Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
By: Matt C. on July 9, 2002
SCEA recently sent me a playable copy of Sly Cooper and the Thievious Raccoonus (some of you probably received the demo from Sony too. If you have, you might as well go back to the previews section and read about another game) and after spending several hours with the game -- I can happily say that I am very impressed with how well the game has turned out so far. The staff at Sucker Punch in Bellevue, WA (which is about half an hour from PlayStation Pro 2) has managed to create a gorgeous looking game that plays as well as it looks.
At a glance, Sly Cooper appears to be a cel-shaded game, but according to Sucker Punch, they would rather call it a "toon-shaded" game. Why? Because Sly Cooper even surpasses the animation and textures found in Jet Set Radio Future, Cel Damage, and Klonoa 2. It may look like Sly uses the same type of graphics engine as the games listed above, but it doesn't completely. The result is that Sly Cooper is easily the best looking game of its kind. Trust me, you have to see Sly in action if you haven't already.
Don't let Sly's cartoonish look fool you though. The game's content is suitable for youngsters, but the gameplay is for intermediate gamers. For instance, there isn't a health meter, so if you get hit once by an enemy, you have to start over at the last checkpoint you crossed. Don't worry though, the first few levels in Sly Cooper are fairly easy, but still very enjoyable.
The gameplay isn't completely original, but it is still surprisingly additive. In a nutshell, Sly Cooper plays out similar to Jak and Daxter, Crash Bandicoot and Metal Gear Solid. Some areas have you jumping over obstacles (such as holes) while dodging enemy attacks; and others have you using stealth to defeat enemies who are on the lookout for you with flashlights. For example, in one stage, you have to jump into a barrel and use it as cover from the light from enemy flashlights and traps that shoot poisonous darts at you.
In addition, Sly gets his intel from his pal, Bentley. They communicate with radios, which looks almost exactly like the codec screen from Metal Gear Solid. You can even move their heads around during conversations using both analog sticks -- just like in MGS2.
Sly himself has a whole slew of moves that he can perform. He carries a hook staff that can be used to attack enemies and to attach onto ladders and ropes. Sly can also double jump or pull out binoculars to scope out the area he is currently in. Simply use the right analog stick to zoom in and out and use the left one to look around. There are more moves that Sly can learn throughout his quest, but the moves mentioned above are the ones available in the demo.
We'll post new information and better screenshots on Sly Cooper when we get them.