Sly Cooper & The Thievius Raccoonus
|a game by||Sucker Punch Productions LLC|
|Platforms:||PS Vita, Playstation 2|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 4 reviews|
|User Rating:||6.4/10 - 44 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Quest Games, Action Adventure Games, 3D Platformer Games, Sly Cooper Series, Stealth Action, Games Like Teaching Feeling|
While the 2000s featured a plethora of action-adventure games of humanoid animals as protagonists, none aged as well visually than Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. A game that, unlike the rest, wasn't dabbling into the design trends of moulding 3D objects with a lacklustre amount of polygons that are hard on the eyes for your modern gamer.
Instead, the first installment of the Sly Cooper series featured cell-shading rendering that turned a video game world into a familiar Cartoon Network show which you can enter, navigate platforms and see if you're as stealthy as a Tom Clancy character. Right off the bat, the game shouts at you to say, 'I'm a quirky creative piece of art!'. It's expressed in the funky soundtrack courtesy of the late Ashif Hakik, the wacky voice acting and 2D comic-book themed cutscenes. It's an inviting style that can brighten your mood as soon as you launch the game and so can the gameplay, with a formula fun to engage with passively.
The Sauce of The Series
While the Ratchet & Clank series offers gameplay variation through the diverse loadout of handheld weaponry; Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus just has you manipulating a handheld cane throughout the game; passed down to Sly from his father.
But variation is offered elsewhere, through a mixture of levels with these gameplay features:
- Driving vehicles for races & chases
- Arcade-style gameplay similar to Space Invaders
- Shooting down foes with turret weapons
- Stealth missions where you take down enemies in secret
- Hacking & puzzles, which granted, also is a feature in Ratchet & Clank games
- Rhythmic sequences that were popular in that era thanks to Guitar Hero
- Many minigames such as catching chickens
So, playing as a thief, it makes sense the core gameplay is about stealth takedowns opposed to 'all guns blazing!' all the time! It only takes one blow with a crowbar to take down grunts, making this game a walk in the park compared to most in its genre. However, stealth isn't only the central part of the game; it's platforming. Where most of your concentrated thinking will be focused on.
Although the story is expected to be completed within 7 hours, that doesn't stop you from dumping in some more hours with the ability to partake in timed challenges or uncover coins in levels to unlock collectables. The game is and has been a strong candidate for Speedrunning and it wouldn't surprise me gamers have dumped hundreds of hours into this virtual world.
Story, Plot & Environments
Something to note is that the backstory of Sly is one that influences you to cheer on his journey of revenge. Sly isn't some archetype Zelda; he's a racoon that so happens to be a master thief. He even runs a gang of two members, Bentley, the brains, and Murrey, the brawn. You play as Sly that's sets off to seek out 'The Fiendish Five', to reclaim your family book known as 'Thieves Raccoonus', which they stole from your parents right after murdering them!
So yeah, a little deep. Sly had to grow up in an orphanage where he met his best friends Bentley & Murray. The gang wants to retrieve the book because it holds the knowledge to Sly's ancestral thieving moves that he can learn & acquire.
Each milestone you reach within the story, you'll engage in a boss fight with one of the Friendish Five and in your victory, you'll acquire a new move! It holds that satisfying Goku progression of powering up your character after the more adversity you face.
However, not every move is all that useful. In fact, it can just become a hindrance, such as slowing down time that holds no combat advantage.
The characters' dialogue and animations don't feel stiff; they're smooth with naturally flowing conversation and captured in this film-noir aesthetic; it's got the attributes that give it a cinematic feel.
You've got tons of locations to explore, categorised into levels that you get to pick & choose when you want to enter, similar to the Crash Bandicoot series. Some environments include a town, casino and a spooky swamp crawling with monsters & ghosts!
If you're into story games that offer you a journey filled with dorky humour, lovable characters and a casual platformer stealth game, then pick up this classic and if you grow to love it, then rejoice, for there are four more games in the series that came afterwards!
There's a reason PlayStation has branded it as a Greatest Hit on their consoles and gives us a glimpse into when high budget games weren't so grounded with their cliche human action stars and real-life backdrops. Instead, letting their imaginations run wild and reaching a point where you can feel like a goofy character in a cartoon and in this game’s case, a raccoon!
- Unique cartoon-style graphics
- Comedic dialogue
- Compelling storyline
- Gameplay variety
- Some pointless moves
- Needed more screen time for Bentley & Murray
Download Sly Cooper & The Thievius Raccoonus
All Sly Cooper wants to do is take back what's rightfully his. See, when Sly was a cub, a group of five master criminals, called the Fiendish Five, descended on the home of his famous thief family and stole the Thievius Raccoonus, a book that contains all the greatest thieving secrets of the Cooper clan. They each ripped a few pages out and went on crime sprees around the world.
Now that he's a little older, Sly's set off to the far corners of the globe to get those secrets back and avenge his family in a game more akin to Metal Gear than Mario. "Metal Gear Solid 2 is the best example going of how to combine sneaky gameplay with a solid storyline," says Nate Fox, one of Sly's designers at Sucker Punch. "We have definitely tried to incorporate, and hopefully improve on, some of the 'thiefier' aspects of that title in Sly Cooper." For example, when Sly radios to his buddy Bentley (see sidebar) back in the truck, we're treated to a codec-style conversation. Familiar, right? But this is combined with a binocular view so you can clearly see where you're supposed to go or what you're supposed to do next. "We also wanted to take the radar concept from Metal Gear Solid and project it within the game world so that the player knows exactly where a guard can and cannot see Sly," Fox says, referring to the flashlights some enemies hold and searchlights that patrol areas of the levels.
"This 3D representation of stealth challenges means the player never has to take his eyes off the action." You don't have to look far for other "stealthy" examples. In the Readin' Room level, Sly jumps inside a barrel to hide from searchlights and get past motion-sensitive dart guns (the darts hit the barrel instead of him). And in most other levels of the game, you must disarm the alarms that can alert enemies to your presence. "That's what makes Sly Cooper a different title," says Fox. "Its levels, characters and story are all in place to help define him as a thief. Our main character has a professional identity, which is the source of all his adventures. We don't have arbitrary jumping puzzles just for the hell of it. The motivation for all his actions is to act as a thief in an attempt to rip someone off."
Well, maybe not all. Some levels (about a third of the game, actually) deviate from the norm even more to present you with minigame challenges that include racing monster trucks, sniping enemies from afar and an Asteroids-style underwater submarine blast-a-thon.
All this in the name of good overcoming evil, 'cuz Sly wouldn't rob just anyone off the street (that'd be too easy). As he says, "Rip off a master criminal and you know you're a master thief."
If all we told you about Sly Cooper was that its an action-platform game, whats the first thing that comes to mind? Saving the princess/Earth/your friends from a power-hungry madman bent on world domination? Hey, we cant blame you. Weve been lulled into thinking thats all the genre has to offer because so many character-based action games follow that same save-the-world concept. Well think again. Sly proves you dont need a damsel in distress, a planet in peril or six different colors of bananas to collect to make a modern action-platformer; its still possible to innovate in this old genre.
The first thing that steals your attention in Sly is the games cartoon-like presentation. Each of the five worlds begins with a Sly-nar-rated animated cinema chronicling the tragic (yet hilarious) life story of one of a group of villains called the Fiendish Five. The humor is straight outta the Saturday morning toons of old and doesnt end with the cinemas it continues into the game. For example, as you wander into the first of the Fiendish Fives hideouts, you hear the boss over the P.A. system chewing out his employees for allowing someone to break in and screw with his operation. Taking a closer look at the backgrounds (and you have to Sly doesnt hit you over the head with busy visuals) reveals other chuckleworthy details, like the framed pictures of steaks and fire hydrants found in canine criminal Muggshots casino. Even the story features more detail than youd expect; while it focuses on your search for pages of your familys thieving guidebook (the Thievius Rac-coonus from the title), theres also a very fun cat-and-mouse, love/hate relationship going on between our hero and his nemesis, Inspector Carmelita Fox.
But the plot and presentation arent the only things that make this game wicked cool. The control and camera systems are both intuitive and very responsive. Gameplay is initially simple: just sneak around avoiding detection. But a few levels later youre at the controls of a cannon turret, defending your buddy Murray in first-person as he runs for a key. Or youre grinding down railings. Or jumping over icy cliffs in China while avoiding Ms. Fox and her shock pistol. Or dodging monkey snowballs. Or riding a hover scooter, blasting monkeys with nunchakus using Robotron-style, dual-analog control (one stick moves you, the other handles the direction you fire). We could go on, but youre just going to have to play the game yourself. Trust us, every level has something new, and we dont just mean the mini-games (see sidebar). Even during the very last boss encounter youll be doing things you havent done in any previous area.
Sly deftly avoids the monotonous fetch-quest trappings of the genre, too. You can collect clues that unlock more moves, but its optional you can finish the game without nabbing any of them. Lets hope when theres a sequel it can stay as fresh.
Sony CEA Fall 2002 -- Prepare yourself for a new, slightly unscrupulous action hero: Sly Cooper. This cuddly master thief must recover the Thievius Raccoonus, his family's precious heirloom. Mario meets Solid Snake in this cel-shaded action/stealth romp from the wizards at Sucker Punch.