One of Bentley's specialties, hacking is the act of infiltrating adversarial computer systems in order to gain information or interfere with operations. It usually takes the form of a twin-stick shooter, where Bentley controls an avatar representing his progression through the computer system. Successfully hacking any system requires overcoming various obstacles to achieve the end goal of, most frequently, reaching a completion point. However, other objectives have included collecting items or defeating bosses.
Hacking became a staple of the series with its introduction in Sly 2: Band of Thieves. In this game, hacking helped Bentley free both Sly and Murray from the Contessa's rehabilitation prison. He used it in subsequent missions to steal the Clockwerk eyes and free Carmelita from the Contessa, as well as to shut down one of the engines on Arpeggio's blimp.
In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, Bentley hacked into the Black Baron's air control tower in order to give Team Cooper an advantage in the ACES competition. In China, Bentley hacked into General Tsao's network to obtain information on his wedding plans.
In Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, Bentley makes use of three different hacking programs: Alter Ego, Spark Runner and System Cracker. He is now also able to hack remotely via a device placed onto the computer to be hacked.
A unique hacking minigame is featured in Sly 1. Bentley's avatar closely resembles Bentley himself and fires large, green missiles. The objective is to collect all 13 security codes by freeing them from green data packets. Bentley's avatar has a health bar with five slots, and contacting any part of the data packets will deplete one slot of health. Collecting one security code triggers the appearance of Clockwerk's security drone. The drone has a single, ranged attack that can kill Bentley instantly.
System Cracker is the most common form of hacking seen throughout the series. Introduced in Sly 2 and reappearing in all subsequent games,[note 1] the objective is to reach a docking gate at the end of the level while overcoming enemies and other obstacles.
Appearing in Thieves in Time, Alter Ego features Bentley navigating a muscular, gun-wielding version of himself through a computer CPU. The goal is to reach and defeat the CPU core, which is depicted as a hostile, one-eyed enemy. Along the way, Bentley must face other foes, namely nano bots and nano cannons.
Appearing in Thieves in Time, Spark Runner involves navigating a spark through a circuit under time pressure. This hacking minigame is unique in that the DualShock 3/Sixaxis motion control, rather than the analog stick, is used to control Bentley's avatar.
Hacking appears in several jobs, as listed below. Note that System Cracker is the only minigame present in Sly 2 and Sly 3.
- Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
- Sly 2: Band of Thieves
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
- Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
- I Smell a Rat (System Cracker)
- Something's Fishy (Alter Ego)
- Pretty in Pinker (Spark Runner)
- Cooper for Hire (System Cracker)
- Operation: Gold Digger (Alter Ego)
- Operation: Jurassic Thievery (Spark Runner)
- Cane Swipe (Alter Ego)
- Short Supply (Spark Runner)
- Shell Shocked Heart (System Cracker, Alter Ego)
- Rug Rats (Spark Runner)
- Copy Cats (System Cracker)
- Up in Smoke (Alter Ego)
- All Rolled Up! (Spark Runner)
- ↑ The name "System Cracker" is first used for the minigame in Thieves in Time. Said minigame is very similar to the hacking minigames in Sly 2 and Sly 3, so the name has been extended to those depictions as well.