Protopets, initially known as Experiment #13, are major enemies in Going Commando, and serve as the main plot point for the game. They are small, blue and furry creatures genetically engineered by Megacorp to create the perfect pet, but are extremely violent, and breed at a rapid pace.
Angela Cross was tasked to fix the Protopet's flaws, but Qwark, while impersonating Megacorp CEO Abercrombie Fizzwidget, rushed their release intentionally, hoping that he could manufacture a crisis to then save the Bogon galaxy from and fix his reputation. Instead of curing it, Qwark caused the original Protopet to mutate into the Mutant Protopet at the climax of his plan, which promptly swallowed him. It was thereafter defeated by Ratchet and Clank, and Angela used a device known as the Helix-o-morph to cure it and the other Protopets.
The Protopets are also fought as enemies in Allgon City, Damosel, the Tundor Wastes, Grelbin, and finally in the Megacorp Headquarters, Yeedil. Additionally, the Mutant Protopet is fought as the final boss.
Before coming to the Bogon Galaxy, Qwark began planning his comeback, using his illegal sale of Personal Hygenators to finance his return. This led to Qwark kidnapping Fizzwidget and placing him in a supply closet to then impersonate him.
The Protopet, dubbed "Experiment #13", was a project of Angela Cross, who worked in the genetics division on fixing the Protopet's flaws. Another scientist assigned to the Protopet was Dr. James T. Fullbladder. While he had believed the Protopet to be docile at first, the levels of monsterpropanase in its bloodstream led to violent tendencies, which his team were unable to neutralize. In a strictly classified report, he and his surviving staff recommended the Protopet be immediately destroyed in the Deep Space Disposal Facility.
Angela Cross invented the Helix-o-morph, which could fix its flaws. However, before she was able to do so, Qwark pushed up the release date, meaning she was unable to complete it in time. Instead, Angela donned a disguise, and stole the Protopet, taking it to her flying lab on Aranos.
Qwark, after seeing Ratchet and Clank in a Behind the Hero episode, recruited Ratchet as a commando for Megacorp, and tasked him with hunting down Angela and retrieving the Protopet. Ratchet tried to steal it from her flying lab, though she caught him and escaped first. Later, he and Clank tracked Angela down to her frozen base on Siberius, where she was attempting to destroy the Protopet. They instead defeated her, and met up with Qwark in the mining area, Tabora, to deliver it to him.
Later, Angela caught up with them, and as her disguise fell off, she revealed herself to be a female lombax. She then ominously told them they had put the galaxy in "imminent danger", and that they should travel to the testing facility on Dobbo if they had any intention of "fixing the mess" they'd made. When they did so, they found Dr James T. Fullbladder's report about the Protopet, and believed they should warn Mr. Fizzwidget, unaware that Fizzwidget was in fact Qwark impersonating him. The two failed to get through to Fizzwidget several times.
The Protopets were mass produced on Yeedil, as every Protopet was extracted as a clone from the original Protopet in a factory. They were shipped in the distribution facility on Smolg. A Fizzwidget bot first offered free samples in the Silver City, Boldan, where the first commercial for the Protopets was filmed featuring Billy, a child that was in need of a companion but was instead attacked by the Protopet.
Protopets were sold en masse in Allgon City, Damosel, leading to the planet becoming overrun. Darla Gratch reported on this event, leading Ratchet and Clank to arrive to Damosel in "Save the overrun planet" to fight off the Protopets, though Allgon City had also sent its own Extermibots to deal with the threat. They also encountered several on the train rails of Damosel in "Ride the train rails". on Grelbin, Angela also found her house overrun with Protopets, and in "Find Angela", Ratchet and Clank had to defeat the Protopets attacking her house before she came out. Once they met, they planned to stop the Protopets by defeating the original Protopet in Megacorp Headquarters on Yeedil.
In "Break into Megacorp Headquarters", several crates filled with Protopets attacked Ratchet and Clank. When they reached the Protopet Lab, Clank's admirer showed the three a video of Qwark's plan to use the Protopet to manufacture a crisis. At that point, Qwark revealed himself through the Fizzwidget disguise, and attempted to frame Ratchet, Clank, and Angela for the crisis in a broadcast event, while using Angela's Helix-o-morph to cure it and frame himself the hero. However, since the battery was in backwards, the Protopet instead mutated and ate Qwark.
Ratchet and Clank defeated the Mutant Protopet during the final mission, "Defeat the mutated Protopet", freeing Qwark. Angela found the real Mr. Fizzwidget and used the Helix-o-morph to cure the incapacitated Mutant Protopet and change it back to its normal state, albeit tame. She then used TV transponders to transmit the signal around the galaxy and cure the remaining Protopets, effectively ending the crisis.
Post Going Commando
In the 2016 reimagining of the original Ratchet and Clank, the Blackwater City hoverboard races on Rilgar are sponsored by Megacorp with a spoken advertisement for that years most anticipated toy; the Protopet.
In Rift Apart, in Rivet's alternate dimension, a counterpart of Dr. Nefarious; Emperor Nefarious is the supreme ruler of the universe with his Empire controlling all facets of civilization, including huge corporations like Megacorp. This version of Megacorp sells a large plethora of products the same as the one in Ratchet's dimension, including the Protopet, which is seen being advertised on digital billboards in Nefarious City.
Protopets are small, round creatures with blue fur, two feet, an antenna, and very sharp teeth. They move quickly by hopping around, and when breeding, spawn smaller Protopet from their mouth. Before they can breed, they will grow by spinning quickly and then growing in size slightly, and can then breed around three to four more Protopets at once. Protopets in Allgon City will come from trash cans, sewer holes, buildings, and cereal boxes. In the Megacorp Headquarters, they come from large crates. Prior to the use of the Helix-o-morph, they are extremely hostile, and will attack other creatures by biting them, using their superior numbers to overwhelm foes.
The Mutant Protopet is a colossal creature, with sharper teeth than the original Protopet, a longer tongue, and much darker blue fur, and lets out loud roars during battle. It can swallow various objects and spit out weaponized versions at enemies. If damaged enough it will proceed to slam itself into the floor, which deals enough damage to collapse the entire platform.
The Protopets are a threat due to their large numbers and rapid breeding process. If even one Protopet is left alive in an area, it can quickly multiple to dozens more within seconds. While they are notably weak enemies, and only attack in melee range, their bites deal considerable damage, and they are very mobile.
The Plasma Storm is the strongest weapon against them, meaning it is a good idea to upgrade the Plasma Coil. Other weapons that are particularly useful against them include the Bouncer, the Gravity Bomb and Hoverbomb Gun for their blast radius, whereas the Blitz Cannon and the Meteor Gun are useful for their range and larger ammo capacity. The Megaturret Glove and Kilonoids can also be helpful due to their sheer numbers, and though the Sheepinator is effective, it may not defeat them quickly enough for how many there are. Due to their damage, it is often best to equip the Shield Charger when swarmed by a large number, with the Tesla Barrier being especially effective.
Its main attack move is to curl up in a ball, surrounding itself with a shield as it does, and roll towards Ratchet, flattening him. It also spits out a large number of small, original Protopets, rather than breeding other mutated ones. In battle, it can eat up bombs and ammo crates, and then use them to spit out either explosive rocks or a swarm of missiles.
Behind the scenes
The Protopet design was inspired by 1980s creature flicks. One constraint was that a lot of Protopets needed to be fit on screen to make Allgon City feel truly overrun, leading to the skeleton of the Protopet being so simple and the design having only two feet.
The Protopets are mentioned in the re-imagined Ratchet & Clank by Starlene, during the Blackwater City Hoverboard competition, when she says the race is sponsored by Megacorp, creators of the Protopet. This is despite the game being set long before the Protopet was even named.
The Mutant Protopet was programmed by Peter Hastings, who had also programmed the Ultra Supreme Executive Chairman Drek-Mech, the final boss of the original Ratchet & Clank. The Drek-Mech received very negative feedback for being a particularly hard boss, leading Peter Hastings to make the Mutant Protopet considerably easier.
- Going Commando, Monsterpedia
- Going Commando script § "If you are watching this, you're fired..."
- Going Commando script § "Remember, you bought it from Steve..."
- Going Commando script § "Defeat the mutated Protopet (gameplay)"
- Going Commando script § "A shipment of... paperweights"
- Going Commando script § "Find a way out of the underground tunnels"
- Going Commando script § "Mommy where do Protopets come from?"
- Going Commando script § "Why is Billy Sad?"
- Sony Computer Entertainment 2018 p. 109
- Stout, Garcia August 27 2011 1:48
- Stout, Garcia September 9 2011 12:03
- Insomniac Games (2003). Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. PlayStation 2. Sony Interactive Entertainment.
- Sony Computer Entertainment (March 2018). The Art of Ratchet & Clank. Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 978-1506705729.
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (August 27, 2011). Ratchet & Clank 2 Dev Commentary: 30 - Mike's Redemption. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.
- Mike Stout, Tony Garcia (September 9, 2011). Ratchet & Clank 2 Dev Commentary: 33 - Final Boss. uselesspodcasts. YouTube.