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The Starship Phoenix is a location in Up Your Arsenal, with a short appearance in Deadlocked. While commandeered by Sasha Phyronix, it served as the pride of the main base of the Galactic Rangers and the Q-Force during the war against Dr. Nefarious. Ratchet and Clank made the ship their home, and retained command over the starship after Phyronix became the Mayor of Metropolis, until they were kidnapped by DreadZone.

Ratchet and Clank first visited the Starship Phoenix after finding Captain Qwark on Florana. As Qwark had lost his memory, Sasha invited Ratchet to bring Qwark onboard the ship to figure out what to do next. Ratchet would also use the VG-9000 game system on the ship to play Qwark vid-comics in order to learn how to defeat Nefarious. The first of these allowed Qwark to regain his memory, at which point he formed the Q-Force, the Starship Phoenix became his base of operations during the war against Dr. Nefarious. The Phoenix later came under attack while Al decoded a datadisk of information about the Biobliterator.

The Starship Phoenix is a hub location throughout Up Your Arsenal, with a number of features. It contains both a Gadgetron vendor for weapons and armor, and players can use the VR deck to play a few arena challenges, and also to test any weapons at the Gadgetron vendor before purchasing them. The Phoenix also contains a trophy room, and obtaining all trophies throughout the game opens a door where the Insomniac Museum can be visited.

Its successor, the Starship Phoenix II, is used as the base of the reformed Q-Force in Full Frontal Assault.

History

Up Your Arsenal

Sasha introduces the Phoenix.

After finding Captain Qwark on Florana, Sasha Phyronix invited Ratchet and Clank to come on board the Starship Phoenix and bring Qwark with them. In "Take Qwark to His Cage", Ratchet then brought Qwark along to a living area Phyronix had prepared for Qwark,[1] which was adjacent to his own living quarters. After this, Sasha contacted him to meet her on the bridge, where he promptly saw Sasha in the middle of a transmission from her father, President Phyronix, in which he sent out a distress call from Marcadia about an invasion. This transmission was interrupted by a transmission broadcast by Dr. Nefarious around the galaxy. Ratchet then agreed to travel to Marcadia to defeat the tyhrranoids.

The Q-Force assembled.

Once Ratchet defeated the tyhrranoids and repaired the laser defense shield of Capital City, Al gave him a vid-comic, Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder. Ratchet returned to the Phoenix and played the vid-comic with the VG 9000 game system. Qwark watched Ratchet play the episode, regained his memory, and promptly complain about his living quarters.[2] Sasha then informed Ratchet about Annihilation Nation, where the prize offered was a Tyhrra-Guise device that could help sneak past the tyhrranoids, as well as the second vid-comic, Arriba Amoeba!. While Ratchet left to obtain it, President Phyronix then placed Qwark in charge of the battle against Nefarious,[3] and Qwark founded the Q-Force, recruiting Al, Helga von Streissenburgen, Skidd McMarx, Skrunch, Sasha, Ratchet, and Clank. This was headquartered in the Phoenix. Qwark also drew up a plan to attack Dr. Nefarious' office on Aquatos.

When Ratchet returned, Qwark explained his plan to attack Aquatos, involving Ratchet using the Tyhrra-Guise, and Clank using a device known as the BGAMD to cooperate with Skrunch and infiltrate the ventilation shaft. Skidd also joined them for the mission. Once it was successful, Qwark drew up another plan to attack Tyhrranosis and defeat the Momma Tyhrranoid, which once again put Ratchet and Clank as the leaders of the attack. When questioned about this, Qwark claimed the rest of the Q-Force would be monitoring the battle from a distance, though they were actually in the lunch buffet on deck five for meatloaf day.[4]

The transmission.

When Ratchet defeated the momma tyhrranoid, he then returned to the Phoenix and bragged about the battle to Sasha and Skidd. During the conversation, Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence beamed a transmission on board the ship from Daxx, to taunt them, though Al traced the signal back.[5] Before traveling there, Helga gave Ratchet the mission "Complete VR Gadget Training", ordering them to complete her obstacle course on the VR deck to obtain the Hypershot and Hacker. The two completed it and traveled to Daxx.

Qwark's funeral.

Much later, when Courtney Gears transformed Skidd into a robot with the Biobliterator testing laboratory, Ratchet came back to pick Skidd up later and return him to the Phoenix.[6] After Qwark was not detected leaving the Leviathan before it was self-destructed, Qwark was presumed dead, and a funeral was held for him on-board the Starship Phoenix. Al then gave Ratchet the fourth vid-comic, Deja Q All Over Again, believing he'd have wanted Ratchet to have it.[7] After playing the vid-comic, Ratchet realized that Nefarious would attack Metropolis next.

Al analyzing Skidd.

Al began working on a way to reverse Skidd's transformation, and also found a fifth unreleased vid-comic, The Shaming of the Q, in Qwark's quarters. When Ratchet found the master plan data disk left behind on the Zeldrin crash site, he gave it to Al to decode while he was examining Skidd.[8] Ratchet played the fifth vid-comic, which made him realize Qwark was alive and hidden in his hideout in the Thran Asteroid Belt.

The Q-Force in hiding.

While searching for Qwark, the Starship Phoenix came under attack by Nefarious' force of ninja bots, as retaliation for decoding the data disk. In "Get to the bridge", Ratchet immediately traveled using the gravimetric warp drive to defend the Phoenix from the attack.[9] During the attack, the bridge compartment shields were reduced to forty percent, and artificial gravity failed on deck five. However, Ratchet was able to find Al, Helga, and Sasha. They then revealed that they had found more from decoding the data disk, and learned the Biobliterator was recharging on Koros, and due to attack Veldin next.[10]

Deadlocked

After the events of Up Your Arsenal, Ratchet, Clank, and Al took control of the Starship Phoenix when Sasha Phyronix was elected Mayor of Metropolis. While piloting the Starship Phoenix in Quadrant J0713, the ship was promptly boarded and taken over, and the three were taken to the DreadZone Station.

Following this, it is unclear what happened to the Starship Phoenix. However, its successor, the Starship Phoenix II, appears in Full Frontal Assault, commandeered by the second Q-Force.

Characteristics

The Starship Phoenix has been described as the pride of the Galactic Fleet, and has a long list of amenities for those on board. This includes the VR deck for training, weapon and armor vendors, a virtual firing range, starfighter upgrade system, and the VG-9000 game system.[11] It uses artificial gravity, which is apparently segregated per deck.[12]

The Phoenix appears susceptible to attacks by teleporting on board the ship, as both Nefarious' robotic forces, as well as the DreadZone attackers, were able to do so. However, in the case of the former attack, the ship was able to resist the attack, and though it sustained damage, none of it was irreparable. After suffering the attack, the shield systems were at 40%.[13]

Layout

Map layout of the Starship Phoenix.

Map layout of the Starship Phoenix while under invasion.

The Starship Phoenix is a long, narrow star cruiser with a silver color. It has large wings on either side, placed towards the back of the ship. At the back are two thrusters, in between which is a hangar, where the Star Explorer lands. A spire is seen on the top at the back of the ship. The command bridge at the front is located in a conical compartment, and is connected to the main deck by a tunnel, across which a transporter bridges the gap.

Ratchet's ship, the Star Explorer, lands at the very back of the ship. Past this is a large, open room, where the weapon and armor vendor are found on the right, and a door on the left leads to a hallway that forks into three rooms: the trophy room on the left, the VR deck on the right, and Ratchet's quarters behind that. From the main room, a transporter travels over a series of rooms with computer terminals to reach the bridge, where Sasha Phyronix commandeers the vessel.

Hangar

The Hangar.

The hangar is a wide, open space patrolled by Galactic Rangers. It links to all parts of the ship: a hallway containing Ratchet's quarters, the VR deck, and the trophy room are found on the left, while at the back is a transporter that travels to the bridge. In the ceiling of the room, the Galactic Rangers dropship is seen parked.

In an alcove on the right is a Gadgetron weapons vendor. Unique to this vendor is the option to trial test weapons in a small VR arena before purchasing them. Additionally, this vendor offers a 10% discount for the player if they have a previous Ratchet & Clank save file on the memory card on which they have completed the mission "Win the Hoverboard race".

The hangar also contains the only armor vendor in the game. When armor is purchased, the armor vendor deploys a small cubicle for Ratchet to change his armor to the new armor.

Path to bridge

Bridge corridor.

Underneath the transporter is a separate, normally inaccessible, area that can be used to reach the bridge if the transporter is out of commission, as done so during "Get to the bridge". Both areas at the start and end of the room feature a lot of computer terminals, and have a doorway leading to a separate side passage where various engines and machinery can be seen. The doorway on the bridge's side of the passageway required a laser to be connected into a port using the Refractor to be opened.

Bridge

The bridge.

Located at the front of the ship, the bridge has large windows overlooking space, five seats with terminals, and a captain's seat. Before the Q-Force assembled, Sasha and four Rangers sat at the five seats while the captain's seat was empty; after it was assembled, Sasha, Helga, a Galactic Ranger, Skidd, and Al sat at the five seats, while Captain Qwark sat in the captain's seat. Skrunch also ran around the bridge during this time.

Ratchet's quarters

Ratchet's quarters.

Ratchet's quarters is a wide room with four small sleeping pods, an enormous screen connected to the VG-9000 game system, and a custom living area containing a tree that was used to house Qwark and Skrunch while Qwark was regaining his memory.

The VG-9000 game system has a Mavox Fireball Pro controller, VR headset, and a Zero-G dance pad attachment.[11] It allows the player to play any of the Qwark vid-comics, which are required to progress the story. Additionally, they will provide rewards of bolts based on how many tokens are collected in the game, can provide a titanium bolt for collecting all 100 tokens, and a skill point can be earned for completing them in the correct time.

If the player presses the Square button when going to play a vid-comic, they can enter the passwords '_MEGHAN_' or 'YING_TZU' to play either the "Pirate vs. Ninja" or "Bombs Away!" minigames located in the Insomniac Museum.

VR deck

VR deck.

Close to Ratchet's room is a VR deck, a holodeck training suite[11] which provides short arena challenges with bolt rewards. The rewards and the challenges are lesser than those from Annihilation Nation, though completing the final challenge will earn a titanium bolt. Later in the story, during the mission "Complete VR Gadget Training", Helga used the VR deck to test Ratchet's ability to use the Hypershot and the Hacker. Completing this quickly enough would earn a skill point.

Testing weapons from the weapons vendor will also take the player to the training area in the VR deck.

Trophy room

The trophy room.

During the game, the player can collect several trophies, awarded for completing certain goals or missions, or found hidden in various planets. All of these trophies can be viewed in the trophy room. When the player collects all of them, a locked door opens which leads to a teleporter where the Insomniac Museum can be accessed at any time.

Unseen rooms

The ship has a cafeteria, which served Helga's high protein meatloaf, and was used to brew coffee for Al.[14] It also has a lunch buffet on deck 5.[15] Among its amenities, the ship has a sauna, frequented by Helga.[16]

Behind the scenes

Ken Strickland did the level design on the Starship Phoenix, despite his role at Insomniac Games being a programmer.[17] It was programmed by Anthony "Moo" Yu, who took over the level after Tim Trcezpaz handed it over to him,[18] and Greg Prisament created the trophy room.[19] The Starship Phoenix was the first attempt by Insomniac Games at creating a "hub" level design that the player would always return to, seen as a way for the company to keep with the times in the face of titles such as Grand Theft Auto which popularized a hub level structure.[20]

The level was different to program for, and six to eight copies of the level had to be created, though Mu did not program the version in which the Phoenix came under attack.[21] The transport provided a large amount of bugs from people escaping it, either by jumping or hitting the wrench in various ways. Additionally, several bugs related to the Galactic Rangers walking around and having to sync up if interrupted.[18] In the trophy room, Prisament, its creator, had to put in a message to the player that the secret door would not simply be opened by hitting it with the wrench, as focus testers would often hit the door with the wrench until it opened.[19]

Originally, the VG-9000 game system was the Game Pyramid seen on Endako in Going Commando. It was swapped late in development, during beta.[22][23] The game pyramid is still seen in the identical area in the Insomniac Museum where bonus vid-comics can be played.

Citations

References

Video games
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