Today I’m going to look at a game in a series that defined my childhood. Sly Cooper is my favorite game series of all time. So this review is going to be a bit passionate on my part but I just want to show my love for this little Sony platformer.
Sly Cooper is a part of the famous Cooper family who has made their lives on stealing from notorious criminals. The Cooper family wrote down all of their famous thieving skills and techniques within a book known as the Thievius Raccoonus. The book is inherited down the family line with the latest member being Sly. On the day that Sly is to inherit the book, a group of criminals known as the Fiendish Five break into Sly’s home, kills both his mother and father and stole the Thievius Raccoonus. Sly becomes an orphan where he meets his soon to be gang, Bentley the Turtle and Murray the Hippo.
As the trio grows up, Sly soon decides that he must get his revenge on the Fiendish Five and restore his family’s book. The game starts out with Sly sneaking into Paris’ Interpol building to steal an important file containing information about the Fiendish Five’s background and location. Hot on Sly’s trail is Inspector Carmelita Fox who has Sly on the top of her most wanted list and is itching to finally arrest him. Sly escapes her pursuit and begins his quest to avenge his family line.
Sly Cooper plays like a standard platformer but areas are formed in a more linear style akin to a more open level Crash Bandicoot. The main goal of each stage is to collect the treasure key at the end. Sly needs to collect each areas treaure keys in order to get the Fiendish Five member. Areas are real life places like Wales and Utah. Stages can be simple platforming stages where Sly has avoid traps and take out enemies or can be a mini game style where the game plays like a twin stick shooter, arcade style. The game allows enough variety to keep the player interested. A preview of gameplay can be seen below from JohnGodGames
Sly controls like a dream. His movement is smooth as butter and jumping has just enough weight behind it. Sly also puts his thief skills to test to shimmy across rails, climb up pipes and even grind. These techniques allow for diverse platforming that is oh so satisfying. The unique environments like shipyards, casinos, swamps and even the frost covered mountains of China allow for great level design that never leaves the player bored. But be warned as Sly is a bit of a frail raccoon as one hit from an enemy and he is down for the count. That is why one must be cautious towards combat, so use some stealth to avoid sight and eliminate threats quickly using the Cooper family cane that Sly is always holding onto. The player can save themselves by collecting lucky charms that allows for Sly to take an extra hit.
Scattered across most stages are little green glass bottles known as clue bottles. The little things when collected in the stage allow for a code to be obtained that unlocks a vault which contains a page of the Theivius Raccoonus which unlocks a new skill for Sly to learn. These can a dive attack, a rolling technique to even stopping time. These skills give great incentive for players to collect all the bottles.
I’m going to be really honest about the negatives of Sly Cooper. It is hard for me as I love this game a lot but there was a some aspects that did irk me slightly. There is a mission that is done twice within the game, where you take control of Murray in the Cooper Gang van to race for a treasure key. These races tormented me as a kid even just anger me as an adult. The controls feel so slippery and when you are racing against almost perfect computer controlled racers, it just feels unfair. There is a nitro boost to give you an edge on the track but when using these along with the strange physics don’t feel like a boost as you strain the controller to stay in 1st place.
Other issues can be concerning glitches. This is usually in the third world which takes place in Haiti. This area is full of swamps and bayous which for the time are incredible environments but the programming of the environments with say the platforming can come into conflict. Sly sometimes does not do a thief skill when the correct button is hit resulting into some unfair deaths. This can be a killer when Sly must jump to and from tree branches above a swamp and the branches do not allow for Sly to attach. It can be frustrating when it happens but it only happens every so often. This problem also occurs at points in the PS3 version of the game as well.
Sly Cooper, in my eyes, is one of the most entertaining platformers out there. It still holds up after all these years with its wonderful areas, precise control, lovable characters and fun plot. I still felt the the same thrill and excitement as I did when I was little which is not something I can say about many games that come out nowadays. If you like platformers or are trying to get into platformers, give Sly Cooper a chance. Sly Cooper is available originally on PS2 but is also available via a remastered collection on PS3 and PSVITA. Have you played Sly Cooper? Does it interest you if you haven’t? Comment down below and give your thoughts.
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