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Secret Agent Clank is an installment in the Ratchet & Clank series developed by High Impact Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was initially released in June 2008 for the PlayStation Portable, and later ported to the PlayStation 2 in May 2009 by Sanzaru Games. It is the second portable title in the series, the second developed by High Impact Games, and the first to feature Clank as the main character.

The game's story is an entry in the in-universe fictional holo-vision series Secret Agent Clank, in which Clank, known as Secret Agent Clank, works for a secret government agency simply known as the Agency. The game opens in Boltaire Museum, where Clank spies Ratchet stealing an Eye of Infinity from the museum. Believing that Ratchet must not be the perpetrator, Clank then begins a mission to prove Ratchet's innocence. Ratchet is locked up in a Prison Planet, among which many inmates include enemies he has fought on previous adventures, and must fight for survival. Meanwhile, Captain Qwark trails Clank, to claim credit for Clank's actions as B.A.R.N.E.Y. writes a biography on Qwark.

Secret Agent Clank allows the player to control Clank, Ratchet, and Qwark, with Clank as the main character playing his Secret Agent Clank alter ego. Clank's gameplay is a combination of the series' typical third person shooter and platformer gameplay as well as stealth elements. He has access to a wide variety of secret agent weapons disguised as real objects (such as the Tie-A-Rang, the Cufflink Bomb, and the Blowtorch Briefcase), and makes use of Jet Boots for platforming. Ratchet has access to many of his usual weapons, including several returning from Size Matters, while fighting enemies in prison. Qwark's gameplay varies depending on the section in particular, and normally involves him fighting enemies in outrageous scenarios during his own storytelling.

In Secret Agent Clank, players can find a code to be used to unlock the Convict Ratchet skin in Tools of Destruction in the Treehouse. The code, which works in the Specials menu, is Left, Left, Right, Up, Down, Down, X. Likewise, a code for the Zoni skin in Secret Agent Clank can be found in Tools of Destruction in the IRIS Supercomputer. Skins from Size Matters are unlocked in Secret Agent Clank for players with a Size Matters save.

Despite some questions as to its place in canon, due to being developed by an external developer, Insomniac Games have confirmed that Secret Agent Clank is canon as a movie in the Secret Agent Clank holo-vision series in the Ratchet & Clank universe.[1][2][3][3]

Gameplay

Overview

Secret Agent Clank

Secret Agent Clank screenshot

Secret Agent Clank is a third person three dimensional stealth action game with elements of platforming, shooting, and role playing. The player controls three characters: Clank, as his Secret Agent Clank alter ego, who makes use of a range of spy gear and Clank-Fu combat while working for the Agency to prove Ratchet's innocence; Ratchet, a lombax who fights for his life in prison after being framed for a crime; and Qwark, who describes outlandish events to his biographer. Each character has a similar moveset, uses numerated nanotech for their health, and both Clank and Ratchet use upgradeable weapons, and can purchase new weapons from vendors. The gameplay follows a similar format to previous games in the Ratchet & Clank series, though Clank's gameplay features more stealth elements.

After completing the main storyline, the player can choose to warp back to before defeating the final boss to complete remaining side objectives, or to proceed to challenge mode, allowing the player to keep their current weapons with the option to purchase more powerful Proto or Titan versions against more powerful enemies.

Clank gameplay

Clank travels through planets in the Solana Galaxy and complete a set of missions on the planet, before unlocking coordinates to the next one. Missions often require Clank to complete a linear section of the planet, or complete a minigame, to proceed. Clank is able to use stealth to sneak through many levels without engaging in combat, and can perform stealth take downs by sneaking behind enemies and completing a quick rhythm minigame to kill an enemy, gaining a bolt bonus for doing so. Clank can also explore planets for hidden items.

Clank has access to usable 12 spy gear weapons and gadgets, of which six are used primarily as weapons, and six are used as gadgets. Clank's six weapons include the Tie-A-Rang, the Cufflink Bomb, and the Blowtorch Briefcase, and can be upgraded three times to V4, at which point they will drastically change, and Clank can also purchase mods to improve weapons by adding additional effects. Clank's gadgets include the Black-Out Pen to shut off some lasers, the Holomonocle to scan and disguise as enemies, and the Omni-Key, which can hack into doors. Clank also makes use of the Jet Boots for platforming, allowing him to glide and jump higher.

Ratchet and Qwark gameplay

At times, the story will give the player control of Ratchet and Qwark in mandatory missions, with largely different gameplay.

Ratchet fights waves of enemies in arena combat in several locations on the Prison Planet. Ratchet makes use of 10 upgradeable weapons, which much like Clank's weapons, can upgrade three times up to V4, and can be modified with purchased mods. The enemies fought by Ratchet are ones which featured in previous games. Ratchet can complete both mandatory and optional missions to earn bolts, and his missions can be replayed at any time.

Qwark's levels involve him battling a variety of outlandish enemies in a scenario he describes. The weapon Qwark uses depends on the specific scenario. Some scenarios simply put Qwark in a single environment and require him to defeat enemies, while others require Qwark to fight through a linear segment.

Minigames

During many of Clank's missions, minigames must instead be completed.

Many missions require Clank to complete a rhythm button game. These include short areas where Clank must traverse a series of lasers, as well as minigames where Clank has to perform a ballroom dance, or win a casino game.

On some occasions, the player controls the Agency Gadge-Bots, used whenever Clank is in trouble. The player controls either three or four Gadge-Bots that can be switched between, normally to solve puzzles as a group and complete a linear segment.

Some missions Clank to pilot a vehicles, including a boat in Venantonio's canals, or a snowboard. These are on-rails vehicles with slightly different controls and capabilities.

In one mission, Clank has to control Giant Clank in an on-rails space section. This section is similar to Giant Clank's gameplay in Size Matters, though he also makes use of the Super-Colliding Super Laser weapon against enemies in space.

Synopsis

Setting

Secret Agent Clank takes place in the Solana Galaxy as portrayed in the in-universe fictional holovision series,[1][2] which first appeared in Up Your Arsenal. Secret Agent Clank is a member of the Agency, a secret government organization which supplies all of Clank's weapons and gadgets. During Clank's missions, he visits many locations that spoof a James Bond, 007 spy setting, including a casino (Le Paradis Des Tricheurs Casino), a high-tech lawless city (Asyanica), a palace for a wealthy countess (Glaciara), and an opera house (Venantonio). Similarly, many of the characters and scenarios that Agent Clank run into spoof those of a Bond film, such as a field operator (Cute Anastasia Bot), wealthy female antagonists who flirt with Clank (the Casino Owner, Ivana Lottabolts), unwitting scientists (Venantonio Scientist), and crime lord villains (Number Woo, the Kingpin). He also makes use of Clank-Fu to fight through enemies, sneaks past lasers, and makes use of weaponry disguised as clothing items.

Ratchet and Qwark appear in entirely different scenarios. Ratchet spends most of his time fighting against prisoners whom he previously fought on past adventures, such as the Tyhrranoids, the Thugs-4-Less, and amoeboids. He fights in various locations within his own planet-wide prison, while guarded by a corrupt and aloof Prison Warden, using weaponry delivered to him by Agent Clank disguised as birthday cakes. Qwark's missions, on the other hand, appear in entirely outlandish scenarios, in which he describes heroic but unrealistic deeds for a reporter robot to include in his biography.

Story

The Kingpin

The Kingpin

As Clank went to the Boltaire Museum to halt the theft of a priceless jewel known as the Eye of Infinity, he saw, to his shock, Ratchet (in his Mastermind persona) fleeing the scene of the crime. Mastermind Ratchet was promptly found and arrested by local law enforcement. While retinal scanned proved that the thief was indeed Ratchet, Clank was convinced of his friend's innocence. While Ratchet was sent to prison, Clank investigated the theft further, traveling to various locales until he came across an enigmatic figure known only as "The Kingpin." While going through an abandoned space facility, The Kingpin revealed himself to be none other than Klunk, Clank's evil doppelgänger, first introduced in Up Your Arsenal. Klunk stole Clank's transport, forcing him to enlarge and track the vehicle.

SAC Promo

Promotional image of Secret Agent Clank

In the meantime, Ratchet confronted some of his old enemies he had placed in prison while Qwark traveled around the galaxy to start his autobiography with a less-than-thrilled reporter-bot, Biographical Analysis Robot Neo Eight Yellow or B.A.R.N.E.Y., coming along for the ride. When Clank finally confronted Klunk, the evil mastermind revealed his plan: he had stolen the Eye of Infinity to use as a refractor for a massive laser system perfectly poised to destroy every planet in the galaxy within a single shot. Klunk, acting through Ratchet (via a mind-control helmet), would threaten to use the laser for a planet to rule. Just in time, Klunk, posing as Clank, would stop Mastermind Ratchet from destroying the galaxy, placing the hero in jail forever while Klunk, as Clank, would be idolized by the populace.

Halfway through their battle, Klunk activated the laser, knowing that only he knew the password. Clank knocked out Klunk and managed to deactivate the firing sequence while Qwark accidentally beamed himself aboard the satellite, retrieved the Eye of Infinity, and dismantled the device. Ratchet was exonerated of the crimes filed against him, B.A.R.N.E.Y., secretly working for Klunk, tried to assassinate Qwark, but was stopped by Clank, and Klunk was placed in Ratchet's custody, being turned into a new vacuum cleaner to use in the apartment in the city of Megapolis.

Development

SAC Poster

A poster of Secret Agent Clank

Secret Agent Clank begun development shortly after the release of Size Matters using the same engine,[4] by a team of 45 developers at High Impact Games.[5] The goal was to take the franchise in a fresh new direction, while bringing the popular Secret Agent Clank character from Up Your Arsenal to a full game.[5] It was announced in TGS 2007,[4] after being rumored in July 2007 when series composer David Bergeaud accidentally revealed it in an online resume.

Those who preordered with GameStop received a Secret Agent Clank figure with the game.[6]

Reception

Aggregator Score
GameRankings PSP: 73.60% (based on 53 reviews)[7]

PS2: 61.00% (based on 9 reviews)[8]

Metacritic PSP: 72 (based on 56 reviews)[9]

PS2: 61 (based on 9 reviews)[10]

Publication Score
Eurogamer PSP: 6/10[11]
GamesRadar PSP: 3.5/5[12]
GameSpot PSP: 8.0/10[13]
IGN PSP: 6.4/10[14]

PS2: 6.0/10[15]

Secret Agent Clank received mixed to positive reception from critics, who considered it inconsistent in quality. Critics were divided on the addition of stealth, overuse of minigames, and criticized Ratchet's missions as repetitive, while generally responding positively to most of Clank's gameplay, the story, and the Qwark missions. Critics drew different conclusions, with Eurogamer and IGN calling it disappointing due to its flaws, while GameSpot praised the game for being fun in spite of them.[11][13][14]

While Clank levels were considered stronger overall, the stealth gameplay as Clank received a mixed reception. Eurogamer and IGN were both critical of the use of the rhythm mechanic for stealth takedowns and for many of Clank's sections, with IGN stating it was fun until it became repetitive, while Eurogamer called out of place for a Ratchet & Clank game.[11][14] On the other hand, GameSpot noted that the stealth is "rarely mandatory", but called it a "good addition to the tried-and-tested" formula.[13] IGN also criticized Clank's levels for limited and easy combat, and stated that spending bolts on Clank's weapons feels wasteful.[14]

Reviewers criticized Ratchet's missions as repetitive. IGN described the missions as frustrating prior to upgrading Ratchet's weapons due to their difficulty and repetition.[14] Eurogamer criticized the lack of variety in Ratchet's missions, describing them as essentially "a series of boss levels".[11] GameSpot criticized the level design of Ratchet's arenas, but praised the weapon variety.[13]

Captain Qwark's levels mostly received praise by critics, as they described the levels as amusing, humorous, and entertaining.[11][13][14] However, IGN felt that Qwark's missions hurt the pacing of the game, and contrasted tonally with the spy theme of Clank's levels.[14]

Critics were divided on graphical presentation. While GameSpot called the environments' appearances "noticeably better" than in Size Matters,[13] and Eurogamer praised the detailed and varied environments,[11] IGN criticized the "blank walls" and "muted colors", saying "Size Matters was a sharper game".[14] The PlayStation 2 port received lower scores. IGN criticized the port for not improving on the problems of the original game, and criticized the graphics for looking "blocky and jaggy" when scaled up to a larger screen.[15]

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Tools of Destruction: The Convict Ratchet skin description refers to the game as an "upcoming episode" in the Secret Agent Clank series
  2. 2.0 2.1 Twitter logo Tweet by @insomniacgames on Twitter.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stevenson, James. Interview with James Stevenson. Ratchet & Clank Wiki. Technobliterator. February 12, 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 TGS 2007: Secret Agent Clank First Look. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Interview: High Impact's Lesley Matheson On New Studios, Tech, And More. Gamasutra. Accessed August 18, 2018.
  6. Secret Agent Clank figure with GameStop pre-order. Joystiq (archived). Accessed August 8, 2018.
  7. Secret Agent Clank for PSP GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  8. Secret Agent Clank on PS2 GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  9. Secret Agent Clank for PSP Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  10. Secret Agent Clank for PS2 Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Secret Agent Clank PSP Review. Eurogamer. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  12. Secret Agent Clank PSP review. GamesRadar. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Secret Agent Clank for PSP Review. GameSpot. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 Secret Agent Clank for PSP Review. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Secret Agent Clank for PS2 Review. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
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