The Swingshot is a recurring gadget in the Ratchet & Clank series. It is a wrist-mounted grapple hook that is used by Ratchet to latch onto a versa-target and swing across gaps. The Swingshot is initially obtained by Ratchet and Clank in the original Ratchet & Clank from Helga von Streissenburgen, purchased from her after completing Qwark's fitness course on planet Kerwan. When equipped, pressing allows the user to latch onto versa-targets. There are two variants of the versa-targets: yellow swinging targets and green grappling targets. It has since made reappearances in most games in the series.
The Swingshot is recovered in Going Commando from Clank's apartment on planet Endako, alongside the Grind Boots, with the added ability to latch onto blue targets to pull objects closer to Ratchet. In Up Your Arsenal, the Hypershot is introduced, which combines the Swingshot with the Dynamo. This is used in place of the Swingshot in Up Your Arsenal, and Size Matters. Since Tools of Destruction onwards, the Swingshot features a laser grapple hook more similar to the Hypershot, and has reappeared in every entry, though it is initially available.
Ratchet & Clank
The Swingshot makes its debut appearance as a gadget obtained from Helga von Streissenburgen after completing Qwark's obstacle course on Kerwan. As Ratchet and Clank had, in her eyes, "disgraced" her obstacle course, she charged them 1,000 bolts to purchase it. The Swingshot was prominently used in the "Use your Swingshot" mission in Outpost X11 on Aridia, where it was used to explore a path containing several versa-targets,, which led them to the Trespasser. Both gadgets were then used at the logging site on Eudora to traverse some steep cliffs and confront the robot lieutenant. Ratchet also used it in the Gorda City Ruins on planet Oltanis to collect a gold bolt along one route, and the Morph-o-Ray at the end of the "Search the destroyed city" mission. It was also used a few times on other planets such as Rilgar, Umbris, Orxon, Pokitaru, Hoven, Quartu, and Veldin.
In Qwark's retelling and the holofilm, Ratchet possesses the Swingshot from the beginning. He uses it throughout the game, and also in scenes during both Ratchet rescuing Clank after crash landing on Veldin, and his fight with Qwark in the Deplanetizer. This Swingshot features the later Tools of Destruction design, rather than the original design.
Ratchet found the Swingshot in Clank's apartment on Endako, during "Visit Clank's apartment". This time, the Swingshot had an additional use: winch targets, which allowed Ratchet to pull down drawbridges or pull floating platforms towards him to progress. Versa-targets were all green, with the exception of winch targets which were instead blue. He first used it prominently on Barlow, during "Scout the ruined machinery", after which he made use of it on many more planets, although it was specifically used on Joba and Boldan to collect platinum bolts, and on Snivelak to obtain a nanotech boost.
Although listed and called the Swingshot, the gadget that Ratchet used in Deadlocked was virtually identical to the Hypershot. It was apparently the only gadget not manufactured by Vox Industries that he was allowed to keep himself, and was used in a small variety of challenges. It lacked the more advanced mechanics from past games, only being used to swing across gaps or hook onto orbs above far-away platforms. Ratchet made use of the Swingshot on the planets Catacrom Four, Sarathos, Kronos, as well as during the Vindicator Tournament, on the Valix Belt, and in the Ghost Station.
Tools of Destruction to A Crack in Time
The Swingshot appears with an entirely new design in Tools of Destruction onwards, using a green laser grappling hook more similar to the Hypershot than the original Swingshot. It also allows Ratchet to use the gadget without manually equipping it by holding when approaching a versa-target. Versa-targets look slightly different, with swinging targets being green and grapple targets blue. In all titles, the Swingshot is immediately available.
All 4 One
The Swingshot returns, with a new feature: Hookshot. This allows the user to pull themselves towards another team member to latch onto them and traverse gaps. It is used by Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious, and is initially available. The Hookshot can be used with to attach to a teammate, allowing up to four players to be attached to a single versa-target.
Full Frontal Assault
The Swingshot returns with identical functionality, though it must be obtained from the weapon pod with a Swingshot icon instead of normal ammo on the map. Swinging targets here are represented by circles with yellowish beams on top.
Into the Nexus
The Swingshot returns again with the same functionality last featured in A Crack in Time, though it uses versa-targets with the appearance of those in Full Frontal Assault.
The Swingshot is used to latch onto floating orbs known as versa-targets. Three types of versa-targets exist: swinging targets, grappling targets, and winch targets (which featured only in Going Commando). Versa-targets are placed on both moving and non-moving targets. From Tools of Destruction onwards, the Swingshot is automatically equipped when is pressed while aiming at a versa-target, a feature of the Hypershot.
Swinging versa-targets are the most common of these, which allow Ratchet to grapple to the target and swing around, letting go as he pleases to jump forward to the next platform, or the next versa-target. In Ratchet & Clank, these are represented by yellow targets with thin yellow beams between them, though in every other appearance up until Full Frontal Assault, they are represented by stationary green targets. In Full Frontal Assault and Into the Nexus, they are represented by circles, which open when Ratchet nears to reveal a long, yellowish line with a beacon on top.
Grappling targets allow Ratchet to pull himself towards the target by holding down . They are often used to move towards platforms, though in rare cases, Ratchet holds onto a moving grapple target to be taken to another area. These are represented by spinning green targets from Ratchet & Clank to Deadlocked, though they are represented instead by spinning targets with blue lights from Tools of Destruction onwards, and have another new appearance from All 4 One onwards.
Winch targets are featured only in Going Commando, and allow Ratchet to pull a target towards him, often pulling down a drawbridge. These are represented by blue and black targets.
Behind the scenes
In early footage of Up Your Arsenal, on planet Daxx, the Swingshot is seen being used rather than the Hypershot, and the Dynamo is used separately, suggesting that both were going to appear separately until they were combined into the Hypershot.
- Ratchet & Clank (2002 game) menu § "Use your Swingshot"
- Retro GAMESPOT - Ratchet & Clank Up Your Arsenal Developer Interview 1 (2003). YouTube. Accessed February 8, 2018.