Review by MetalIceWolf

Reviewed: 01/04/10

Sly will steal all platformer fans away.

There have been plenty of platformers within the last two decades. The popularity of Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog caused many game companies to try their hand at creating a "mascot" type character, and not many of them have been as successful. With the PS2, many gamers would have probably heard of Jak and Daxter, or Ratchet and Clank, those two series were the most popular platformers on the system. But what not many people do not know is that Sucker Punch, another game company, crafted a brilliant platformer in the year 2002, known as Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus.

Story:
Sly Cooper and The Thievius Racoonus tells the tale of the titular character, a thief raccoon named Sly, who is on a mission to retrieve the stolen Thievius Racoonus, which is a book that has been passed down from generation to generation in the raccoon family of thieving Coopers. With that book, Sly will learn more info about his ancestors and learn their skills that they intended to pass down. Sly won't be alone on this mission though, he has his lifelong friends Bentley the turtle and Murray the hippo to help him. In order to retrieve the Thievius Racoonus, Sly has to stop five criminals who all have pieces of the torn book he seeks. Along the way, Inspector Carmelita Fox is hot on his tail.
For a platformer, this is a pretty good story, told from a beautiful comic graphic style.
8/10

Graphics/Sound:
The graphics of Sly is cel-shaded and very cartoony, but for a 2002 title, it looks great. The environments are very well-done, ranging from snowy rooftops to dark creepy sewers. The music is also very nice to listen to, and well suited to their location (spookier music for a ghost level, for example.) Sound effects are nice aswell, hearing the sirens go off to warn you that you've been caught, or the whacking of the cane weapon as it hits a enemy.
8.5/10

Controls:
Controls are very simple and easy to get used to. There's a jump button, attack button, control stick to move, etc. Aside from the camera which may be a bit annoying for some parts during the game (the chase levels for example), everything is fine.
8.5/10

Gameplay:
As a platformer, Sly is all about jumping, clinging, and collecting, right? Well no, that's not all. Sly also uses stealth to get by enemies or lasers. The strong steatlh element was a unique thing at the time for platformers. Sly can hide in barrels, sneak behind corners and walls to get past guards, and later in the game obtain a special invisibility move.

The majority of the game has you play as Sly where you will go into levels collecting coins and bottles while retrieving a key. You need a total of seven keys to unlock the boss of the area, and once you've done that and defeated the boss in a (usually) epic battle, you'll go to the next area. Coins you collect earn you horseshoes, which will allow you to take another hit before you die. This is very similar to the original Crash Bandicoot games, where you die in one hit unless you had a Tiki Mask. Bottles you collect are optional but will unlock a special vault in the level if you get them all. Unlocking all the vaults will retrieve more pages of the Thievious Racoonus for Sly, and unlock a secret video at the end. Also, there are special "Thief Sprints" versions of the Sly levels where you will have to complete the level under a certain time limit. Other than that, there's not much replay value unless you'd rather just go through the story/bosses again, which is always fun.

The other bit of the game has you play as Murray or Bentley in mini-game type levels. You will race as Murray in the gang's van, and penetrate code systems as Bentley for example. Sly also has minigame levels where he will have to light torches in a certain time limit or collect treasure boxes, while in special vehicles. The minigames are required unfortunately and aren't as fun as the Sly levels, but some people may enjoy them.

Pros:
-Good story for a platformer.
-Great graphics.
-Great music/sound.
-Controls are fine.
-Decent challenge for new gamers and veterans alike.
-The Sly levels are very fun.
-Stealth element mixed with a platformer is cool.

Cons:
-Required minigame levels can be tedious.
-Not much replay value.

8/10

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racoonus is a wonderful game for platformer fans, it really contains all of the elements a true platformer needs, along with more unique aspects such as stealth. If you own a PS2 or a PS3, you owe it to yourself to check out this little underrated gem.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (US, 09/23/02)

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