First time’s a steal for Sly Cooper
Ever since the now-Sony Interactive Entertainment introduced the PlayStation 2 to American gamers in 2000, the news surrounding the new gaming console ranged from a strong successor to the PlayStation name to the “Dreamcast Killer,” referring to Sega’s bowing out of making gaming consoles for the home market. While this was true, Sony was building up a relationship with a little-known gaming studio called Sucker Punch to introduce a character that would succeed Sony’s other well-known character, Crash Bandicoot. The result: “Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.”
Though we’re jumping into the remastered version for the PS3, the base game is a result of what would happen if you put anthropomorphic animals together with Ocean’s Eleven and Splinter Cell games. The story is that Sly Cooper along with his team of Bentley Turtle and Murray Hippopotamus are trying to recover the Thievius Raccoonus, a scared book passed down in the Cooper family that records skills and techniques used to steal valuables from other thieves.
At age 8, Sly was to inherit the book, but a group known as the Fiendish Five appeared that day, killing his mother and father and taking all the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus, scattering them across the world. Now older and wiser, Sly, Bentley and Murray begin their quest to recover the Thievius Raccoonus and destroy the Fiendish Five.
The gameplay takes time to adjust to, but it is simple. You can either use the d‑pad or left analog stick to control Sly while using the square button to use his cane to strike, and the X button to jump and double jump. Sly also gets some help looking around his surroundings with the help of the in-game camera by using the right analog stick.
You pick up various objects such as coins, extra lives, and bottled clues to create gear, solve puzzles, and learn new skills. Sly also has a special sneaking technique that activates in times of need. Fair warning: Sly does not have a life bar. If he falls in water or gets hit by an enemy, you will lose a life. This adds to an already challenging setup. The graphics are well drawn and appear crisp in every level while the cut scenes pay tribute to the Ocean movie series. Sucker Punch took great care in the level design, which made the game seem more like an animated movie.
The music was energetic and relaxed enough for me to take my time playing especially when Sly performed a sneaking maneuver. The music was so top tier that I’m sold on a soundtrack CD to make a playlist. Voice acting was excellent with Kevin Miller as Sly, Matt Olsen as Bentley and Chris Murphy as Murray, adding to the theme of expert thievery.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is a game that aims high and grabs replay value and fun. If you want to escape boredom and pull off a caper with the Cooper gang with great rewards and bragging rights, jump into the adventure instead of trying to be a real thief.
It’s a steal of a game.