|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Impact Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 17, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
If you were to think about the most popular PlayStation franchises, you couldn't help but mention the highly-acclaimed Ratchet & Clank. These two characters have been kicking around for a few years, and every one of their games is almost a guaranteed success. However, it's possible some of you are a little worried about this title, as it seems like the spotlight is now all over Clank. But, I've got good news for you: this is a welcome addition to the series and you won't miss any of your favorite characters.
The best way to describe Secret Agent Clank is calling it "an intelligent Ratchet & Clank spinoff." It's true this one is not exactly like other games in the series, but it's a great adventure full of platforming, mind-bending puzzles, and butt-kicking with numerous R&C-style weapons. The game feels a lot like a cool, animated movie, and there's lots of clever humor to be found throughout the game. The plot is simple but as engaging as a good cartoon, and the gameplay involves more thinking and less mindless fighting, which (at least for me) is a plus.
The reason why Clank is back on his feet rather than attached to Ratchet's backpack is an unfortunate event at the Boltaire museum. As weird as it may sound, Ratchet was caught stealing. But, what makes a lombax superhero become a mere outlaw? Why was he involved in the burglary? Clank knows there's something suspicious behind all this, so he puts on his smart tux and bowtie and sets out on a top-secret mission to try to get to the bottom of this mystery. If you want to find out more, you should play the game!
Developed by High Impact Games, Secret Agent Clank is similar to Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters. The gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same, and the look of the game's interface is almost identical. This is a good thing if you enjoyed that title, but you'll still have to deal with some problems found in Size Matters. The most criticized aspect was the camera and the scenes being too zoomed-in. This prevents you from being completely aware of the surroundings. Someone may be right behind you and about to smash your head, but you wouldn't even know it! As in the case of Size Matters, this is my biggest complaint. If you leave that aside, the rest of the control mechanics work fairly well.
In Secret Agent Clank you'll get to play as Clank, Ratchet, the Gadgebots, and even Captain Qwark, depending on the stage you're at. Though each character is a little different, the controls are easy to get the hang of. Basically, triangle will bring up the quick inventory menu where you can select a weapon, circle will fire, X will make you jump, and square will perform a basic attack. Clank, being an elite agent, tends to be more stealthy and calm. Players get rewarded for using stealthy moves to bring down enemies and employing sneaky tactics like pretending to be a statue or dressing up in disguise. These "techniques" make the game funny and interesting, though the button-prompting the main stealth-attack requires is not very fun. If you fail to enter the onscreen button combination, you'll lose your low profile and every enemy around will start attacking. You could call that "showtime," because Clank can perform some mean Clank-Fu attacks. However, he will often be at a numerical disadvantage and the enemies will beat him too easily, forcing you to start from the last checkpoint.
Luckily, the world of Secret Agent Clank is loaded with boxes and crates full of ammo, nuts and bolts (the game's currency), and health. Nano-technology orbs will heal you when you're running low, and eventually the health meter will increase. The weapons will get nice upgrades as well; the more you use them, the better they'll get. Clank's devices are not very powerful, but they allow him to cut wires to bring bridges down (Tie-A-Rang), clog up laser heads (Blackout Pen), mesmerize the enemies (Holo-Monocle, Hypno-Watch), and throw projectiles at them (Tie-A-Rang, Cuff-link Bombs). These things are usually more than enough for him to get by.