Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (Sly Raccoon in PAL territories, Kaitou Sly Cooper in Japan) is a stealth-action platforming video game created by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002. The game, along with its two sequels, was eventually remastered by Sanzaru Games as part of The Sly Collection, which was released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2010 and 2014, respectively.
Why It Rocks
- Gorgeous cell-shaded graphics that give the game a comic book like art style. Cutscenes look almost exactly like a cartoon while having a film noire aesthetic and tone to them.
- Introduces Sly Cooper a cunning raccoon thief, that would become one of the three unofficial mascots of the PlayStation 2.
- Despite being mainly a game targeted at kids with its talking cartoony animals, the story is rather mature and serious with real themes that don't "pander to kids". The characters are compelling and deep, in particular Sly who despite being a thief has a sense of honor and values loyalty. That still doesn't make him a pure hero though.
- Good voice acting.
- The way Carmelita constantly chases Sly around is very reminiscent of old school cartoons like Tom & Jerry. Or, for anime fans, Lupin the III and Fujiko Mine.
- It's funny to see Sly casually flirt with Carmelita and Carmelita shrug it off, even though it's quickly made clear that there's romantic tension between the two.
- Since you're a thief, the gameplay involve crossing levels stealthily and sneaking around environments rather than charging through like other platformer games usually do.
- Finding all the Clue Bottles gives you the code to a vault in a level, which gives you power-ups for Sly. Defeating bosses also gives you power-ups. These power-ups include:
- Dive – Sly dives while twirling his cane and ends with a somersault. Can also be used in-air to slam down while swirling the cane while also collecting nearby coins.
- Roll – Sly rolls at high speeds. Can also be electrified to damage enemies.
- Slow – Slows down gameplay while in the air. Can also be used on the ground.
- Coin Magnetism - Sly automatically collects coins that are nearby. A passive ability.
- Mine – Sly throws his hat, and detonates it with his cane.
- Fast – Speeds up gameplay.
- Water Safety - Sly no longer takes damage from water. A passive ability.
- Decoy – Sly tosses a black cardboard cutout of himself to confuse enemies.
- Computer Hacking - Allows Sly to bring up the info on every guard in sight while using the binocucom.
- Improved Slow Sly no longer needs to be jumping to slow down time.
- Move While Invisible - Upgrades the Invisibility move by allowing Sly to tiptoe while invisible. A passive ability.
- Defy Gravity - Sly no longer takes damage from falling. A passive ability.
- Stun – Sly hits his cane to the ground, causing all guards to freeze in time for a few seconds. Will not be available before completing the story.
- Ninja Spire Jump - Allows Sly to safely land on small points.
- Rail Walk/Rail Slide - Allows Sly to walk on rail-like structures. Some of these structures instead allow Sly to automatically slide to the other side.
- Invisibility - Allows Sly to turn invisible while standing still.
- Vehicle Modification - Used to modify the Cooper Van by adding a turret for the top of the van and a battering ram for the front of the van. These modifications only come into play when controlling the Cooper Van in the last episode.
- Sly is a very acrobatic character, pressing the Circle button near objects with bluish sparks will make him do stealth maneuvers to get around the levels.
- Reasonable challenge makes the game very accessible without pandering to kids.
- Dynamic soundtrack based on the current situation.
- Sly only has one hit point, which causes unnecessary difficulty spikes because it's very easy to get hit unexpectedly and die. You can find horseshoes to get extra hit points by collecting 100 coins.
- Rather short length that can be beaten in 7 hours and doesn't have much to do besides finding all the Clue Bottles.
- The boss fight against Mz. Ruby is a rhythm boss fight but the audio is slightly out of sync and there's a frequent lag when pressing the buttons, making it a very frustrating boss fight. In the PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions the music sync issue is worse, to the point that it's impossible to use the rhythm of the song to time the button prompts.
- There's an exploit that can solve this issue: Instead of pressing the incoming button based on the rhythm, mash it repeatedly, then as soon as Sly does the dodging animation start mashing the next button in the sequence.
- Due to the linear, obstacle course style of level design, there isn't a lot of focus on actual stealth.
- The time limits for time trials are too strict since you have only JUST enough time to beat them. Completing them is also not worth since all you unlock is Designer's commentary.
- No 100% reward.
The game was met with critical acclaim both from audiences and critics. Sly Cooper, along with Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank became one of the three unofficial mascots of the PlayStation 2. The Sly series in general was applauded for its welcoming sense of maturity and how it balances well with the more child-friendly themes without being jarring.