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Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (Sly Raccoon in PAL territories, Kaitou Sly Cooper in Japan) is a stealth-action platforming video game created by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002 and was subsequently republished as a "Greatest Hits" title.[2] The game, along with its two sequels, was eventually remastered by Sanzaru Games as part of The Sly Collection, which was released for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in 2010 and 2014, respectively. It is the first video game in the Sly Cooper series, and it received a sequel, Sly 2: Band of Thieves, in 2004.

The game managed to sell over one million copies and was acknowledged as a commercial hit due to the low production cost of the game. Since its release, the game has acquired a strong fan base.

The game focuses on the eponymous protagonist and master thief Sly Cooper and his two friends, Bentley the Turtle and Murray the Hippo, as they track down the Fiendish Five to recover the Cooper family's Thievius Raccoonus.

Synopsis

Plot

The first appearance of the Fiendish Five

The game uses cutscenes to present the background of Sly Cooper, a raccoon descendant from a long line of master thieves. However, that lineage became crippled when a gang known as the Fiendish Five — led by Clockwerk, a cyborg-like owl with a hatred for the Cooper line — killed Sly's father, Conner Cooper, while Sly was eight years old. The gang also got their hands on the Thievius Raccoonus, a book recording the journeys and skills of every Cooper ancestor. The book was split into five pieces among the Fiendish Five and dispersed within their lairs. Broke and alone, Sly was then taken to the Happy Camper Orphanage, where he became close friends with the intelligent Bentley and the happy-go-lucky Murray. The three eventually left the orphanage and formed the Cooper Gang, pulling off amazing heists and robberies. Their activities attracted the attention of INTERPOL Inspector Carmelita Fox, who made it her mission to capture Sly, and he took a subtle, romantic interest in her.

The Cooper Gang at the orphanage

Once Sly managed to steal a police file from Inspector Fox's office, he and his gang learned the location of each Fiendish Five member and then plotted together to retrieve the stolen book. The raccoon took down each villain in their respective lairs, recovering a majority of the pages from the book and reassembling it piece by piece until finally, he discovered the location of Clockwerk's lair, all the while being furiously chased by Carmelita. After an assault on Clockwerk's fortress with help from Bentley, Murray and even Carmelita, Sly was able to defeat Clockwerk and fully reassemble the Thievius Raccoonus. Carmelita, keeping her word on an earlier promise, gave Sly a ten-second head start. However, once those ten seconds were up, Sly suddenly kissed her, which was enough of a distraction for him to handcuff her to the catwalk on which they stood, allowing him and his gang to make their escape.

After the credits, a severely wounded and seemingly dead Clockwerk, floating in lava, opened his eye, showing that despite his defeat, he was still somewhat alive, setting up the premise for the next game.

Episodes

There are five episodes in Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, as well as a prologue.

Characters

Cooper Gang
  • Sly Cooper (Age: 18) — The main playable character in the game. He is a young adult male raccoon who is part of a long line of master thieves. Early in his life, he witnessed the death of his mother and father when the Fiendish Five stole his family's Thievius Raccoonus. He was forced into an orphanage, where he met his best friends, Bentley and Murray. Together, they formed the Cooper Gang. He is the nimblest of the gang, therefore he is sent out the most on missions. He uses a hooked cane, a family heirloom, as a multi-purpose tool.
  • Bentley (Age: 18) — The brains of Sly's gang. Bentley is a turtle, a trusted, loyal friend of Sly, and an expert in computer hacking and other electronic devices. He is also quite well-read, often stating "I've read about this..." when deducing something new and alien to the team. He met Sly and Murray in the orphanage.
  • Murray (Age: 18) — The muscle of Sly's gang. He is a strong, muscular but slightly dim-witted and rotund hippopotamus who serves as the getaway driver for Sly's gang. He met both Sly and Bentley when the three of them were growing up in the same orphanage. Murray's driving skills came from his job as a pizza delivery boy, during which he hot-wired cars and was eventually fired for eating too many pizzas. Murray is quite large and has an enormous appetite.
INTERPOL
  • Carmelita Fox (Age: 21) — Carmelita Fox acts as a love-hate interest to Sly. She is an INTERPOL inspector who always chases after Sly, attempting to arrest him and put him in solitary confinement. Deep down, however, she has romantic feelings for Sly.
Fiendish Five
  • Raleigh — Raleigh was born into a life of nobility and privilege but eventually grew bored with it. On a whim, he tried his hand at piracy and found it to his liking. As he became addicted to crime, he was eventually recruited by the Fiendish Five as their chief engineer because of his fondness to make monster machines. After the attack on the Cooper home, Raleigh took off with the notes of Rioichi Cooper. Years later, Raleigh had established himself near the Isle of Wrath, situated in the center of his artificially created Welsh Triangle. He used his storm machine to control the local weather conditions and wreck a large number of ships, that way he could plunder them for loot.
  • Muggshot — Muggshot is a massive American bulldog. When he was young, he was the runt of the litter and was frequently bullied by larger dogs. He found solace only in mobster movies and came to admire the tough, brutal criminals and how they took no guff from anyone. Inspired, he strove to be like them, therefore he started to lift weights and take steroids. Growing to massive size, especially in the arms, he eventually took revenge on his former tormentors and became a well-known enforcer and gunman, eventually being recruited by the Fiendish Five and taking part in the raid on the Cooper household that killed Sly's father. Muggshot took the section of the Thievius Raccoonus that contained "Tennessee Kid" Cooper's notes on the Raccoon Rail Walk and Rail Slide, liking the pretty pictures but not understanding all the big words. After the Fiendish Five parted ways, he later took over Mesa City in Utah, where he set up a massive casino and drove off the vast majority of the residents.
  • Mz. Ruby — Mz. Ruby is a large, Haitian alligator who came from a long family of voodoo mystics. She was feared throughout her childhood for her abilities, becoming incredibly lonely and finding solace only in her undead companions. Growing up, this loneliness turned to bitterness. Mz. Ruby refined her art until Clockwerk recruited her as the mystic specialist for the Fiendish Five. She took part in the raid on the Cooper house, taking the section of the Thievius Raccoonus that contained Slytunkhamen Cooper's notes on how to become invisible. Following this, she went out on her intent on using her magic to punish the world for fearing her as a child. She planned to harvest bones and body parts, and create an army of zombies to take over Mexico.
  • Panda King — The Panda King resided in the Kunlun Mountains of China. He loved the fireworks set off by the rich noblemen every New Year, and he decided to invest in them. One night, he tried to offer his fireworks to the rich noblemen. However, they were not pleased with his shabby clothes, and they chased him away. Humiliated and enraged, he started using his firework creations to bury villages in snow. This earned him the position of demolitions expert of the Fiendish Five. During the raid on the Cooper home, he made off with Otto van Cooper's section of the Thievius Raccoonus.
  • Clockwerk — Clockwerk is a huge, Russian Eurasian Eagle-owl, the main antagonist and arguably the arch-enemy of Sly Cooper. A long-time rival of the Cooper Clan, Clockwerk was directly responsible for the murder of Conner Cooper and made it his goal in life to destroy Sly's line. This obsession led him to slowly replace his organic body parts with robotic ones until his entire body (including his internal organs) was mechanized. This, combined with his jealousy and hatred of the Cooper Clan, made him essentially immortal. Ten years before the events of the first game, Clockwerk, along with the Fiendish Five, attacked Conner and killed him before stealing the Thievius Raccoonus. Despite his knowledge of Sly's existence, he spared his life in an attempt to prove to the world that the Cooper Clan was nothing without the book, a belief that Sly quickly proved wrong.

Gameplay

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is primarily a platforming video game presented in third-person that incorporates stealth elements. As noted by an Official PlayStation Magazine retrospective, the game "tries to mix one-hit-kill arcade action with "Splinter Cell" sneaking." The player primarily controls the title character, Sly Cooper, as he moves between each lair of the Fiendish Five and the subsections of those lairs, avoiding security systems and the watchful eyes of guards. While Sly is equipped with a cane to attack his foes, he typically can take only a single hit before collapsing; thus, the player is urged to use stealthy maneuvers to move around potential threats or to silently take down a foe from behind.

Introduction of stealth auras

To assist in these stealth moves, the player is able to interact with special points colored with blue sparkles of light, identified in the game as "stealth auras." By pressing circle, the player can trigger actions at these points, such as sidling along a narrow ledge or wall, landing on a pointed object such as an antenna or streetlight, using Sly's cane to grapple onto something or climbing along the length of a narrow pole or pipe. The player must avoid detection by security systems or minions, otherwise, an alarm will be triggered, and the player will either have to destroy the alarm, avoid or defeat foes alerted by the alarm or hide for several seconds until the alarm resets. The game uses a dynamic music system that is tied in with the state of alarm in the area. The music will increase in volume and pacing when Sly attacks or is detected and then will quiet down as the disturbance goes away.

Vault gameplay

Each sub-section of a lair contains several clue bottles, which when all are collected, with the help of Bentley, will reveal the combination to a safe in the level that contains a page from the Thievius Raccoonus. One of the vaults in each lair contains the lair's blueprints. These pages also grant Sly new moves that aid either in movement, stealth or combat, such as creating a decoy or dropping an explosive hat. Defeating each of the bosses also rewards Sly with moves, which are necessary to navigate through later levels.

Bringing up the binocucom is the best method for finding clues and breakables. While the binocucom is not controllable during character conversations, the characters' heads can be moved. The left stick controls Bentley and Murray's heads, and the right stick controls Sly's.

Defeating enemies or destroying objects in the environment spawn coins, which can also be found scattered about the levels. For every hundred coins, Sly gains a Lucky Charm, which will allow him to take extra hits, or if he has two, he will receive an extra life. If Sly collapses and loses a life, either the current sub-level will need to be repeated or he will respawn at a signal repeater, which serves as a checkpoint in most levels. If the player loses all of Sly's lives, they will need to restart the current episode from the beginning. Besides this, some minigames include racing levels (completed by Murray), shooting to protect Murray as he ascends certain levels and a cyber-tank game representing a hacking attempt by Bentley. One notable boss battle includes a rhythm-based sequence.

Master Thief Sprints can be done in certain levels after they have been completed and their vaults have been opened. These are timed sprints that the player can perform within the level to try to beat a set time. The player can unlock additional artistic content by completing all the sprints. This content, however, has been removed from the remaster (for both the PS3 and PS Vita) but is kept in the digital release from the PlayStation Network.

Full map of the Isle of Wrath, with all locations discovered

Each hub world includes a map, which can be used to keep track of gameplay statistics such as collected keys, opened vaults and completed Master Thief Sprints. Levels can be revisited any time to gain additional coins or seek out special moves. Each map can be viewed at any time in an episode but can also be viewed from the hideout after the respective episodes have been completed. The Sly Cooper symbol is used on each map as a cursor to allow players to select locations. The maps can be used to access areas that have already been explored and also return to the hideout.

Development

Graphics and visuals

According to an interview with Sucker Punch, the team decided to go with a rendering style they called "Toon-shading," which is the process of comparing cell-shading foregrounds with detailed backgrounds to those seen in animated movies. The reason for this is because they wanted to make the world of Sly Cooper look illustrated but realistic as well. To create the backgrounds, the team gathered up hundreds of reference photos and drawings of places they wanted to include in the game. Each of the characters went through many revisions before they were finalized.[3]

Reception

Aggregator Score
Metacritic 86/100[4]
Publication Score
Eurogamer 8.0/10[5]
IGN 8.5/10[6]
GameSpot 7.8/10[7]
GameSpy 4.5/5 [8]
Game Revolution B+ [9]

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus was critically acclaimed as a "top-notch" platformer; particularly praised for its platforming/stealth gameplay, its engaging story and its cel-shaded visuals, which gave a "noir" feel to the otherwise lighthearted game. On the downside, the game was criticized for its short length, though many reviews have stated that apart from finding all the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus, the game has moderate replay value.

Other

Sony sponsored a Toonami giveaway for the game on January 3, 2003. Contestants would watch Toonami on that date for a toll-free number. Calling it would enter the contestant into the competition. There were a total of 25 grand prize winners who received a copy of Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus and a PlayStation 2 console, and 500 first-place winners received a copy of the game. This was the first Toonami giveaway for the Sly Cooper series.[10]

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus was composed by Ashif Hakik, though it was never officially released. Because of this, there may be more songs than listed, and the names of the songs may not be correct.

Regional differences

Three different covers were created for the game — North American, European and Japanese. While named Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus in North America, it is named Sly Raccoon in Europe. An additional cover was made for the "Greatest Hits" release in North America.

The Japanese release of the game includes a vocal theme song named Blackjack, which was sung by the group Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. Also, the Japanese version features full, anime-style animation for the introduction and ending sequences, as opposed to the limited flash-style animation seen in other animated sequences in the game.

While the Japanese introduction is available in the North American and PAL versions, the Japanese ending is only available in the PAL version. The actual Japanese version of the game was well known for two separate sets of Japanese voice actors used for Sly, Bentley, Murray and Carmelita. Since Sly 3, different Japanese voice actors were cast for the characters, which carried over to the Japanese version of The Sly Collection. Also in the Japanese release of the remaster, other voice actors were changed, and practically all of the Japanese dialogue was revised.

The Japanese release features a demo reel that is triggered upon remaining inactive on the title screen for a while. This became an unlockable bonus in the American release.

Since Sly Raccoon released in 2003 in European regions, it was originally released under each European country's rating system, such as ELSPA and SELL. However, it was re-released at an unknown time with either a PEGI 3+ or PEGI 7+ rating, depending on the region.

Unlike the other games in the series, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus was never dubbed in Finnish.

Production credits

Staff

Role Staff
Producers Brian Fleming
Darren Rice
Grady Hunt (SCE)
Ryoichi Hasegawa (SCE)
Sam Thompson (SCE)
Greg Phillips (SCE)
Designers Nate Fox
Rob McDaniel
Dev Madan
Caroline Trujillo
Programmers Chris Zimmerman
Bruce Oberg
Chris Bentzel
Brian Yamasaki
Chris Heidorn
Gary Burd
Darrell Plank
Artists Dev Madan
Reid Johnson
Travis Kotzebue
Karin (Yamagiwa) Madan
Peter Chan
Tom Mabe
Lara Y. Schneider
Steve Rowse
Peter Dollack
Andres Calzada
Hokyo Lim
Matthew Morgaine
Tom Zuber
Ian Stout
Suzanne Kaufman
Kelle Deforrest
Augie Pagan
Andrew Woods
Composer Ashif Hakik
Boyd Post
Ian Rodia

Voice cast

Character Voiced by External links
Sly Cooper Kevin Miller Website · Wikipedia
Bentley Matt Olsen IMDb
Murray Chris Murphy IMDb
Carmelita Fox Roxana Ortega Website · IMDb
Raleigh Kevin Blackton
(uncredited)
IMDb
Muggshot
Panda King
Clockwerk
Mz. Ruby Prescilliana Esparolini IMDb

External links

References

  1. Book: Monthly PlayStation Handbook Volume 3
  2. Website: Sony Mediaroom; Article: Sony Computer Entertainment America Expands Extensive 'Greatest Hits' Software Library by Adding Three New Titles; URL: http://sony.mediaroom.com/2003-09-11-Sony-Computer-Entertainment-America-Expands-Extensive-Greatest-Hits-Software-Library-by-Adding-Three-New-Titles
  3. Website: YouTube; Video: Sly Cooper Making of (Behind the Scenes Movie); URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr5pNWXukp8
  4. Website: Metacritic; Article: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus; URL: https://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-2/sly-cooper-and-the-thievius-raccoonus
  5. Website: Eurogamer; Article: Sly Raccoon: Kristian moonlights as a Thievius Raccoonus; URL: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_slyraccoon_ps2
  6. Website: IGN; Article: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus; URL: http://www.ign.com/articles/2002/09/20/sly-cooper-and-the-thievius-raccoonus (archive)
  7. Website: Gamespot; Article: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus Review; URL: https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/sly-cooper-and-the-thievius-raccoonus-review/1900-2881066/
  8. Website: Gamespy; Article: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus; URL: http://ps2.gamespy.com/playstation-2/sly-cooper-and-the-thievius-raccoonus/538849p1.html (archive)
  9. Website: Game Revolution; Article: Niftius Gamicus; URL: http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/33494-niftius-gamicus-review
  10. Website: YouTube; Video: Sly Cooper - Toonami Sweepstakes; URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uilyE9hiaRc