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Franchise / Sly Cooper

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The gang prepares for a heist. note 

"There's no honor, no challenge, no fun in stealing from ordinary people. You rip off a master criminal, then you know you're a master thief."
Sly Cooper

Sly Cooper is a series of 3D platformers published by Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by Sucker Punch. The only slightly lesser-known member of the PlayStation 2's trio of Mascots, along with Jak and Ratchet.

Set in a World of Funny Animals, that takes pains to resemble a Saturday Morning Cartoon, the games in the Sly franchise tell the tale of the world's greatest, yet most honorable, thief. The Cooper family (all raccoons) have been thieves for generations, extending back to prehistory if the stories are to be believed. Sly, the latest in the line, is orphaned as a child when rivals show up at his father's home to finish him off. In the orphanage, he picks up two lifelong compatriots, genius Bentley (a turtle) and super-strong Murray (a hippo). They grow up, and set off into the world to honor the Cooper legacy, mostly by robbing other criminals blind (There's no honor, no challenge, and no fun in taking from good people; taking from thieves is a real test).


The gang is pursued by Carmelita Fox (a fox, naturally), Interpol inspector and primary love interest. As with Zenigata in Lupin III, Sly normally sets the bad guy he's up against to be arrested by Carmelita after he's done with them, while he escapes. note 

A fifth game was teased at the end of Thieves in Time, but never came about. Sanzaru Games, creators of Thieves in Time, have expressed interest in continuing the series, but have confirmed that it's up to Sony whether or not another Sly game will be made. However, with Sanzaru now an Oculus subsidiary and Sucker Punch having moved on to new projects, the series' future remains unknown at this point.

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).


A pair of two promotional comics created by Sucker Punch Productions called The Adventures of Sly Cooper was published by GamePro Magazine and DC Comics in 2004 and 2005.

In 2005, a short-lived manga was distributed in the Japan-only Comic BomBom magazine to promote the Japanese release of the second game, and can be read about here. Sly (and Bentley) also teamed up with Ratchet & Clank and Jak and Daxter in the three-way crossover PlayStation Move Heroes, and Sly is also a playable character in the Mascot Fighter Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. A film was also confirmed in 2014, but was cancelled as Ratchet & Clank (2016) was a Box Office Bomb. However, a CG-animated television series was announced in its place. It was set for an October 2019 release, but has not aired and is believed to be in Development Hell.

As a video game stylized after a cartoon, it draws heavily on Animation Tropes and Video Game Tropes.


Video games

Crossover games


Comic books



  • 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. Sly himself lampshades this in the third game when asking what happened to the "demure girl" that he used to know, to which Carmelita replies that she grew up and no longer takes grief from criminals. 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 handcuff Carmelita to a rail so he can escape, and in the second game, he jumps out of the helicopter they were in carrying one of her prized possessions (only to give it back to her later). Though Carmelita wasn't that upset about the latter, she seemed happy about it.
    • Sly, between the third and fourth games. In the third, he decides that the cat-and-mouse game with her is actually him being cowardly, and he even fakes amnesia, giving up his life of crime and his family legacy, so that he can be with her. In the fourth game, Sly's already considering getting back into crime (because he's bored) before the plot gives him an excuse to. He doesn't even seem to consider jeopardizing his relationship with Carmelita as a Sadistic Choice.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Used as an Air-Vent Entrance, usually.
  • 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: Courtesy of 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.
    • Bentley also has a few missions in Sly 2 where he has to do this. Why there are anti-air defenses on a train, though, is anyone's guess.
  • 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 fare, 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.
  • Art Shift: The gameplay is in Cel Shaded 3D, the cutscenes are flash style animations.
  • Artistic License – Law: Inspector Carmelita Fox in unmitigated spades.
    • First and foremost, the fact that she beats up criminals despite the fact they are incapacitated and already having suffered serious beatings from the Cooper Gang. In real life, cops are explicitly forbidden from using force against criminals if they are in custody.
    • Using lethal force, or even deadly force against the Cooper Gang at all, even though the gang explicitly avoids harming police officers, and actually do the job for them.
  • Asshole Victim: The victims of the Cooper Gang, who are master criminals themselves.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: A gang of master thieves are raccoons, a crocodile is a Hollywood Voodoo priestess, the misogynistic General Tsao is a rooster, etc.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • 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 games, Sly can Two-Hit KO enemies if he gets right behind them without being detected. This is especially useful against larger mooks who would otherwise rip him to shreds in one-on-one combat. Otherwise he has to brawl, and they usually alert other guards that way.
  • Bad Boss: Quite a few examples:
  • Bag of Spilling: Parodied. At the start of Sly 2, Bentley 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...
  • Band of Brothers: Related or not, the Cooper Gang is more than just a group of friends, and they go above and beyond to help each other. Additionally, messing with one member invokes the wrath of the whole gang.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Carmelita and Neyla.
  • Battle Couple: Sly and Carmelita, in the climax of each game minus Thieves in Time.
  • Bears Are Bad News:
    • Both Canada levels in Sly 2 have missions where you have to manipulate local bears to your advantage.
    • The Grizz in Thieves in Time is a gangsta-style artist bear.
  • Benevolent Architecture: It's amazing how convenient the architecture can be for Sly Cooper and his various abilities. Apparently, criminals are fond of putting hooks randomly around to swing from, or peaks to land on. The only time hooks, peaks, and so on became dangerous was ... the Cooper vault itself, built by the guys who actually use the manoeuvres.
    • Sly learns the "Spire Jump" in the first game, a move that specifically lets him land on small points. The fact that there are random lines going across gaps that just happen to have said points is remarkable, but all the others he can simply run across.
  • 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.
  • Bickering Couple, Peaceful Couple: Sly and Carmelita form the bickering part, and Bentley and Penelope form the peaceful part, but that's only on the surface; Carmelita does love Sly, while Penelope never loved Bentley in the first place.
  • Big Bad: Clockwerk for Thievius Raccoonus, Neyla for Band of Thieves, Doctor M for Honor Among Thieves, and Le Paradox for Thieves in Time.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • 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:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Sly and the Cooper Gang are master thieves, yes, but their number one rule is never steal from anyone except other crooks, because, in addition to being immoral or wrong, there's just no fun or challenge in stealing from civilians. Furthermore, the people they steal from and/or take on are, for the most part, criminals that are even worse than they are, such as murderers (the Fiendish Five) and drug dealers (the Klaww Gang).
  • Boisterous Bruiser: "The" Murray, at least after the first game. Jean-Bison from the second game is a villainous example.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Almost always played straight, although some jobs have limits on how quickly you can fire the gun, lest it overheat.
  • 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!
  • Bullet Time: Each game gives Sly ability to slow time down, usually fairly late in the game.
  • 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.
  • Cane Fu: Given what Sly's main weapon is, this comes up quite the bit.
  • Caper Crew: Sly, Bentley and Murray cover most of the basics of a typical Caper Crew by themselves. Sly handles jobs that require sneaking or burglary, Bentley handles all tech-related jobs such as hacking or demolitions while Murray pulls double duty as the 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?"
    • 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.
  • Cel Shading: The gameplay and non-animated cutscenes are this.
  • Central Theme: Envy gets one no where. All the Big Bads in the series have been driven by jealousy or a desire to rise above the rest, primarily out of bitterness towards the Cooper Clan's legacy. By contrast, Sly and the gang follow Honor Among Thieves without compromise, and accept each other as friends and partners despite their differences.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The final mission of the first game, and the entirety of the second game. Lets up in the third and fourth games.
  • 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.
  • Childhood Friends: Sly, Bentley, and Murray. This reaches the point where they consider themselves to be brothers.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • Neyla. Sweet mercy, Neyla.
    • Le Paradox from Thieves in Time.
    • Penelope, strangely enough, in Thieves in Time.
  • Cigar Chomper: El Jefe in Thieves in Time. Muggshot can also be seen with a stogie in the first game, but apparently kicked the habit by the time of his appearance in the third game.
  • Clockwork Creature: Clockwerk. He's immortal—but not invulnerable—and runs on hate for the Coopers.
  • Criminal Found Family: Main characters Sly, Bentley, and Murray met in an orphanage and became as thick as thieves (pun intended).
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Sly himself.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The subtitles for the dialogue is color coded to the character speaking. If it's Sly, it's blue subtitles. If it's Bentley, it's green subtitles. If it's Murray, it's pink subtitles. If it's Carmelita, it's orange subtitles. If it is a villain or other character, it's grey subtitles. Except for Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, they can't be turned off.
  • Compilation Rerelease: For the PlayStation 3, the games are visually cleaned up and given trophy support.
  • 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.
  • Cool Car: The Cooper van.
  • Cops Need the Vigilante: While Carmelita Fox isn't exactly a slouch, her impressive track record of busts owe a lot to the Cooper Gang dismantling and defeating their various foes just in time for Carmelita to happen upon the beaten criminals. Sometimes this is inverted when Bentley's plans involve manipulating Carmelita into defeating their enemy for them, such as when they had her bust Muggshot and General Tsao in Honor Among Thieves.
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: Or, rather, Cane Between The Teeth. Sly Cooper, and many of his relations in Sly 4, with the exception of Bob, who uses his tail, tend to carry their canes between their teeth when climbing up narrow vines, wire, rope, and other such things.
  • Cutscene: Some in-engine, and others in between missions are vector/cel animation with voice-over.
  • Cyberspace: Apparently, it's a Shoot 'em Up.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dating Catwoman: Sly and Carmelita's complicated relationship.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Many of the props can be destroyed, for some extra coinage. Often, the chairs have more change on hand than the guards!
  • Disability Superpower: Bentley's wheelchair, starting with the third game.
  • 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 existence over something so petty...
  • Domino Mask: Sly and the Panda King.
  • Double Jump: Sly has a particularly flexible variant, as he can activate it at nearly any point in his jump arc, and it completely redirects his momentum towards the direction the stick is held in.
  • Downer Ending: 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.
  • Driving Stick: The Cooper Van.
  • Easily Forgiven: 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.
  • Emotional Bruiser: Murray probably cries more than the rest of the Cooper Gang.
  • Enemy Mine: Carmelita is routinely forced to team up with Sly. This is relevant in Thieves in Time where Carmelita has no choice but to help since she's trapped in the past with Sly.
  • Eternal Villain: Clockwork from Sly Cooper is this trope to the Cooper Clan and their allies. He's an ancient criminal owl who use the Power Of Hate and cybernetics to live thousands of years just to get his revenge on the Cooper Clan for besting him in thievery. As such, he has spent generations in conflict with and killing members of the Cooper Clan, always returning to haunt the next generation. Even after being destroyed for good in Sly 2, his crippling of Bentley marks a permanent reminder of his hateful legacy.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Special melee attacks are almost always spinning attacks. Drake Cooper's fast dive technique, the charged move in Sly 2... Especially noticeable in the third game, where even the upgraded push attack involves spinning!
  • Evil Brit: Arpeggio, Ms. Decibel and Raleigh. Also Neyla, who is actually Indian but spent a portion of her childhood in Britain.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Practically every character in an arctic stage. Then again, (most) of them have fur.
    • Averted with Carmelita in Sly 2, who wears a heavier outfit when she appears in Canada.
  • Expressive Mask: Bentley's glasses, Murray's goggles, and Sly's Domino Mask all change expression.
  • Expy:
    • Bentley sounds and acts similarly to Jerry Lewis.
    • Murray is a lot like Chris Farley.
    • Neyla's getup and accent resembles Lara Croft.
    • Penelope has some resemblance to Gadget Hackwrench, in that both are Wrench Wenches and ace pilots. Thieves in Time then turned Penelope into Gadget's Evil Counterpart.
    • Thieves in Time villain Toothpick resembles Ren with his demented appearance, East European accent, and Ax-Crazy temper.
    • Also Le Paradox in the same game reminds some people of Pepe Le Pew, another french skunk.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Penelope in Thieves in Time.
  • Face Ship: Bentley's RC chopper.
  • 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 arrests in the games that aren't bosses she either teamed up with Sly to beat or found after Sly beat. 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 Extermination: Clockwerk has this as his overall goal. A massive owl that's thousands of years old, he so despises the Cooper family that he's gradually replaced his entire body with cybernetic parts just so he can keep tormenting them across the centuries. He's spent his immortal life trying to wipe out every single one of the raccoon thieves, and it's eventually revealed that the combination of his determination to massacre them and the sheer hatred in his heart have made him functionally immortal—he wants to kill the Coopers so badly that he can't die until he does.
  • Fantastic Drug: Spice pretty much does everything.
  • First-Person Snapshooter: The second game is rife with reconnaissance missions. Sly disguises himself as a professional photographer in the fourth level of the third game.
  • Foo Fu: Panda King's Flame Fu.
  • 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, though it's less "character death" and more "death of a romance."
  • Friendly Enemy: Sly and Carmelita have this relationship. Despite being on opposite sides of the law, during moments when they are working together, or Sly is Carmelita's prisoner, they are able to talk in a more friendly manner.
  • 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: A fairly common problem here.
    • Muggshot's levels have the enemies - Muggshot himself included - be made up of dogs. Some of the minions however are on leashes and behave like pets. The third game had a "real" wolf in Holland, only to have dingos walking in talking earlier in the game, wolves in Prague in the second game and coyotes with hats and guns in Sly 4.
    • The second game had the "real" elephants in Rajan's levels, used in a similar manner to the real world. This is complicated with the existence of Ms. Decibel in the fourth game.
    • "Real" bears are present as wild animals in Jean Bison's levels. This is complicated with the existence of The Grizz in the fourth game.
    • The third game had the "real" crocodile in Uluru — particularly confusing given the existence of Mz Ruby.
    • The "real" Kraken in the archipelago housing Blood Bath Bay, and the "real" sharks plus Doctor M's giant mutant creatures on Kaine Island.
    • Heck, Dr. M's goons in general, which are all horrifying Mix-and-Match Creatures, implying that they are the products of Dr. M's experiments, much like his giant half-machine mutants, and yet the tiny-winged gorilla-armed elephants he uses as flashlight guards (notably, also the least deformed looking of his minions) are capable of speech, and one even mentions having a wife and kid.
    • "Real" rats can be found in Sly 2, despite rats being a featured enemy in the same game. This is further complicated with the existence of Penelope.
    • "Real" chickens are found in the first and fourth game, yet General Tsao is present and in a high position of power in Sly 3.
    • The first chapter of Thieves in Time has "real" pigeons, while the first chapter of Sly 3 has anthro pigeon mooks.
    • Most disturbingly, in Sly 2 Murray disguises himself as a moose... by wearing a stuffed moose head.
      • This one is extra bad for one main reason: It's not a "real" moose head. It's an anthropomorphic head with the same expressive face as the moose guards and even wearing one of their hats. Generally the games seem to treat anthropomorphic and wild animals differently, but here some coworker got killed and they used him for decoration.
    • Sly 3 had the "real" woolly mammoth frozen in ice, while Thieves in Time had the anthro woolly mammoth guards.
  • G-Rated Drug: Spice in Band of Thieves, and Lemonade in Honor Among Thieves. Thieves in Time has sarsaparilla.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Bentley, Sir Raleigh, Penelope, Arpeggio and Dr M. are great inventors.
  • Gangplank Galleon: Sir Raleigh's island in the first game and Bloodbath Bay in the third game.
  • Gentle Giant: Subverted in a way with Murray who loves to break stuff and beat people up, but in the third game he embraces the peaceful side temporarily. On the other hand, he's a Nice Guy.
  • Gentleman Thief: Sly, of course.
    • His ancestor, Thaddeus Winslow Cooper, was an even better example of this trope.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The clue bottles in the first two games and Thieves in Time. 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. Thankfully, they don't harp on it too much - they hang heavy lampshades on the fact that, before he was turned into a Human 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.
  • Grind Boots: Sly, derived from Tennessee Kid Cooper's Rail Slide move.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The game practically runs on it.
  • Guide Dang It!: Finding the clue bottles can be a pain, it gets worse in Thieves in Time as they return and along with masks and treasures to locate can be frustrating.
  • Guns Akimbo: Muggshot in the first & third games, and Toothpick in the fourth game.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Most males are pantsless, most females are fully dressed. Most enemies from the second game onwards wear pants so that they have back pockets to pick.
  • Hand Cannon: Carmelita's shock pistol packs so much kick that she barely holds onto it when she fires the thing.
  • Harmful to Minors: Sly saw the Fiendish Five murder his parents when he was only eight years old.
  • Have a Nice Death: Losing to a boss for the first time has them insult the character or make some of boast.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: The characters don't even bother trying to hide the tutorials. Among other examples:
    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 Battle:
    • The 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.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Bentley. It tends to take the form of a top-down twin-stick shooter.
  • 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.
  • Honor Before Reason: Much of Bentley's character development in Sly 3 is based on feeling inferior and worthless in comparison to Sly. However, in the final mission he has a dialogue with Murray who reminds him that Sly would always have his back, and when Dr. M. comes along to essentially reinforce all of the things Bentley has been considering, Bentley comes to a realization and denies Dr. M., realizing that while both he and Dr. M. had the same kind of development, Bentley and Sly aren't rivals or coworkers, but friends whom will always help the other and do have respect. It helps that after everything that happened, Sly refuses to enter the Cooper Vault until his two friends whom have been at his side share this momentous occasion with him.
  • 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.
  • I Have the High Ground: "The view is always better from the rooftops!"
  • I Like Those Odds:
    Murray: Outnumbered...fighting impossible's perfect!
  • Idle Animation: Many of the player characters throughout the series.
    • 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.
  • If My Calculations Are Correct: Bentley says this so frequently it's his Catchphrase.
    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.
  • 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). Tennessee Kid Cooper is able to fire VERY fast with his special cane gun.
  • 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, and he also gets the Mega Jump for a mission, after which it disappears (but after getting 100% Completion, there's a cheat that you can use to get it back). Murray got it in the form of the Turnbuckle Launch (then lost it again). Bentley uses Jet Packs in various forms. Rioichi has the Leaping Dragon technique.
  • 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.
  • Interpol Special Agent: Carmelita Fox, of course. Also Neyla before her Face–Heel Turn.
  • Interspecies Romance: Sly and Carmelita. And in the third game Penelope and Bentley... until the fourth game.
  • Invisibility: In the first three games, Sly can learn how to turn invisible, by reading Riochi Cooper's section of the Thievius Raccoonus in the first game and getting the Shadow Power gadget in Sly 2 and 3.
  • Invisible Grid: Averted, to a certain degree, with the blue sparkles.
  • It's All My Fault: Because Clock-La's beak slammed down on Bentley, it left him entirely paralyzed from the waist down. Bentley took it on the chin and simply built a super wheelchair, however Murray, whom had accidentally released his grip on the beak, blamed himself for Bentley's paralysis. He blamed himself so much so that he left the group out of shame. Bentley tries to reassure Murray that not once did he ever harbor anger to Murray, and, just like when Murray left, simply states he knows it was an accident.
  • Jet Pack: One of the gadgets for Bentley in Sly 2.
  • Jive Turkey:
  • 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.
  • Kick the Dog: More on the trope page.
    • While Sly Cooper is as good an example of an honorable thief as you can find, the villain in the third game implies that his father wasn't so noble.
  • Language Barrier: Averted in Sly 3 and Thieves In Time. Everyone is able to understand what Guru and Bob Cooper are saying despite them speaking in gibberish.
  • Large Ham: THE MURRAY (add a response)!
    • "That does it! I'll floss my teeth with your spine!"
    • "The Murray knows no song but the triumphant horn section of his own triumph!"
    • "The Murray stands tall! Like a freakin' totem pole of strongism!"
    • Dimitri: Anything he says at all can be considered this.
    • Most of the villains get a few good lines. Consider Sir Raleigh and Muggshot:
      Sir Raleigh: So, without further ado, let me make make amends by, what... BLOATING TO GARGANTUAN SIZE AND SQUASHING YOU LIKE THE INSIGNIFICANT BUG THAT YOU ARE!!!!
      Muggshot: What are you kidding 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 RC car to that pipe?
      Panda King: Ha! With the fireworks it will fly as the bird! Fly bird, fly!
    • Sir Galleth Cooper in Thieves in Time.
      Galleth: Yes, I believe the time is now! Let us rush forward, that we may strike a crushing blow against the black tyrant who imprisoned me!
    • If the character isn't a Deadpan Snarker, they are probably this.
  • Laser Hallway: A common theme throughout the games. However, the security lasers are the most unique in the first game. The yellow lasers are harmless, but it will turn into deadly red ones once it detects you. It can be deactivated when Sly destroys the generators.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Subverted with Sly at the end of the third game.
  • 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.
  • Life Meter: In every game but the first, in which Sly's a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
  • 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.
  • Magical Realism: A minor but constant part of the series.
  • Meaningful Name: Besides Sly, there's Jean Bison, who is a bison, and Carmelita Fox.
    • Ms. Decibel due to her loudness as a form of attack. Le Paradox as he's basically interfering with the time continuum with his time traveling thefts.
    • A cooper is a maker of barrels. Sly can hide from enemies inside conveniently-placed barrels throughout the series.
  • Mickey Mousing: Sneaking up on an enemy would shifts the music volume down and play a series of single notes in time with each step the player took.
  • Misplaced a Decimal Point: Bentley sometimes steers you directly into security because of this or Carry the One. As a rule, if he says his calculations are correct, he's wrong.
  • Mission Control: Bentley, when Sly is playing, and vice versa. Murray, briefly, with Bentley in a few missions. He's hilariously bad at it.
  • Mook Horror Show: This can be done in Sly 2 and 3 with Murray's Guttural Roar, which causes all enemies to run away for six seconds.
  • Multi-Stage Battle: Sly 3 has a few of these.
    • 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.
    • Don Octavio and some of Dr. M's mooks have a singing attack in Sly 3.
  • Musical Gameplay:
    • The boss fight with Mz. Ruby in the first game, which can be a hassle to deal with if you haven't trained yourself for games like Space Channel 5.
      • Becomes NOTABLY harder in 'Sly Collection', because the music does not sync anymore with Mz. Ruby's attacks.
    • The two dancing segments in "A Starry Eyed Encounter" in Sly 2 are similar, though noticeably not as difficult.
    • There's also the opera duet in Sly 3, but the game really doesn't seem to care whether or not you have any rhythm.
    • There's the Geisha dance with Murray, the figure-skating segments of Murray's fight with The Grizz, and Carmelita's belly dance in Thieves in Time.
  • Never Say "Die": Considering its inspiration, this is averted.
  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: What did Dimitri do that got him thrown into an Italian jail after his success as a dance instructor between the second and third games?
  • Numbered Sequels: For Sly 2 and Sly 3.
  • Once an Episode: Bar the first game, in which only Sly was playable, Murray gets into boss fights that were never part of the Cooper Gang's plans.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Outside of the times they have to team up, or those wherein they are friendly with each other, Sly and Carmelita have this going on. Sly keeps saving Carmelita, not only because it's the right thing to do, but because stealing would be no fun without her around. As for Camelita, she wants to be the one to bring in Sly, and it wouldn't look good for her if someone else did that, or worse yet, killed him.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Because her voice actress keeps getting replaced, Carmelita has a Spanish accent in the first game, gains a different, American accent in Sly 2: Band of Thieves, and gets a different Spanish accent in Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves.
    • Constable Neyla's accent in Sly 2: Band of Thieves, while meant to be British, 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, meaning she voiced both of the two biggest accent-slipping offenders in the series.
    • 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.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Ironically, the game Murray plays before you go to Haiti is this.
  • Painting the Medium:
    Bentley: To land safely upon small points, leapeth lively and press the triggering device with a round geometrical object emblazoned upon it.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: Bentley and Penelope in the third game....not so much the fourth game.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Sly's dance clothes in the second game. He doesn't even take off his mask.
    • His numerous disguises in Sly 3.
    • The Samurai costume in Thieves in Time helped Sly blend in with the enemy forces. Bentley's RC car managed to pass itself off as a chicken and a mouse by simply putting an animal hat on it. No joke.
  • Parental Bonus: The series is peppered with quips, jokes, and pick up lines made to entertain the adults around. This is part of why Sly Cooper has a large adult fan base.
  • Pirate Girl: Henriette "One Eye" Cooper - a female raccoon, who sailed seas and stole from pirates .
    • Penelope becomes this to kick LeFwee's ass in the pirate level of Sly 3.
  • Pistol-Whipping:
    • During the second game, Bentley hits foes with his crossbow when they get too close to him to use darts on them.
    • During the fourth game, Carmelita will use her pistol in this manner when foes get too close to shoot, having lost her ability to kick them from the third game.
    • Also during the fourth game, "Tennessee Kid" Cooper's cane-gun is used in melee, in a manner similar to most other Cooper canes.
  • Playing with Fire: Murray's Fists of Flame upgrade makes his punches burn with flames. The Panda King's Flame Fu fighting style. El Jefe is able to control fire with his two katanas.
  • The Power of Friendship: Murray breaks his old peaceful ways when Bentley gets knocked down and is helpless on the ground since he's paralyzed, and promptly beats the boss up.
    • Bentley does this as well in the fourth game, saving everyone with his robot suit and saving his friends even if he has to defeat his Psycho Ex-Girlfriend.
  • 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.
  • Power Trio: Sly's the ego, Bentley's the superego, and THE MURRAY is the id.
  • Power-Up: Both in active and more passive flavors. In the first game, you could only use one of the active power-ups at a time, as they were all assigned to one button. The next two games allowed you to use three active power-ups at a time, as there were three power-up buttons to choose from. The fourth game has a lot more passive power-ups than active, though many of them are activated with specific button inputs.
  • Pre-Rendered Graphics: The series uses 2D comic book-style cutscenes.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: 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.
  • Protagonist Title: You play as Sly Cooper. 'Nuff said.
  • 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 the now Knight Templar Carmelita into unwittingly helping them out on several occasions.
  • The Reveal: One in each game.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 multi-syllabic words. It'd be easier just to show you.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Whenever you break something, coins come out.
  • Run, Don't Walk: The first game had Sly run by default, while lightly using the analog stick allowed Sly to move more slowly and sneakily. From the second game forward, the playable characters walk by default, but they move relatively fast. While the slower, stealthier movements performed by lightly using the analog stick still exist, there is now a designated sprint button. Sprinting make you more detectable to the guards.
  • 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.
  • Safe Cracking: The first game both has you literally cracking safes open... and then subverting the trope by just collecting enough clues to decode the safe's combination. Played straight in the third game.
  • Samus Is a Girl:
    • In Sly 3, the Black Baron is Penelope.
    • In Thieves in Time, the Black Knight is also Penelope.
  • Sequel Escalation: The depth of gameplay, number of playable characters, and even the scale of the conflicts tend to increase with each game.
  • 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...
  • Sexophone A saxophone riff plays every time Carmelita steps into the scene.
  • 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 can use the Clockwerk heart on his staff to electrify pillars.
    • El Jefe in Thieves in Time can charge his katanas with lightning.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Smoke Out: Smoke Bomb gadget for Sly creates a cloud of smoke, that distracts guards and allows him to escape fights.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Upon joining The Cooper Gang, Penelope remains as the only female member (not counting Jing King). However, her siding with the villains in the fourth game brings the team back down to all men, until...
    • Carmelita works with the gang in the fourth game.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": "The Murray."
  • Stealing from Thieves: The Cooper Gang's modus operandi: they steal things from big-name criminals because there's no fun or honor in stealing from regular people. In Sly's words, "You rip off a master criminal, you know you're a master thief". This also helps them feel heroic to the audience, since nearly everyone they steal from is up to some horrible stuff that overshadows simple thievery, and often the Cooper Gang go out of their way to stop their operation alongside the thievery. This is Zig-Zagged, however: in smaller stories such as the Sly 3 train robbery short, their victims don't appear to have done anything wrong and are robbed simply because it's fun to steal something valuable from them.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • The pig cops patrolling the museum in the beginning of Sly 2. "Pig" is a common insult for police officers.
    • 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 and drowns if he falls into water with no Horseshoes, even though raccoons in Real Life can swim quite well. There is a skill from the Thievius Raccoonus that lets you avoid taking damage from water, but it still doesn't teach Sly how to swim. He then forgets about this skill in the second and third games, only to relearn it (along with the other playable characters) upon cracking the (optional) vault in Chapter 4 of the fourth game. Additionally, Murray is a hippo who can't swim (except in a cutscene) and Bentley is a turtle who can't swim. None of the mooks are able to swim either, drowning as soon as they enter the water.
    • 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.
    • A number of enemies also have this weakness. Knock them into the water, watch them struggle for a bit, and then their coins come to the player's side as the enemy fades away.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Carmelita, of course.
  • Techno Wizard: Bentley, who assembles a variety of machines for fieldwork and transport in Sly 3; later Penelope as well as a villainous version.
  • Teethclenched Teamwork: Carmelita with Sly and his gang, prominently moreso in Thieves in Time.
  • Timm Style: The art style of the original trilogy (the second and third games especially) combines this trope with more exaggerated Looney Tunes-styled traits, giving the series a comic book-like aesthetic with cartoon-like expressiveness, along with a rich color palette. Thieves in Time also has elements of this style, but while the designs are more detailed, line work tends to be thinner and more rounded in cinematic cutscenes.
  • 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.
    • Another example is Bentley. In the first game, he was the typical Mission Control guy, who did little more than allow Sly to view previous cutscenes and instruct him on the different tutorials, occasionally providing comic relief. From Sly 2 onward, he was promoted to demolitions expert, of all things. In Sly 3, seeing as how he is crippled, Bentley builds a wheelchair that has a jetpack (kind of), multiple explosive devices, and a pickpocketing mechanism.
    • Sly himself from a gameplay perspective, having gone from a One-Hit-Point Wonder in the first game.
    • In the first game, most of the mooks could be taken down in one blow. From the second game on, aside from being the victim of a sneak attack, most foes took at least three or more blows.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Muggshot, to the point of self parody. His arms are absolutely colossal pillars of muscle and he walks using hands that are each as big as his whole lower body. His design in the "Timing is Everything" short is slightly less ridiculous, where he simply has comically exaggerated human proportions.
    • Most Flashlight Guards from Sly 2 onward are about 75% torso, the better to underscore why taking them on in a straight fight is an astonishingly stupid idea.
  • Train Job:
    • More than one, in fact. The sixth level of Sly 2 consists of a series of train robberies.
    • The secret short film "Goodbye My Sweet" in Sly 3 centers around one.
    • Sly's Western ancestor Tennessee Kid Cooper was famous for these.
  • True Companions: The group is always together and working alongside each other. As a matter of fact, they willingly put themselves in danger for one another. The sequence in the second game where Bentley saves Sly and then they save Murray was the first time they realized how much they meant to each other and how intense their friendship is to them all.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: An occasional racing or action segment is implemented to add variety to the platforming gameplay. There were more in 2, and even more in 3.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In the second and third games, something will inevitably go wrong, usually on the last mission of the level.
  • Variable Mix: Even in the first game. The music is subdued when you’re skulking around, and gets all hardcore when you are detected.
  • Villain of the Week: Played straight. Each level has Sly and the Gang thwarting the schemes of a member from whatever organization they're from.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Quite a few of them through the series.
    • 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?
    Rajan: Black clouds and thunderbolts. My spice operations! RUINED!!
    • 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.
    • Once cornered and exposed as a jealous, sociopathic Gold Digger who foolishly believed she is using LeParadox when it's actually the other way around, Penelope snaps and attacks Bentley with her mecha suit.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Done for the bosses in Sly 2, the gang members in 3 and for the ancestors, enemies and Dimitri in 4.
  • 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.
  • Wings Do Nothing: For the bird and bat mooks, their wings are this. When Sly, or another character, shoves them off a roof, over a really high edge, or off of a bridge over water, they can't fly up. At best, they have to find a way to jump or climb up to Sly's location. At worst, they fall or drown to death. Sometimes they'll flap their wings uselessly before gravity takes them down.
  • Worthy Opponent: Sly and Carmelita have a certain amount of respect for each other, which explains why Sly is willing to save Carmelita when she's in trouble, and why Carmelita will help Sly during the times they have a common foe.
  • 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, and again in Thieves in Time, this time knowingly. 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..
  • Wrench Wench: Penelope specializes in remote-controlled vehicles, so the gang try to hire her on. However, she later betrays them in the fourth game.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: This exchange from learning the Spire Jump in the first game:
    Bentley: To landeth safely upon diminutive points, leapeth lively and presseth the triggering device with the round geometrical object emblazoned upon it.
    Sly: So jump and hit the circle button to land on narrow spots.

Jump and hit the circle button to ruin your life.