12 August 2003

Ratchet and Crack

I went a while without posting anything significant, because I’ve been busy with various things…

First was the PC building project. I’m still tweaking and adding stuff; at the weekend I got S.M.A.R.T. support installed, so the hard drive will monitor its status and the number of underlying errors it finds and corrects. When I log in, I’ll get a summary of the latest weekly report. The idea is that if the hard drive is about to fail, I’ll have plenty of warning and time to get a replacement hard drive and move the data across. I’m not planning any significant backup scheme, as after all I have the CDs as backup for all the MP3s. (No RIAA subpoena needed here, thanks.)

Another big chunk of my time has been spent playing Ratchet and Clank. It’s a gorgeous confection of a game: challenging enough in places to be almost frustrating, but not quite; and the rest of the time it’s a real joy to play. It uses the same game engine as Jak and Daxter, which allows for very detailed 3D worlds and open-ended exploration, with no significant load times.

One thing that makes the game fun is the incredible array of gadgets and weapons at your disposal. As you progress you can buy more and more hardware, from everyday mine launchers and blasters to the more exotic remote guided rocket and taunter. (The latter beams irritating sounds at enemies, taunting them into running straight for you.) Later on you get my favorite weapons—the suck cannon, which sucks small enemies into it and lets you shoot them as missiles; and the morph-o-ray, which turns your assailants into harmless farmyard chickens. You can even use both, sucking up the chickens to fire later…

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