Qwark vid-comics were Captain Qwark themed video games playable on a VG-9000 Game System. It was explained during the introduction for the first vid-comic that they were based on "eye witness acounts, bathroom gossip, wild speculation, and a magic 8 ball".
The comics were 2D side scrolling adventures where the player controlled Captain Qwark himself in 5 different worlds (rendered in 3D), defeating enemies with his fists or weapons while trying to reach the end of the stage. In each comic he began with nothing, but found a weapon along the way, such as the flamethrower or rocket launcher. Each comic also included a heavy emphasis on platforming, and contained one or two types of enemies throughout, with Vid-Comics one and four concluding with a boss battle.
Each comic had an introductory and ending cutscene establishing the plot within the interactive portions of the comics; the ending of one comic led into the introduction of the next. Additional plot development was embedded in voiceovers by the characters at certain stages in the game.
When Ratchet and Clank first met up with Captain Qwark during their first battle with Dr. Nefarious (in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal), he was living in a jungle with monkeys and did not remember his life. This was a problem because he was, at the time, the only person who had defeated Dr. Nefarious. To unlock his memory, they found part one of a five-part Vid-Comic series and played it in his presence. The other four parts of this series also unlocked parts of Qwark's memories, providing Ratchet and Clank with vital clues about how Qwark defeated Nefarious.
There were five Vid-Comics in all, all part of the Qwark vs. Nefarious series:
- Issue 1: Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder
- Issue 2: Arriba Amoeba
- Issue 3: Shadow of the Robot
- Issue 4: Deja Q All Over Again
- Issue 5: The Shaming of the Q
The fifth comic was suppressed by Captain Qwark, who edited the ending of the fourth comic to hide its events.
There is another, Unnamed Vid-comic, however this was cut from the game, instead being playable in the Insomniac Museum.
Within each Vid-Comic, there were many things to do besides complete it. Throughout each level there were 100 Qwark Tokens. The player did not need to collect all 100 during the first play of the comics, however collecting them all earned a titanium bolt (they all had to be collected in a single playthrough of the level; replaying would reset all the tokens to their initial location). Some tokens were easy to find and could easily be collected, but some were hidden or hard to reach. The usual tokens were single tokens, but there were also some special red tokens that were worth ten. Also hidden in each level was a health upgrade, which restored Qwark's health and increased his health bar (which was useful for boss fights). This upgrade persisted in all other comics of the series, so that collecting all five upgrades doubled the length of his bar.
- A cheat was available in each Qwark vid-comic, similar to the Konami Code. The cheat changed Qwark's outfit to a tutu. This cheat was obtained by pressing the following buttons when Qwark holds a gun (will not work without it): Up, up, down, down, left, right, circle, square, square. This cheat was revealed by Al in a cutscene when he snatched the controller from Ratchet to use it.
- On the Vid-Comic selection screen, by pressing square, a code input box would appear, and two codes could be typed into it. By typing in '_MEGHAN_' and pressing start, the player would be taken to Insomniac Museum to play the Pirate vs. Ninja minigame. By typing in 'YING_TZU', the player would again be taken to the Insomniac Museum to play the Bombs Away minigame. These cheat codes could be found on computer screens in the Museum itself.
There were six skill points to be obtained from the vid-comics in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal; one skill point, Strive for Arcade Perfection, was awarded for obtaining all 500 Qwark tokens and all 5 Health Powerups in the series (and hence all five titanium bolts). The other five skill points were obtained by beating each comic in a certain time, which could only be done by using shortcuts and trying not to collect tokens.
There was also one hidden vid-comic in the game (obtained by pressing your directional button Up when you are on the level 1 selection and are then choosing to play it), but it had no importance to the story or the game itself.
Also, in Up Your Arsenal's Insomniac Museum there were two extra Vid-Comic games that could be accessed and played, including a beta version of Booty is in the Eye of the Beholder and a scrapped beta level which had a giant robotic eye for a final boss. Neither of these vid-comics had any importance to the story or the game itself however.
In Deadlocked, Al mentioned purchasing a Qwark vid-comic with Qwark saying "poopy" on every other page.
The difficulty of the Vid-Comics do not change when the player enters challenge mode. Because of this, the player can attain the skill points for these Comics in challenge mode without any disadvantage.
Behind the scenes
There was originally going to be a 6th vid-comic known as "Issue 6: On the Q-Team Room Floor" with the description "WE DON'T HAVE A MISSION THAT I'M AWARE OF." The description is likely to be a placeholder. The only evidence of this vid-comic is its item representation in UYA beta (Ver. 1106.0) It is possible that this is the unnamed vid-comic.[source?]
- Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
- Ratchet: Deadlocked (mentioned only)
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest For Booty (mentioned only)