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Sly Cooper and Thievius Raccoonus

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is maybe the slickest, slyest(no pun intended), pick-up-and-play platformer to grace the PS2, and definetly would of been the best if not for the lack of diffuculty and short story mode.

You play the roll of Sly Cooper the only living Cooper to live out the family tradition of being a theif mastermind. You're out to retrieve the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus which is the book that teaches every Cooper everything about being a thief. See when Sly was a young raccoon five unique baddies each took parts of the Thievius Racoonus and scattered to different parts of the world. So Sly goes out with only his trusty cane and his best budds Murray and Bentley to retrieve all the pages to the Thievius Raccoonus. There is Sir Raleigh the frog, Muggshot, Mz. Ruby, Panda King, and the mysterious ClockWerk. All of these members are essential to the group and have very intresting back stories. And remember all of these members live all around the world so you will travel to many enviroments with your friends since the beginning Bentley the brainy turtle who is the brains behind the operation and Murray the hippo who is the braun of the three-some. But on yo! ur journey you will also come in contact with Carmelita the Fox who always catches you at the wrong time and trys to bust you for crimes you didn't nesscarily do.

For a game based on a person who is stealthy there is surprisingly not much stealth. The little stealth there is comes into the form of a contact-sensitive button that you push when you see blue little blips of light around things that allow you to do very stealthy things. For example you can hide behind barrels, crawl along tight pillars, and walk along a tight-rope. You'll also be able to get new moves both stealthy and non to help along your quest. You get these by collecting bottles filled with clues. Once you collect enough bottles you can go to a lock safe found in the levels. Once you get all the bottles of clues you go to the safe and Bentley will contact you on the transmitor that the two talk to before each level and tells you the code to the safe. You then enter that code and you get another page of the Thievius Raccoonus that gives you a short cut-scene on a previous Cooper and explains his main skill and you learn it. There are everything from decoys which are just cardboard cut-outs in the shape of you, exploding hats, and the ability to become invisible. The trouble is there aren't too many times where these skills are needed so sometimes it seems like a waste. There are basic platformer controls of jumping and double jumping. You also have cane swipes, the special stealh button and the button to switch and use your special attacks. This game also uses one of the better cameras ever used in a platformer.

This game boasts the new Cel-shading and is probaly the best looking game to use it. Since if uses the comic-book like interface the enviroments look very realistic and it seems like it's jumping out right at you. Sly looks great in the cel-shading. Even the snow in the China levels are cel-shaded. Definetly one of the best looking games for the PS2.

This game comes with some solid sounds. Cane slaps, the sound of collecting coins and even the music getting higher and higher as you approach an enemy. You know that tippy-toe sound you hear in the old bugs bunny cartoons when he's about to come up and slap Elmer Fudd in the head? Well that's in here too. The character's voices are also very good and at times hilarious. Sly always sounds cool and slick in each line he delivers. Murray has the dopey voice of a lumbering loaf, which he is, but the best voice acting has the be Bentley. He's just flat out hilarious. His voice is always stuffed up and it sounds like he has a cold 24/7. Basically he has a nerd voice, and that's fitting because he is a nerd. Great voice-acting.

Lasting appeal:
This is the major flaw of the game. The game is very short. 10 hours tops. An experienced gamer will blow threw the story mode in about two sittings. Now this wouldn't of been such a big deal if the game wasn't so easy. There is little to no learning curb at all. Definetly a jump right into game that some people will love, but for the more experienced players they will be urning for more.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is a great platformer that is easy to get into, has some very slick looking graphics, and great voice acting. If only the game would of been a tad bit longer and a bit on the harder side the game would of been absolutely perfect. None the less it's definetly a must have for any platformer fan with a PS2, and if you don't have a PS2 you may want to get one for this.


- Blake Becker (GoinCommando)

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