, and a door back to the landing pad.[a]

Factory

The first chamber.

The factory is entered through an elevator found from the right of the ship's landing pad, and is visited during "Find Angela". The elevator leads to a balcony in a large, empty room with a deep bottom filled with a brown liquid. On its ceiling are several platforms that can descend to form a path across it. Opposite the opening balcony is another one that leads into a room filled with Receiver Bots, while to the right of it is a balcony higher-up that leads to a different room.

Both rooms are largely filled with water, with a solid walkway around them that can be traversed by Receiver Bots. The walkways also have forcefields blocking sections of the paths, and when the second room is flooded by water, a series of laser defenses guards against swimmers. An underwater tunnel in the second room also leads to a featureless room with a platinum bolt. The end of the second room contains an elevator shaft to an outside area by the factory, with a locked door leading to an inaccessible platform, as well as access to Angela's home.

Angela's home

Ratchet in front of Angela's home.

Angela's home is located to the right of the factory on an elevated area, initially blocked off from the rest of the Tundor Wastes by ice and rock. It came as part of Megacorp's bonus package while she was an employee.[7] It is a single story, metal house largely covered in snow, with three orange dome-like structures above it. A mining vehicle is parked nearby. Though it is initially inaccessible, a bridge down to the lower Tundor Wastes formed after Ratchet and Clank met up with Angela.

Gameplay

A moonstone.

In the ice field, the player can hunt moonstones and sell them to the Mystic. The lower section has fourteen moonstones (of which five are from arctic leviathans and nine are from shells), while the upper portion has the remaining 87. Of these moonstones, 33 are obtained from killing arctic leviathans, while the remaining 68 are obtained from shells. As the Mystic buys the moonstones for 3,000 bolts each (30,000 in challenge mode), and there are 76 that can be sold after the missions "Bring Moonstones to Mystic" and "Trade moonstones for Hypnomatic Part", a total of 228,000 bolts (or 2,280,000 in challenge mode) can be earned by obtaining them all. In additionally, Raritanium can be obtained using a mining vehicle found parked by Angela's home, which is mined from set positions in the ground, but will refresh on return or death.

Behind the scenes

Tony Garcia programmed Grelbin,[8] while Tim Trzepacz programmed the Hypnomatic section in "Find Angela".[9] Garcia had been scheduled only three days to program the level, having inherited it from another programmer, but started from scratch to save himself time figuring out someone else's code. This led to the Y.E.T.I.s being hastily completed, and very difficult to fight due to their short pre-attack animation and large numbers. As a result, the level became notorious internally at Insomniac Games due to the Y.E.T.I.s, and new Insomniac employees would direct anger to Garcia for it. This led to Garcia being the first recipient of the "Snowbeast Award" created as a joke, awarded to the developer of the worst thing shipped in the final game.[8]

For Grelbin, the decision was made that the level would present a large amount of enemies and allow the players to use their weapons, as they were unable to make it interesting with the time remaining to work on it before the deadline.[10] The Y.E.T.I.s ended up serving a similar role to swarmer enemies for other levels, as a replacement due to Garcia's struggle to program swarmers.[11] The level had many memory issues due to its size, and as a result, the Receiver Bots that were added for the Hypnomatic segment in the "Find Angela" path, were reused in the caves as they had already been loaded into memory making them easy to use.[12]

The cut 'Attack Ship' boss.

The memory issues also resulted in a miniboss being cut. Grelbin was originally going to feature a miniboss, known as the Attack Ship, and to be fought with the Hypnomatic. At the end of the "Find Angela" path before reaching her, the path to her house would have been blocked before defeating the boss.[13] Its Monsterpedia entry is still present in the files of the final release.[14] This boss was removed due to the memory issues on Grelbin. During one night, Grelbin was running out of memory which was preventing a build being made. Garcia, proposed to Insomniac CEO Ted Price that he could solve the issue by removing the Attack Ship. Ted agreed to cutting the boss.[12]

Notes

Annotations

  1. Unlocking the door at the end of the mine shaft creates bridges up to the upper portion of the ice field.

Citations

References

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