The fourth game in the Sly Cooper series, and the first not to be done by Sucker Punch. Instead it was done by Sanzaru Games, who were the head of the Sly Collection (a HD port of the original trilogy).A return to the series after an eight year hiatus. Set somewhere after the events of Honor Among Thieves, Sly and the gang reunite when the pages of the Thievius Raccoonus start to go blank. Someone's messing with the timeline and targeting the Cooper clan. The gang, armed with a time machine, intends to find out who and stop them.
This game has the examples of:
Anachronism Stew: Noted in Chapter 3. While mostly subverted with what Sly and Le Paradox's forces brought along to the past, the Ice Age apparently was noted to occur merely thousands of years before the present as opposed to millions; dinosaurs were still alive; and upon first glance in the hubworld, the natives already knew how to write long before the first documented scripts from Ancient Egypt.
Talking of which, one of the collectible treasures in the Ice Age is "Slytunkhamen's Vase." How it existed thousands of years before said Cooper was born is just plain baffling.
Badasses in Distress: Sly, Bentley, and Murray are captured by Toothpick at one point in "Go West, Young Raccoon." The trio are eventually saved by Carmelita Fox and "Tennessee Kid" Cooper.
Bad Boss: Toothpick, who shoots one of his mooks by accident, and when the other mook tells him to watch where he is pointing his weapon, he threatens the mook.
Blade Lock: Sly and Le Paradox do this in the final boss fight.
Block Puzzle: A pretty simple one is one of the obstacles Sly overcomes when breaking Tennessee out of prison.
Continuity Nod: In rescuing one of the Forty Thieves from Ms. Decibel's hypnosis, Bentley mentions that he once saw a device just like it in Prague once. Upon rescuing another, Bentley then outright mentions how Murray was briefly made Brainwashed and Crazy by The Contessa's Psychic Powers.
It also keeps Penelope around from the last gig.
Contrived Coincidence: Murray's necklace just happens to date back to the Ice Age, specifically in a region that one of Sly's ancestors occupied, and which has been taken over by one of the bad guy's henchmen.
Likewise, The Grizz's crown (which looks like a dead ringer for St. Edward's Crown) dates back to Medieval England in the year 1301, which is where another one of Sly's ancestors can be found.
Demoted to Extra: Dimitri, who goes from playable character to informant for the gang as they time travel. Which is strange seeing that he has his old voice actor in the credits.
Didn't We Use This Joke Already?: If Sly's terrible Italian accent in the last game wasn't enough, the gag ends up getting repeated in Chapter 4 during the "Juggling Act" mission, with a very subtle response from Bentley:
Distressed Dude: All the Cooper Ancestors except for Salim are captured at the beginning of each episode. Sir Galleth, though, is the only one who really deserves this trope, as he gets captured by the Moat Monster and has to be saved by Carmelita, much to his humiliation.
Downer Ending: Le Paradox and his crooks are arrested and sent to prison (and Toothpick is soon killed by a train), but Sly disappears and winds up in Ancient Egypt, while Penelope escapes from prison.
Clockwerk can be seen in various areas in every episode as shown here. Also related to this is the "Dragon Claw" item which has a short message scratched into the bottom of it: "Clockwerk was here."
Sanzaru's monkey head logo design can be seen as a decorative emblem for attentive players to spot, including a streetlight in Paris, Toothpick's belt buckle, and Sly's backpack.
Foreshadowing: The game just loved to give so many hints on the Black Knight's identity. See the character's page for more info.
The tutorial mission has a few good ones. Villains encountered later in the game are chatting with the museum owner in Sly's infiltration, the big blueprint for Le Paradox's time blimp seen much later in the game just before Bentley's hacking tutorial...
Guest Star Party Member: While Sly, Bentley, and Murray and Carmelita, eventually can be selected in each era, each of Sly's ancestors can only be played in the era they're specifically from, for obvious reasons.
Heroic BSOD: Bentley falls into this upon realizing that the reason Penelope had vanished in the beginning was because she IS the Black Knight in the Middle Ages episode and had sold out the Cooper Gang to Le Paradox. Needless to say, he took it really hard, tucking inside his shell.
Misplaced Wildlife: "40 Thieves", set in Ancient Arabia, features SiameseCats, a native breed of Thailand, as Guards. This can be explained away, as "the Orient", while commonly referring to Asia, can include The Middle East. The Grenade Baboons are less dubious, for baboons can be found in both Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Musical Nod: The music during the side-scrolling version of Bentley's hacking sequences uses the same music as his one hacking game in the first game.
Never Found the Body: Sly's friends refuse to believe he is dead when he disappears at the end of the game. Of course, this is an example where the character is ultimately revealed to be alive in the same game.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sir Galleth unplugs a huge plug thinking it would "slay" the 3-headed robot dragon. It doesn't, it ACTIVATES it.
Public Domain Soundtrack: The piano piece Ms. Decibel plays during "Heavy Metal Meltdown" contains snippets of "Rule, Britannia."
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Towards the end, Sly tells Le Paradox that he's a complete idiot for messing with his ancestors in the first place, and that he could've avoided everything bad that happened to him in the game and lived his life in peace in the present as a billionaire thief.
Red Herring: You can see Clockwerk in various points of each in the hub worlds; he has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and is basically an Easter Egg.
Ripple Effect Indicator: The plot is kicked off by Bentley seeing the words written in the Thievius Raccoonus literally vanishing off their pages.
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: The Thievius Raccoonus is being erased because the Cooper ancestors who wrote them are being interfered with. This has no effect on any of the skills Sly learned from the book.
Scenery Porn: Dear lord, Sanzaru Games is really worked hard on the backgrounds.
Sequel Hook: The ending has Sly missing, and everybody in the gang trying to find him. The secret ending reveals that Sly is still alive, but because of the rift in time that Le Paradox created, he's trapped in Ancient Egypt, not to mention Penelope escaping prison in the end credits and sending postcards to Bentley.
Ship Sinking: Penelope Jumping Off the Slippery Slope leads to her and Bentley breaking up for good. Darkly lampshaded when, before the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots portion of her boss fight, Penelope tells Bentley it's time to make their breakup official.
Smelly Skunk: Le Paradox. A lot of characters have brought up his odor problem.
And yet, he uses it to his advantage, providing... ammunition for the gas guns his mooks carry.
Snap Back: If you choose to go back to a previous time period, the respective Cooper from said time period is not only still playable. But still HAS his cane despite it being stolen in an earlier cutscene.
Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: Thieves in Time takes the destination programming route, programming being done via analyzing an object from the specified time period. They were quite lucky to be able to find objects that were not only from the correct era, but even right down to the exact year, month, and day needed.
Tron Lines: A lot of these can be found throughout the game, most noticeably the giant fish ad in "Turning Japanese".
Trophy Room: There are trophy rooms in each hideout, consisting of treasures and trophies collected throughout the game. Some can even affect the gameplay.
The Web Always Existed: Not only are you able to access ThiefNet during ages where even electricity had not yet been discovered, but you are also somehow able to instantaneously teleport your purchases to you, whenever and wherever you may be.
Wham Episode: "Of Mice and Mechs." Bentley is following the Black Knight, only it's revealed that it's Penelope, his girlfriend. She's undergone a Face-Heel Turn that makes poor Bentley go into a Heroic BSOD and hide himself under his shell.
You Need a Breath Mint: Red-Eye, the coyote gunslinger from the "Grand Key Larceny" mission. After telling Carmelita that she has to kiss him if she loses the shooting competition, Carmelita remarks that his breath smells like "fermented gym socks."