RELEASE: 9/2002 | PUB: Sony | DEVELOPER: Sucker Punch | ESRB: E for Everyone
One game you might not see coming is the sneaky HD remaster of Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus. For a game released on the PS1 back in 2002 this game is still solid. I don’t have the nostalgic feelings for Sly that some of you readers might but it was a free PS Plus download and I was willing to give it a shot. As a fan of 3D platformers, particularly of the Insomniac variety this is quite an adventure. Originally released on the heels of some favorite platformers of the 90’s like Mario Bros., Sonic and Crash Bandicoot. Sly Cooper feels like “the missing link” in evolution. If evolution involved a Spyro game growing into a modern Ratchet & Clank game.
One could place Sly Cooper safely into the kids game category based on it’s graphics but to ignore because of that would be missing out on a solid character and fun adventure. Sly Cooper features anthropomorphic characters that are large and charismatic. From the hammer smashing bad guys to the dynamic Inspector Carmelita Montoya Fox each has personality and a specific weakness to look for.
Sly was born into a long line of raccoon master thieves. He is eager to make his mark on the world. The most important thing in the world to Sly is his families historical, great book: The Thievius Raccoonus and someone has stolen it. His childhood buddies Murray and Bentley (a pig and turtle) have become his cohorts. They make up a part of the back story and modestly help Sly in his mission to recover the missing family artifact.
Traverse through six worlds each with 6-7 sub levels that will try Sly’s dexterity. The goal of each level is to steal a key from a suspect in The Thievius Raccoonus robbery. They keys will then open a path to facing the suspects themselves in a boss fight. Most levels involve Sly bouncing around and avoiding detection but there are a few vehicle levels and gun shooting levels mixed in.
Controlling Sly is spot on, with simple jumps, double jumps and slides. Sly is armed with his trusty hooked cane which he can use to hit objects and swing on ropes. As a master thief himself he also has an array of stealthy maneuvers he can pull off. When a stealth move need to be before they are indicated in game with blue lights. Simply push the designated button and scamper across a rope, lean in against the wall or pull off some acrobatic jumps only someone with a tail could manage.
While the game isn’t “hard”, meaning kids could play it, it is ruthless. Sly is only given five lives before having to continue and with each life only takes one hit. There are power ups that will allow you to extend the damage you can take by one or two hits but they are not easy to hold on to. Expect to die often, as you memorize what you need to do to complete a level. It’s nice to play a game with stakes like this, with modern games I think we have become too accustomed to regenerating health rather than flawless gameplay.
Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus is the first in line of games. Sly Cooper 2 and 3 are also available on PSN in HD remake form. A new release, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, is scheduled for early 2013 featuring PS Cross-Play. Sly Cooper cross play will allow gamers to play on their PS3 and then continue that game on their PS Vita when on the go.
A classic platformer game with solid game mechanics that holds up over 10 years? An easy B from Gamedae. It's a quick, good-looking platformer just challenging enough to keep your attention. Taking some points off for a few jagged edges in the graphics the HD re-master didn't fix. Also, the story itself is a little shallow but it boasts 5-6 hours of great gameplay, character designs and even a few laughs. Pick it up for nostalgic reasons or if you missed it back in the PS2 days. Sure there are more modern choices available for platformer fans, with all the bells and whistles but after playing through Sly Cooper I know you won’t be disappointed.
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