Hello everyone, welcome back to the retro corner. This week we’re going to be looking at the smash hit, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. One of the main reasons for my choice of this game is that it’s one of my favourite franchises to come from PlayStation, especially as I feel it’s one of the more underappreciated mascots of Sony’s. It originally released back in September of 2003 on the PlayStation 2, and has seen re-releases and remasters over the next several years and console generations.
As for the setting of this game, it takes place in a version of our world, but instead of humans and animals, the world’s made up of anthropomorphic animals that take on the same roles as humans. This game follows the antics a Raccoon named Sly Cooper, who’s the most recent child of a long line of master thieves.
The bulk of the game follows Sly in his adult years, where he must reclaim all of the lost pages of his family’s teachings, a book called “The Thievius Raccoonus”. This is necessary due to a group dubbed “The Fiendish Five”, who murdered Sly’s parents and stole the entirety of his family’s thieving knowledge, splitting it up between them all. Sly, alongside his best friends from childhood, Bentley the Turtle and Murry the Hippo must track down and rob each of the Fiendish Five to reclaim his family’s heirloom. Each of the Fiendish Five have their own location, consisting of linear missions that lead up to the final heists to rob and defeat each of the Fiendish Five.
When considering how the game itself plays, it plays from a third person angle, with a very heavy inclination for stealth. The game discourages fighting even more by giving you a one hit life bar, unless you find lucky horseshoes, which at max will only let you take three hits from enemies. The game also introduced some new elements to platforming, specifically by adding contextual parts to travel, which would be indicated with faint blue sparkles. If you held the O button while near these sparkles, Sly would land on needle edge points, or sneak alongside ledges. This helped add variety to a large portion of traveling and sneaking around the maps.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus actually garnered generally high reviews, with most reviewers giving it a score of 8 or higher, though there were a few that gave it a 6. For being a project requested by Sony to create a new PlayStation mascot, I believe they were somewhat successful. Even though he’s not as recognizable as say, Crash Bandicoot or even Spyro the dragon, he’s found a strong place in the hearts of those who enjoyed a stealth action game that wasn’t as complicated as say Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid.
Thankfully this game is still quite available to many, so long as you at least have a PS2 or PS3 around, and it’s likely we’ll see another remaster for it eventually. I hope that some of you may be willing to give it a shot, as it’s an amazing game that’s got some witty banter that even as an adult can be quite entertaining.