A review by Moz

If there is anyone out there who has not heard of Ratchet and Clank, where the hell have you been for the last few years? This is probably one of the best platformer titles that has ever been produced for the PS2. The original title was released two years ago and was a phenomenal success right from the outset, its only rival being the equally brilliant Naughty Dogs Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy. Both games were amusing, beautifully produced with well thought out storylines. Where Ratchet and Clank relied on its extensive gadgetry and armoury to make the game enjoyable Jak and Daxter had the humour and the innovative objectives. Last year developers Insomniac released the second title in the series Ratchet and Clank2: Going Commando again it was up against Naughty Dogs sequel Jak2: Renegade. This time however where Ratchet and Clank had merely tweaked its original formula Renegade was an entirely different game to the original title. Renegade had been given a complete overhaul; it had lost its cutesy feel and had been given a much darker overtone. The general consensus was that although Ratchet and Clank 2 was still a very good game and was still one of the best on the market, Renegade had the slight edge in the popularity stakes. Now in 2004 we have the rivals up against each other yet again with the release of Jak3 and Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal and this time Insomniac appear to have the upper hand. So the story so far....

Ratchet is a Lombax (a kind of fox like creature) who hails from the planet Veldin. Although originally employed as a mechanic his one dream in life is to travel across the galaxy. So being handy with a spanner and a wrench he decides to build himself a space ship. However he has some technical difficulty in completing this task and so reluctantly teams up with Clank a sentry robot that was built on the planet Quartu. However it appears that Ratchet has bitten off more than he can chew by his association with the metal head as he soon finds out, as it appears that Clank has been programmed to rid the galaxy from harm. So when Clank hears that the Solana Galaxy is under attack from the Blargian Chairman Drek, Ratchet and Clank set off to save the galaxy from impending doom.

In order to sell the virtues of his new regime to the local populous Drek employs the help of Captain Qwark an unemployed and desperate business spokesman turned superhero from the Solana galaxy. As the new figurehead for Drek's new world, Qwark was forced to do battle with Ratchet and Clank, needless to say Qwark was defeated and disappeared into obscurity. However Ratchet and Clank were not allowed to bask in the glory for too long as a short time later the intrepid due was again called upon this time to save the Bogon Galaxy. It appears that Qwark had changed his name to Steve McQwark and had been working for the Gadgetron Company selling nuclear arms however not being very bright he was soon found out and arrested, but by some kind of fluke he escaped. Qwark then hatched a plan to disguise himself as Abercrombe Fizzwidget who is the founder of the Bogon Galaxy's Megacorp. As Fizzwidget he sent in the Megacorp troops to attack and take over the Bogon Galaxy, the idea being that he would then return as Superhero Captain Qwark and save the day while at the same time blaming Ratchet and Clank for the Galaxy's destruction. However once again Qwarks plot was foiled and he was defeated by Ratchet and Clank. When Qwark returned to Solana he worked briefly as a tester for Megacorp but then he disappeared and his whereabouts are unknown.

Since then Clank has become a TV star playing a secret agent (a kind of James Bond character). Ratchet is peeved as he feels that Clank is getting all the glory while he does all the hero work and gets no credit. This is not helped by the fact that in the TV show Ratchet is a chauffeur and has to take second place to the egocentric little metal head. Even the president of the galaxy believes that Clank is the brains behind the team.

Then one day in Clank's Apartment on Planet Endako after watching one of Clanks "Secret Agent Clank" movies Ratchet has enough and turns the channel over. He sees a news report that his home planet Veldin is under attack by warrior Tyhrranoid raiders led by a Dr Nefarious, a flash-hating robot supremacist. He has convinced the Tyhrranoids to become his allies in destroying all organic life however warriors they may be but intelligent they are not, as they haven't worked out that being organic themselves they too would be destroyed once they have helped Nefarious carry out his dastardly plan. Needless to say Ratchet and Clank are soon on their way to defeat the mysterious Dr Nefarious and save the Veldin planet.

As with previous Ratchet and Clank titles, the gameplay of Up Your Arsenal is second to none with the emphasis on the weaponry and gadgets. This time however there is also a multiplayer and online option. In multiplayer mode there are three options "Death Match" where you fight opponents and the last creature standing wins, "Capture the Flag" which is what it sounds, capture the flag and make it back to your base and "Siege Mode" where it is red team against blue team, attack and overrun your enemies base while defeating opponents to prevent them from capturing your base. Playing on-line means that you have the ability to view the status of any of your friends that are also currently online. You can select a buddy from a list and by pressing the X button join in their game or current location or send a private message to them. You also have the option of creating your own game, by selecting one of the three games styles, "Siege", "Capture the flag" or "Deathmatch" you can create you own arena map, select the amount of players you want to participate in the game and reserve player slots for your friends. This versatility is what gives Ratchet and Clank3 the edge over Jak3. The single player game has also been improved to. There is a multitude of new and varied weaponry now available which upgrades the more use each one gets. The general difficulty of the game has also been amended, Ratchet and Clank3 is no walkthrough, you can now expect to "die" much more often. The enemies are a lot tougher and crates of ammunition are much scarcer.

Ratchet and Clank3: Up Your Arsenal is simply a fantastic game. As for the down side as far as I am concerned there are none. There is enough variety in this game to make you want to play it again and again.