The gameplay in all of the titles is fairly consistent. Sly has incredible jumping and climbing ability, and can move silently for stealthy knock outs. Most missions involve getting to somewhere, fighting some guards, doing a minigame puzzle, and getting out again. In the second game, Murray and Bentley are playable, with an even bigger cast in the third, including some missions played as Carmelita (the gang tricks her into helping them out).Sly was announced to be a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale on April 26, 2012. Also, a film has been confirmed for a 2016 release.As a video game stylized after a cartoon, it draws heavily on Animation Tropes and Videogame Tropes.Visit the Awesome Bosses page here.
This series contains examples of:
Aesop Amnesia: In the second game, Carmelita warms up slightly to Sly and comes to somewhat enjoy their game of cat-and-mouse like he does. In the third game, she's not only back to her old hard nosed self, but also becomes cold enough to be considered an antagonist. Also happens in between the first and second games.
Justified in that at the end of both the first and second games, Sly does something to irritate Carmelita and she vows to continue tracking him down. At the end of the first game, he used the learning moment to hand cuff Carmelita to a rail so that he can escape, and in the second game, he jumps off of the helicopter they were in carrying one of her prized possessions (only to give it back to her later).
All-Star Cast: The fourth game already has names like Steve Blum, Yuri Lowenthal and Grey Delisle doing voices for the game.
All There in the Manual: The two promotional comic books released before Sly 3 benefit this trope. The first reveals How Sly, Bentley and Murray met in the orphanage and their first heist (for cookies, nonetheless), and how Sly met Carmelita (turns out that Sly was the one responsible for Carmelita becoming an inspector!). The second one starts right after the end of the second game with Sly seeing McSweeney in prison and learning about the Cooper Vault. Then Sly and Murray break Bentley out of the hospital, which was right after Murray leaves the gang. Some of the panels from the comic book are used as cutscenes for the games!
Amazing Technicolor Population: Many of the characters come in colors that don't occur naturally in their species. Purple seems to be popular, as Muggshot, the Panda King, Dimitri, Neyla, the Guru and Penelope all come in various shades. Then there's Murray and the ape mercenaries, who are pink, and Jean Bison, who's fire-engine red.
Amnesiac Lover: Sly at the end of Sly 3. Turns out he was faking it. ("That sneaky devil!")
Anti-Air: One mission in the last level of Sly 3 consists of Sly taking out an intricate air-defense network Dr. M has set up around his base of operations.
Anti-Frustration Features: In the first game, you will sometimes receive a horseshoe (or even two) if you die enough times in a single area. In the second and third games, some of the missions that involve retrieving items will let you keep the items you have already retrieved and restart you in a useful starting place for retrieving the next one in the event you fail the mission.
In addition, the third game will increase your health/defense and eventually increase your attack strength if you repeatedly lose in a major fight (e.g., a boss battle).
Art Evolution: The art of the first game was pretty standard fair, taking notes from comic books of that time. However, in the sequels, The designs are less jagged, simplified, and the colors are sharper. Thieves in Time has more details and their animated cutscenes are all hand-drawn with more action.
In Sly 3, the evil Mask of Dark Earth makes anyone who wears it grow several times their size. This happens to a kangaroo miner, a dingo miner, another dingo miner and even Carmelita, who would then go on to serve as the boss of the level.
In Thieves in Time, Sly has to fight a giant knight-looking robot operated by Penelope.
Avengers Assemble: Five of the six levels of the third game involve getting together a team for the Cooper Vault heist, beginning with Murray.
The fourth game has elements of this, in which Sly's ancestors must help defeat the various villains of the stages. The final mission has all of the ancestors gathered in order to recover their canes and rescue Sly.
Back Stab: In the second and third Sly can One-Hit KO enemies if he gets right behind them without being detected. Otherwise he has to brawl, and they usually alert other guards that way.
"Sheriff" Toothpick, who enjoys overworking his minions to the point where he makes getting days off illegal and overtime mandatory, and who is also prone to accidentally shooting and killing his minions.
Bag of Spilling: Parodied. At the start of Sly 2, Bently begins to tell Sly how to do the ninja spire jump, and Sly chides him for assuming that he would forget one of his most important skills. True enough, Sly retains the spire jump and rail-walk techniques that he learned in the first game for the rest of the trilogy, but he still forgot a host of other skills from that game, such as the power to turn invisible, alter time, and how to not take damage from falling in water.
Played straight for the jump between the second and the third game, especially with regards to equipment like the Paraglider or power ups like Silent Obliteration. Very annoying when you forget that you lose these...
Chapter 6 of Sly 3 begins with Carmelita rescuing Sly from certain death by the hands of Dr. M. Although, her aim appeared to be the capture of both Sly and Dr. M for thefts and attempted murder respectively.
Chapter 4 of Thieves in Time has one of those moments as well. Bentley was rendered unplayable after discovering the truth about Penelope, leaving the rest of the gang to confront her themselves. It wasn't until at one point when Sly was trapped himself and about to get crushed by Penelope in her suit of armor... when Bentley suddenly comes to the rescue with a mech suit of his own!
Big Eater: Murray. He is outshined by Bob Cooper and Salim Cooper, despite the latter's appearance.
Bittersweet Ending: Sly 3. The Cooper Vault is destroyed, eliminating the Cooper legacy forever, Sly becomes Carmelita's partner after faking amnesia and the rest of the gang go off on their own way.
However, despite splitting up, Sly left his gang with a back door to some of the vault's riches, and the gang seems to be content with the lives they're living apart from one another. Further subverted with the destroyed vault; Bentley says that he and Penelope are making it even more secure.
Then the ending to Thieves in Time. The gang was able to restore the time continuum back to what it once was and saved their futures, but Sly went missing after his battle with Le Paradox. When the blimp crashed, Le Paradox was found and arrested, but Sly was nowhere to be found. He had been missing for weeks, and the gang doesn't take it too well, Carmelita especially. She, Bentley, and Murray still continue to try and find the missing Sly. A secret ending confirms that Sly is still alive, but he's been stranded in Ancient Egypt, bringing the game close to a Downer Ending.
BFG: The weapons wielded by some of the flashlight guards in the 2nd and 3rd games can qualify, though their scale relative to the guards wielding them can sometimes make them more akin to a Hand Cannon.
Muggshot dual-wields BFG's during the boss fights against him in the first & third games.
Breakout Character: Although Sly is (obviously) the hero, Bentley nearly steals the narrative out from under him in the latter two games. Whereas in Sly 1 he's a geeky Professor Frink type who mainly exists to give you mission objectives, he begins to undergo heavy character development when he's left to fend for himself halfway through Sly 2. By the end of Sly 3, he's been crippled and confined to a wheelchair, gotten himself a girlfriend, and emerged as the real leader of the Cooper Gang. This becomes a plot point near the end of the third game. In fact, he even narrates the third and fourth games's credits!
The Cameo: As part of a cross-promotion campaign, Sly 2 and 3 each had codes to unlock Toonami goodies, including TOM as a distraction gadget.
Caper Crew: Sly, Bentley and Murray are generally able to handle multiple skills by themselves. Sly handles jobs that require sneaking or burglary, Bentley handles all tech-related jobs while Murray is the getaway driver and the muscle. The crew is expanded in the third game to include specialists who deal with very specific areas.
Carnivore Confusion: Everyone is an animal. What do they eat? Okay, not every animal eats meat, but that burger Murray's nomming on in the Sly 3 intro looks pretty suspect...
If you lose against Jean Bison when fighting him as Bentley (with help from Sly) he'll make a comment that goes something along the lines of "Anybody in the mood for turtle soup?"
Aren't hippos and bison herbivores?
There are leather shoes in 4, somehow.
Also in 4, The Grizz owns a saber-tooth tiger rug... when some of his guards are saber-tooth tigers. Yikes.
Chekhov's Gift: Murray's Aboriginal necklace. Originally worn during his time with the Guru during Sly 3 with no significance other than to mark his Dreamtime training, it went on to be an important device in Thieves in Time when the van went out of control when reclaiming the stolen gold at the end of the Wild West chapter, and it was used to open up a time rift just before crashing at the bottom of a ravine.
Conspicuously Selective Perception: The guards; oh, lord, the guards. If you are behind one picking his pocket, and he takes that moment to turn around to scratch his butt, he can come nose to nose with Sly's grinning face, look him right in the eyes, and not realize that he's being followed or is missing a few coins and the occasional treasure. This is less so with the main villains of the episode, but still applies to a certain degree.
Cutscene: Some in-engine, and others in between missions are vector/cel animation with voice-over.
Dance Battler: Mz. Ruby makes Sly do a voodoo dance if he wants to avoid getting shot in her boss fight in the first game. The Grizz and Murray do this to each other via figure skating in Thieves in Time.
Dark Chick: Mz Ruby in Sly 1, Dimitri in Sly 2 and both The Grizz and Toothpick in Thieves in Time
Darker and Edgier: Sly 2 skirts with this, going deeper into Clockwerk's evil and dealing with an international drug cartel. Sly 3 is slightly Lighter and Softer than Sly 2 at points, but still manages to be darker than the first game due to Dr. M.
Disproportionate Retribution: Bad enough Clockwerk tries to kill Coopers through the years he was alive out of sheer jealousy. Le Paradox takes the cake as his plan to be the greatest thief who ever lived involved going back in time to steal the canes of the Cooper ancestors and wiping out the family line's very existence. Why? Because it was revealed his father, who was also a thief, was about to steal a huge diamond and frame Sly's father for the heist, only except Father Cooper had already stolen it first and Father Paradox was caught. Without a father to train him in the art of thieving, Le Paradox got jailed early and went to blame his family's misfortunes on the Coopers. Going so far as to erase a family's existance over something so petty...
Downer Ending: The second game. The gang manages to destroy the Clockwerk parts and foil the villains' plans, but Bentley is crippled, Murray has quit because he was unable to deal with what they had to go through and the team van is missing.
Averted in one instance in the third game. Sly has to team up with one of the original game's villains (The Panda King), who was part of the gang that killed his parents. Neither one of them are happy about it, but they eventually decide that it's better to move on.
Yet, played straight with Dimitri. It makes sense that he would join the gang after they helped him find his grandfather's treasure, but why did he help Sly find Murray when Sly let him out of prison? Remember, Sly was the one who got him in there in the first place.
It was worth it in the end, seeing as Dimitri became very successful if the credits indicate anything.
Also note that Demitri was freed after the events of Sly 2 and became a dance instructor. Him being in jail in 3 is a different matter.
The Faceless: Sly's father makes several appearances in flashbacks and portraits but his face is never seen.
Fake Ultimate Hero: Carmelita Fox. As much as she makes headlines and is a competent cop, it's hard not to notice that she rarely makes arrest in the games unless that's not a boss she teamed up with Sly to beat or one Sly has already beaten. The exceptions are when Sly makes off with the Clockwerk wings; she gets so pissed she arrests almost everyone at the party who isn't a member of the Klaww or Cooper gangs, and Muggshot in the third game. Granted, it was already planned by the gang luring him towards her, but after they crossed each other she took him all by herself.
Family of Choice: Main characters Sly, Benteley, and Murray met in an orphanage and became as thick as thieves (pun intended).
Four Is Death: In the first game, one of the vault codes is 4-4-4, prompting Bentley to say "I had to deal with some personal demons to crack this code."
Then there was episode 4 in Sly 4...
Freudian Excuse: We learn the backstory of every villain as they're introduced, some of them giving a reason why they came to crime, others were mostly For the Evulz.
Frothy Mugs of Water: In the third game, Sly, Bentley and Murray engage a group of Australian miners in a lemonade drinking contest.
The fourth game, has Bentley serving his home sarsaparilla in a bar in The Wild West time frame!
Funny Animal: Everybody— most are humanoid animals, with some variants as deemed stylistically appropriate. The Contessa is the greatest departure, being a spider-centaur creature, while Arpeggio the parrot and Sir Raleigh the frog are essentially unmodified animals.
Furry Confusion: The third game had the "real" crocodile in Uluru — particularly confusing given the existence of Mz Ruby. The second game had the "real" elephants in Rajan's levels and the "real" bears in Jean Bison's levels. And the third game had the "real" wolf in Holland, the "real" Kraken in the archipelago housing Blood Bath Bay, and the "real" sharks plus Doctor M's giant mutant creatures on Kaine Island. The fourth game brings the return of "real" chickens and "real" rats, despite rats being a featured enemy in the same game, and a rooster as a boss in Sly 3.
Most disturbingly, in Sly 2 Murray disguises himself as a moose . . . by wearing a stuffed moose head.
The effects of spice are similar to those of narcotics.
Where Murray was hiding his half of the Clockwerk Heart while in prison — one can only hope he was using Hammerspace.
A description of an enemy called General Tsao (not to be confused with the villain of the Chinese level in the third game) in the Kunlun Mountains level of the first game reads "Has hairy palms."
Used twice! In Sly 3, Black Spot Pete calls Sly a "skinny, malodorous, hairy palmed bottom feeder"!
Then there's this scene in Sly 2:
Neyla (after Sly reveals himself at the ball): Sly Cooper?! You aren't by any chance here to turn yourself in? Old Ironsidesnote Carmelita would fall out of her dress. Sly:As good as that sounds, how about a dance first?
When Bentley confronts Muggshot in Holland at the ACES Competition to bait him into a fight, he says "Your mother was a broken-down tub of junk with more gentlemen callers than the operator". Later, when Carmelita busts Muggshot, his last dialogue is "Mother...forgive me...I didn't know they was yours." Yeeeah.
Another one from Sly 3:
Sly: Hope that manhole works both ways!
And another from Sly 3:
Sly: I just love pipes... is that okay?
The police officers in the first games are pigs, subtle.
There are some rather saucy tapestries in the geisha house in Thieves in Time.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: The clue bottles in the first two games. There's even a Trophy by a similar name, "Gotta find 'em all!", in Sly 2 in the HD Collection. You get it by collecting 15 bottles.
Green Aesop: Jean Bison's deforestation in the second game and the poachers' strip mining of the Guru's home in the third. Surprisingly (and thankfully) not anvilicious. The characters note that it's bad, and move on.
Even more - they hang heavy lampshades on the fact that, before he was turned into a HumanBovine Popsicle, his "tame the wilderness" mentality was pretty consistent with the values of his time, and you'd probably think he wasn't such a bad guy if not for all that spice trafficking he's doing.
More like a Broken Aesop in the mining episode though. The process of "saving the environment" from the miners involves Sly's group doing some drilling of their own, disturbing the local scorpion nest and deliberately squishing most of them, causing a massive oil spill, setting it on fire, and releasing radioactive liquid. (Also, they keep calling it "Ayers Rock" instead of Uluru.) But that's okay, they're the Good Guys doing a Good Thing.
Not to mention all of the miners that Bentley and Murray feed alive to a crocodile, just to give it Blood Lust so it will chase the other miners. While perhaps not directly undermining any particular environmental message, it certainly makes for quite a case of Fridge Horror.
Bentley: Sly, press the X Button to jump, then- Sly: Yeah yeah, I know, X Button to jump, then Circle Button to land on a spire.
Judging by this sketch and the increased usage of this trope by the third game, one might say that it's become a Running Gag.
He Who Must Not Be Seen: Clockwerk in the first, the members of the thieves guild in the second game wear purple cloaks and are seen physically only as yellow, slitted eyes. In the prologue of the third game, all of the members of the team are silhouetted in the binocucom, besides Sly and Bentley.
However in the HD Remake, if you use your binocucom in the room "Deep Six" Bombs you can clearly see it's Dimitri.
Hidden Supplies: Many of the characters seem to pull weapons and gadgets seemingly out of nowhere at a moments' notice.
High Altitude BattleThe final battle with Clock-La in the second game, and the fourth boss fight with Dr M. in the third game.
Also The hand to hand battle with The Black Baron.
There is the fight with Le Paradox on his blimp, taken Up to Eleven as not only were they high up, they were high up in a time vortex.
Honor Among Thieves: Sly and his crew all live by a code of honor, stealing only from master criminals. Sly mentions from the outset of the series there is no honor to be found stealing from the average person. Not to mention it's not nearly as much fun or challenging. The third installment is even called Honor Among Thieves.
Hooks and Crooks: Sly's only weapon is his oddly-shaped cane, passed down through his family. In Thieves in Time, each ancestor also has their own cane weapon.
The title character's idle animations included him removing his cap and either twirling it or tossing it in the air and having it land perfectly seated on his head, holding his cane as if lining up for a golf swing, using his cane to scratch his back (resulting in one of his legs starting to twitch like a dog's), and leaning on his cane (sometimes with the cane slipping out from under him and causing him to nearly Face Plant).
Bentley will often pull out a set of blueprints, look around nervously, perform a stationary wheelie in his wheelchair (in Sly 3), or sneeze so hard that it causes him to double over (yet doesn't draw the attention of any nearby guards, interestingly enough).
Murray will occasionally try to pull up his belt (why he wears a belt when he has no pants is anybody's guess), resulting in his hands slipping and Murray accidentally smacking himself in the face.
Carmelita gets a few in the third game; She will occasionally glance about pensively (sometimes shifting her weight from one foot to another) or scan about with the flashlight on her shock pistol.
Some of the NPC guards will also have idle animations. For example; in the China level of Sly 3, the monkey guards will occasionally play with their shurikens, resulting in them pricking their fingers on the sharp points.
The characters also have idle animations that play during the character selection screen; Sly's include balancing his cane on his hand, twirling his cap, and (in Sly 2 and 3) pulling out his family book, the Thievius Raccoonus and reading it for a few moments, sometimes appearing surprised by what he reads. Bentley will look at blueprints and sometimes whip out a calculator and crunch some numbers. Murray will occasionally doze off briefly before startling back awake, and sometimes produce a slice of pizza from behind his back, scarfing it down in nearly one bite.
Bentley: If I've done my math right, and I always do my math right...
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: As long as you keep moving, Carmelita cannot hit Sly. In the third game, when she chases Sly in the usual fashion, he stops and has a brief conversation with another character while Carmelita misses them both by miles, despite all parties involved standing still.
One exception is in an episode of the second game. She actually aims ahead of you, forcing you to change directions or give her a wide berth.
Though, at least in 2 and 3, their accuracy is limited to the area their flashlight shines on. If you get out of the light, their accuracy becomes more believable.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Carmelita is known to be a crackshot in Interpol (though not the case if you play Sly who easily dodges her shots, though she's almost always angry when shooting at him). Tennesse Kid Cooper is able to fire VERY fast with his special cane gun.
Inspector Javert: Carmelita cannot know that all of Sly's efforts are for the redemption of his family name. Still he continues to evade her, leaving criminals in his wake for her to bag and tag.
In a Single Bound: Becomes increasingly more common as the series progresses. Carmelita always had it. Sly got it in the second game with the Feral Pounce move. Murray got it in the form of Turnbuckle Launch (then lost it again). Bentley uses Jet Packs in various forms. Rioichi has the Leaping Dragon technique.
The Grizz in Thieves in Time talks in rhyme most of the time.
Kick Chick: Carmelita has this as a secondary attack in the third game for when enemies get too close for comfort. Her roundhouse kick is powerful enough to send even the burliest of flashlight guards flying several feet.
She loses this in Thieves in Time as she does pistol whips instead.
"The Murray stands tall! Like a freakin' totem pole of strongism!"
Dimitri: "Man donít even try to understand the silky enigma of Dimitri" (in all due honesty, I could just say Dimitri in general. Seriously, it's even mentioned he has a huge ego in the third one after he gets his diving suit.)
Most of the villains get a few good lines. Consider Sir Raleigh and Muggshot:
Sir Raleigh: Allow me to make make amends by, what? Bloating up to gargantuan size and squashing you like the insignificant bug you are! Muggshot: What're you kiddin' me?! You break into my place, steal my stuff, trash the joint, I feel TRANSGRESSED and VIOLATED! LET'S ROCK!
Even The Panda King gets some in the third game.
Penelope: Panda King, can you launch my car onto one of those pipes? Panda King: HA! With the fireworks, it shall fly! like the bird! FLY BIRD, FLYYYYY!!!
Sir Galleth Cooper in Thieves in Time.
Galleth: Yes, I believe the time is NOW! Let us go forth so we may strike a crushing blow against the Black Tyrant who imprisoned me!
Law of Conservation of Detail : If you see anything that even slightly stands out from the level's scenery or looks superfluous, you can be sure it will play a role in one of the jobs of that level.
Le Parkour: Even with a beefy guy like Murray, you can run on rooftops and inch around walls.
Let's Get Dangerous: Dimitri; his ridiculous mannerisms make it easy to forget that he was a boss in Sly 2 (okay, the first boss, but still). When he's playable in Sly 3, he dives into shark-infested waters without protest, and later takes down one of the Big Bad's many mutant monsters. And if the E3 trailer for the upcoming game is any indication, he's been practicing his free-running.
Little Black Dress: Carmelita has one she wears on rare occasions, when not suffering from Limited Wardrobe syndrome. She noticeably wears it in the second game when (unknowingly) dancing a tango with Sly at Rajan's palace, and during the ending cutscene of the third game.
Loveable Rogue: All the members of the Cooper Gang can be categorized under this trope.
Mad Artist: Dimitri, who turned to a life of crime forging paintings after his own "kinetic aesthetic" was rejected by the arts community. The Grizz in Thieves in Time should also count.
Mad Scientist: Arpeggio from Sly 2, Dr. M from Sly 3, Le Paradox in Thieves in Time.
Mission Control: Bentley, when Sly is playing, and vice versa. Murray, briefly, with Bentley in a few missions. He's hilariously bad at it.
Moral Dissonance: Bentley's plans can sometimes be unnecessarily ruthless, ranging from feeding live Mooks to a crocodile to luring Sly's love interest into taking out local thugs for the gang. This is lampshaded a couple times in the third game when Sly comments Bentley on the latter's growing experience with underhanded tactics.
Sly 3 went with style one when Sly first fights General Tsao on top of a forest of vines, then on the ground level of said forest. Same game, but with the Mask of Dark Earth in style four, first in a bar as a coyote, then as Carmelita in a mountain-like dune.
Boss battles in Thieves in Time generally have multiple stages to them, with the player having to make them vulnerable so that they get a chance to take down 1/3 of their health
Musical Assassin: Mz. Ruby is technically this in Sly 1. Ms. Decibel moreso in Thieves in Time.
No Peripheral Vision: The Mooks and some of the bosses during the trailing missions appear to suffer from this. Stand some distance in front of them or just to the side of them, and they won't notice you, even though you can pretty much look right into their eyes. Some types of Mook can't see you outside the circle of their flashlight, even in daytime.
Constable Neyla's accent in Sly 2: Band of Thieves was all over the place, once sounding briefly like a Southern Belle. Otherwise vaguely European. At one point, Bentley identifies her as Cockney. Alesia Glidewell voiced both Neyla and Carmelita, resulting in a case of talking to herself.
The guard in the second Canada chapter of 2 sounds a lot more Canadian before you beat him at RC tankfighting than he does after he's beat.
The Other Darrin: In the Japanese versions of the games, this applies to the main cast (Sly, Bentley, Murray and Carmelita) from Sly 3 onwards, with a handful of them also doing some secondary parts in the first two games as well.
Pac Man Fever: Ironically, the game Murray plays before you go to Haiti is this.
Quirky Miniboss Squad: The bosses in the first two games were members of different fiendish organizations, while the third game had five completely unrelated bosses. The fourth one brings the fiendish organizations back though.
Recruiting the Criminal: Carmelita appears to do this at the end of the third game when Sly "appears" to have gotten amnesia after being struck by one of Dr. M's attacks, calling him her partner, "Constable Cooper". It's not yet known how successful this is though.
Carmelita will often enlist Sly's aid in taking on the Big Bad at the climax of the games, putting aside their rivalry to deal with a common foe.
Inverted by Sly and the gang, most notably in Sly 3 where they manipulate Carmelita into unwittingly helping them out on several occasions.
Reverse the Polarity: Technobabble is basically all that comes out of Bentley's mouth. Actually utters the phrase "reverse the polarity" in Sly 2: Band of Thieves.
Which actually causes Clockwerk's revival.
Penelope exhibits this trait a lot as well, almost being a female version of Bentley. She even lampshades this at one point.
Penelope: Explaining it would involve a lot of multisyllabic words. It'd be easier just to show you.
Running Gag: Sly's terrible Italian accent seems to have become this, having been used when going undercover in Chapter 1 of Sly 3; and used again in Chapters 4 and 5 of Thieves in Time for a ringmaster impersonation and further undercover work respectively.
Sequel Hook: In Thieves in Time, Sly has completely disappeared after his confrontation with Le Paradox, and the gang (Carmelita included!) are all worried about him. Meanwhile, Penelope has escaped prison and is still at large, with Bentley receiving some mysterious postcards...
Shadow of Impending Doom: Countless examples can be seen in the games; Sly 2 has shadows of incoming eagles and icicles in Canada and Sly 3 has silhouettes of Crusher's tentacles and flaming boulders he spits, just to name a few examples.
Shock and Awe: Carmelita's shock pistol makes her this. Rajan in Sly 2. El Jefe in Thieves in Time can charge his katanas with lightning.
Stealth Pun: The canine Mooks in the third game's pirate episode. Sea dogs, you see.
"El Jefe" means "the boss" in Spanish. El Jefe is the first boss of Thieves in Time.
Super Drowning Skills Sly can't swim in the first game until he learns a skill for it even though raccoons in Real Life can swim quite well. He then forgets about this skill in the second and third games. Plus Murray is a hippo who can't swim and Bently is a turtle who can't swim.
Even the "swimming" skill in the first game doesn't stop drowning. All it does is, when you respawn after falling into water, you don't take any damage.
Sly states in an instruction manual that they shouldn't have skipped swimming lessons back at the orphanage. Bentley soon becomes justified after he can no longer use his legs and travels around in a wheelchair.
The Power of Hate: Clockwerk is centuries old and fueled on pure hate alone which is made up for his intense hatred and jealousy of the Cooper Clan's better thieving ability. He is so enraged and hate-filled, he not only has found a way to live forever through a "hate chip", but has also replaced his entire body with machinery, leaving nothing biological in his husk whatsoever.
In the first game, Clockwerk reveals he used to be a rival master thief of the Cooper Clan, whose jealousy of the Coopers allowed him to live for thousands of years. He also let Sly live after killing his father and stealing the Thievius Raccoonus, to show the world that without their book, the Cooper line would be nothing.
In Sly 2, it turns out Neyla was working for Arpeggio of the Klaww Gang all along, helping Sly's gang find and steal the Clockwerk parts from the other Klaww Gang members. Arpeggio needed all the Clockwerk parts to form Clockwerk's body, allowing him to live forever. Unfortunately, Neyla had other plans...
In Sly 3, Dr. M is revealed to have been The Smart Guy in Sly's father's gang. Sly's father was apparently a bit of a Jerkass to Dr. M, who began to hate the Coopers himself, causing him to desire the Cooper fortune, locked away in a hidden vault.
And in Thieves in Time, Penelope pulled a Face-Heel Turn, betraying the Cooper Gang to Le Paradox by working as The Mole. Bentley did NOT take this well.
Took a Level in Badass: Murray. In the first game, he got scared when faced against grunts. In the sequels, he can pick them up, shake them dry of their possessions, and slam them on the ground. Even flashlight guards.
Rajan gets pretty pissed when his ball is ruined in the second game, leading him to retreat into the jungle that composes the third level. The artwork/cutscenes contribute to this as prior, Rajan is shown as an intimidating but relatively calm villain. In the artwork/cutscenes of the third level however, he is shown as far more feral, including a scene of him staring through a bush with rather bestial eyes. Befits the level title "The Predator Awakens", doesn't it?
Muggshot rages at Sly for trashing his entire operation, noting that he feels transgressed.
When he is betrayed, Arpeggio takes a moment to curse Neyla.
At the end of Sly 3, Dr. M refuses to leave the Cooper Vault even as it collapses and presumably kills him in the process.
Wig, Dress, Accent: A tuxedo and dancing shoes totally conceals Sly's identity from Carmelita, even as they dance a tango together, in Sly 2; in Sly 3 he gets past enemy guards with the help of slightly more convincing disguises.
Would Hit a Girl: Sly may be a gentleman thief, but will attack anyone trying to harm him and his crew. The female enemies in Panda King's stage and Mz. Ruby in Sly 1. The Contessa and Neyla in Sly 2. Penelope as the Black Baron in Sly 3 though he didn't know it at the time. Ms. Decibel in Thieves in Time. Bentley to a mech-suited Penelope while in his own mech suit in Thieves in Time. Justified entirely since she broke his heart..
Bentley: To land safely upon small points, leapeth lively and press the triggering device with a round geometrical object emblazoned upon it. Sly: So... jump and hit the circle button to land on narrow spots.