I haven’t been especially faithful in the pursuit of updating my progress in Ratchet & Clank lately, which is to say, “at all,” so it’s a good time to let you know where I am and how things are going. I don’t have tons of time to play video games, but I manage to sneak in a couple hours amid my other responsibilities.

Currently, I’m a little over halfway through the game, having recently completed Pokitaru, and I’m backtracking through earlier worlds to pick up gadgets and stuff. I just picked up the O2 Mask on Pokitaru, and I need to go back to Orxon to get the InfoBot with coordinates for Hoven. I still need the Bolt Detector, et cetera.

When I first played the game, I remember being impressed by the generally short-and-sweet level design (I remember it took quite a bit longer then since I had to solve all the puzzles for the first time), combined with the ability to return to earlier levels and explore new areas with gadgets found later in the game.

One of the main drawbacks then, is how much progress you lose when you must restart an area due to a death. You don’t lose bolts when you die (at least, not that I’ve noticed), so it’s more a loss of progress. Still, I feel a sting whenever I have to attempt an area again because a creature has a longer reach than I do.

The most frustrating part of the game thus far has to be the boss fight on the Nebula G34 — or, most of that level, to be honest. I don’t mind the section where you play as Clank … this time, but I remember being frustrated by it when I first played the game. But, the combination of critters and poison gas…

If it were just the poison gas vents, it wouldn’t be so bad. They provide a mostly stationary hazard to be avoided. There are some areas where they aren’t easily avoided however, creating a very frustrating hazard. The frog-critters are irritating because they tend to swarm and get behind you. Not a deal-breaker by themselves.

But combine those poison gas vents and frog-critters with the tough, long-reaching snapping-monsters and the fairly mundane fire-wave Blarg, and you have a recipe for controller-throwing frustration. While avoiding poison, you usually have to contend with fire waves or swarming critters. It’s just a bad deal all around.

The boss fight is madness. You fight a larger swarm of those frog-critters during the boss fight than anywhere else in the level, and then you have to take on the boss and two snapping-monsters. The boss isn’t difficult by himself, but there’s also no lead-up or introduction, making it an annoying, difficult, and pointless fight. *yawn*