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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 2, 2006

My view: 'Ratchet: Deadlocked'

By Jeffrey Davis
Special to The Advertiser

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5 Outstanding: Add it to your collection now. A must-have.

4 Great: Buy it or rent it definitely play it.

3 Good: Worth playing despite some flaws.

2 Fair: Unless you're a fan of the license or series, don't bother.

1 Poor: You'd have more fun playing Pong.

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Game: "Ratchet: Deadlocked"

Console: PlayStation 2

Developer/publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America/Insomniac Games

Genre: Action/adventure

Number of players: One or two (via split screen; more in online mode)

Rated: T for teen, for fantasy violence and crude language

Premise: After saving the universe three times, you figure a hero is ready for a little R&R, but from deep in the shadow sector, Gleeman Vox has other ideas. He has a game show called "Dreadzone," in which heroes battle to the death, whether they're willing or not. Ratchet, Clank and Al are kidnapped and brought in to be the newest competitors.

Game play: Customize, customize, customize. ... OK, two customizes: You can customize your allies and weapons. You may be stuck in a suit, but that doesn't mean you can't change other things such as your robot allies, for instance. You can change their color scheme or their heads.

The best part is that now you can customize your weapons with alpha and omega mods. Using omega mods, your dual vipers (machine guns) can freeze your opponents and your hunter mine launcher can spread lava on the ground. With a map on screen, moving in third person with the ability to shoot in first-person and control of the camera, it looks like Ratchet will win his freedom after all.

Good/bad: Yes, it's another installment of the popular "Ratchet and Clank" series. There's a co-op simultaneous mode in this edition. Also, you have robot companions to help you out, which is good because your usual partner Clank is a playable character only in the two-player mode. Your robot helpers have rapid-fire capability, can be upgraded and resurrected in seconds without costing you a thing. This is really a must because they are often destroyed and their weapons are weak until you can afford the upgrades. Also, the replay value would have been boosted if there were more differences in the game when another player is added, but there aren't.

Tips: Save your money by not buying any ammo refills and save up 2 million bolts for the Harbinger. If you want some good firepower, stick with the dual vipers until you reach Level 10 and equip the freeze omega mod. On the other hand, you could rotate your selection of guns to have a more balanced bunch of weapons. You're going to find yourself wanting to power up all your weapons as the enemies get tougher toward the end of the game.

My take: Sometimes creators take the best part of a game and do a spinoff. In this instance they based it on Annihilation Nation, where Ratchet could go to earn some extra bolts in "Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal." At times the missions felt a little repetitive.

Other than that, this is a solid game with all the right elements and excellent voice-acting that make you want to play till the end. If you're a fan of the series, definitely pick it up. If you aren't a fan, best to rent.

Jeffrey Davis of Maui is a video-game enthusiast.