|Developers||Sucker Punch Productions (2002–2010)
Sanzaru Games (2010–2013)
|Publishers||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Platforms||PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita|
|First release||Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
September 23, 2002
|Latest release||Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
February 5, 2013
Sly Cooper is a franchise centered on a series of platform stealth video games for the Sony PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. The series was developed by Sucker Punch Productions for the first three games, and then it was passed on to Sanzaru Games while Sucker Punch continued work on the Infamous series. The first three games were remastered into high-definition for the PlayStation 3 on one disc by the new developer Sanzaru Games, titled The Sly Collection.
Sanzaru released the fourth game in the series, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, on February 5, 2013. A CGI animated feature film based on the first game in the series is currently in development, for a theatrical release sometime in Q1 2016. The series follows the adventures of Sly Cooper, an anthropomorphic raccoon and master thief, along with his two friends, Bentley the turtle and Murray the hippopotamus, all of whom are pursued by Sly's love interest, Inspector Carmelita Fox.
The series has spawned two comic books and a variety of spin-off games, including Bentley's Hackpack by Sanzaru Games. Sly Cooper himself has become one of the most popular of the Sony video game characters, and has appeared in other Sony games such as PlayStation Move Heroes and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
The world of Sly Cooper is a version of the real world that is populated by anthropomorphic animals, with film noir and comic book motifs. The focus of the story is of Sly Cooper, a young adult raccoon and the latest descendant in a line of master thieves who pass down their expert techniques from generation to generation using the "Thievius Raccoonus," a book which contains all the Cooper family's secrets and tricks. While the Cooper family has accumulated a massive amount of wealth through their thieving ways, Sly places greater value on his friendship with his two partners, Bentley, a turtle and the brains of the gang, and Murray, a hippo who acts as the brawn and the getaway driver of the team van. The trio, known as the Cooper Gang, performs elaborate heists all over the world, often for the purpose of taking down large and dangerous groups of criminals, as the creed of the Cooper Clan is to only steal from other thieves. All the while, they are pursued by Sly's love interest, Inspector Carmelita Fox of Interpol.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, also known as Sly Raccoon in European countries, was released in 2002 for the PlayStation 2 platform. Sly must recover his family's "Thievius Raccoonus", a book listing all the special thieving skills his family has collected over several centuries, which was stolen by a rival gang, the Fiendish Five, led by Clockwerk, a giant mechanical owl. Meanwhile, Sly and his gang must keep ahead of Interpol's Inspector Carmelita Fox, who promises to one day capture Sly and put him away for his crimes.
Sly 2: Band of Thieves was released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. In this game, a series of mechanical parts from the destroyed Clockwerk have been stolen from the Cairo Museum by the Klaww Gang; Dimitri, Rajan, the Contessa, Jean Bison, and their leader Arpeggio. Together, the parts could be used to revive the defeated Clockwerk; separately, they each have special functions and are used for the various schemes of the individual gang members. While Sly and his gang follow these leads, they are pursued by Carmelita and her new partner, Constable Neyla, who are after both the Cooper Gang and the Klaww Gang.
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves was released in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 platform. Sly has learned of the Cooper Vault, a gigantic store of the wealth that his family has accumulated over the years. To get in, however, he must defeat a villain known as Doctor M, who has taken over the island where it is located to try to break into it, with many failed attempts. Sly must regroup his old partners and recruit new members, defeating a variety of new villains along the way, in order to succeed at reclaiming his family's history, all while still on the run from Carmelita. This game also has some levels that can be put into 3D mode and the PS3 version in The Sly Collection allows the full game to be played in 3D.
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was officially announced during Sony's 2011 E3 Keynote, and was officially released on February 5, 2013. Sly Cooper and the whole gang return with an epic brand new adventure for the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Vita systems. The pages of the Thievius Raccoonus are disappearing and Bentley, now keeper of the ancient book, must round up the gang and save the Cooper Clan legacy from being destroyed forever. With Bentley's newly invented time machine, the gang and Carmelita travel back in time to stop the various henchmen of the main villain, Cyrille Le Paradox, who is determined to replace the Coopers as the new master thief of the world. Along the way, the gang teams up with several of Sly's ancestors, all while Sly must deal with the aftermath of Carmelita discovering that he had faked his amnesia at the end of the previous game. The game was developed by Sanzaru Games, the same development team behind The Sly Collection, instead of Sucker Punch Productions, who turned their focus to the Infamous series. If players unlock the game's secret ending, a clip is shown that hints at a potential future installment in the series, but on November 14, 2014, Sanzaru Games released a statement that they are not developing a future game.
The series as a whole has been rather well-received, with primary praises being directed towards the games' art style and the stealth gameplay, and the criticisms being the length of most of the games' stories.
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus was critically acclaimed upon release, despite fairly poor sales. GameSpot's review, giving it a 7.8/10, stated that "The game has a fantastic sense of style to its design that is reflected in everything from the animation to the unique use of the peaking fad, cel-shaded polygons." However, it criticized the length of the game by saying that "The main problem is that just as you're getting into a groove and really enjoying the variety seen throughout the different levels, the game ends. "Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine gave it a perfect score of 5/5, stating that "There's a pleasant old-school feel to Thievius Raccoonus; the enemies are merciless but a bit stupid, and the platforming challenges come on strong and ramp up steadily in difficulty as the levels go by." The game ultimately sold about 400,000 copies in its release year, and it was later re-released as one of Sony's "Greatest Hits".
Sly 2: Band of Thieves received even more critical acclaim, ultimately becoming the highest-rated game of the series. It earned an 88% on both GameRankings and Metacritic, and with GameSpy ranking it as the #23 greatest PlayStation 2 game of all time.
Despite the anticipation after an 8-year hiatus, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was, on average, the lowest-rated game of the series despite still ultimately receiving positive reviews. Its highest rating came from Game Informer, which gave it a 9/10 and thus called it the best game since the original. IGN, giving it an 8/10, summarized that despite the "ridiculous load times, occasionally frustrating gameplay and some bizarre, archaic motion controls, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is a worthy game to add to your library" as it "harkens back to a different time in gaming while modernizing the experience for a new generation." GamesRadar gave it a 4.5/5, similarly criticizing the "lengthy (but infrequent) load times" and "cliffhanger ending", but saying the good points were "stellar presentation" and "excellent level design." It is the lowest-rated game of the series on Metacritic and GameRankings (with a score of 75 on both sites), GameSpot (with a 7.5, just below the first game's 7.8), IGN (with an 8.0, just below the third game's 8.1), and Eurogamer, where it was the first game of the series to receive a score other than 8/10 (instead receiving a 6/10).
|Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus||85.28%||86/100||8/10||9.25/10||7.8/10||8.5/10|
|Sly 2: Band of Thieves||87.92%||88/100||8/10||8.75/10||8.4/10||9.2/10|
|Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves||84.18%||83/100||8/10||7.25/10||8.4/10||8.1/10|
|Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time||(Vita) 75.80%
|The Sly Collection|
|Developer(s)||Sucker Punch Productions|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3
The Sly Collection (titled as The Sly Trilogy in PAL regions and Sly Cooper Collection in Asia) is a remastered port of the PlayStation 2 games Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, for the PlayStation 3 on a single Blu-ray Disc as a Classics HD title. The games were originally developed by Sucker Punch Productions, while the port was handled by Sanzaru Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment America. On November 29, 2011, The Sly Collection was released as a digital download on the PlayStation Store. Each title in the collection is available for separate purchase. The collection also includes a set of mini games, with their own set of trophies. On May 27, 2014, the collection was released as a PlayStation Vita title. Sly 1 and 2 are featured on the game card, while Sly 3 is accessed through an included download voucher.
The core game and story for all games remains unchanged with the remastered versions. For the remastering, all three games have had a graphics overhaul to allow them to support modern 720p resolution. When in 3D mode the games run at 30fps, while in normal mode, the games run 60fps. All three of the games also have trophies, with one platinum each.
PlayStation Move supported mini-games and 3D support are available in the Collection, as well as trophies. Upon completing every game in the Collection, a Sly 4 teaser trailer is unlocked. However, these features are not available in the downloadable version.
Sanzaru Games, who developed the collection, was working on a demo of the then unknown Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, a new PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita exclusive Sly Cooper title, while Sucker Punch Productions, the developers of the original PlayStation 2 games continued to work on the inFamous series. Sony was impressed with the prototype and gave them the development duties for the PlayStation 3 conversion of the original trilogy. In June 2010, The Sly Collection was announced for a Q3/Q4 2010 release. It was released on November 9, 2010 and is available to purchase from the PlayStation Store as of November 29, 2011. On April 20, 2013, an ESRB rating for a PlayStation Vita port of The Sly Collection was spotted online. On February 10, 2014, the release date for the PS Vita version of the Collection was announced to be on May 27, 2014.
The Sly Collection received positive reviews from critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 87.43% based on 35 reviews and 85/100 based on 46 reviews and the PlayStation Vita version 80.69% based on 16 reviews and 80/100 based on 30 reviews.
Another game announced at E3 2010 was PlayStation Move Heroes, features Sly and Bentley, along with Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank, in a crossover title; the game uses PlayStation Move. It was released March 22, 2011 in North America.
Sly Cooper appears as a playable character in the crossover fighting game PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. In the game's arcade mode, Sly finds that several pages from the Thievius Racconus have been stolen, and begins battling the other fighters in attempt to locate them, including a rival battle with Nathan Drake. The Sly Cooper version of Paris also appears as one of the game's stages. Additionally, Bentley assists Sly with his Level 3 Super attack, Murray appears as an unlockable minion and as part of Sly's Level 1 Super attack, and Carmelita appears as a downloadable minion and stage hazard in the "Alden's Tower" stage.
Bentley's Hackpack is a collection of the various hacking mini-games found in the main campaign mode of Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, with many more levels, challenges, and prizes. It was developed by Sanzaru Games and was released for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita simultaneously with Thieves in Time. This game is also a part of Sony's "Cross Buy" initiative, allowing purchasers of the PlayStation 3 version of the game to receive a free copy of the game for the PlayStation Vita via the PlayStation Network. The game was released for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android devices.
The games are primarily a third person platform game. The player controls Sly or one of his companions through many missions of several levels, relying mostly on stealth to avoid encounters and alarms while collecting treasures or other items. Sly is very agile, and is able to use many of the features of the architecture for stealth, indicated to the player by a blue glow, explained in-game as a visible manifestation of Sly's "thief senses." For example, Sly can perch on the top of sharp points, climb up pipes, sneak along a narrow ledge, walk across a tight rope, or use his cane to swing from hooks. Sly also uses his cane to defeat foes, although it makes noise that may attract other foes. He prefers to use sneak attacks when possible because of his little endurance. Due to his heritage, Sly has a number of special moves that he learns through the games that can also increase his stealth or speed, or allow him to eliminate foes silently. The player also may play as Bentley with his gadgets, or Murray with his strength, and many minor companions in the third game. There are also mini-games scattered throughout the gameplay.
Each game is broken into a series of heists, and to accomplish the heist, Sly and his gang must complete several sub-missions. In the first game, each sub-mission was located on a level accessible from the main heist level, while the second, third and fourth games used a nonlinear, open world approach to have various missions located around the same large level. There is typically a boss fight at the end of each heist as the conclusion to the mission.
The first three games were built using Sucker Punch's proprietary engine SPACKLE (Sucker Punch Animation and Character Kinematics Life Engine) with aid from the engine first created for the 2001 racing video game Kinetica. SPACKLE was first used on the Nintendo 64 title Rocket: Robot on Wheels.
Sly Cooper and other characters from the games were also featured in two comic books published in 2004 and 2005 by GamePro Magazine and DC Comics to promote the release of Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves respectively. Both books are used to transition the story from one game to the next.
Issue #1 acted as a story between the first and second game, apparently taking place sometime within the 2-year span between them. The plot consists of two flashback stories and one present story. One is a flashback to the Cooper gang's first taste of thief work as children at the Happy Camper Orphanage (successfully stealing cookies from a greedy sitter), and the other detailing the first time Carmelita and Sly met, when the then-new constable Carmelita was assigned to protect the diamond of an opera star during a performance. Although Carmelita catches Sly and ties him up in the janitor's closet, Sly escapes. However, he sees Carmelita being berated by her boss, Chief Inspector Barkley, for the failure, and although he originally planned to steal the diamond himself, he decides to instead help Carmelita. Thus, when the diamond is actually stolen by the singer's manager Pierre, Sly trips him and knocks him unconscious, leaving him for Carmelita to claim as her own capture, thus earning her Barkley's respect. In the present storyline, Sly and the gang devise a plan to crash the engagement party of Dimitri Lousteau and a wealthy art collector named Madame D'Oinkeau, and steal D'Oinkeau's prized sculpture, the Venus de Whalo (a parody of the Venus de Milo). They succeed, but Carmelita stops Sly on a bridge over a river. Despite her holding her gun on him, he remains relaxed and engages in conversation with her, during which the two relay to each other their pasts and their opposing points of view. Sly then escapes by jumping off the bridge, and although Carmelita at first thinks he has drowned, it is revealed that he landed on the deck of a boat passing underneath, with Bentley, Murray, their van, and the sculpture all on board.
Issue #2 takes place after the events of Sly 2 and leads up to the events within Sly 3. The story is broken into four parts. The first part consists of Sly finding a member of his father's gang, McSweeny, in a maximum-security prison due to an invitation. McSweeny, an anthropomorphic, super strong walrus tells Sly of a massive vault on a remote island and its location which contains the accumulated treasure of all the Cooper family members stating it as Sly's inheritance. Part two details Sly and Murray breaking into a hospital to rescue the injured Bentley from the authorities, though at the end, Murray demands that Sly flee with Bentley while he stays behind to deal with the officers. Part three consists of Carmelita reviewing footage of Sly and Murray's attempt (with Bentley notably absent) to steal the map to the Cooper Vault's location from a Venetian museum. But Sly later breaks into her office while she is asleep and steals the vault map from under Carmelita's nose. The final part takes place at the Cooper gang's home in Paris, with Sly reviewing what is needed to get to the vault, while Bentley works on arming his wheelchair with a wide array of gadgets and weaponry to help Sly in the field. Murray returns after his escape and informs the others that he is leaving the gang and disappears to parts unknown.
Sly Cooper is a CGI animated film that is set to be released in the first quarter of 2016. Adapting the story of the first game, the film is a collaboration between Blockade Entertainment and Rainmaker Entertainment. Written and directed by Kevin Munroe and produced by Brad Foxhoven and David Wohl, this will be Blockade and Rainmaker's second video game-to-film adaptation after the upcoming 2016 film adaptation of fellow Sony franchise Ratchet & Clank (which is also directed by Munroe and produced by Foxhoven and Wohl). Matt Olsen and Chris Murphy will reprise their roles as Bentley and Murray, respectively, while Sly is voiced by Ian James Corlett, replacing Kevin Miller. Carmelita Fox and Clockwerk will also be in the film. International Distribution rights are being licensed by Cinema Management Group. Peter McConnell, who composed the scores of every single game in the series except for the first, will be composing the soundtrack for the film.
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