Dallas: "This is more fun than a bus-load of cheerleaders!"
The fourth game in the Ratchet and Clank series.
Ratchet is kidnapped (and slandered) by Gleeman Vox, a sinister TV executive who wants Ratchet to be a contestant on his The Running Man-esque gladiatorial combat show Dread-Zone. Dread-Zone greatly reduces the platforming sections of the series, turning many of them them more into health-reducing hazards rather than perilous one chance challenges, instead focusing on straight combat, with bigger and badder weapons and enemies.
- The Ahnold: Shellshock
- All There in the Manual: Insomniac's official site had in-universe newsletters by Dallas and Juanita and a short comic story about Captain Starshield that revealed many details and throwaway gags on the game. The strategy guide also has some of this and it notably fleshes out the backstories of Ace Hardlight and Shellshock.
- Announcer Chatter: Throughout the whole game. Containing many Crowning Moments of Funny.
- Bilingual Bonus: In Latin "Vox" is usually associated with voice. "Vox populi" for example, is "The voice of the people". Makes sense, considering his occupation.
- Bloodless Carnage: Played straight, like the rest of the series, but notable here because the game still manages to get quite a few High-Pressure Blood jokes in, (In Announcer Chatter and the manual) which creates a bit of Fridge Logic.
- Blood Knight: Ace Hardlight.
- Bottomless Pit: Lampshaded in an early cutscene, where the announcer reffers to one as "The Pit of Endless Falling and Eventual Dying". Strangely abscent for most of the game though, as it focused more on combat than platforming.
- There's also this line by one of your robot teamates later:
- Brick Joke: After the credits, Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence, marooned on a distant asteroid in the last game, are shown drifting through space through the ruins of the Battledome. Nefarious gets angry and malfunctions, playing his famous soap opera.
- Another one: the 'Leaderboard' that shows contestant rankings, and their status as 'active' or 'deceased', is updated throughout the game. By the end, Kid Nova and Hydrogirl are the only two, besides Ratchet, that are still listed as alive. Both of them get voiced dialogue in the final cutscene, thanking you for shutting down Dreadzone and freeing them.
- Boss in Mooks Clothing: The Landstalkers, on a high enough difficulty. On Shaar, they'll even use their mortars on you.
- Call Back: If you look closely, you'll notice that the weapon Captain Starshield uses in the opening movie is the (unupgraded) Lancer from Going Commando.
- Combat Medic: Ace Hardlight, surprisingly enough. STOP HEALING ALREADY!
Ace: I'm out of Med Packs. Uh, not that I need them.
- Cute and Psycho: Juanita can get quite... unhinged sometimes. The way she practically Squees at seeing contestants about to die horribly is actually kind of creepy.
- Darker and Edgier: Deadlocked probably qualifies - there was certain decrease in humour and increase in drama, and it's kinda hard to remain upbeat and spew one-liners when there's an explosive collar around your neck.
- Demonization: The show attempts to do this to Ratchet, even dubbing over dialog from kids that are clearly cheering for him.
- Demoted to Extra: Some feel this happened to Clank, who was turned to an NPC in accordance with the change of gameplay style for this game. The reverse is true for Al, as this game features his biggest role yet.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In one challenge, going into an area you're not supposed to prompts a unique reaction from Dallas, the announcer.
"What's this sneaky Lombax doing behind the arena? This could be... nothing. It's nothing, he's just getting ammo."
- Don't Try This At Home: "Do it at a friend's house!"
- The Dragon: Ace Hardlight, though it's clear early on that the two do not like each other, as Ace is only catering to his employer, and Vox is only trying to maintain their villain/dragon relationship because he feels Ace is the most marketable exterminator in the 'Zone. He's all for replacing Ace, and this becomes more apparent as Ratchet grows in popularity.
- Epic Flail: The Scorpion/Leviathan Flail.
- Fallen Hero: Ace Hardlight.
- Gladiator Revolt
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Eviscerator gets noticably less character establishment than the other Exterminators. Other than the implication he's VERY Ax Crazy, we really don't learn much about him. He's even the only one to lack Boss Banter. The announcers do mention he's a great chef though.
- Guns Akimbo: The Dual Vipers/Raptors
- Hard Light: Ace, um, Hardlight is capable of creating holographic clones that fit this trope during the battle with him.
- Hidden Depths: Discussed.
Announcer: What kind of psychopaths came up with this challenge? ...What's that? Reactor and Shellshock? I never knew they were friends. Did they used to carpool?
- Jacob Marley Warning: Ace to Ratchet near the end.
- Kent Brockman News: Dallas and Juanita, whether actually on the news or announcing.
- Kill'Em All: Vox looses it and tries to blow up the station.
- Kill Sat: The Harbinger/Supernova is quite powerful. Observe.
- Lovable Coward: Some of the robot sidekicks' banter. Dallas at the end.
- Merchandise-Driven: "Dread Zone" is largely about selling toys.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Juanita borders on this.
- Not So Different: Hints of this regarding Ratchet and Ace Hardlight come up in Deadlocked, although Ratchet eventually manages to avert this.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Robot zombies. Though they still seem to splatter a green blood-like substance upon death (their fuel source??) and the description for one of the wrench upgrades states they have bones so...
- Shout-Out: During his 'slander campaign' by Dallas and Juanita, Dallas refers to him briefly as "The Butcher of Bogon."
- Scary Black Man: Reactor, in a sense.
- Merc, to an even lesser degree.
- Stop Helping Me!: Deadlocked seems intent on pointing out the obvious—repeatedly, and by at least two characters in a row.
- Taking You with Me: Vox attempts to do this to Ratchet in the ending. He doesn't succeed.
- Think of the Children: Parodies this at least twice.
- Dallas says he will tell his kids to stop watching this show, as soon as he has kids.
- Dallas says that parents with impressionable kids should turn this show off. Juanita says kids with impressionable parents should just pretend they're watching "Reading Robot".
- Took a Level in Badass: Ratchet, in comparison to his growing personality from the last three games.
- Trade Your Passion for Glory: Ace Hardlight.
- Unexplained Recovery: Courtney Gears, who recovered from being destroyed by Ratchet via a "Miraculous recovery".
- Villain with Good Publicity: Ace Hardlight, the star "hero" on the DreadZone reality show, who is one of the game's primary villains - but in an aversion of this trope, he lacks the publicity that the show's producers desperately want, with most of the audience cheering for Ratchet instead.
- Weapon of Peace: Lampshaded with the Arbiter.
- We Can Rebuild Him: How Big Al is revived from getting blasted.