Daxter is the fifth installment (second chronologically) in the Jak and Daxter series, developed by Ready at Dawn and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was released in early 2006 for the PlayStation Portable. It was the first Jak and Daxter title not to be released on PlayStation 2 or developed by Naughty Dog. It takes place in between the events of Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy and Jak II, making it the first prequel in the series.
The story of Daxter has a darker tone than The Precursor Legacy but a softer tone than Jak II. After almost two years since the duo arrived in Haven City and Jak was arrested by the Krimzon Guard, Daxter accepts a job from the Kridder Ridder extermination company. Working for its owner, Osmo, Daxter fights the infestation of Metal Bugs in the city, while also attempting to conclude his two year search for Jak.
Daxter features simplified gameplay elements present throughout the series, featuring a mix of platforming, action and driving. Daxter can use the electric bug swatter for melee combat and the spray gun with three modifications for close range combat, both of which can also be helpful for traversing large areas. He can also drive vehicles such as Betsy, the service zoomer, the ranger zoomer and the scooter, which are used to combat Metal Bugs and traverse Haven City respectively.
Daxter is a third person three-dimensional platformer, in which the player controls Daxter, an ottsel working for the Kridder Ridder extermination company. Daxter's core moveset makes use of his electric bug swatter and spray gun, which are unique to the game. The electric bug swatter allows Daxter to attack enemies with repeated taps of , while the spray gun with allows him to spray gas, fire or ultrasonic waves to harm or kill bugs, as well as to traverse large distances.
Haven City is featured as the hub location, though the player only has access to the Industrial Section and the Port. The scooter is used to travel more quickly around the city in order to reach areas for new missions. Many of Haven's locations, such as the transit system, the Westside Hotel and the brewery, are new, while others such as the fortress and Haven Palace previously featured in Jak II.
Missions are completed in a set progression to move the story. While there are fewer missions compared to previous titles, it usually takes longer to complete the objectives, and areas are rarely recurring. Only the construction site, Breezy Valley, strip mine, the tanker and Emerald Isle are visited more than once.
The majority of missions simply involve Daxter combating bugs, though a few require the use of Betsy in Breezy Valley or the ranger zoomer on Emerald Isle to complete objectives instead. The dream mode side missions are button pressing minigames which do not advance the story, but can teach Daxter new techniques or upgrade his hit points.
Daxter can make use of his spray gun for close to medium range fire and his electric bug swatter for close combat. He has five hit points initially, which can be upgraded to eight once all dream mode sequences are complete. Daxter can replenish his health by picking up health packs, which restore two hit points each.
The electric bug swatter can damage enemies in close range, with new techniques gained by completing dream mode sequences. The spray gun has gas which can stun enemies, the flamethrower attachment which can kill them, and ultrasonic attachment which can kill them across a larger radius. Attachments can be cycled between using and , and the more powerful the attachment used, the greater it drains the spray gun's fuel.
Daxter can drive four vehicles: Betsy, the service zoomer, the ranger zoomer and the scooter. The former two are used in missions in Breezy Valley and Emerald Isle respectively, while the service zoomer is only used in the transit system and the fortress, and the scooter is used for traversing Haven City and for one mission. The zoomers are slower than others in the series.
Betsy and the ranger zoomer function very similarly, with a key difference. Betsy is capable of picking up spray from vents and releasing it to damage bugs. The ranger zoomer is faster and features a tailgun which must be operated manually.
Dream mode sequences are minigames based on real world films featuring Daxter as the hero and The Precursor Legacy characters as enemies. There are six in total. Three grant Daxter an additional hit point upon completion, while the other three unlock a new technique with the electric bug swatter.
Bug combat is a fighting sport minigame in which the player pits bugs to fight against other bugs. Bugs are unlocked by collecting bug cages, upgraded by feeding them bug juice vials, and up to three battle tokens can be used in battle with various effects, all of which are found in-game. Each bug has a level ranging from one to ten, and has access to three attack types: claw, spit and trap. The minigame is similar to rock, paper, scissors. Where trap beats claw, claw beats spit, and spit beats trap. Players can either fight a computer opponent or other players in multiplayer.
Daxter is set in Haven City, sharing a setting with Jak II, to which the game is a prequel. However, Daxter explores more welcoming, far less gritty areas of Haven. The new areas visited are typically more recreational and leisure focused, and of the old areas revisited, Daxter never visits the more run-down areas such as the Slums.
The story begins during the first cutscene in Jak II. It shows Jak being captured by Erol and the Guards, and Daxter's lucky escape. Almost two years later, Daxter is in a bar telling one of his tall tales to a group of men. After almost everyone leaves, an old man listening in on Daxter's story asks him to tell him "the one about how he can knock guards silly with a single blow". The man then introduces himself as Osmo who works for the Kridder Ridder extermination company and asks Daxter if he'd like a job working for him. Daxter refuses but Osmo gives him the job anyway.
After a successful job at the Westside Hotel, Daxter meets Taryn at the construction site and she gives him a spray pack. After completing a few more jobs (including an encounter with a hive queen), Daxter sees Jak in a prison zoomer. He attempts to rescue Jak, but the prison zoomer leads him straight into a group of Krimzon Guards. Luckily, Ximon, Osmo's son, rescues Daxter and explains that there is "something brewing" at a tanker in the port. Witnessing this conversation was Kaeden, the man who had been trying to shut down every Extermination Company in Haven City so the Metal Heads and Metal Bugs could get into the city under the command of Metal Kor, the Metal Head leader.
After cleaning up the Tanker, Daxter meets Tik, who becomes a sort of sidekick to the Ottsel. In the port, Daxter meets with Taryn, who gives him a second sprayer upgrade: a flamethrower attachment. Taryn tells Daxter that if he could clean up the distillery and fish cannery, they would consider each other even. After that and several other jobs, Daxter sets off some alarms during his return visit to the Tanker. He finds out that the ship's Eco cargo was meant to be delivered to the Baron's palace.
At the entrance of the palace, sneaking in using an Exterminator suit, Daxter and Ximon encounter Erol, who, after a dubious explanation by Daxter, tells them to be quick with their exterminating. Along the way, Daxter finds the map to Jak's cell, and some new clothes for him. Back at the Kridder Ridder shop, an argument with Osmo and Kaeden results in the killing of Tik. Kaeden walks out of the shop with Daxter following in rage. Unbeknownst to Daxter, Kaeden had planted a bomb in the shop, which soon explodes while Osmo is still inside. Luckily, Osmo survives, but his business is now gone. Daxter swears revenge on Kaeden, but he has to go save Jak first. With help from Ximon, he infiltrates the fortress, beginning his quest to save Jak.
Meanwhile, Metal Kor tells Kaeden that Daxter must not be allowed to rescue Jak. However, he mentions that, should Kaeden fail, he could still meet them outside the prison in the guise of a human Kor. After sneaking through the Krimzon Guard-infested prison, Daxter is about to rescue Jak when Kaeden arrives and asks if he likes killing Metal Bugs. Before Daxter could answer, Kaeden transforms into Metal Kaeden and attacked. After an intense battle, Kaeden says that whatever happened, the city will be theirs anyway, and dies. Daxter then heads off to save Jak. The scene then cuts to the cast of Jak II listening to Daxter's story in the Naughty Ottsel. Taryn arrives at the door and winks at Daxter, and the game ends.
Daxter was developed by Ready at Dawn as their first game. It was announced on April 11, 2005. It was also announced that the player could import characters from Daxter to Jak X: Combat Racing, which was being developed concurrently by Naughty Dog.
|GameRankings||86% (based on 66 reviews)|
|Metacritic||85/100 (based on 55 reviews)|
Daxter received positive reviews, with an average of 86% and 85 from GameRankings and Metacritic respectively. GameSpot gave it a 9.1/10, and stated it was "formulaic" but that "the formula works", and that it "[set] new standards for what the PSP is capable of", and should be "enjoyable to almost anyone". IGN gave it a 9.0/10, praising its "great level design", "ultra-refined controls" and "excellent production values", but criticized its "ridiculous and kind of boring" story. 
The game went on to sell 2.3 million copies.
- ↑ Daxter PSP announced. 1up. Accessed September 18, 2016.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Daxter GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed September 18, 2016.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Daxter Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed September 18, 2016.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Daxter Review. GameSpot. Accessed September 18, 2016.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Daxter Review. IGN. Accessed September 18, 2016.
- ↑ God of War PSP Dev Talks About Ending PSP Development. Game Daily. Accessed September 18, 2016.