Set in a world populated by funny animals, that takes pains to resemble a Saturday morning Animated Series, the three titles 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 challenge 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. 
The gameplay in all three 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 teaser trailer for Sly 4 was discovered in the Sly Collection. The fourth game, named Thieves in Time will be out in 2012.
Sly was announced to be a playable character in Play Station All-Stars Battle Royale on April 26, 2012.
- 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 back to her old hard nosed self.
- To be fair after Cooper escapes her helicopter in the epilogue she does scream out, "I'll get you Cooper"
- Likewise between the first and second game, although that time, it was justified by Sly using the learning moment as an opportunity to covertly handcuff her to something so he could escape.
- 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.
- It should also be noted that some of the panels from the comic book are used as cutscenes for the games!
- All Up to You: The Prague mission in Sly 2 has Bentley take the lead, as the only team member not then in prison.
- All-Star Cast: The fourth game already has names like Steve Blum, Yuri Lowenthal and Grey Delisle doing voices for the game.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The first game has "Black Jack" as its Japanese theme song.
- 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.
- 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).
- Anti-Hero: Sly, naturally
- Anti-Villain: The writers could not make an easier to like villain than Jean Bison if they tried. Repeatedly lampshading the Values Dissonance in that he'd be considered a hero back in his own time for what he was doing, every announcement he makes to his guards are congratulations on their hard work and gratitude.
- 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.
- Art Shift: The gameplay is in Cel Shaded 3D, the cutscenes are flash style animations.
- Artistic License - Geography/Physics: It would be pretty much impossible for Murray's van (frozen in a block of ice) to float from Canada, out to sea to China, then upriver into the Kunlun Mountains.
- 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, mysogynistic That One Boss General Tsao is a rooster, etc.
- Attack Its Weak Point: In the final battle of the first game, Clockwerk needs to be hit in the areas where Carmelita has recently shot him with her shock pistol.
- 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.
- Avengers Assemble: Five of the six levels of the third game involve getting together a team for the Cooper Vault heist, beginning with Murray.
- Interviews with developers have indicated that at least part of the plot of Sly 4 will play out this way too.
- 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.
- Well, a Two-Hit KO at any rate.
- The Backwards R: Used in the title of "The Cold Heart of Hate" in the first game. Or more properly, "The C Фld Hea Яt Фf Hate".
- Badass Grandpa: Octavio, a villain from the third game. He might be old, but he's still fast and strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Murray.
- FasTER, even! He needs to be lured into tar before Murray can properly lay the smackdown.
- Bag of Spilling: Parodied. More on trope page.
- Also played straight for some of the abilities.
- Battle Couple: Sly and Carmelita, in the climax of each game.
- Benevolent Architecture
- 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.
- Big Bad: Clockwerk for Thievious Raccoonous, Neyla for Band of Thieves and Doctor M for Honor Among Thieves.
- Big Badass Bird of Prey: Clockwerk
- 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.
- And also the ending to 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.
- Subverted with the destroyed vault; Bentley says that he and Penelope are making it even more secure.
- And also the ending to 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.
- Blood Knight: Murray becomes this in the third game, ironically after a period of pacifism.
- 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.
- Averted during the ACES dogfighting competition in Sly 3.
- Subverted to good effect in Sly 3 when the Panda King is defending the crew's ship from the Crusher, using rockets to stun and repel the tentacles. His triumphant boasts are cut short when he discovers he is all out of ammo and has to pass the baton to Sly.
- Breaking Out the Boss: In Sly 2's Prague level, Bentley's first major objective is to help Sly escape.
- 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 3rd game's credits!
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Haiti in the first 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.
- Canada, Eh?: When you hear the moose security guard talk to you in Sly 2, he says "eh" a lot. Not to mention, Jean Bison's levels are full of Canadian stereotypes, where the guards are all represented by Canada Geese and Moose.
- Canon Discontinuity: In the second game's epilogue they say that Dimitri became a dance instructor after getting out of jail, but at the beginning of the third game he is still jail.
- Given that he was in a Parisian jail in 2, and a Venetian jail in 3, it's likely he was released, got the dance instructor job, and later returned to crime, which got him arrested in Venice.
- The Caper: Every mission in Sly 2 is a caper, and the whole game is a setup for a caper in Sly 3.
- 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...
- Cel Shading
- Cerebus Syndrome: The final mission of the first game, and the entirety of the second game. Lets up in the third game.
- Chekhov MIA: In the third game, Penelope works for the Black Baron, but is never seen in his section of the game. This is because she is the Baron.
- Chinese Vampire: The zombie praying manti in the fourth level of the third game.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Neyla. Sweet mercy, Neyla.
- Cigar Chomper: El Jefe in Sly 4. 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.
- Coat, Hat, Mask: Sly himself
- Colossus Climb Sly does this to the Mask of Dark Earth-possessed Carmelita in the final boss fight of the second level of the third game.
- Combat Tentacles: Crusher in Sly 3. The player even gets to take control of them to engage LeFwee's mooks at one point.
- Comically Missing the Point: In the third game:
Don O: I know you're nothing without this little guy's brain. So I figure I'll scoop 'em out real slow and use 'em to fertilize my tomato plants.
- Compilation Rerelease: For the Playstation 3, the games are visually cleaned up and given trophy support.
- Concealing Canvas: Several in the first and third levels of the third game
- Conspicuously Selective Perception: The guards. This is less so with the main villains of the episode, but still applies to a certain degree
- Cool Car: The Cooper van
- Criminal Amnesiac: Inverted. Sly claims to have amnesia, and Carmelita tells him that he's her partner.
- Cutscene: Some in-engine, and others in between missions are vector/cel animation with voice-over.
- Cyberspace: Apparently, it's a Shoot'Em Up.
- Dark Chick: Mz Ruby
- 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.
- Death Course: The Cooper Vault.
- Debut Queue: The third game.
- Decoy Antagonist: Arpeggio.
- Defeat Means Friendship: In the third game, Sly teams up with bad guys from the first two games.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Really puts the "Anti" in Jean Bison's Anti-Villain status.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Flaming Temple of Flame
- Die, Chair, Die!
- Disability Superpower: Bentley's wheelchair in the third game.
- Domino Mask: Sly and the Panda King
- Down the Drain: The sewers in the Holland levels of Sly 3.
- Driving Stick: The Cooper van
- DVD Commentary: Level commentary, actually, for those who finish the speed runs in the first game.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first game is much more linear than its sequels and you can't play as Bentley or Murray outside of a few mini-games.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted. In the third game, Sly has to team up with one of the original game's villains, 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.
- The End - or Is It?: The Stinger of the first game has the decapitated Clockwerk lighting up one of his eyes.
- Enemy Mine: Carmelita is routinely forced to team up with Sly.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In Sly 3, Bentley has to provoke one of the main villains into a fight. The other guy isn't intimidated by the scrawny brainiac's insults... until Bentley hits him with, "Your mother is a broken-down tub of junk with more gentleman callers than the operator." That does it.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Bloodbath Bay's underwater levels with Dimitri are filled with these in Sly 3.
- Not to mention you actually had to ride them in the final episode.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Both Canada levels in Sly 2 have missions where you have to manipulate local bears to your advantage.
- Evil Brit: Arpeggio and Raleigh. Also Neyla, who is actually Indian but spent a portion of her childhood in Britain.
- Evil Plan: Neyla in Sly 2. She helped Interpol chase down criminals with the Clockwerk parts and helped Sly steal them back specifically so that they'd be given to Arpeggio, who'd assemble them for her and then she could backstab him and take the Clockwerk parts for herself.
- 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 and Murray is a lot like Chris Farley.
- Face Ship: Bentley's RC chopper.
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Carmelita Fox. As much as she makes headlines and is a competent cop, it's hard not to notice that she never makes a single arrest in the games unless she's either arresting a boss Sly has already beaten, or is outright teaming up with Sly.
- 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. She was pretty much there for that anyway but she probably intended to drop the bomb a little less hastily.
- Actually, she did arrest Muggshot on her own 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.
- With the player controlling her, mind.
- Fantastic Drug: Spice pretty much does everything.
- Final Exam Boss
- Finishing Stomp: Carmelita delivers this to the Big Bad in Bands of Thieves.
- Firing in the Air a Lot: Muggshot's flashlight guards do this if they manage land a hit on you in the first game.
- 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.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Jean Bison's forest-clearing actions, as noted by Sly, would have been heroic 150 years ago when he was frozen, making him a sympathetic villain.
- Five-Bad Band:
- The Fiendish Five from the first game:
- The Klaww Gang from the second game:
- Flanderization: While Murray is a Large Ham and enjoys breaking things in the second game, this is taken Up to Eleven in the third one, where he borders Heroic Sociopath. The guy gleefully throws mine guards into the jaws of a giant crocodile in the second level!
- Follow the Money
- Foreshadowing: At the end of Sly 3, Bentley says he and Penelope were building a time machine. Now, what's the official name of Sly 4?
- 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."
- Freudian Excuse: We learn the backstory of every villain as they're introduced, and every one has a reason for why they turned to crime.
- Freudian Trio: Sly's the ego, Bentley's the superego, and THE MURRAY is the id.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: In the third game, Sly, Bentley and Murray engage a group of Australian miners in a lemonade drinking contest.
- Frozen Beef Jean Bison.
- 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 toad are essentially unmodified animals.
- Furry Confusion: The first 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 will bring the return of "real" chickens and "real" rats.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Bentley, Sir Raleigh, Penelope, Arpeggio and Dr M.
- Game Breaking Bug: If the player enters the Canada Games in the second game, then quits at any time before beating Jean Bison, you will be returned to the game outside the games with no way of reentering them, making the game Unwinnable.
- Thankfully comes with a fix ingame - just head to the place with the laser and wander around the area near the safe until Bison makes an announcement.
- Gang Plank Galleon: Numerous, including one that Sly and the gang hijack 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.
- Gentleman Thief: Sly, of course.
- His ancestor, Thaddeus Winslow Cooper, was an even better example of this trope.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: 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 Ironsides would fall out of her dress.
- 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.
- Gotta Catch Em All: The clue bottles in the first two games.
- They even added a Trophy by a similar name ("Gotta find 'em all!") to Sly 2 in the HD Collection. You get it by collecting 15 bottles.
- G-Rated Drug: Spice.
- 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.
- Even more - they hang heavy lampshades on the fact that, before he was turned into a
- Grind Boots: Sly, derived from Tennessee Kid Cooper's Rail Slide move.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: The game practically runs on it.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Most males are pantsless, most females are fully dressed.
- Handicapped Badass: Bentley in Sly 3.
- 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-
- 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.
- Heal Thyself
- Heavy Voice: In Sly 3, when Carmelita is under the effects of the Mask of Dark Earth, her voice gets deeper as she gets larger.
- 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.
- High-Class Glass: Arpeggio.
- Hijacked by Ganon: Nicely averted in the second game, even though the plot was just asking for it. While the game revolves around Clockwerk's mechanical body, the owl himself never actually appears. True, you fight the body at one point, but Neyla's the one possessing it, not Clockwerk.
- Hollywood Hacking: Bentley.
- Hooks and Crooks: Sly's only weapon is his oddly-shaped cane, passed down through his family.
- How We Got Here The narrative structure of Sly 3.
- I Have the High Ground: Sly. The view is always better from the rooftops.
- I Know Flame Fu: Panda King
- I Like Those Odds:
Murray: Outnumbered...fighting impossible odds...it's perfect!
- I Take Offense to That Last One: Played relatively straight before the Rajan boss battle:
Rajan Who is "The Murray"? All I see is a fat, pathetic, weakling!
- Don't forget
Sly I have no idea what you're saying... and your suit sucks!
- Another good one when Carmelita fights Muggshot:
""Carmelita"" It's my duty to put you behind bars. That, and Enjoy making tough guys cry like the stupid babies they really are!
- 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 Catch Phrase.
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.
- The flashlight guards avert this. HARD.
- Implacable Fox: Carmelita.
- 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 alternate methods.
- Incoming Ham: THE MURRAY's introduction in the second game.
- 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.
- Interface Spoiler: In the controls menu for Thievius Raccoonus, the 3rd option you can change is for the jet pack. Take 3 guesses as to how you beat Clockwerk.
- 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.
- Invisible Grid: Averted, to a certain degree, with the blue sparkles.
- It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: In Sly 3 Sly and Bentley arrive in Venice only 3 days before Carnivale.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dimitri. He was pretty abrasive to Sly when they meet up in Venice and Holland in the third game, but after the Cooper Gang retrieves his diving gear for him, he jumped into shark-infested waters to help save Penelope, and eventually joined the gang, and without so much as having a favor to excuse it.
- Jive Turkey: Dimitri from Sly Cooper 2 and 3. Somewhat of a Justified Trope, as he learned English from American hip-hop videos.
- Journey to Find Oneself: Murray. Also, the Panda King, though his meditation was imposed on him by General Tsao.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: Happens between Sly and the Panda King, in a recreation of the first game's boss fight with him. Also, happens offscreen with the Guru and the Kraken.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: The gang does this to Tsao by stealing his money in addition to the bride.
- 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: "Man don’t 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!"
- Even The Panda King gets some in the third game.
Penelope: "Panda King, can you launch my car onto one of those pipes?"
- Let's face it, if the character isn't a Deadpan Snarker, they are probably this
- Laser Hallway
- 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. And if the E3 trailer for the upcoming game is any indication, he's been practicing his free-running.
- Life Meter: In the second and third games. In the first game, Sly's a One-Hit-Point Wonder.
- Literal Surveillance Bug: Happens with the water bug in the third level of the second game.
- 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.
- Lord British Postulate: One can kill the ordinarily invincible Carmelita in China in the third game by using Bentley's size reduction bomb and attacking her.
- 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.
- Mad Scientist: Arpeggio from Sly 2, Dr. M from Sly 3.
- Magical Realism: A minor but constant part of the series.
- Malaproper The Black Baron.
- Manipulative Bitch: Neyla in Sly 2.
- Meaningful Name: Besides Sly, there's Jean Bison, who is a bison, and Carmelita Fox.
- Meaningless Lives: In the first game.
- Mercy Lead: Carmelita offers Sly a ten-second head start at the end of the first game. Sly spends nine of those seconds standing there, and then kisses her on the tenth one - which distracts her enough that she doesn't see him handcuffing her to a railing.
- 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.
- Mission Control: Bentley, when Sly is playing, and vice versa. Murray, briefly, with Bentley in a few missions. He's hilariously bad at it.
- "Mission Impossible" Cable Drop: During the Clockwerk Wings heist in Sly 2.
- 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.
- Multi Stage Battle: Sly 3 has a few of these.
- Thieves in Time will expand on this, as evidenced by early gameplay demo videos and interviews with the developers.
- Musical Gameplay: The boss fight with Mz Ruby in the first game. Quickly becomes That One Boss if you haven't trained yourself by games like Space Channel 5.
- 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.
- Never Say "Die": Considering its inspiration, this is averted hard.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nice job pulling Clockwerk apart in Arpeggio's blimp, Sly.
- No OSHA Compliance: Although considering he was frozen for two hundred years, Jean Bison likely has never heard of OSHA.
- Arpeggio's blimp. Giant rotating propeller blades, electrical hazards, and the ever-present danger of falling off the edge, but no safety railings anywhere.
- 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.
- Nobody Poops: Averted in the second game. There are outhouses in the second stage that takes place in Canada, some of which are occupied. If you stand close to one that's full, you can even hear the guard inside grunting.
- Noodle Incident: Murray apparently made his Guru's hut smell bad. He refers to the incident as "The unspeakable."
- Not So Different: Dr. M takes this to the logical extreme, refusing to even fight Bentley at first because he finds them so similar. Bentley's habits of Moral Dissonance hint that Dr. M may have a point...
- Numbered Sequels
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Sly in the first game, as well as the mooks.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Because her voice actor kept getting replaced, Carmelita has a Spanish accent in Sly Cooper, 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 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.
- Owl Be Damned: Clockwerk, his death ray and his "robo-falcons."
- Pair the Smart Ones: Bentley and Penelope in the third game
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Sly's dance clothes in the second game. He doesn't even take off his mask.
- 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.
- Pet the Dog: Carmelita has a black-and-white view of the world and sees all criminals as the same. In the second game she briefly captures Murray, but is shown to be respectful to him and considerate of his needs.
- A Pirate 400 Years Too Late: The third game features a trip to Blood Bath Bay, a series of small islands inhabited by "throwbacks" who still live by old fashioned pirate culture.
- 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.
- Powder Trail: Sly 3.
- Precursor Heroes: Sly's dad had his own trio of thieves in his youth, with McSweeny filling Murray's role and Dr. M filling Bentley's.
- Private Military Contractors: Carmelita's ape mercenaries in Sly 3.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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...
- And 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.
- 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."
- Rewarding Vandalism
- Rich Boredom: Sir Raleigh
- Rule of Cool: The final skill in the "Thievius Raccoonus", as we find out in the end of the third game. The laser slide.
- Run, Don't Walk
- Safecracking: 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: The Black Baron is Penelope.
- Scenery Porn: Dear lord, Sanzaru Games is really working hard on the backgrounds in the 4th game.
- Sequel Escalation
- Sequel Hook: The ending of Sly 3 reveals that Bentley is working on making a time machine. Three guesses as to what's going to be involved in the 4th game.
- 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.
- Shout-Out: One of Sly's ancestors resembles Carmen Sandiego. Carmelita wears an outfit reminiscent of Carmen's signature attire in the unlockable Goodbye My Sweet cartoon in Sly 3.
- In Sly 2, there is a tombstone reading "R.I.P. Rocket"
- In Sly 3's Blood Bath Bay episode, there's a pirate who has some kind of serious problem with monkeys. In case that was too subtle, later in that same mission Sly has a battle of insults--though no swords are involved, and it doesn't have the same sense of humor as the ones it's clearly referencing.
- The Mz. Ruby boss fight in the first game seems to be a Shout-Out to Space Channel 5.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Carmelita; her shock pistol packs so much kick that she barely holds onto it when she fires the thing.
- The Smurfette Principle: Upon joining The Cooper Gang, Penelope remains as the only female member.
- Spell My Name with a "The" "The Murray."
- Split Personality: The Panda King is briefly shown to have one in Sly 3. He actually has to talk his raging, violent half into cooperating before you can continue the mission.
- Springy Spores: in Rajan's second level in Sly 2, there are mushrooms you can bounce on.
- The Starscream: Neyla to Arpeggio. She doesn't waste time betraying him.
- Stealth Pun: The canine Mooks in the third game's pirate episode. Sea dogs, you see.
- 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.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Carmelita, of course.
- Taking the Bullet: When Dr. M realizes he can't defeat Sly, he tries to take it out on Carmelita to make him suffer, and Sly runs right in front of her, only to be hit himself. She was so pissed.
- Technical Pacifist: Murray, for all of one episode in Sly 3. You get to fight as him at the end of the chapter.
- Techno Wizard: Bentley, who assembles a variety of machines for fieldwork and transport in Sly 3; later Penelope as 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.
- 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 in a way, having gone from a One-Hit-Point Wonder in the first game.
- Totally Radical: Averted by Dimitri in Sly 2, by way of completely making up his own slang which seems to have been modified from hip-hop slang.
- Train Job: More than one, in fact. The sixth level of Sly 2 consists of a series of train robberies.
- Short film "Goodbye My Sweet" on Sly 3 centers around one.
- Trophy Room: In Thieves in Time, there are trophy rooms in each hideout, consisting of treasures and trophies collected throughout the game. Some can even affect the gameplay.
- 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. This was a bone of contention in the fanbase.
- The Unfought: Arpeggio in Sly 2.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In the second and third games, something will inevitably go wrong, usually on the last mission of the level.
- Unusual Euphemism: The insults and name-calling used by the Blood Bath Bay pirates in Sly 3. Sly even lampshades this at one point when bantering with LeFwee.
- Variable Mix: Even in the first game. The music is subdued when you’re skulking around, and gets all hardcore when you are detected.
- Villainous Breakdown: Quite a few of them through the series.
- Such as?
- What the Hell, Hero?: A minor example in the third game. Sly and the main villain Dr. M are arguing over who's the leader of the gang. Sly insists that they're all equal. Dr. M asks if that's the case, then why is it named The Cooper Gang?
- What the Hell, Player?: In an early mission in Sly 2, you need to keep up with Neyla as she runs around the hub. If you whack her with your cane, you get a Game Over message saying "Neyla doesn't like getting hit any more than you do."
- When I Was Your Age: Octavio in Sly 3.
Octavio: That's the toughest talk you got? You're-a pathetic! Back in-a my day, we had enforcers would make people pee their pants just as soon as-a look at 'em!
- Where Are They Now? Epilogue - Done for the bosses in 2, and the gang members in 3.
- 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.
- Xanatos Roulette: Most of Bentley's plans. One plan in 3 actually depended on the villian being goaded into revealing a certain piece of information, at which point they would choose between plans A and B.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: This exchange from learning the Spire Jump in the first game:
Bentley: To land safely upon small points, leapeth lively and press the triggering device with a round geometrical object emblazoned upon it.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Inspector Carmelita.
- You Owe Me: This is how Dimitri eventually joins the gang in Sly 3. First, he helps you reunite with Murray in exchange for busting him out of jail. Next, he gives you information in return for owing him a favor, which he calls in a few months later. After you fulfill this favor, however, he sticks around to help rescue Penelope and pull off the Cooper Vault job.