Sly 2: Band of Thieves is a stealth-action platforming video game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is the second installment in the Sly Cooper series and a sequel to Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. It was initially released on September 14, 2004 for the PlayStation 2. It was later re-released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita as part of a remastered HD collection, developed by Sanzaru Games, on November 9, 2010 and April 16, 2014, respectively.
Set two years after the events of the previous game, Sly 2 follows titular protagonist, Sly Cooper, and his partners in crime, Bentley and Murray. The story centers around their mission to defeat the Klaww Gang and steal the scattered pieces of Sly's archenemy, Clockwerk.
The Cooper Gang broke into the Cairo Museum of Natural History in order to steal the Clockwerk parts. However, they were caught by Inspector Carmelita Fox and Constable Neyla, who mentioned that the parts have already been stolen. Neyla purposely hinted that the parts might have been stolen by a group of criminals known as the Klaww Gang. After escaping the museum, the Cooper Gang began tracking down the Klaww Gang.The trio first traveled to Paris and stole the Clockwerk Tail Feathers back from Dimitri Lousteau, a club owner and "underworld celebrity," who was using the feathers as a printing press for forged money due their unique alloy being unaffected to wear. While there, Sly was confronted by Neyla, who claimed that she wanted to help the gang collect and destroy the Clockwerk parts. After putting the forger behind bars, the gang head off to India, where they stole back the Clockwerk wings from Rajan, a tiger who controlled the Klaww Gang's illegal spice operations and used the wings to earn prestige. After pursuing Rajan into the jungle, the trio managed to steal back the Clockwerk heart. Unfortunately, the gang was double-crossed by Neyla, who got them, along with a framed Carmelita, arrested by The Contessa, a high-ranking prison warden whose mastery of hypnosis to "re-educate" criminals has earned her a reputation within INTERPOL.
Being the only one to not be captured, Bentley traveled to Prague to free Sly and Murray from the Contessa's prison. In the process, he learned that the Contessa was a secret Klaww Gang member, using the illegal spice as part of her hypnosis techniques so that the thieves in her care would confess where they've hidden all of their wealth. Though the Contessa initially escaped, the gang tracked her down and stole the Clockwerk eyes from her, freeing Carmelita in the process. The Contessa was brought to trial for the crimes she committed, and Carmelita (still a framed cop) reluctantly took Sly's help in an escape.
The gang then tracked down the next Klaww Gang member, Jean Bison, to steal the Clockwerk Lungs and Stomach and Clockwerk Talons. However, Bison captured the three of them at his lumber camp and sold all of their Clockwerk parts to the final Klaww Gang member, Arpeggio. The trio defeated Bison and snuck aboard Arpeggio's airship as part of a Trojan Horse-type plan. In doing so, they were forced to leave the team van behind, much to Murray's dismay.
The trio's journey culminated in a confrontation with Arpeggio. They learned that he and Neyla have been working together all along and have managed to reconstruct Clockwerk's body. Arpeggio revealed that he intended to hypnotize the citizens of Paris (that have consumed spice from Dimitri's nightclub) into a state of rage and hatred in order to obtain immortality once he has merged with Clockwerk's body. However, Neyla double-crossed him and bonded herself with the Clockwerk frame. Dubbing herself "Clock-La," she killed Arpeggio and flew away.Knowing that they needed to act fast, the gang worked together to disable the blimp's engines to stop Clock-La from drawing energy. After some help from Carmelita, the mechanical hybrid was beaten and crashed down into Paris. Bentley managed to grab Clock-La's Hate Chip, but his legs were crushed by her beak in the process. Murray managed to free him before Clock-La exploded. Carmelita, who was angry at not having had a whack at Clock-La herself, crushed the Hate Chip, thereby killing Neyla and ending Clockwerk's reign of terror on the Cooper Clan.
Carmelita suddenly decided to place all the gang under arrest, but Sly decided to give himself up peacefully in exchange for letting Murray and Bentley go. Carmelita, who was reinstated as an INTERPOL agent and given a promotion by her boss, took Sly on board a helicopter. Although initially silent, the two began conversing about past adventures and interests, prompting Sly to relate it to a first date. However, as Carmelita was about to share some champagne she'd been saving for Sly's arrest, she realized that the short journey has taken over two hours. Whilst she checked the cockpit, Sly realized that Bentley and Murray left him with a little parting gift by rigging the chopper to fly in circles. As Sly made his escape by paragliding out of the chopper, Carmelita remarked that she'll see him again soon.
- Sly Cooper (Age: 20): The leader of the Cooper Gang and a master thief. He'll need help from Murray and Bentley to steal the Clockwerk parts.
- Bentley (Age: 20): The demolitions expert of the Cooper Gang, Bentley has now taken to the field to help Sly and Murray pull off heists. He lends his gadgetry and knowledge to the team.
- Murray (Age: 20): Having grown braver and more courageous, he now helps the team on the field using mass muscle.
- Dimitri Lousteau: A nightclub owner iguana from Paris who specializes in forgery of paintings.
- Rajan: A power-hungry tiger from India who grows spice for the Klaww Gang.
- Jean Bison: A bison who uses his trains to ship the Klaww Gang's spice throughout North America.
- Arpeggio: The mechanical expert of the Klaww Gang who is very sensitive of his inability to fly.
- Inspector Carmelita Fox (Age: 23): Love interest of Sly Cooper and INTERPOL agent who constantly chases after the Cooper Gang.
- Constable Neyla: Carmelita's partner who is not exactly who she seems to be.
- The Contessa: A high-ranking prison warden working for INTERPOL. She has gained a reputation for using hypnosis in order to "re-educate" criminals.
In Sly 2, as in the first game, the player controls Sly Cooper who makes use of stealth and agility to perform acts of thievery. He retains many abilities from the first game, including some of those he learned from the Thievius Raccoonus, such as (but not limited to) the dive collection technique, Ninja Spire Jump and Rail Walk.
In addition to Sly, the player also takes control of both Bentley and Murray, who now have fully fleshed out move-sets, as opposed to their limited gameplay appearances in the first game. Bentley's methods of interaction are less direct than either Sly's or Murray's. He can't perform many acts of agility, such as climbing or jumping long distances, but he is equipped with bombs and a crossbow that fires sleep darts. These can be used in conjunction to put enemies to sleep before blowing them up, while the bombs alone can be used to destroy enemy equipment. He can also interact with enemy computers to hack them, which appears as a top-down twin stick shooter.
In contrast to Sly's stealthiness and Bentley's indirection, Murray uses his strength to fight enemies head on. He can take out groups of guards with ease using different techniques, such as Diablo Fire Slam, Thunder Flop and Fists of Flame. He is also capable of picking up objects and guards and throwing them, or slamming them on the ground.
Like its predecessor, Sly 2 is divided into episodes, each taking place in a different location. Unlike the first game, however, Sly 2 doesn't focus on treasure keys as the goal of each mission; instead, the levels are more open and tend towards a grander goal, usually culminating in a heist. Within each of these larger levels (still called "hubs" despite tending away from the hub-and-spoke design) are safe houses (also called "hideouts"), where the player can switch from one playable character to another (or escape from enemies) and clue bottles, with a total of 30 per episode. These clues unlock a single vault within the hub (or one of several smaller levels accessed from the hub) containing a power-up.
Loot and power-ups
Another new feature added to the game is pickpocketing. When Sly sneaks up behind a guard, he can reach out with his cane and steal coins out of their pocket. The amount of coins per guard varies, and the coins go directly into the total coin count. A gold aura around an guard's pocket denotes that they are carrying a piece of loot; once Sly takes the loose coins, he can steal the loot and sell it later back at the safe house. Murray and Bentley cannot pickpocket.
Similar items to loot are treasures, which can be found on pedestals located throughout every hub world. Just like loot, the player can sell a treasure for coins, provided they can return it to the hideout without taking any damage. Much of the treasure is booby-trapped and must be brought back to the hideout quickly; if the timer runs out, it will disappear and the player will have to go pick it up again.
Using collected coins, the player can purchase power-ups (also called gadgets) for each character from an online store known as ThiefNet. Sly's power-ups center around stealth and evasiveness, Murray's centers around power and combat, and Bentley's consist mainly of gadgets and gizmos. Most power-ups need to be assigned to a button via the "Gadget Grid" (accessed with ); others have more passive effects.
In lieu of the one-hit death and Lucky Charm system from the first game, each character now has a health bar called the Thief Meter. Health is diminished every time the player is attacked by an enemy or comes in contact with hazards such as water, fire, electricity and many others. If it is fully depleted, the selected character will respawn and any job in progress must be restarted from a checkpoint. The meter can be refilled by collecting health pickups dropped from defeated enemies or broken objects. Located beneath the Thief Meter is the Gadget Meter, which depletes whenever the player uses most power-ups. When it is completely depleted, the player can no longer use those power-ups. Just like the Thief Meter, the Gadget Meter can be refilled by collecting health pickups.
The PS2 version of the game makes use of the PlayStation 2's optional USB microphone, allowing the player to use the sound of their own voice to distract enemies.
Sly 2 has a total of eight episodes, with a prelude level that starts the game. The episodes are as follows:
- Prologue: A Shadow from the Past
- The Black Chateau
- A Starry Eyed Encounter
- The Predator Awakes
- A Tangled Web
- He Who Tames the Iron Horse
- Menace from the North, eh!
- Anatomy for Disaster
Sucker Punch Productions began work on Sly 2 immediately after the release of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. The first mention of the game was in an advertisement broadcast on MTV on March 9, 2004. The game was officially announced by Sucker Punch Productions the following day and also appeared on the April 2004 edition of the Official PlayStation Magazine. Later that year, Sly 2 was showcased at the Electronics Entertainment Expo. Two gameplay videos and one trailer were shown.
Behind the scenes
Originally, there were plans to make a level based in Monaco, in which there would have been a job where Bentley crashed a yacht into the docks. Additionally, the original design of the Thief Meter showed the percentage of health remaining for the current character, and the bosses in the game had health bars that looked much like the bosses' health bars from Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus. Both of these designs were altered in the final game.
Sly 2 was well-received and holds a GameRankings score of 87.92% and Metacritic score of 88/100, the highest for a Sly Cooper game. The game was praised for its gameplay, story and visuals, but criticized for its lack of difficulty and its excessive length.
The soundtrack for Sly 2: Band of Thieves was composed by Peter McConnell. It was never officially released.
- The final cinematic in the game is the only one in the series that has a character actually speaking.
- Starting from Sly 2, the font used for most of the text is "Blambot Casual," which is even used on the 'Sony Computer Entertainment presents' screen (not in the Sly Collection). Occasionally, the font "Badaboom" is used in cinematic cutscenes, which is most noticeable when the game tells you to "go outside" after the credits.
- Sly 2 has the most episodes of any game in the series, with a total of eight so far.
- Sony sponsored a Toonami giveaway from September 6 – 18, 2004 for Sly 2. Contestants would watch Toonami on September 11 and 18 for a toll-free number. Calling it would enter the contestant into the competition. One grand prize winner received a copy of Sly 2: Band of Thieves, a 42" Plasma WEGA Integrated Plasma Television, a DVD Dream System, a fully automatic turntable and a limited edition PlayStation 2 console. 500 first-place winners received a copy of Sly 2: Band of Thieves. This was the second Toonami giveaway for the Sly Cooper series.
- In this game, Sly is the only playable character who doesn't serve as the starting character for a heist.
- Sly 2 is the only game in the series where the final episode can be free roamed throughout the story.
- Sly 2 is the only game in the series in which jobs cannot be replayed.
- A demo for Ratchet & Clank 3 is included in the PlayStation 2 PAL release of Sly 2, and can be accessed by pressing and holding ,, , and on the main menu.