The Groovitron is a in Tools of Destruction (as a device), A Crack in Time, Full Frontal Assault, Before the Nexus (as a gadget), and Ratchet & Clank (2016 game). Manufactured by Grummel Net Industries, it is a floating disco ball that, when thrown, plays disco music that mesmerises anything near it to dance uncontrollably until it expires. The Groovitron weapon is also known as the Groovitron Glove, and in Full Frontal Assault, it is possible to use it as a Groovitron Mine too.
In Tools of Destruction, the Golden Groovitron upgrade could be purchased in challenge mode, giving it unlimited ammo. In A Crack in Time, the Groovitron Glove can be upgraded to the Groovibomb Glove with use (which exploded upon expiry), and the Omega Groovibomb Glove upgrade could be purchased in challenge mode. In Ratchet & Clank, it upgrades to the Groovibomb with use, and the Omega Groovibomb can be purchased in challenge mode once the Groovitron holocard set is complete.
The Groovitron was required for several skill points. In Tools of Destruction, Everybody Dance Now is acquired by making all enemies in the game dance with a Groovitron. In A Crack in Time, Terachnoid Rave can be acquired by making 12 Terachnoids dance with one Groovitron. In Ratchet & Clank, a similar trophy can be obtained by making all enemies dance. For this trophy, the player can use their first playthrough and their first challenge mode playthrough combined; however, if a second challenge mode playthrough is begun, the counter resets.
Ratchet & Clank re-imagined
In Qwark's retelling, the Groovtrion was available to purchase from a vendor upon reaching the Blarg Tactical Research Station. It upgraded with Raritanium, largely to improve its range and duration. With use, it upgraded to the Groovibomb, which dealt damage and exploded after enemies finished dancing.
Tools of Destruction
Groovitrons became available upon reaching the spaceport in Cobalia, and could be purchased from a device vendor for 500 bolts each. While the Groovitron could not be upgraded with use due to being a device, in challenge mode, the Golden Groovitron upgrade could be purchased for 2,000,000 raritanium, giving it unlimited ammo.
A Crack in Time
The Groovitron Glove could be purchased upon reaching the Agorian Battleplex for 22,000 bolts (or 11,000 bolts if the player had a Tools of Destruction save). At level 5, it would be upgraded to the Groovibomb Glove, play rock music instead of disco, and would drop the ground and explode when expiring. In challenge mode, the Omega Groovibomb Glove could be purchased for 332,000 bolts (or 249,000 bolts with a Tools of Destruction save).
Full Frontal Assault
The Groovitron Glove returned as a collectible in weapon pads, and with use, could be upgraded to the Alpha Groovitron Glove at level 3.
The Groovitron also appeared as the Groovitron Mine, sending a ball into the air whenever activated by an enemy.
Into the Nexus
The Groovitron did not appear as a weapon, but was found in the museum on Igliak. When activated, it caused the Valkyries in the room to dance and also start causing the platforms to rise and fall. When the second button was pressed, the disco lights would come on, causing the Valkyries to change their dance style, and start to make more of the upper platforms move.
The Groovitron itself is a floating silver disco ball, which rotates in the air, blasts disco music and projects colored lights around the area. The Golden Groovitron appears identical other than its gold appearance rather than silver.
The Groovitron Glove is a silver and red glove, from which the Groovitron is contained on the back of the hand. The Groovibomb Glove is gold and red instead, and plays rock music rather than disco.
The Groovitron, when deployed, will rise in the air for a period of time, immediately cause all enemies and allies to dance for its duration (though some bosses will only briefly be mesmerised before returning to normal). It is therefore a very strategic weapon, being useful at stopping enemies to buy the player some time in a tricky situation, or to begin a fight by allowing the player to defeat the more dangerous enemies in a group before then attacking the rest.
While the Golden Groovitron upgrade in Tools of Destruction is extremely useful (as it provides it with unlimited ammo), its high price means it should not be prioritized over other raritanium upgrades for other weapons.
When upgraded to the Groovibomb in A Crack in Time and Ratchet & Clank, the Groovitron itself will explode after expiring and deal damage to nearby enemies. This improves the weapon but does not change how it is used, as it will still be used primarily for crowd control rather than as a source of damage. In Ratchet & Clank, the Groovitron becomes particularly useful with Raritanium upgrades to its range and duration, and is relatively weak before upgrading.
Behind the scenes
The Groovitron had been proposed for several previous games in the Ratchet & Clank games since the first, but had been scratched due to lack of memory in the PlayStation 2 to store the custom animations, and due to requiring too much work for developers. It was also proposed for Going Commando, by designers Mike Stout and Colin Munson, as the "Rainbow-Afro-Lizer". The Groovitron hit the team's three goals for creating new weapons established in Tools of Destruction: it was comedic, had spectacle, and was strategic.
The Groovitron concept had also been referenced publicly in interviews. In an interview with GamePro in July 2003, for Going Commando, Colin Munson stated when creating a list of weapons, after eliminating weapons too similar to those in the first game, they moved onto "throwing out the weapons that would create too much additional work", and alluded to the concept for the Groovitron: "For example, if we wanted a weapon that would make all the enemies in range dance to disco music, then we would need dancing animations for every enemy in the game."
The Groovitron was shown in the Tools of Destruction official teaser trailer and also in the Ratchet & Clank movie announcement teaser.
The Groovitron was going to include the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees, and had been used by developers in the prototype for Tools of Destruction, though it was excluded as the rights for the song were too expensive.
When the in-game language was switched to Japanese, the Groovitron used a different playlist, as the Disco fever never hit Japan. Instead, the playlist consisted of techno tracks, each opened with the line "Let's go to the party!" in English sang in a robotic voice. One of the tracks is a remix of Courtney Gears' "Robots of the Galaxy" (also in English), sang by the producer of the Japanese version, Roppyaku Tsurumi.
All of the tracks that the Groovitron played were the same speed in beats per minute. It is highly possible that they were beat-matched in order to fit the dances of the characters to all the tracks.
- Insomniac Live #72 - Ratchet & Clank PS4 - pt1 (@1:8:47) published by uselesspodcasts on March 6, 2018 on YouTube. Accessed March 7, 2018. Cite error: Invalid
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- Developer Commentary: Ratchet and Clank 2 - Ep 9 - Part 2/2 (@9:09) published by uselesspodcasts on July 6, 2011 on YouTube. Accessed June 2, 2019.
- 15 Years of Ratchet & Clank: A Lombax Story (@29:55) published by GDC on June 26, 2018 on YouTube. Accessed September 1, 2018.
- Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando Feature. GamePro (archived). Accessed February 8, 2018.