I’m not sure what I was doing in middle school when the Playstation 2 came out, but I certainly was not paying attention to game reviews even though I was subscribed to Playstation Magazine (RIP). Loved that magazine. Looking back on the PS2 era, I had missed many amazing games, especially the platform jumping games and series like Sly Cooper, Jak And Daxter, and Ratchet and Clank. Well, that all is changing right now, for Christmas, I received all three series remade in beautiful high definition. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these games because I knew they had gathered quite the following and had scored high on first releases. After dedicating six days of my life to Skyrim, I needed a happy game. One that didn’t involve politics, dragons and endless quests, so I turned to the Sly Cooper series. Up first, was Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus.
I don’t know if it was because I had spent six entire days in the dreary, depression land of Skyrim, but I loved Sly Cooper 1 right from the beginning. The style of graphics were cartoonish and blocky, just what I needed. Lots of colors and different environments, boss battles, and collecting clues. I loved it all, it was my remedy after Skyrim and it cured me. It also had an enticing story that made me excited to hunt down the next boss.
As the story goes, as a young lad, Sly Cooper and his family were robbed of their Thievius Raccoonus Book, a book that was handed down each generation to teach the younger Coopers on how to become a better thief with techniques and powers. Now before you question the Coopers’ intentions, these family of thieves were the Robin Hood type, they stole from the rich, greedy, and corrupt and well… I guess they didn’t give to the poor but at least they were trying to knock down tyrants a peg or two in civilizations. Sly was sent to an orphanage after his family was killed although there isn’t much detail, probably because this series isn’t big on actual violence. It’s at the orphanage where Sly meets his two best buddies in Bentley and Murray, a turtle and a hippo. Bentley is the brains and Murray is the brawn. Together the three of them form a team as they grow up to steal back the pages from the Thievius Raccoonus and defeat the five crime lords that took it away from Sly in the first place.
The three of them travel across the world in a van similar to the Scooby-Doo mystery van, where Sly with a little help from his friends defeat each crime boss. I loved the level set ups, each world have about five-seven levels that you could choose in any order to play. The majority of them had Sly running through the level to get a key to unlock the next stage of the world. But a few, had Murray in racing contest, or Sly on a gun turret protecting Murray while he ran for a key. Other times, Sly was doing odd jobs like whacking chickens for a key or Bentley fighting computer security systems inside a virtual world. It was awesome to change up the levels, and refreshing as it wasn’t always make your way through this level, defeat all the enemies and get the key. It was a lot of fun to try different types of levels to get keys. One theme throughout the game was to find clues located in each level. Clues were held in little green bottles, which were scattered throughout the level layout, some were in plain sight while others were hidden. You needed to collect all 20 to 40 clues to unlock the safe at the end of the level. If you did, the safe would give you a piece of the Thievius Raccoonus, giving you another special power or a new move. This was awesome, as a I search high and low for every single clue in each level. It made the game 10 times easier finding clues because some clues gave you the ability to not die if you fell off the ledge or into the water, while others gave you a special power that helped you defeat the upcoming boss. Stealth, while was important during levels, wasn’t crucial, most enemies were stupid and took only one hit to kill so if you were caught or seen by one, it wasn’t the end of the world. Every now and then, Carmelita the Fox, who is a detective “tries” to stop you in some levels by blasting you with her shocking gun. Now, it’s quite obvious that Sly, would love to blast Carmelita with his “gun” but eventually settles for a kiss at the end of the game. I mentioned that you travel all around the world which was a fun trip. Destinations in the game include Paris, France –> Wales —> Mesa City, Utah —> Haiti —-> China and Clockwerk’s mysterious lair that looks like a volcano.
So who was this team of five that stole your family’s secrets? Let’s meet them.
The boss fights are all different, in the way you kill them. For instance, Muggshot shoots bullets at you but you must spin mirrors around to blind him, but for Mz. Ruby, you must hit the buttons in correct order and timing to get close enough to hit her, think of it like a Simon Says game. Each boss battle was unique and fun, even though Mz. Ruby really frustrated me.
Sly Cooper 1, was great but it did have some flaws, I felt like the last world was rushed to production as there is no center stage for it. It’s all, mini game levels to get to the final boss. Clockwerk himself didn’t feel like a final boss, and was one of the weaker boss battles. A lot of mystery surrounds Clockwerk and who he is exactly, I feel that I’ll learn more about him in other Sly Cooper games as the ending shows him not quite finished after the credits roll.
Overall, this game was a great platform jumper, mixed with a great story, and colorful graphics, it’s a game that is appropriate for all ages of gamers. Great start to the series, that was developed by Sucker Punch. 8.8/10.