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Developer:
Playstos Entertainment
Publisher: Natsume
Platform: PS2
Release Date: June 27, 2006

by Josh Ferguson




When it comes to platforming, Sony has its share of big name titles, including the Ratchet & Clank and Jak series. The two Sony series have become big hits among fans, with each of their installments making it to the PlayStation Greatest Hits. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before an imitation title was released, and that comes as Ruff Trigger: The Vanocore Conspiracy. The title shares many elements that are similar to the two Sony series, but does this necessarily mean it's a good thing? Read on to find out.


Throughout the game, players will be taking on the role of Ruff Trigger, who is supposed to be the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. When the game begins, Ruffís boss informs him of his next mission, to travel to the planet of Endust and secure the small, cute, little creatures known as Piglots. These little creatures are genetically created and are said to be the replacement for the dog and cat as the family pet. Ruff will then travel through the game's 18 different stages, searching for these Piglots.


Even though the story in the game isnít exactly exciting, one of the weakest things about it are the characters. Ruff Trigger is full of rather uninteresting characters, and even Ruff himself is kind of dull, especially when compared to the awesome characters found in the Jak or Ratchet & Clank series. There really isnít a whole lot of character development when it comes to Ruff, and honestly I found it hard to take this character a seriously as the ďgreatestĒ bounty hunter in the galaxy.


While Ruff is able to use his fists and kicks as weapons, he wouldnít be a very good bounty hunter if he didnít have some other sort of weapons, would he? In order to aide in his mission, Ruff will have at his disposal a number of different guns, many of which share some sort of resemblance to those seen in the Ratchet & Clank series. Similar to the Ratchet & Clank series, Ruff can also lock on to his enemies when using his guns. The only problem here, though, is that unless Ruff has his weapon locked on to an enemy, chances are the player will have a bit of difficulty actually shooting the enemy. There were many instances where I would unleash an entire weapons ammunition on one enemy, and that isnít because they had a lot of HP, but because it is so difficult to actually shoot them. Still, even while locked on, it can still be extremely difficult to actually damage an enemy. Often I would swear that my shots should be hitting the enemy, but instead they would fly right past. Also, while locked on, Ruff is able to strafe back and forth, dodging an enemy's attacks and shooting his own weapons. The problem with this is basically that the only simple way to hit an enemy is to stand still in one spot, but of course this will ultimately lead to your death, which can cause a little bit of trouble.


Similar to the Dark Jak form found in the Jak series, Ruff also has the ability to turn into a werewolf, which gives him added speed, strength, and abilities. While the werewolf form isnít exactly something unique, it does add a little extra to the combat system. Aside from the actual action/platforming elements of the game, Ruff Trigger also features some levels where you will be racing against the clock. These missions are a little more rare than the others, and arenít exactly anything impressive, but as I said before, they tend to mix things up a bit.


One of the most important things for a platforming videogame is a decent camera, and this is one area that Ruff Trigger definitely fails miserably. Like many platformers, the right analog stick is used to move the camera around. However, while moving the camera, you will often encounter problems where the camera will no longer be able to continue moving in one direction, making your viewing very difficult. If that werenít enough, when using the right analog stick, the camera seems like it almost moves a little too slow, and takes far too long to give the player a decent viewing. Having a game with major flaws in the targeting system is one thing, but then adding on the issues with the camera is just downright mean. The combination of these two flaws makes for an annoying and downright difficult adventure.


Graphically, Ruff Trigger isnít one of the most impressive games found on the market. However, when considering that this is a valued title, one canít expect to see something as impressive as, say, God of War or one of the Final Fantasy games. The graphics are definitely dated, and look more similar to an early PlayStation 2 game, but as it is a value title, one can look past some of these graphical flaws.


The sound department in Ruff Trigger isnít exactly anything spectacular either. For the most part, the voice acting isnít awful, but it is probably mediocre at its best. There is quite a bit of voice work found between levels, but considering that Ruff is one of the worst, this doesnít exactly help. The music throughout the game isnít really anything that stands out either. For the most part, it is actually hard to say that were any tunes that were good because the music really didnít make an impression on me at all.


Considering that Ruff Trigger: The Vanocore Conspiracy is only priced at $19.99, one can look past some of the game's flaws. If you are looking for a great action/platformer, then I recommend checking out one of the Sony titles that I mentioned earlier. But if you have already played those series, then you can check out this game, but donít be expecting a high-quality title.


Final Grade: 59%




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