Secret Agent Clank • Page 2

Small robot you know.

You could always try to take the enemies out, but you're likely to find yourself with limited ammo - and a limited selection of weapons. There are some nice ideas, such as the Tanglevine Carnation. This plants a Venus flytrap in the path of enemies which promptly swallows them up. However, nothing is effective or powerful enough to make killing baddies really satisfying, which has always been the point of the Ratchet & Clank games. Clank can do kung fu and you can upgrade his skills as you progress through the game, but it all comes down to hammering the same buttons as fast as you can. And again, since when was the Ratchet & Clank series famous for tip-top melee combat action?

At least the combat-based missions are more fun than the stealth levels. The latter don't make up a huge proportion of the game, happily, and some of the other levels are great fun. Take the snowboarding one, where you're zooming down a mountain shoving enemies into trees, jumping off ramps and over bombs, laying mines to blow up ice bridges in your wake and so on. It's fast-paced and frenetic and the controls are smooth and responsive.

Then there are rhythm-action missions, where button-tapping sequences are interspersed with animated scenes that change depending on how well you did. For example, one level sees you dancing with an evil robot countess. The ballroom is laden with hazards - falling chandeliers, fountains flowing with poison and so on. Get the button combo right and Clank will twirl the countess into the path of the chandeliers and dip her so it's her head in the fountain; get it wrong and she'll take the lead and do the same to you. The gameplay is addictive and the animations are funny. And there's no stealth.

The levels where you play as Captain Qwark also add some variety. There's one where you have to battle Godzilla by throwing giant ninjas into power stations, which is enjoyable. It's reminiscent of Godzilla Unleashed, in that it's about battling Godzilla while surrounded by a load of skyscrapers - but also entirely dissimilar, in that it's not tedious and hateful.

3
It's Captain Qwark! On a non-stealth mission! Hooray!

Then there are the levels where you play as Ratchet. These are disappointing. Yes, you finally get to muck about with proper weapons, and blam away at enemies like there's no tomorrow and even if there was it wouldn't matter because everyone in the world would be DEAD. Unfortunately that's all you get to do. Ratchet's levels take place in a fighting arena within the prison where he's being held captive. So there's no exploring to do, no collecting. It's just a series of boss levels, essentially.

And they might be a lot more entertaining if the rubbishy camera wasn't up to its old tricks. It's frequently impossible to see what you're supposed to be shooting at. By the time you've made the camera point the right way, Ratchet's doing his stupid fainty thing and you have to start all over again with the first wave of enemies.

So. The rhythm-action, boarding and Qwark levels are great, as are the missions where Clank doesn't have to worry about stealth and just does a bit of exploring, fighting and puzzle-solving. But the Ratchet levels are frustrating, while the stealth missions are unforgiving and tedious. The game looks pretty, with detailed environments and plenty of variation, but the camera won't behave itself. It's like eating a bowl of tasty different flavoured ice creams, but finding a fag-end in every fourth mouthful. Secret Agent Clank is excellent in parts, but it's not consistent enough. And it's got stealth in it.

6 /10

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About the author

Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

Contributor  |  elliegibson

Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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