The Hydro-Pack is a backpack gadget available in Ratchet & Clank 1, but has made appearances in Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal and Tools of Destruction. It is an illegal modification to Clank that allows him and Ratchet to swim through water much more quickly via underwater jets. It is even strong enough to push the pair up currents.
The Hydro-Pack was installed by Edwina of Ed's Roboshack on planet Hoven for 2,000 . It has a very close relationship to the O2 Mask in the original game as a swimming aid, but it is also a relative of the Heli-Pack and the Thruster-Pack.
The Hydro-Pack equips automatically when Ratchet is in swimmable water. After diving underwater, holding down R1 will propel Ratchet through the water. On planet Quartu and Drek's Fleet, the Hydro-Pack is required so that Ratchet can swim through water storage tanks while the main defenses are inactive. These will earn him the Bolt Grabber and the Code Bot, respectively.
Playing with the Hydro-Pack equipped is effectively the same as playing a non-Clank level, because the Hydro-Pack lacks any features the Heli-Pack and Thruster-Pack may have. The European manual for the original game shows Gadgetron was having on-going licensing disputes with Minton Incorporated, thus making the gadget a black market addition. The legal battle continued into at least Ratchet & Clank 2, as it is referred to as being black marker in that title.
Going CommandoThe Hydro-Pack is available as a returning gadget in Ratchet & Clank 2, however it is categorized as an Item because it is no longer able to be equipped manually by the player. In tandem with the Megacorp Helmet's re-breather, the Hydro-Pack's early availability makes swimming a much simpler concern than it was in the original title.
Up Your Arsenal
The Hydro-Pack is once again available for use in the third Ratchet title. However, since the previous game, swimming had been playing a smaller role as a gameplay element, to the point where the Hydro-Pack cannot be found even in the Items Menu in this title. There is also only one planet in Up Your Arsenal that you can use the Hydro-Pack on: Aquatos.
Future SeriesThe Hydro Pack would not make an appearance until the PlayStation 3 title Tools of Destruction, an absence from four titles that was shared with the Thruster-Pack. Despite being reintroduced, however, the Hydro Pack still did not feature very prominently in the game, only able to be used normally on two planets early in the game. It does, howver, gain back it's Gadget status as it can be equipped manually again.
Players who do this, however, will find an interesting quirk, where the Hydro Pack has all the moves and abilities of the Thruster Pack, complete with exhaust smoke from the propellers. It is unknown if this was intentional or a glitch.
Quest for Booty does not feature the Hydro Pack as Clank is not with Ratchet at the time, however Ratchet can still swim faster with R1. In A Crack in Time, swimming, or deep water of any kind, was ommited for the sake of concentrating on other aspects of the game, so the Hydro Pack does not appear even when Clank is rescued.
- Concept art for the Hydro-Pack as seen above featured a third jet in between the two side ones, and a glass dome over Clank. The dome was probably originally there to be mindful of Clank not being waterproof, but was likely removed upon the realization that Clank would have to go underwater without the Hydro-Pack for the majority of the game. It would also have featured lights for visibility.
- In Going Commando, the Hydro-Pack was to recieve an upgrade called the Gun Sled, but it was cut for reasons unknown.
- Like the Thruster Pack, the Hydro Pack was redesigned for Tools of Desruction, likely for the same reason; Clank looks over his shoulder when talking to Ratchet during gameplay.
- Also like the Thruster-Pack, the Hydro-Pack had the hyphen removed for Tools of Destruction, where it is called the Hydro Pack. For simplicity, it is referred to without the hyphen only during the Future series section of this article.
- If Ratchet has a big head via a Cheat, his head will detatch from his neck while swimming and using the Hydro-Pack.
- Ratchet's ability to swim faster like the Hydro Pack in Quest for Booty could be explained in that Ratchet's animation of kicking his feet makes him go faster. This would then of course beg the question of why Ratchet would need the Hydro Pack in the first place.
- The kicking animation is the exact same animation as when Ratchet uses the Hydro Pack in Tools of Destruction.