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The Star Explorer[1] is Ratchet's ship in Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal. It is a starfighter manufactured by Megacorp that was granted to Ratchet while he served as a Megacorp commando, and used by him in both the Bogon Galaxy during Megacorp's Protopet crisis, and the Solana Galaxy during Dr. Nefarious' invasion. The starfighter is used by Ratchet and Clank both for interplanetary travel and for space combat. It is also upgraded by Slim Cognito in Slim Cognito's Ship Shack by trading raritanium, and its appearance modified both by Slim and by the customization terminal on board the Starship Phoenix.

History

Going Commando

Ratchet was granted the Star Explorer by Qwark, who was disguised as Abercrombie Fizzwidget, when he was recruited by Megacorp as a commando. He used it in his first mission in the flying lab, Aranos, in which he was assigned to steal the Protopet from Angela Cross, to enter the lab through a hatch at the bottom. He then used it to escape by pressing a button on his suit's wrist that summoned the Star Explorer to appear and help him escape when fleeing the flying lab's security.

Star Explorer gameplay 1

Ratchet firing at a Thugs-4-Less fighter at the Wupash Nebula.

In "Destroy Thugs-4-Less Fighters", while traveling to the Maktar Resort, Ratchet was ambushed in the Wupash Nebula by the Thugs-4-Less, hired by Angela Cross. He then shot down two waves of ships, totaling 39 ships, and proceeded to the Maktar Nebula. The Star Explorer would next be used in "Defeat the Thug Ships", taking place in the Thug rendezvous point in the Feltzin System, in which Ratchet and Clank traveled to the system to intercept any communications after Biker One had revealed it as the location of the Thugs-4-Less company picnic that week.[2] After defeating two waves of ships, totaling fifty ships, the two then completed three space combat challenges: in "Defeat 30 Space Wasps in 2 Minutes" the two defeated thirty space wasps before they fled the system, in "Fight the Ace Thug ships" the two defeated ten Ace Thugs-4-Less fighters, and finally in "Race Through the Asteroids" the two beat Ace Bunyon in a race.

Star Explorer gameplay 2

Ratchet firing at a saboteur at the Deep Space Disposal Facility.

The Star Explorer was used for combat once again in the Deep Space Disposal Facility, during "Disable the Disposal Facility's defenses". After viewing a report in the testing facility in Dobbo recommending the Protopet be destroyed immediately, Ratchet and Clank sent a message to Mr. Fizzwidget (unaware he was Qwark in disguise), trying to warn Fizzwidget of the Protopet's danger. They arranged to meet Fizzwidget at the Disposal Facility to warn him, though the password that Fizzwidget gave was an error and caused the Disposal Facility's defenses to attack Ratchet and Clank's ship.[3] After destroying the defenses and failing to get through to Fizzwidget following the meeting, the two completed three more challenges: "Take out the Saboteurs" in which the two defeated twenty saboteurs trying to destroy the facility, "Destroy the Berserk Repair Drones" in which thirty repair drones had gone berserk and attacked Ratchet, and "Race Through the Disposal Facility" in which the two raced Ace Bunyon once more.

Finally, the two used the Star Explorer while fighting the Thug fleet in Gorn, during "Defeat the Thug Fleet". After Angela Cross infiltrated the fleet and was captured, the two chased after her, as she had told them she had information that could stop the Protopet menace. The two defeated four Thugs-4-Less Carrier Ships, though Angela had already been moved to their HQ on Snivelak, the location of which was revealed by the Thug Leader after he transmitted his location in a threatening message sent to the duo following the battle. The two then completed three more final challenges: "Fight the Bandits" in which the two fought 32 bandit ships in the sector, "Defeat the Ghost Ship" in which the two fought a Carrier Ship that had become a ghost ship, and "Race Through the Docking Bays" in which the three raced Ace Bunyon a final time.

When infiltrating the Megacorp Headquarters on Yeedil, Angela Cross recommended that the Star Explorer fly in separately from her own ship, due to the strength of Megacorp's orbital defenses meaning that it would be better to go separately so at least one would get past them.[4]

Star Explorer endorsement deal

Star Explorer - Endorsement deal

One of Megacorp's endorsement deals involved a new Star Explorer that cost 4,640,000,000 bolts.[5]

Up Your Arsenal

After hearing about the tyhrranoids invasion of Veldin on a Channel 64 News report by Darla Gratch, Ratchet installed a device in the Star Explorer known as the gravimetric warp drive, to allow him to warp to Veldin immediately. He had built this device from blargian scrap metal, and had not yet tested it. Clank was ambivalent and felt that it could destroy them, but was proven wrong as they successfully reached Veldin.[6]

Starfighter upgrade system

Starfighter upgrade system.

After boarding the Starship Phoenix, Sasha Phyronix informed Ratchet that the Phoenix included a starfighter upgrade system. Ratchet used this to modify the Star Explorer.[7]

Later, when the Starship Phoenix came under attack, Ratchet used the gravimetric warp drive once more to immediately return to the Phoenix and defend it.[8]

Characteristics

Appearance

The Star Explorer has a generic starfighter design similar to that of a plane. It has a long, narrow fuselage with two short wings either side of its large cockpit near the back, and is propelled by booster engines at the back. By default, it uses the dark red Blargian Red paint job, which gives it a dark red body with bright yellow trims. Below its fuselage are two lasers on the sides, with missile launchers in front of its wings. Ratchet was able to modify the look of the Star Explorer, both by replacing physical parts, and by repainting it. Neither of these affected the ship's performance, but only the design.

In both games Ratchet alwas had the Standard Wings and Standard Nose by default. In Going Commando they were all available right away, save for the Scoop and Split Nose designs, which required 18 and 26 skill points respectively, all variants also all costed 5 raritanium. In Up Your Arsenal they were all available at the start, but the Hi-Lift and Heavy Ordinance Wings both each costed 2,000 bolts, and the Split and Scoop Noses 4,000 bolts each.

Performance

Star Explorer from GC gameplay 1

Standard Missile Launcher.

In combat, the standard Star Explorer model has two laser cannons, the auto-locking Standard Missile Launcher, and basic shielding. Ratchet was able to upgrade the ship's base parts, by replacing the laser cannons with the Fusion Laser Cannons, the missiles with the Fast-Lock Missile Launcher, the shields with the Advanced Shielding System and Ultra-Charge Shielding System, and the booster engines with the Triple Boost Acceleration Engine. Additionally, Ratchet could also add more powerful weaponry, in the form of the Torpedo Launcher (upgradeable with the Multi-Torpedo Launcher, the Electro-Mine Launcher (upgradeable to Mega-Mine Launcher, and the Nuclear Detonation Device which could destroy all ships within a large radius. Ratchet could also purchase the Hyperspace Warp System, which would randomly warp the ship to another area.

Star Explorer from GC gameplay 2

Electro-Mine Launcher.

The Missile Launchers were effective against weak high-speed targets, with the extra Fast-Lock system further enabling takedowns of the fastest enemies. They were still usable against larger targets without the need to lock-on, but in that case functioned like a weaker Torpedo Launcher. The Torpedo Launcher was solely useful against targets that could easily be hit without the need to lock-on, which only was very few, as aiming at most of the fast targets was near impossible. The Electro-Mine Launcher served instead to combat this problem, as each mine would produce a damaging electrical field in the surrounding space, making them useful for large clusters of weak ships. Lastly the Nuclear Detonation Device was a single-use deadly weapon of mass destruction, serving well to destroy almost everything within the blast radius.

Paint jobs

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Going Commando
Paint job Points
Blargian Red 3
Bogon Blue
Orxon Green
Drek's Black Heart
Lombax Orange
Supernova 10
Space Storm
Silent Strike 15
Dark Nebula
Solar Wind
Star Traveler 19
Neutron Star
Lunar Eclipse 25
Clowner
Prepster 29
Plaidtastic
Insomniac Special
Up Your Arsenal
Paint job Points Price
Blargian Red 0 Default
Pulsing Purple 0 500
Obani Orange 1 500
Low Rider 2 500
Black Hole 3 500
Sun Storm 4 500
Bogon Blue 5 1,000
Orxon Green 6 1,000
Lombax Orange 7 1,000
Hooked on Onyx 8 1,000
Qwark Green 9 1,000
Agent Orange 10 1,000
Helga Hues 11 1,000
Space Storm 12 1,000
Tyhrranoid Void 13 1,000
Zeldrin Sunset 14 1,000
Pirate Purple 15 1,000
Up Your Arsenal
Paint job Points Price
Sasha Scarlet 17 1,000
Florana Breeze 18 1,000
Ozzy Kamikaze 19 1,000
Silent Strike 20 5,000
Supernova 21 5,000
Drek's Black Heart 22 5,000
Neutron Star 23 5,000
Lunar Eclipse 24 5,000
Solar Wind 25 5,000
Dark Nebula 26 5,000
Star Traveler 27 5,000
Clowner 28 5,000
Plaidtastic 29 5,000
Insomniac Special 30 9,000

Behind the scenes

Space combat was one of the ideas that Insomniac Games brainstormed in terms of RPG elements to add to Going Commando.[9] It was programmed primarily by two gameplay programmers including Roberto Rodriguez,[10] who were moved onto it after programming the weapons.[11] The different space combat areas were designed by Lesley Mathieson.[12] Space combat was as expensive in terms of resources as creating a new game entirely.[13]

In Going Commando, a fourth space combat location would appear prior to the Megacorp Headquarters on Yeedil, in which Ratchet would be required to destroy Megacorp's defenses before landing on the planet. Mission descriptions and two voice lines make reference to this mission are still present in the files for the final release.[14] The location was cut before any work was done on it to save time for the programmers and artists.[13]

The Star Explorer in Going Commando originally had landing pads, present in early builds of the game and demo builds.[15][16] This was changed to instead be a floating ship that could bounce after Ratchet jumped on them when Peter Hastings introduced the technology, which the developers were so impressed by that they added everywhere they could, including the Star Explorer.[13]

For Up Your Arsenal, an attempt was made to include space combat, which would have been similar to the Star Fox series, as well as to the space combat that later featured in Tools of Destruction. The space combat was given an honest effort by the developers, and a cutscene was written and voice recorded in which Sasha Phyronix thanks Ratchet for saving the Starship Phoenix before then informing him that Qwark had called another Q-Force meeting.[17][18] The space combat could not be completed, due to the developers being stretched for resources already especially given the inclusion of multiplayer, as most resources that were previously devoted to things like hoverbike racing and space combat were instead devoted to multiplayer. Additionally, there was internal political drama that contributed to its cancellation.[19][20]

Citations

References

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