Ninja bots are enemies in Up Your Arsenal. They are robot ninjas wielding double-bladed laser swords and shurikens. Many are fought in Annihilation Nation challenges, while others are affiliated with Dr. Nefarious and fought in the Zeldrin Starport, in the Leviathan, and during an attack on the Starship Phoenix.
Ninja bots also appeared in the Pirate vs. Ninja minigame available on the VG-9000 game system using a cheat coat found in the Insomniac Museum, pitting them against Captain Blackstar. They were also seen in the Bombs Away minigame in the museum.
Ninja bots were used in the filming of Secret Agent Clank, as henchmen for Maxmillian. In the first episode, Maxmillian deployed two in the Maktar Casino, and Secret Agent Clank defeated them by reflecting their laser sword blasts back at them, before then defeating Maxmillian. During the mission "Film a Secret Agent Clank Episode", Clank fought the similar mini ninja-henchmen as Clank and the giant ninjas as Giant Clank while filming the episode "Maxmillian Strikes Back". In the movie at the end of Up Your Arsenal, two ninja bots chased Clank on hoverboards.
Ratchet and Clank also fought ninja bots at various points. They were first fought during the Annihilation Nation challenges. After Ratchet's first visit to Annihilation Nation for "Win the Tyhrra-Guise", they first appeared in the gauntlets "Crispy Critter" and "Suicide Run", but did not appear in other challenges. After returning to Annihilation Nation for the mission "Meet with Courtney Gears", they appeared in several arena challenges, beginning with "Ninja Challenge", as well as the first gauntlet simply named "Meet Courtney - Gauntlet".
After this, ninja bots provided security for the Zeldrin Starport, and had their own lounge on deck five requiring ID to access. They also defended Nefarious' star cruiser, the Leviathan, during the missions "Find Nefarious" and "Escape the Starship". Finally, Dr. Nefarious sent ninja bots to attack the Starship Phoenix during "Get to the bridge".
Ninja bots are humanoid, brown-tinted robots with a glowing visor and light on their forehead, and chest. Two variants exist, a dark brown type seen only in the Annihilation Nation arena, and a light brown type used by Nefarious and the gauntlet challenges, the former has a blue light and visor, and the latter red. They are notably acrobatic, and during combat, using multiple forward handsprings to quickly close the distance to their target, performing backflips after an attack, and spinning from their double-bladed laser swords to move around or kick. They can also spin their laser swords to intimidate an opponent.
Ninja bots have two styles of combat, depending on their preferred weapon. Some ninja bots throw shurikens from a distance at their opponents, with little time in-between throws, often throwing them from an elevated platform. Others use their laser swords in battle in the form of swipes or overhead strikes after first closing the distance. These ninjas perform backflips after an attack.
Melee ninja bots that use their swords are particularly mobile enemies that can be overwhelming in certain circumstances, as they are harder to keep up with and attack in groups. Ranged ninja bots, on the other hand, fight from safe distances, making them harder to defeat. However, other than their mobility, they are not especially tough to most weapons. Their forward handspring motion does sometimes allow them to dodge direct-fire attacks.
Faster, long-range weapons are best against both types of ninja bots, such as the N60 Storm or Spitting Hydra against early ninjas fought on the Annihilation Nation, or the Annihilator, Disc Blade Gun, and Rift Inducer later on. Against melee ninja bots, the Agents of Doom are particularly helpful at providing a defense against them, as they can destroy the ninjas before they close the distance. Ninja bots are also particularly susceptible to the Infector, as infected ninja bots can easily slow down other ninja bots by interrupting them with melee strikes, disrupting their advance.
Behind the scenes
Ninja bots were one of two things developed by Tony Garcia during pre-production of Up Your Arsenal. Garcia wished to introduce enemies that were less predictable than enemies in previous games, and make melee combat more interesting by introducing enemies with more mobility. Another reason for their introduction was that Insomniac Games wanted every third game in a franchise to have ninjas in, as Spyro: Year of the Dragon had also introduced ninjas in the form of the Ninja Rhynocs in Fireworks Factory.
The original ninjas were prototyped with Ratchet in a boxed room with five ninjas. The ninjas in this prototype had a wide variety attacks including jumping off the walls, jumping on the roof, jump from the roof for overhead strikes, running along the roof, backflip after swinging the wrench, and other kinds of movement. A smoke bomb attack was also pitched as an idea, but not implemented. The consensus was that this deviated too far from Ratchet & Clank gameplay, which had heavily de-emphasized the wrench and focused on ranged combat rather than melee combat. The team found ways to make them still compatible with Ratchet & Clank gameplay in the final version, but the original version was very different.
- Video games
- Insomniac Games (2004). Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. PlayStation 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Greg Off (November 2004). Ratchet & Clank Up Your Arsenal Official Strategy Guide. BradyGames. ISBN 0744005000
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (September 2, 2012). Ratchet and Clank 3 - Developer Commentary - Ep 26. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.