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Kevin Johnson is planning to take over the internet one small blog at a time. A Dartmouth grade with a penchant for having fun, drinking, and all things entertaining, Kevin will do his finest to add thoughtful, insightful looks at gaming and video games in general-- but do not worry, he can be just as snarky as the rest of the internet, 4chan excluded.

This person mainly has a "professional" blog at www.totalmediabridge.com; by "professional," he means it doesn't make money and it's really just a general showcase of his writing skill and blogging ability. In due time, however, he will improve it immensely in the months to go, along with a nice, super-secret project in the works. Stay Tuned!

Unfortunately, he isn't into the new gen-systems, because he can't afford them at the moment, due to the bad economy and student loans. But he still games when he can, mostly the unplayed favorites of the previous generation, and at the very least tries to stay current on what's going on, news wise.

So keep your eyes peeled for some particularly interesting stuff in the next year or so!


I'm currently in the process of writing a Ratchet & Clank screenplay exclusively for Destructoid! It takes place between R&C4: Deadlocked (the last PS2 game) and R&C: Tools of Destruction (the first PS3 game). I know fan fics tend to get pushed aside as lame, but so far the criticism has been positive, so hopefully if you do decide to read this, you won't sigh in annoyance.

So enjoy!

Ratchet and Clank: All or Nothing

Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

Part 5.

Part 6.

Part 7.

Part 8.

Part 9.

Part 10.

Part 11.

Part 12.

Part 13.

Part 14.

Part 15.

Part 16.

Part 17.

Part 18.

Updates every Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays!

Following (4)  

I first would like to apologize over the lack of postings recently. I have been working on a ton of other blogging articles for other sites, as well as working on way too many projects which will or not be revealed next year. That, and a recent sickness has rendered me near-useless to write at any productive level. So it goes.

Now that my health and my time has become more manageable, I figured I'd post something to ease myself back into the thick of things. But what? I had no idea.

Until, I came across this recent status update on my Facebook. Names and faces edited out to protect the moronic.

The fact that the edits look like penises are merely a delicious coincidence.

Just so you know. The first and last people on the comment posts are male. The others are female. Granted, some of them are the original poster's replies. Who, after that last comment, replied:

"not a good enough excuse..the only one ill accept is on your death bed! lol"

lol, indeed. Because, you see, only when you're at the final stages of cancer can you play video games unashamedly.


2009. The decade of the naughts (so, that's what we're calling it?) is almost over, and yet we still have this kind of thinking oh-so-prevalently filling our society. Comic book nerds never kissed a girl. 12 year-olds only play video games. WOMEN BE SHOPPIN'. To be fair, those comments were made by women, lest I be accused of sexist.

And before you ask: Why have them as friends? I believe that it's important to keep tabs on one's enemies, even the moronic ones, to know what they're up to and what their thinking, even if dumb shit like this spew from their mouths onto the keyboard in front of them. If you don't want to watch your boyfriend play video games, why don't you just leave? I'm sure there are other TVs in the house. GO SHOPPING, like your friends suggest. Do your hair, and other stereotypical things that women do. (I don't know-- make sandwiches? Jump off balconies? Is that a thing women do?)

It's sad to really see things like this nowadays, and I'm not saying she needs to utterly go out her way to understand the BEAUTY of video games or something like that. Just, with the evidence that many gamers are female and the fact that gaming is a legit, billion dollar industry, to snark on what is one of the biggest games of the year, followed by a shit-ton of stereotypes afterward, just reeks of a level of ignorance that I thought was gone-- or, at least a little less obvious.

I'd call this evil, but I'd be stretching the Monthly Musing definition here. Unless ya'll think I could portray it as evil-- which I think I could. What say you?

Kane, after dying on Quick Man's stage for the 90th time.

The term "Citizen Kane of gaming" needs to be buried, along with "totes," "staycation," and "sparkling vampires".

Not because it's an exaggerated phrase, like the Godwin equivalent of any Internet argument invoking Hitler or the Holocaust. That, I don't mind. The problem is that it's trite. What's a famous movie that critics like? Citizen Kane. What do I like doing in my spare time? Gaming. How can I combine the two to create a delicious sandwich of my favorite pastime and art/intellectualism? Say X is the video game's Citizen Kane.

Beyond sounding like a hipster's failed attempt at MadLibs, the main issue is that it shows a somewhat obvious misunderstanding of a movie like Citizen Kane and, perhaps, movies in general. It was on the top of AFI's greatest movie list, but is by no means the most important movie to define cinema. Birth of a Nation defined the epic. Metropolis might be the first sci-fi/dystopian vision. Safety Last could be the first high-concept comedy.

Seeking the "Citizen Kane" of games is a silly endeavor because you should be seeking not one but several video games that redefined the genre in some manner. There are plenty games that do this, even if the use the same basic mechanics or style.

Below is an example. First is the final scene of Citizen Kane, which uses deep focus as a "larger than life" visual motif.

Now, below is a video from Jean Renoir's Rules of the Game, a French film that-- dare I say it-- also used deep focus! In fact, this movie is pretty damn famous (outside the US) and, I believe, uses deep focus much more effectively, especially in relation to the overly-complex plot involving emotional portrayals and backstabbing and cheating and so-on (by the way-- it's not as melodramatic as it sounds; it's actually pretty funny.)

I know that this makes me appear like some sort of hipster-film snob, but I'm not. Hell, I enjoyed Transformers!... when the robots were fighting. But I think the pursuit of a game that, as Destructoid's Burch quotes, "[utilizes] a medium's strength" is really nothing that you need to "find" so much as you have to explain in relation to the genre of video games as a whole. Citizen Kane's reputation is not unlike many other films that have been released; On the Waterfront is a good example, and so is Chinatown. Nothing particular is unique about deep focus and good editing; hell, this is what films should have. And, as being a complex character study? I can't count the number of good films focusing on one slightly-disturbed character.

As far as I'm concerned, Doom is a good contender is for such a title, in that it took the FPS and utilized it in a format that, at the time, was novel and seemed perfect for it. I personally wouldn't argue it, but it's a viable possibility. So is Goldeneye, Mario 64, Final Fantasy, and so on.

It's telling that the "Citizen Kane of gaming" is being used; no one says "the Macbeth of gaming" or "the Mona Lisa of gaming" or "the Death of a Salesman of gaming," all of which are genre defining and game-changing in their own ways. Let's be honest here-- it's not about genre-defining, since we have plenty of games that do that-- but it's about games as art, as the game we're "going to show to Ebert to convince him videogames are a legitimate art form". There's a pretty huge difference in games that utilize the medium to its most potent effect, and showing the world games can be art. The latter requires several games to do this, from the indie to the blockbuster to the foreign. It requires an avenue through which games can be studied and explored, returned to and debated, thought upon and analyzed. And while I truly admire sites like Destructoid trying to approach this issue, along with the active fanbase, I think that overall approach is flawed. I don't want "a" game to showcase gaming as an artform. I want "lots" of games. I want the people, the fans, the game designers, and so on to explain their thinking and their flaws, the ins and outs, the interplay of gamer/game, the controversy (real controversy, not Sambo-watermelon crap), and nuances of gaming as a whole.

A critic would already "roll his eyes" at the debate of a single game that's definitive of this.

The argument of Portal, Braid, Shadow of the Colossus, and Half-Life are starts. Hell, add in Pong, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Mario 64, Sonic 3/Sonic and Knuckles, Mortal Kombat and Metal Gear Solid. Even the defunct Dreamcast. Show how they started an idea, began a movement, instigated a social and cultural response, supported or subjugated a genre, and so on.

Stop looking for the Rosebud, people, and start looking at everything around it.

And finally, the resolution. Ahhh, sweet release.

Thanks to everyone who kept up with this! I'll be taking a short break (as in, working on my own original stuff) before I come back here with some more original blog type post things. Let me know what you think overall! At some point, I'll re-write this in proper format. :)

Thanks Destructoid for the opportunity!

Part 18 is here.


Ratchet, Sasha, Angela, and Clank stand on the roof within a new bustling city underneath a bright blue sky filled with flying cars and other aircraft.

They all watch a video on a floating vid-communicator screen with Abercrombie Fizzwidget signing a number of forms, while he waves and smiles for the camera.

…the exciting news that Fizzwidget will be taking full responsibility for all further developments at both Megacorp and Gadgetron. Courtney Gears and the leader of Thugs-4-Less are in custody, while Nefarious and Drek are nowhere to be found. In other news—

Ratchet turns it off.

I guess it never ends.

Some things do.

He turns to look at the two ladies in front of him.

You're really going back, huh?

I'm afraid so. Metropolis still needs a mayor.

And I just want to go home and get away from it all.

I hear you. It's why I escaped out here.

Thank you for all your help, Sasha, Angela.

I should be thanking you, Secret Agent Clank.

Clank laughs his signature laugh.

I believe my movie days are over.

Sasha hugs Ratchet. Angela hugs Clank. Angela hugs Ratchet. Sasha hugs Clank.

Take care.

Will do.

You too.

The two girls turn towards each other. There's a moment between them before they shake each other's hands.

You do good work. If you're ever in Metropolis, drop me a line. Maybe I can get you a job.

Politics? No thanks. Maybe security.

I can handle myself, thank you very much.


They smile at each other.

Ratchet and Clank watch silently as the two ladies head to their respective ships. The enter them, they blast off, and they disappearing into the sky in opposite directions.

Ratchet looks at Clank. Clank looks at Ratchet.

We make a pretty good team.

I would have to agree on that point.

So let's see if we can get this baby going!

You are certainly back, Ratchet.

The two walk over to a metal, motorcycle-like aircraft vehicle. Clank grabs the vid-communicator screen and presses a few buttons, changing it into a checklist, while Ratchet fiddles with the vehicle.



Horizontal stabilizers.


Ion thrusters.

Looks like we got a tailwind. If we time it right, we could ride the slipstream of the grav-train past the Sea Green track—


--launch the mag-grabler onto that headway overpass and slingshot right up to—


Ratchet waves Clank off.

The thrusters are fine, Clank. See?

He turns on the thrusts. They power on for a second then shut down with a puff a smoke. Clank gives Ratchet a look.

Er, don't worry! It's probably just a fused ion duct.




Wow, to think this is the second to last one. Wow, it's been a fun, fun, ride.

Part 17 is here.


The Thug Leader laughs manically as his humvee approaches the Discovery crew, who are trapped under the hail of laser fire from his gattling gun.

Suddenly, they hear a scream.

Get out of the way, Lardo!

Hey! Who you callin'—

He turns and sees Gears hustling towards him, complete with the Bio-Obliterator obliterating everything in its path.

The goons and robots scream and run all over the place in a mess of chaos and disorder.


He immediately stops firing and hops off the humvee. The ball runs over some of the goons and bots, leaving Gears and the Thug Leader the only ones running from it, Indiana-Jones style.

The Bio-Obliterator rolls towards the Discovery crew.

Look out!

Sasha, Angela, Qwark, Al, Helga, and Skidd duck into the tiniest corners they can find as Gears, the Thug Leader, and the massive ball run past them. At the very end of the hall, the two jump into another side doorway as the ball rolls past them, into the wall—and through it.

It bowls through the wall, tearing a humongous hole into side of the stadium, into the outside world.


The Bio-Obliterator rolls out into the streets, where pedestrians and cars and ships swerve out the way to avoid it.

It tumbles towards the dock and rolls right off it, splashing into the water, causing a huge tidal wave, splashing over the entire bay area, practically.

Gears and the Thug Leader peek out the hole, staring at the tremendous amount of damage.

Whew. Dat was a close one.


They look up and see a host of Galactic Rangers, piloting several heavily armed aircraft. The Galactic President sits within the main ship leading the armada.

The two criminals put their hands up as the ships land. Two rangers immediately jump out and arrest Gears and the Thug Leader. The Galactic President emerges from his ship and looks around.

Immediately after, Sasha comes sprinting out.



She runs over and gives him a hug hug. The rest of the crew stumbles out into the daylight. Behind them, a huge number of patrons rush out like a wave, fleeing for their lives.

A RANGER CONTROLLER with a loudspeaker tries to speak to the crowd.

Now, if we can all just form one line so we can take individual statements.

The entire crowd rushes past him as if he wasn't there.

Dude. Let it go.

The Ranger Controller sighs and looks dejectedly.

Suddenly, both Angela and Sasha turn towards the stadium.


The entire remaining group stares at the stadium. Waiting.


Ratchet stares down silently at the destroyed mess left by the Obliterator on his hoverboard.

He slowly turns around and gazes at the announce booth, directly at Drek.

Drek stares back. Neither says a word. Green eyes gaze hard into eyes of pure emerald.

Ratchet glides over to Drek, slowly at first, then with increasing speed. He grits his teeth, which becomes a growl.

Right as he gets near the booth, Drek whips out a massive gun from behind his back and fires a huge, explosive barrage of flames, tearing through the window like nothing.

The burnt remains of the hoverboard lands at his feet. Drek kicks it and looks out before him.


The Lombax falls down from above and gives Drek a powerful kick to his face, sending him flying across the room. Clank's rocket boosts slowly lower Ratchet onto his feet.

He picks up the dropped gun and walks over to Drek slowly, who's trying to crawl away.

I was just kidding, Ratchet! C'mon! It's all in good fun!

Ratchet has the look of death on his face as he steps closer towards Drek.

I have you want, Ratchet! It's all in this computer! Every single detail about the Lombaxes! What they stand for! Where they are now! Don't you want that? Don't you want to know where you come from? Who you are?

No. Not at your expense.

He raises his gun in the air.


-- Ratchet and Sasha look at each other on Veldin.

You are sure something special, Ratchet.

-- The Lombax whoops some Protopet butt on Veldin.

I know what I can do.

-- Ratchet and Angela look at each other at Qwark’s Hideout.

Like Lombaxes are built for action.

-- He performs some amazing feats to escape the rangers and goons on the Veldin powerlines.

I know what I'm capable of.

-- He talks with the New-Age Alien on Tebora.

You will have to confront your worst enemy to find it.

-- He stares at his reflection on the windshield in his ship on Veldin.

-- He stares at his reflection in the oasis on Tebora.

I know who I am.

-- He and Clank cheer over defeating the fake Ratchet and Klunk on Tebora.

… to understand their role in galactic society.

-- Ratchet and Clank pilot the escape pod through the depths of space towards Endako.

-- Clank leans over and whispers into his ear on the platform in the MegaRumble Stadium.


Drek gawks up at the renewed and rejuvenated Lombax.

This is what you were born for.

RATCHET (simultaneously)
This is what I was born for.

Drek frowns at that powerful statement. Ratchet stands above him.

The frown turns into a twisted, sadistic grin.

Then this is what you will die for.

He turns swiftly and slams on a huge red button behind him. The entire place begins flashing alarms and sirens blare into the air.

Drek begins to laugh. Louder. Louder. His laughter echoes all over as machines break apart and wires explode from the walls. Lights pop and the entire building begins to shake.

DREK (in creepy hysterics)
There's no central pad to press to save you from this, Lombax!

Ratchet backs up from Drek as a huge part of the scaffolding onto his vicinity, his form immediately disappearing underneath it. His laugh is still heard but the sirens drown it out eventually.

Ratchet sprints to the last remaining console and quickly starts typing in commands.

Clank! I can download the code off this machine! I can save her in time, and—

Clank places his hand on top of Ratchet's stopping him.

We must let it go, Ratchet. She knows she must be destroyed. Her, and everything with her.

Ratchet and Clank look up at the massive green screen above them. Even as everything shakes and crumbles around them, the screen remains blank and silent. An understood calmness in the storm.

Clank hops onto Ratchet's back and the two hustle out of there.


Rangers forcefully back up the crowd as huge chucks of the stadium begin to fall apart and rip at the seams. Giant fireballs propel from a number of sections. Metal debris rains down from the sky as the roof of the stadium collapse upon itself. The entire thing in time crumbles save for a few side walls and arches.


The winds howl silently as Rangers and other uniformed personnel rush over with hoses, spraying water onto the burning wreckage. No movement is noticeable except for the flickering flames spread all over.

SASHA (to herself)

Everyone around the wrecked stadium looks down, sad, and dejected. Helga and Big Al cry loud sobs against each other. Even Captain Qwark sheds a few tears.

Whoa! Dudes, look!

Everyone turns and looks up, From the darkness of one of the remaining archways, Ratchet and Clank walk out calmly. They're covered in soot and dirt, but are other wise fine.

The crowd erupts in cheers and applause. The two heroes smile and wave to the excited mass around them, enjoying the moment as much as they can.

Darla Gratch suddenly makes an appearance, zooming over with her CAMERAMAN.

Ratchet! Clank! Two heroes-turned-villains-turned-heroes have indeed done the impossible: dispatched the universe's most notorious criminals, stopped perhaps the most dangerous plot in all of super-villain history, and cleared his own name, all at the same time! What do you have to say for yourself?

She points the mic at them both. Ratchet tries to speak but can't catch his breath. Clank just coughs black smoke.

The Galactic President appears in a flash. He hugs the two against his chest.

I'd just like to say that I believed these two were innocent all this time. In fact, this was an all an undercover operation, designed by me, to expose Drek and his shenanigans!

Ratchet and Clank struggle to breathe in the President's arms.

Remember, a vote for me is a vote to be free!

Now, mister President…

He snatches the mic from Gratch's hand and talks directly at the cameraman's camera.

Don't forget, this amazing plan of yours was spear-headed by yours truly! Displaying amazing bravado and a keen sense of keenness, I first deduced easily that the Lombax couldn't have possibly—

--As I was saying, vote for me in the next election—

--that's Q-W-A-R-K. A lot of people misspell it with a U—

-- probably cause that's the way you're supposed to spell it! Now, remember, folks—

As the two fight and mug for the camera, Ratchet and Clank sneak off to the side, towards Angela and Sasha.

Aren't you going to fight for you dues?

Nah, they can have it. I don't need any attention right now.

Clank laughs his signature laugh.

Look, Ratchet… we're sorry we never went after you after you left the Discovery.

Yeah. That was kind of a selfish thing to do.

No. It's all my fault. I'm sorry for bailing on you.

He looks to Sasha, Angela, and Clank.

I'm lucky to have you all as friends. Al, Helga, Skidd, and yes, even Qwark. Sometimes.

The three of them laugh as the Rangers clean up the mess and the President and Qwark fight it out.

Getting there, guys... almost at the end. Some climactic stuff ahead. :)


Part 16 is here.


The clanking noises of Clank's feet grow louder. He rushes out one of the bleacher doors and hustles through the crowds. The goons security sees him and tries to shoot him, but he's too small to hit.

He leaps over the edge of the walls and rockets over on to the platform where Ratchet lies.

Ratchet… please. You must get up. Everyone here is depending on you.

I… I can't do it. I'm a failure. I screwed up everything.

That is not true! You exposed Drek's and Nefarious's plans. You saved the galaxy countless times. You can do this.

Why bother? There's nothing left for me. I can't do it, and even if I could, it'd be for nothing.


Ratchet turns his head from Clank.

I found her, Ratchet.

The Lombax turns his head towards Clank.


I found my mother. She controls this. She is what Drek used to frame you. She knows you, Ratchet. She knows the real you. She knows what Lombaxes all about.

Ratchet looks to Clank with a faint glimmer of hope in his eyes.

You can do this, Ratchet. She told me to tell you this.

Clank leans into Ratchet's ear and whispers. Suddenly, his eyes pop open.


Ace Hartlight leaps and grabs hold of the edge of the platform with ease. He starts to lift himself up.

A pair of Lombax boots slam right against Ace’s face. Ratchet’s rocket-kick knocks Hartlight back to the ground, not before leaping off the robot and landing on the top edge of the walls.

Ratchet sprints across the walls, over all the traps, which elicits huge cheers from the captive audience.

An angry Ace begins firing laser shots at Ratchet, running along the ground. Skillfully the Lombax avoids every shot, leaping from wall to wall with the help of Clank’s rocket-blasts. The crowd goes nuts.

Drek watches the scene unfold in brooding silence. The clock reads thirty-three minutes. Nefarious scoffs.

Enough of this! Gears! Finish him once and for all!

What ever you say, snooky-wookums!

She hops back on her hoverboard and zooms back out into the battlefield. Nefarious calls out after her.

Stop calling me that!

She rides the board out over towards two other FEMALE ROBOT DANCERS near the announcer booth. They hop on their own hoverboards and go racing into battle.

Meanwhile, Ratchet still moves quickly along the wall edges, Ace still on his tail. Gears and her cohorts tag along. A laser light show of firepower zooms past Ratchet and Clank on all sides.

He reaches the end of the wall and leaps crazy-high over the stadium walls, landing in the bleachers. Two guards try to shoot him, but he ducks, inadvertently making the guards shoot each other.

Ace leaps high into the air to reach Ratchet.

The Lombax turns around, dual armed with the fallen guards weapons.

Two powerful shots knock Ace out in mid-air, the robot slamming on his back with a powerful thud. Gears gasps.

Like, annihilate him!

All three female robots begin blasting. Ratchet leaps high into the air and shoots Gears right off her board, who lands right on top of Ace. The Lombax pulls two swift moves and blast the other femme bots off as well.

The clock reads thrity-two minutes. Drek grits his teeth and yells into the mic loudly.


The voice echoes throughout the stadium. Sasha and Angela scream.

Ratchet acts FAST. He kicks the two free hoverboards into overdrive and knocks them hard towards the tubes. They zoom through the air, right as the platform beneath the ladies opens up.

They scream as they fall. The hoverboards speed over towards them at the same time.

They fall on the boards right before they disappear into the acid. The crowd goes wild.

Drek slams his fists hard against the console.

(to Nefarious) Fire the Bio-Obliterator! (to the Thug Leader) You! I want every goon, security personnel, robot—every plebian with a gun to kill that Lombax!

You got it!

He rushes out the room as Nefarious rubs his hands together.

Ooooh, goodie! Time to bring this planet to my side! Lawrence! Give me the switch!

Lawrence hands him a device with a huge red button. Nefarious presses it.

In the center of the battle zone, the Bio-Obliterator charges itself up, glowing yellow, orange, and white.

SASHA (pointing at the Bio-Obliterator)

Ratchet sees it, and turns his board, zooming towards it.

Behind you!

He turns and sees Ace running like a bulldozer through every trap and wall, ripping through everything like paper. On his shoulders sit Gears, dual-wielding a set of blasters on her own.

RATCHET (to Angela and Sasha)
Go rescue the rest of the crew! I'll handle this!


Just go!

He zooms off towards the Bio-Obliterator. Sasha and Angela shrug at each other and dart off into the halls of the stadium.

At this point, every single enemy is trying to shoot Ratchet, thousands of laser shoots flinging through the air. But with impeccable, determined skill, he avoids every single one.

As he gets closer to the Bio-Obliterator, a huge, giant, armed robot with rocket-powered feet flies down, piloted by both Lawrence and Dr. Nefarious.

Now I shall have my revenge! Lawrence, destroy him!

The machine unloads a barrage of blasts at Ratchet, who zigs off course to avoid them.

The Bio-Obliterator grows brighter and brighter.


Angela and Sasha race through the internal halls of the stadium.

Do you know where we need to go?

If I remember the schematic correctly, it's over here!

She turns a corner and Angela follows. They eventually indeed reach where Qwark, Skidd, Big Al, and Helga are held captive.

Hey! Sasha! Angela!


Boy am I glad to see you! I bet you're just as glad to see (flexes) me…

Everyone just looks at Qwark.

Er, sorry.

Well, don't just float there! Get us out! Get us out!

In one second.

She hops off her board and fiddles with the nearby controls. Angela leaps off hers as well, checking the areas around them. She turns a corner, and sees several goons and robots running towards them.

Looks like we got company!

Just give me a minute…

Angela trips the first goon hard with a well-placed kick, and flips another over her back, throwing him into the robots. She grabs the dropped blaster off the ground and starts to provide cover fire.


A click is heard, and the gates open, freeing the crew from their prison!

Got it!

They all rush out the jail, staying low to avoid the laser fire.

Grab a weapon, guys! We're gonna have to fight our way out!

All six members battle their way down the hall, picking up the dropped weapons and the laser fire continues.

Lasers volley back and forth as the crew duck, cover, and return fire.

Angela and Sasha end up back-to-back, picking off two good shots and nailing their enemies. They look at each other and share a smile.

Make way, boys! Time to test this baby out!

The goons and bots separate as the Thug Leader drives in on a humvee-like vehicle with a huge machine gun attached to the front.

Time to make you's into mince-meat, meat-heads! Heh. That was pretty clever.

The gattling gun winds up before unloading a high-speed barrage of laser shots, around a hundred shots per second! The crew duck around the corners as their surroundings are destroyed by the gunfire!

There's no way we can get past this thing!

The car drives closer to them, the rest of their enemies following behind it.


The Bio-Obliterator gains more and more energy as Ratchet works his way around the stadium to dodge the bullets, with Ace, Gears, and Nefarious' robot on his tail.

He surfs underneath the Bio-Obliterator, maneuvering carefully around the thick, metal support poles holding it up. Continuous laser fire blasts in his direction, many of them striking the poles and knocking them down.

Loud creaking is heard as the center structure begins to fall apart. The poles collapse and pieces break apart, but Ratchet skillfully avoids them with jumps, ducks, and dodges, clearly in his element.

In time the massive screen with the timer rips off and falls, tearing a hole in the bottom of the Bio-Obliterator, ripping it as bursts of electrical energy and exposed wires and hoses drop from the destroyed section.

Gears looks up, seeing the screen crumple towards her and Ace, the latter too busy shooting at Ratchet to notice. She leans over and gives Ace a kiss on the forehead.

I don't think this relationship is going to work out. Hugs and kisses!

She jumps off and books it. Ace looks confused, but then looks up and sees the screen tumbling right towards him.

A high-pitched squeal emerges from his mouth, right before the screen crushes him flat.

Meanwhile, Nefarious' robot searches for Ratchet within the crumbling structure beneath the Bio-Obliterator, which still powers up, but is quivering atop the weakened structure.

Where are you, my little squishie friend? I want to make amends! And by that I mean I want to mend your entrails as a medal!

That was exceedingly gross, sir.

Yeah? You know, I was thinking that was a little overboard. How about 'I want to mend your face to the bottom of my foot'?

Poetic license is not your strong suit, sir.

As the two ramble on, Ratchet slips out in secret behind the Obliterator. Clank jumps off Ratchet and onto the back of the massive robot. He unlatches a compartment, exposing a glowing mechanical part, similar to an engine core.

He gives Ratchet the thumbs up. The Lombax grabs one the loose electric hoses dangling from the Bio-Obliterator.

Here's one, Nefarious—consider yourself hosed!

He shoves the end of the hose into the engine core. The robot writhes and shakes powerfully as it's overloaded with excess energy, making it glow, the rockets going from red to blue to white.

Nefarious jumps and squeezes Lawrence and screams as the robot surges upward with a huge burst of speed and energy, ripping through the rest of the structure, exploding through the roof and blasting off into space.

The Bio-Obliterator begins to roll off its hinges, the massive ball bouncing off, explosions ripping from the outer walls as it powers down and shuts off, becoming nothing more than a deadly, unstoppable metal boulder.

It rolls onto the stadium floor and tumbles over the walls and traps like nothing. Gears screams and sprints as the Bio-Obliterator topples after her.

She ducks into the doorway leading underneath the stadium. The ball still goes after her, rolling through the walls, outer structure, and obstacles without even slowing down.

Things are not boding well for our Lombax hero...

Next part is up!


Part 15 is here.


Ratchet surges into the gigantic, open field of the stadium around him. The air is alive with the deafening crowds, cheering and yelling frantically in unabashed excitement. Around him are the robotic remains of past warriors and destroyed weapons. In front of him, two giant robots clash in a heated hand-to-hand brawl.

On the other side of the field, high in the stands, within the announcer booth, Drek saunters in calmly, meeting with Nefarious, the Thug Leader, and Lawrence. The SCOREKEEPER ROBOT is also there, who seems to be tallying every blow the battling bots are giving each other down below.

I take it everything is ready?

Nefarious mumbles something unclear towards Drek.

What was that?

I said everything is ready! You…

He trails off into another set of unclear obscenities.

Drek gives Dr. Nefarious a look before he turns to the scorekeeper.

These moronic excuses for Rock'em Sock'em Robots are still at it?


...blow them both up.


He presses a button on the console in front of him.

On the battlefield, the mechanical warriors suddenly start beeping. They look down at the small collars that they're wearing; a light flashes on them. The look at each other, helplessly, and give each other a hug while crying.

Their heads explode right off. The audience cheers even louder.

Drek grabs an intercom piece and starts to talk into it, which booms and echo all around the stadium.

Looks like we have a tie!

Cheers fill the air excitedly at that announcement.

But enough with the small fries, folks. It time for the main event! We at the Megacorp-Gadgetron Corporation have managed to acquire, for your entertainment, the most famous and infamous creature the galaxy has ever seen, the intergalactic hero-turned-public enemy number one: ladies and gentlemen, introducing Ratchet!

The crowd replies in a mix of gasps, applause, and boos as every single light and camera focuses on Ratchet, who has to squint. Cameras flash and camcorders roll, watching his every reaction. His horrified face is even on the big screen.

Ratchet has… ahem, agreed to forgo a few years in prison to instead fight for life and death, all for you and your children!

The audience goes nuts.

And which of our sadistic gladiators will the Lombax be going up against? None of them! Instead, he will be going up a brand new enemy! A staple from many of your childhood pasts, coming back to right certain wrongs! Introducing Ace Hartlight two-point-O!

Ratchet's jaw drops as the crowds go wild. The whole battleground begins to shift now. Huge walls and deathtraps sprout from the walls and floors. Two massive tube-like structures slide out from the walls on opposite ends of the stadium. Electric wires, flamethrowers, spikes, sharpened pendulums—all sorts of dangerous torture devices spring up, including two boiling pots of acid under the tubes.

At the far end, a huge cage emerges from the ground upon a tower that rises into the air. Inside is ACE HARTLIGHT 2.0, a robotic version of a perfectly chiseled, handsome specimen of a man, with glowing read eyes.

He squeezes his cage bars, crushing the metal with ease. This makes the audience go crazy.

But that's not all, folks! Ratchet will have forty-five minutes to defeat Ace Hartlight. If he fails…

The numbers "45:00" appears on the corner of the big screen. Above that screen, however, rises what appears to be a giant, mechanical, miniature version of the Death Star. The audience oohs and aahs.

… that device, the Bio-Obliterator, created by the… uh… impressionable Doctor Nefarious, will turn you all into robots, where you will assist me in finishing my original plan of destroyed other planets to create another perfect planet, which I will exploit for my own gain and yadda, yadda, yadda. Don't bother to try and escape, or you will be shot. Thank you.

The audience gasps, although the robotic members still cheer and hoot.

And finally, just to up the ante, and just because I really don't care, at the thirty minute mark…

The two tubes suddenly shift open, revealing Sasha in one pole and Angela in the other. They bang at the glass, but are unable to escape. They are inaudible, but their eyes focus on the captured Lombax.

… Ratchet's two lovebirds will be dropped in two giant vats of boiling acid, forcing him to choose the one who he really pines for, and ignoring the one who he was just stringing along all this time. And that's if he can even get away to save them!

The audience is a mixed bag of emotions of cheers, yells, boos, and cries. Ratchet's concern is on the two females caught in their glass prison. The look on his face is of complete worthlessness.

It all boils down to this. Are you a hero, Ratchet? Or are you just a failure? Time will tell. Let's get it on!

Riding in on a flying hoverboard, Courtney Gears floats down onto the same platform that hosts the captured Ace Hartlight. She blows the robot a kiss before opening the gate, and a the machine comes sprinting out towards Ratchet, leaping over the walls and traps with ease.

Ratchet struggles in his chains as Ace pounds in closer and closer, his steps bending every metal platform he lands on. He leaps high into the air, over Ratchet's platform, and comes flying down, ready to crush the Lombax.

Suddenly, Ratchet's chains come loose. He immediately rolls off the platform as Ace lands on it, hard, ripping into the top like a wrecking ball. The crowd cheers as Ratchet lands on the ground, dodged a swinging sword from nowhere, and hauls tail through the maze of walls and traps.


Elsewhere in the darkened corridors is a room with the rest of the captured crew of the Discovery—Skidd, Helga, Big Al, and Captain Qwark. Qwark, specifically, is playing a harmonica.

Clank, however, is a prison of his own—he's attached to some sort of containment device. His head and feet are plugged into this device, and his eyes are pure white.


Inside Clank's head is another world, all green and composed mostly of lasers and circuitry. Clank, or a version of him, is stuck behind a set of green laser bars. Surrounding the bars is another set of robot ninja-pirates. One speaks, again, where his lips don't match his voice.

Arrg, matey! You won't be escaping this metaphorical representation of your computerized mental state. Ah-ha ha! Ha-ha! Ha!

You are lucky these bars are here. You know I very well can take you all.

Ha-ha! Ha! Those bars are powered by the computer's mainframe! There is absolutely no way that they will ever go off, ever!

All the robot pirate-ninjas start laughing.

The bars suddenly turn off.

The robot pirate-ninjas stop laughing.

Clank gives them a "start running" look.


Ratchet leans up against a wall, tired and bruised, but otherwise still intact. He looks around, making sure no cameras or lights are focused on him.

The booming sounds of Ace's footsteps are heard nearby. Ratchet holds his breath. The steps slowly start to fade away. He releases the air from his lungs and turns the corner—

And runs right into Ace.


He ducks as Ace swings a massive punch, which tears a hole into the metal wall. The Lombax flees again, leaping over flames and avoiding spinning spikes; Ace, being a robot now, runs though it all without a scratch. He even pulls out a laser blaster now, firing endlessly at Ratchet.

The Lombax dodges the blasts, but barely. He struggles to run through his fatigue, but he keeps on going. He turns another corner and ducks down into a small trench. Ace stops running, looking left and right for him.

A whistle noise is heard. Ratchet looks up from his hiding place, and sees Courtney Gears on her hoverboard, pointing right at him.

There he is, Acey-Poo!

Ace Hartlight groans and shakes his head, but then fires his blaster at Ratchet. He leaps out in the nick of time, and hustles out of there, Ace on his tail, Gears tracking him from above.


A final punch knocks the metal teeth out of the remaining robot ninja-pirate. Clank is surrounded by a number of the unconscious machines. He wipes his hands cleanly.

That was easy. Now, who would have released me from that cage?

There's a mechanical, computational sound that occurs behind Clank. He turns around. In the air floats a huge sequence of letters and numbers, flashing before his eyes. He scans them all, carefully, quickly. He gasps.


The coding sequence "opens" up like a door, revealing a giant green screen, completely blank save for a flashing cursor mark. CLANK'S MOM does not speak, but communicates through the text on the screen.

Hello, Clank.

I cannot believe I found you. I mean the odds are astronomical. One billion, four hundred thirty-eight million, nine hundred fifty-six thousand, seven hounded and twelve to one, to be exact.

Precisely. It is good to see you, too, Clank. But, unfortunately, this cannot last. There is something you must do.

What is it?

You must destroy me.

Clank gasps.


The timer ticks down to forty minutes.

Ratchet looks up at both Angela and Sasha. They're trying to be strong while confined but with each second they grow more and more worried. He can only return a helpless look, unable to do anything.

A massive blade flings by Ratchet, knocking him off his feet. He looks up, noticing Gears with a number of those blade-boomerang weapons. She starts tossing them like mad at the Lombax.

He jumps and leaps over each one before rushing out of her line of sight. He slides underneath another swinging pendulum, but is knocked hard against a wall by a swinging pole. Everything goes dizzy for him; he starts stumbling.


Clank shakes his head wildly.

But there must be some other option!

I have scanned every piece of my software. There is no other solution. Drek is using me for his purposes. The weapons in the stadium. The Bio-Obliterator.

Clank is hurt at the choice.

Do not worry. I will always be around, Clank. You once told me that you would try to make me proud.

Clank eyes look up at the screen in surprise.

You already have.

Clank smiles brightly at that message.

Ratchet is in great danger. He needs you. When I free you, Clank, you must tell him this message, for he is the only one that can save you all.

Which message is that?

Clank reads what the screen displays. He nods.

Lights begin to surround Clank. Everything begins to go white.


Clank's eyes slowly fade back to his traditional green color. The device trapping him recedes into the wall, freeing the little robot. He pushes himself up to his knees, then his feet, his face ready for action.

He sprints down the hall, little feet making clanking noises as he runs past the prisons with the rest of the Discovery crew.

It's Clank! And he is free!

Helga, Big Al, Skidd, and Qwark call out to Clank.

Hey! Clank! Save us! Get us out of here! Do you have the key! Open up these bars!

Clank runs right past.


The crewmembers stare at the disappearing Clank blankly.


Ratchet is done. Mentally.

Huffing and puffing as he holds his stomach and barely trots through the death course, the Lombax has nothing left. He leans against the wall, holding his weakened self up. The time reads thirty-six minutes.

A small, round, blinking device lands at Ratchet's feet. His eyes go wide and he tries to climb the wall to escape it.

It explodes and sends Ratchet flying through the air. The entire audience gasps as he lands hard onto the platform sporting Ace's cage.

Drek's laughter is heard through the intercom, all around the stadium.

It looks like it's all over for you, Ratchet. Do feel that? That humiliation? That pain?

Drek's voice grows angrier as he speaks.

That was my pain! That was my humiliation! I want you to feel every single sensation I felt that day you stopped me. You are a failure, Ratchet! And now, everyone knows!

Dr. Nefarious and the Thug Leader look at each other.

Whoa. And I thought I hated the little furball. That guy's off his rocker.

It takes one to know one, sir.

You're telling me. Wait, what?

Whatever, I'm just in it for the bolts.

Drek watches the barely mobile Ratchet with a quiet glee.

The Lombax is indeed feeling those sensations, with those hot lights, floating cameras, and awe-struck spectators helplessly watching.

Ace Hartlight 2.0 approaches the platform slowly, taking his time to reach him. Country Gears smirks, and flies over towards the announcer booth, to watch the final blow with the rest of Ratchet's enemies.

To the Lombax, there is no sound, no noise, no anything. He can barely move, his face frozen in the full realization of absolute disappointment.


-- He sees his sad face within the oasis

-- He records his message to the camera to the Discovery crew

-- He sees the disappointed looks of all his friends on Barlow

-- He reflects on the dream he had on the escape pod

Anyone can fall from grace, but it takes a particularly special someone to bring their friends down with them.

-- He witnesses the helpless faces of Sasha and Angela.


Ratchet slowly closes his eyes. He lets out a breath as if it was his last one.