Sly Cooper & The Thievius Raccoonus

June 24, 2004

[floatleft][/floatleft]I resisted playing this game for a long time. I am really not sure why. Perhaps it was the title – Sly Cooper and the Theivious Racoonus – or perhaps it was the lack luster cover of the game. Who knows really. All I do know is that when Cone showed up with the game one day after work my curiosity got the better of me and I sat down and played. What I am telling you now is what happened in the minutes and hours that followed.

At first, I was really fired up about the game. I was quite sure it was going to end up on my favorites list. Then I kept playing and playing and pretty soon I wasn’t sure if I liked the game or despised it. Let me explain myself. Sly Cooper is your typical platform game. The thing that makes it different (and it really isn’t a good thing) is that it tends to get a tad repetitive. To sum up the story, you are a thief (not a criminal) and you come from a long line of thieves. Your ancestors put all of their super sneaky moves into a book called; you guessed it, the Theivious Racoonus. When you were just a wee raccoon a group of five criminals (not thieves) stole the Theivious Racoonus from your father and killed him right before your eyes (as you hid under a table). Thus, an orphan, you grow up and teach yourself all you can to be a super thief. You vow to avenge your father and retrieve the pages of the Theivious Racoonus (which they tore into five parts) from the criminals who stole it. This is, of course, with the help of your friend the turtle and the rhino. In the mean time, you have an on going battle with this fox lady detective, who is supposed to be, um, pardon the cheese, foxy. She is on a quest to “Get you next time Sly.” She is ridiculously easy to escape from by the way.

[floatright][/floatright]ANYWAY, you do exactly that in the game… find the pages of your missing book by running and jumping through levels in the five different “worlds” of each “boss.” You get to the boss by finding a certain number of keys that unlock a certain area. You will quickly realize that it would be much simpler to get a pair of really big pliers and cut the locks off… but what would the point of the game be then? What you will also quickly realize that all of the worlds and what you have to perform in each of them is almost too much like the level you just beat. No boss proved all that hard to beat either. Well, that is if you have a freaking horseshoe. You may now be asking yourself, what in the heck does a horseshoe have to do with a raccoon. Let me tell you – EVERYTHING. See, without the horseshoe charm you die after being hit once. Yes, one time. With the horseshoe it gives you a second chance to get by the baddies that you can kill most of in one or two hits. I am not kidding… you can die after being hit once… really. And it isn’t like these horseshoes are plentiful either. They aren’t, so it can be rather frustrating when there is a part that you are having difficulty passing because you can die a million times there. Now the nice thing is that there are plenty of check points throughout the levels so that when you do die after being hit once you can start out not too far from where you died. Unless, of course, you used up all of you lives. I think you get my point about the dying thing so I’ll shut up now.

Now that I have complained enough, I do have some points of praise for the game. It is a cell shaded game that was nicely created and the levels were fun to look at, though not nearly as in depth as the ones that Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank provide. The controls were very basic and easy to get down (which I always like). The game, overall, wasn’t that hard to master, which for some people may be a bad point. The storyline, while cheesy at times, was enjoyable and the raccoon super thief moves were cute. The music typically set the tone for the environment you were in and I always like that. There was enough to do in each level that you sometimes had to come back to get everything 100% completed, so while simple it wasn’t TOO simple. There were a few surprises thrown in too, like when you have to race the getaway van.

Okay, I just realized I have a few more complaints. You didn’t have any control over your super thief moves you learn. It would just choose the one that was appropriate for you at the time. That is fine, I guess, but there were times that I just wanted to mess around with my new found moves and you can’t. You can just walk and roll and jump… yay. It makes it blatantly obvious when you need to use a move because the thing or item you are supposed to be moving on or across sparkles blue. I guess it figures people aren’t smart enough to decide when to use and move and which to chose from. The other thing that I found odd about the game is that it could cause massive amounts of frustration to arise out of me from trying to accomplish the simplest tasks. Maybe that had something to do with my lack of horseshoes though. Also, the camera got a bit annoying. There are not many games with cameras I praise. It always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time causing you to die… after being hit once.

[floatleft][/floatleft]See what I mean… I sound like I didn’t like the game at all, but yet I find myself saying that I did. Is there something wrong with me? While, there is plenty to criticize about the game, overall, it was enjoyable and I had fun playing it, which if you ask me makes any game worth a shot. But yet I am still sitting here all confused as to whether or not I actually like Sly Cooper and the Theivious Racoonus. Here is my advice to you; if you like platform games that are a tad on the simple side, give it a try. If you like games with cell shaded graphics, give it a try. If you like raccoons, give it a try. Ah, the raccoon… perhaps that is why I like it.