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Sly Cooper

Developer: Sucker Punch | Publisher: SCEA
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/23/02 | Genre: Platform

Most of the time, players control characters on the good side of the law. However, in Sony's latest platform title, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, you control Sly who is on a quest to steal... er, recover... his family's book--the Thievius Raccoonus. However, following our sly thief every step of the way is Inspector Carmelita Montoya Fox. Sly definitely has a thing for Carmelita. If only they were on the same side of the law...

After breaking into Carmelita's office in the first level, Sly must go after the Fiendish Five--who stole the Thievius Raccoonus from his family. As the name suggests, these are five bosses that Sly must overcome. Instead of just walking into a world and defeating a boss, he will need to recover five keys to advance through half of the world and an additional two keys in the second part of the world. Each world is a big map that has holographic points where players can enter a new level. This is similar to what the Mario games have done in Sunshine and Mario 64. However, the big difference is that in each of the 쨵b worldsn Sly Cooper, have enemies running around. At times, you will have to find a way to get around these enemies in order to enter the world you are attempting to get into.

The thing that amazes me most about Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is the graphics. This game has style. Developer Sucker Punch has created a cel shaded world like no other. The game uses this technology to create a living, breathing world with cartoon like graphics without the standard 줡rk linesel shaded world. Sucker Punch pulls this off by making a dark world to give our thief protagonist a world to sneak into. Light also plays a big role in the game. Enemies carry flashlights, bright laser beams shoot from the air, and dangerous beams light up pathways. This illuminates the world and, although I have already stated this, gives the game a style that has not been seen in another cel shaded game before.

One of the game's week points are the enemies found within the world. They are very stagnant, lifeless, and have horrible AI. Each of the basic enemies have one move that they do over and over. If you run away from an enemy, they won't even chase you. However, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus has issues with hit detection. At times, when you jump towards and enemy and try to hit them, they will die (it takes only one hit). However, other times, you will miss you hit because your cane just won't extend far enough. Since you can only get hit once unless you obtain a silver or gold horseshoe, things can become frustrating.

To make things a little easier, developer Sucker Punch has made it pretty easy to obtain these silver and gold horseshoes. There are some scattered throughout the different worlds. However, the best way to obtain the horseshoes is to collect 100 coins and not die. Once you collect 100 coins, you will receive a shiny silver horseshoe on your back. If you collect another 100 coins, the silver horseshoe will turn into a fancy gold horseshoe. A silver horseshoe will allow you to take an extra hit or fall into water/fire before dying. A gold horseshoe will allow you two hits instead of one. With the cheap hits from the AI as outlined above, this will help with the frustration.

The most annoying thing in Sly Cooper are the mini-games. Whether it is racing a truck or shooting crabs in a sub, these games are an exercise in frustration rather than skill. You will play them dozens of times before getting lucky enough to continue on. Unfortunately, they are required to defeat the level. It would have been much nicer to see Sucker Punch get rid of these mini games and include actual levels. The game is short enough as it is and additional levels would have added a little bit more gameplay time.

Besides these annoying elements, the control, music, and sound effects are great. The control provides many different moves to be easily executed. While some jumps can be difficult due to the camera, every move is simple to perform. X jumps, double X does a dumble jump, O allows Sly to climb ladders, ropes, and pipes, the right analog rotates the camera. As you proceed through the game, players will obtain ì?¡ster Thief Moves.î  You will be given instructions how to perform these moves when the time comes. At certain points during a level, you will see glowing blue balls around certain objects. To perform this basic ì?¡ster Thief Move,î ³imply hold down the O button. The game will change the music and sound effects to make you feel like you are sneaking around.

The biggest downside to Sly Cooper is the length of gameplay. This game will end far too quickly. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that Sucker Punch is hard at work on a sequel... Even with a shorter length, Sly Cooper and the Theivius Raccoonus is a must buy for all PlayStation 2 owners. This will probably end up being one of the must underrated titles of the year. But when the year ends and the games that were released on the PS2 are evaluated, Sly Cooper will rank up there as one of the best.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 10/30/02
ESRB Details: Mild Violence
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Screenshots for Sly Cooper

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