Sly Cooper is one of my favorite platformer series of all time.  The player takes the helm of Sly Cooper, a raccoon who is a master thief and criminal, but plays the protagonist in an antihero role.  Developed by Sucker Punch in 2002, Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is the debut for Sly the Raccoon.

Sly traverses Mugshot, one of the Fiendish Five’s hideout

Sly Cooper was raised by a thieving family, who wrote about all of their techniques, inventions, and heists in a book, called the Thievius Raccoonus.  Once Sly’s parents are killed and the Thievius Raccoonus is ripped apart and scattered throughout the hideouts of the Fiendish Five, the main villains of this game, Sly must go and recover the book and carry on his family’s legacy.  That’s the basic premise of this game.  Each member of the Fiendish Five has their own hub world and set of levels, with each level containing a key.  All of these keys unlock the way to get the the boss of the hideout.  The keys are at the end of each stage, so all Sly needs to do is get from Point A to Point B.  Along with keys, there are bottles scattered throughout each stage.  Collecting all bottles in a stage opens a safe in the level, giving Sly either a page of the Thievius Raccoonus or the blueprints to the hideout.  I find it very fun to collect all of the bottles and pages, since you get new moves for each page collected.  Some of the moves are kind of pointless, but some are very helpful and Sly is very versatile at the end of the game.  Along with the bottles, there are speed challenges where if you beat a stage within a certain amount of time, you can play the level while listening to commentary about the level from developers.  The levels are all very fun to play, with plenty of variety.  There are shooting stages, where Sly must either protect Murray, his friend, or shoot through the level.   There are Racing levels, where Murray must win a race to get a key.  All of the levels are fun, and there are no levels that I find lackluster.  The bosses are all different, which is good.  They range from waiting until the boss is venerable, then whacking it with Sly’s cane, changing the environment to hurt the boss, a rhythm game, a martial arts fight, and a jetpack duel.  I really can’t think of anything about the gameplay that I dislike.  The gameplay of Sly Cooper has aged well.

Sly sidles along a balcony

The graphics of the game, unfortunately, don’t hold up.  The cutscene cartoons look nice, but that’s it.  Models look very jaggy, and Sly sometimes looks like a wax figure.  The environments can look a bit bleak and dark, and frankly uninteresting.  The graphics are arguably the worst part of Sly Cooper.  The music of the game is very catchy, with a jazzy vibe.  While I can’t remember specific tunes or their names without playing the game, I always enjoy hearing the music while palying.  Nobody really talks about Sly Cooper’s music, and I think that’s a shame.  Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus’ soundtrack is very underrated.

The controls, in my opinion, hold up very well.  Sly moves around very fluidly, and the circle button essentially lets Sly do everything from climbing a rope to running on one, to sidling around a wall.  The racing controls are a bit iffy, but there are only two racing stages in the game, so they don’t linger.  Overall, the controls are still fantastic and easy to get used to.

Sly opens a vault for a piece of the Thievius Raccoonus

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus is a great game.  While the game doesn’t look great in 2017, everything else has held up very well.  Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus has aged well.