- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Here’s an abbreviated look at a video game for the entire family.

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time (from Sony Computer Entertainment for PlayStation 3, $59.99) The lovable wrench-packing lombax Ratchet is still searching for his robotic friend Clank, which translates into another wonderful gaming experience for fans of the duo and third-person action games.

This computer-animated adventure plunges a player into the final part of Insomniac Games’ epic battle between Dr. Nefarious and our pint-size heroes.

A player begins by controlling Clank in an exciting escape attempt and then finds a mix of levels devoted to each character with plenty of search-and-destroy missions for Ratchet. It’s not enough for Ratchet to wield customizable versions of a Constructo pistol, bomb and shotgun. There’s also the Sonic Erupter, basically a gassy animal tethered to a barrel that belches enemies into oblivion; the Chimp-O-Matic, which turns enemies into harmless primates; and the Spiral of Death, a boomerang circular energy-saw blade.

I can’t gush enough about the stunning, high-definition displays that are showcased in lush landscapes, metallic wonderlands and outer space environments. Gorgeous water effects, expansive wastelands not seen since a visit to Tatooine, glass-shattering effects, video jumbotrons, gantlets of laser beams it’s an eye-popping experience.

Some of my favorite parts of the game include the spacecraft battles as the player handles Ratchet’s Aphelion and blows up enemy craft, radiated meteors and assorted mines. He also can land on moons and attack its inhabitants.

Clank is no slouch, by the way. He wields a Chronoscepter and Quantum energy bombs to fix items and slow time. Better yet, he uses time pads to create multiple holographic duplicates of himself to solve the coolest puzzles I have ever seen.

Besides capturing Zoni with a special vessel, bolt collecting is paramount to earn upgrades. Plenty of items and crates explode into a dazzling display of circular metallic slivers that are absorbed by the heroes.

A Crack in Time will a create an hours-sucking rift in a tween’s real world as he is consumed by the imaginative Ratchet and Clank universe.

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