Unsung Classics. Number 3: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus (PS2)

by PaulEMoz in , , , ,

Or Sly Raccoon, as it was known in the UK... which is stupid, because the lead character is actually called Sly Cooper and is referred to as Sly Cooper throughout the game.

Anyway. When you think of running-around-and-jumping games on the PS2, most people seem to think of Jak and Daxter, or Ratchet and Clank. For some reason, and despite the fact there were three games in the series, Sly Cooper doesn't seem to warrant much of a mention.

It didn't sell anywhere as near as well, which is a shame, because I played all three and to my mind, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is miles better than the other two.

Treasure? That'll do for me. Where do I go?

Sly Cooper is a raccoon that comes from a famous family line of thieves. I suppose when you're born with what looks like a burglar's mask on your face, it's the only line of work that makes sense. It just so happens that they were extremely good at their work, and Sly, hoping to be just as talented, sets out to recover the pieces of the Thievius Raccoonus, the family's book of thieving skills. Armed with those, Sly would be the best thief around.

Helping Sly in his quest are his best friends, Bentley the turtle and Murray the hippo. Although they're around to give comic foil to Sly, you also get to play as them occasionally in mini games, which are designed to help Sly. The minigames are fun, and serve to give you a little break from the main game.

If that big goon would just wander off for a second...

Not that you really need a break... Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is one of the finest platforming arcade adventures around. It looks stunning and plays beautifully, with Sly controlling very well and his array of moves not being too difficult to pull off. The game provides hints as well, so that you know when certain moves can be used. For instance, ledges will have glowing blue sparkles on them if you're able to use your sneak skill there.

In a fun nod to the old school, Sly Cooper gives you a number of lives, and you can earn more by collecting them, or you can collect coins to gain horseshoes, which enable you to take an extra hit before dying.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus received two sequels, neither of which I enjoyed quite as much but both of which were really good games. The original, to me, is not just the best of the series, but one of the best games on the PS2. If you haven't played Sly Raccoon, you should track it down now.