The fondness I have for the original Ratchet & Clank trilogy is something that I can't put into words, and a part of that was its characters, be it Drek, Skid McMarx, Courtney Gears, or Sasha. Insomniac has had hit after hit with its characters - barring that dreadful 2016 story -  so a new Lombax is a cool prospect, but where's Angela Cross?

Ratchet & Clank is my all-time favorite game series, from its beautiful jumping puzzles to its pirate strip polls - it was a game that was a huge part of my childhood and teen years, getting me into gaming alongside Battlefield, Half-Life, and God of War, and hopefully, it will be as important for my adult years too. But, going beyond that, the originals cemented themselves as a rich goldmine for nostalgia that is seemingly endless. Going back to Metropolis or the arena in Going Commando still gives me goosebumps, and those squelchy sound effects and comically cartoony screams of agony make swinging a wrench around an unparalleled experience. I can even hear the sounds of the Megacorp Chickenbot's wailing as they pop out of existence vividly in my head just writing about all this.

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And sure, Up Your Arsenal is my favorite - heresy, I know - but Angela is a character I was upset to not see appear even in the very next game, especially since they pulled all the stops in creating the rag-tag Q-Force team. Nonetheless, it was a great title, but Angela's lack of appearance pushed her character into faded obscurity, a niche in-joke in the community, so much so that she was even referenced later to clarify a few things, like... was she even a Lombax?

Alister Azimuth, you traitor, out of my way! Just writing about all of this makes me want to jump back into the entire series, but I have a backlog to play. And Alister? Well, his tale is a heartstring tugger that I'd rather not get enveloped in right now. He was the first 'Lombax' since Angela, an exile with one goal - change the past to bring back his people. The whole last of the Lombaxes plot point, which feels very Doctor Who, was something the 'Future Series' of the PS3 era brought to light, so Angela never particularly fit in.

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The Lombaxes, to clarify, wanted to better protect the universe after banishing the Cragmites to another dimension, and Alister butted heads with an inventor who claimed he could create something to do just that. With a naivety that rivals Ratchet's, he handed him the reigns to Lombax tech and said, "Go wild!" It backfired - shocker. Silly Azimuth. The inventor was the Prince of the Cragmites, Percival Tachyon, an annoying little pest. He built an army, desolated Fastoon - the Lombax homeworld - and slaughtered countless Lombax before they themselves fled to another dimension. Alister was pretty beaten up about this, but given that he and Angela are the only ones we've run into, how Angela escaped is unclear. Ratchet's survival was explained in-universe, as was Alister's, but not hers. It should be, or at least we should see more of her to perhaps get a trickle of information. She hasn't been seen since before the more streamlined, coherent narrative of the PS3 era which brought with it lore galore.

In fact, as said earlier, there was some conflict about whether she was even a Lombax. Some shrugged and just assumed that she was a Lombax-like creature given her lack of a tail, but this got explained away later - female Lombaxes don't have tails. Tools of Destruction hammered home that Ratchet was the last of his people which also threw fans off, but nonetheless, writer TJ Fixman clarified in 2012 and revealed to all that she is a Lombax. Later still, A Crack in Time had a radio news update that straight-up divulged all, "Tonight's top story - new information on the disappearance of Lombax rebel Angela Cross," one of the casters said. "I'm sorry, have we confirmed Angela Cross is in-fact a Lombax?" the other asked, "I know that was the assumption but she doesn't have a tail." The other clarified, "Female Lombaxes don't have tails, Kip - in-fact, this just in, lots of females don't share the same anatomical traits as their male counterparts."

That radio fluff was so on-the-nose, a direct revelation to fans  - yes she's a Lombax, yes there's a reason she has no tail, yes she's still rocking about. But we need to see her again. There was unused dialogue in Up Your Arsenal saying that Ratchet "needs another Lombax like Angie" while Azimuth had a cut line in A Crack in Time where he talked about a Lombax who was "delightful, pretty, and very clumsy" called Lorna Cross, likely Angela's mother. In the 2016 film, Clank scans for Ratchet's species to which Ratchet says that there "aren't many of us left, at least not in this galaxy," perhaps nodding to Angela being in the one just over like in Going Commando.

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That's an important note because the new Rift Apart PS5 title's setting is unclear. When asked if it was in the 2016 reboot universe or the original timeline, Insomniac said both, and the multiverse is likely playing a factor - that new Lombax may very well be a trans-Ratchet from another world - so, Angela could appear either the original or this new referenced one, but the original would be far more satisfying. Just what has she been up to? What's she like now? Does she know what happened to the Lombaxes?  I have so many questions, but most importantly, Ratchet having a full-blown exposition spill with her would bring new players up to speed as well as filling her in. And who knows, maybe she has some info that even Ratchet doesn't.

She's a wonderful character, a playful, strong, and capable female lead - in a time where platformers constantly pushed for damsels in distress, it was nice to have someone on-par with the hero, helping out at every turn. Hell, she was the 'villain' in the beginning. She was such a good character that they later created Talwyn Apogee who felt very, very similar to Angela in a lot of ways. After all, she was ahead of her time, and everyone is fawning over this new Lombax who - granted - looks phenomenal and I'm incredibly excited to butt heads with, but ol' Angela shouldn't be left to the wayside like a tossed away action figure, especially not if the plot revolves around Ratchet repairing the Dimensionator he found at the end of Into the Nexus to find his people and bring them back (that's speculation, but c'mon, it makes perfect sense). Angela should be a part of that conversation - she's earned it.

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