What do you do when your best buddy gets thrown in jail? If you're like most GR editors, you visit long enough to take some cell phone shots of him in the clink, run back to your Tijuana hotel to post them on your Facebook page, then try to figure out how to get his girlfriend into the sack. Luckily, if this 3D action adventure is any indication, robots are more loyal. When his fuzzy buddy Ratchet gets framed for a jewel heist, the loyal Clank does what any steel-skinned sidekick would do: he makes like James Bond 007 and knocks heads until things are put right again.
The emphasis is on stealth and sneaking here, as opposed to the bombastic wrench slinging and laser blasting of the main Ratchet & Clank games. Oh sure, there's shooting - jailbird Ratchet and super heroic Captain Quark both make playable cameos, and their levels tend to be more weapon based. And Clank not only knows "Clank-Fu", he also has some destructive gadgets, from his shuriken-like tie-a-rang to exploding cufflinks. But he's much more comfortable slinking around, wearing disguises and performing stealth kills (button-press minigames).
Above: That plant used to be a simple boutonniere in Clank's label. Spy gadgets are fun.
It all works fairly well, but the final package is a too uneven and disjointed. The arena-like Ratchet levels get monotonous, but the Captain Quark levels - tall tales about him singing, dancing, and clobbering gigantic monsters - are a high point. The levels starring Clank's Gadgetbots are clever puzzles. The rhythm action minigames that seem to have been shoved into any instance where they made a lick of sense are tedious. Oddly, many of the best bits are optional and many of the worst are mandatory. And once things do start to get more bombastic, you'll notice how limited Clank's arsenal - not to mention the in-game camera - really is.
Secret Agent Clank is still quite playable, even with these weaknesses - a sub-par Ratchet & Clank game is still better than almost any other platform actioner out there - it's just that we expect more out of this series.