On a dark and misty night, a nimble form stole into the GR compound and nabbed
GR’s precious Golden Dorito.
In its place was left a game, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.
Not overly distraught by the missing Golden Dorito (which was about as useful as a cup full of plastic coffee), I popped the game into my PS2 to get in on some of the thieving action myself. Approximately ten hours later, having finished the game, I had developed the skills necessary to steal dough from all sorts of rats, baboons and giant rocket-launcher wielding metal hawks. And right after this review, I’m gonna head down to Marine World and make myself some money.
the meantime, I’ll sing Sly Cooper‘s praises. Published by Sony and developed
by Sucker Punch, Sly Cooper is a platform/action game oozing with quality.
The level of care and attention to detail in Sly Cooper make it worthy
of any gamer’s Wednesday night.
The story puts you behind the black mask of Sly Cooper, the latest master thief in a long line of professional pinchers. The legacy of the family and birthright of every Cooper is the Thievius Raccoonus, a veritable bible of thieving techniques (“And in the beginning there was… Hey! Where’d it go?!”). Unfortunately for Sly, his birthright was nabbed over the dead body of his father and split into five sections for perusal by the appropriately named Fiendish Five.
Swearing vengeance and seeking destiny, Sly and company (a nerdy Turtle named
Bentley and a big, dumb hippo named Murray) hop in their van to track down the
culprits and retrieve the dismembered Thievius Raccoonus
The story progresses through some cool cut-scenes that have several well-blended
inflections (little computer animated cartoon bits here, some noir there, and
a sprinkle of comic-book style on top). The beginning of each level includes
a bio of whatever fiend inhabits the level, usually starting with the fiend’s
childhood and what drove them to a life of crime. For example, Muggshot, the
giant, fierce, bulldog gangster, started out as a cute little runt with a beanie,
but thanks to neighborhood bullies and the examples set by movies like The
Godfather, turned to a life of organized crime. Nice.
At the end of each level, Carmelita Fox, the sexy whiskered cop and the object
of Sly’s affection, shows up to slap the cuffs on Sly, but has to settle for
a defeated fiend instead.
Playing Sly Cooper is fun in general, even though the game is clearly
geared toward a younger audience. The basic controls involve jumping, whacking
at things with Sly’s cane and using it to swing from hooks. Sly can also execute
super thieving moves by pressing the Circle button any time he’s near a piece
of landscape with a blue aura emanating from it. This usually involves ducking
behind a statue or creeping along a narrow ledge.
Each level is formatted similarly: a beginning, two body paragraphs (made
up of three levels each), and a conclusion (Boss Fight). Generally, the intro
and first three levels have to be completed to reach the second set of levels,
which in turn must be completed to reach the Boss. Every level contains a key,
and generally Sly needs all seven keys to unlock some wacky object like a broken
down Chevy so he can ram his way into the hideout. Stealthy? No, but still fun.
Several levels depart from the typical running, jumping, collecting theme
and put Sly at the controls of a swamp skiff, submarine or cannon. These levels
provide just the right amount of challenge and are as cool-looking as the rest
of the game.
can also acquire a number of special moves by earning all the ‘Clues’ in a given
level, which come in the form of green bottles. Upon collecting them all Sly
gains access to a safe located somewhere in the level. By opening the safe,
Sly is commonly rewarded with a new page of the Thievius Raccoonus or info that
allows him to see the location of clues when looking through his binoculars
(first-person view mode). The special moves range from the useless (throwing
out a Sly decoy) to the insanely useful (the ability to slow down time indefinitely).
However, the only super moves needed to beat the game are received upon defeating
bosses; collecting the rest is up to he curiosity of the player.
Though simple, the gameplay is refreshing and crisp. Thanks to smooth animation
and a decent camera, Sly flips, swings and crawls with the greatest of ease.
And he looks great. The cel-shading is marvelous, the animation is top-notch
and the graphical details are unbelievable. Realistically swinging chandeliers,
spooky neon lights, firecrackers that can be set off with impressive results,
and one of the best looking heroes ever make Sly Cooper a great game
to look at as well as play.
For most of the game, at least. There is some slowdown and loss of resolution in later levels, though it’s not that big of a deal.
A bigger deal is the game’s short length. Sly Cooper is beatable in
less than ten hours, though it lasts a lot longer if you take the time to enjoy
all the levels and pick up all the clues. The same can’t be said for the last
level; it’s absurdly short, basically involving an intro, one or two levels
and a boss fight that’s fun but way too easy. The first boss is actually harder
than the last boss.
The music in Sly Cooper is the worst part of the game. It’s really
bad, even for a platform game. However, the voice-acting is hilarious, especially
the exchanges between Sly and Bentley (the nerdy turtle who helps Sly out during
missions a la Otacon in Metal
Gear Solid), while Carmelita Fox has an authentic, sexy Spanish accent.
Overall, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is an outstanding platformer.
It looks sharp, it’s easy to pick up and it’s a lot of fun. With a mellow learning
curve and cartoony look, this game’s target audience is definitely the younger
generation of gamers. However, there isn’t an old gamer out there who didn’t
grow up on a steady diet of platformers, which is why I think just about anyone
could do much worse than steal a few hours with Sly.