The Final Say!
Sly Raccoon - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 26 January 2003
Review Score 9/10
Distributed By: Sony
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Sony's latest instalment into the world of arcade platformers is the awesome cel-shaded Sly Raccoon that promises gamers one of the most entertaining and most memorable storylines of 2003. You play the role of Sly Cooper, a young thief that has just had his destiny changed. Sly Cooper is from a family of honourable thieves that have dedicated their profession to stealing from criminals only. Unfortunately for young Sly, a family heirloom called the Thievius Raccoonus has been stolen from his family home that contains the secrets of greatest thieves to have ever lived.
And if Sly is ever to become the master thief that he has been destined to become, he must now recover this book and fulfil his density. This may sound like an easy task but unfortunately for Sly, the thieves have destroyed the book and have scattered the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus across the world. Since the book was stolen, even more bad luck has accompanied Sly on his journeys, for not only must he recover this book but he must also evade Carmelita Fox, a sexy member of the police force who has vowed to bring Sly Cooper in.
Thankfully, your two loyal friends, Bentley the turtle and Murray the hippopotamus will accompany you on your adventures and help recover your family heirloom, fulfil your density, save the world and maybe even save the girl of your dreams (even though she is a member of the police force). If this animal storyline sounds a little familiar to you, it may be because it parallels a certain 1980's British cartoon series called Danger Mouse and an American cartoon called Secret Squirrel. The storyline behind Sly Raccoon as with all Sony arcade platformers (See Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank) is extremely well written and really pulls you into the storyline with its loveable characters and exciting storyline. Your two friends will not only assist you throughout the game but will also provide the gamer with some highly hilarious one-liners.
The main premise behind Sly Raccoon is to recover various objects throughout the game that are scattered through numerous levels. For instance, you must recover three different keys in order to open up a cage that contains a lost page of the Thievius Raccoonus. There are also various subplots throughout the game that have you stealing from criminal masterminds and also some great cutscenes between the villains and Sly's love interest, Carmelita Fox. Other objectives in the game include collecting one hundred gold coins that give you an extra life in the game (or as the game calls them, a lucky charm).
The gameplay of Sly Raccoon increases as the game progresses and I must confess that I have had some extreme difficulty in completing a few levels because of the trickiness of certain levels.
Sly must complete a variety of different objectives in the game such as avoiding traps that include dangerous lasers, alarm systems, dodge and destroy various enemies in the game and circumjacent dangerous obstacles such as rooves, lakes and ceilings. Sly can also perform a variety of manoeuvres such as jumps, ducks, attacks and also has the ability to use his thieving skills that allows him to access hidden areas in the game or to reach dangerous objectives in the game. The beauty of Sly Raccoon is that as the game progresses, Sly slowly becomes a more proficient thief and his skills are increased.
The levels of Sly Raccoon are open-ended, that is, you must venture between levels in order to complete certain missions. Although, I'm not a huge fan of this system (primarily because it sometimes does become confusing), it does help portray a huge gaming environment and does give the gamer a level of freedom. You are also faced with various puzzles in the game but fortunately for Sly, his friend Bentley gives you advice on how to complete these challenges. The control system of Sly Raccoon is easily by far the best control system of any arcade game. You control Sly with the analog stick and use the main pad for jumps, attacks, ducks and to use his thieving skills. Sly also has a pair of binoculars that he can use to check out the levels before he embarks on his mission. When you start the game, you are awarded five lives and if you lose a life, you can recoup these throughout the game but as with all good arcade games, if you lose all your lives, you will just start at your last save point. The combat system of Sly Raccoon is fairly straight forward with basic enemies defeated by your scythe while every now and then you will encounter a boss that requires a special trick in defeating them.
The graphics of Sly Raccoon are brilliant! The game uses the highly popular style of cel-shading that really helps this game turn into a full-blown cartoon. The characters are extremely well animated and colourful and Sly himself can perform a variety of different tricks that all integrate perfectly into the gaming world. The characters also have this extremely cute cartoon look to them that children and adults will love from the minute they lay their eyes on this game. The background graphics and level designs are huge, although not as colourful and wondrous as Ratchet & Clank or Jak & Daxter, they are still very decent. Many of the levels are based in night-time scenarios because of Sly's nefarious background as a thief but it does help set the atmosphere of one of intrigue and mystery. The developers have also challenged the gaming world when it comes to cutscenes because even though the game is based in 3D, the cutscenes are actually 2D and actually go for quite some time.
The developers have also done a magnificent job to the sound effects of this game and have included various background noises to make this game feel like a real cartoon. The soundtrack of Sly Raccoon won't win any medals for its originality as it has taken a back seat to the amazing graphics and voice acting, although it does have this mischievous cartoon feel to it, just think of Bugs Bunny sneaking around. The voice acting of the game is perfect and is actually quite humorous at times.
Sly Raccoon is a great game and I would highly recommend this game to all gamers who love a good arcade game. The graphics and sound effects are exceptional and it contains a well thought out and humorous storyline that will keep you amused for hours. The only drawback to the game that I can think of (and this is due to my personal mistakes) is that Sly automatically dies when he enters the water, a swim feature would of been nice but it's a small price to pay for such a great game! Check it out!
- Andrew B
| 1 Player |
Analog control compatible: analog stick only
Vibration function compatible
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