When you turn on the game you'll see Sly Cooper sneaking around the rooftops of Paris until he gets to the top of the Le Police station. You can skip the cutscene and go right to the menu with . If you've already started a game, you can press to quick load the last game file you played. Otherwise, will create a new game for you.
The game holds three save slots and you can load a specific game file from the options menu by pressing . In the options menu you can also start a new game if you already have a save file, turn the music on and off or change direction controls in the Controls tab.
The game is level-based, with linear paths through each stage in each world. You start out at The Hideout, which is your van, and from there you can watch movies you've unlocked by talking to Bentley, or you can enter the current or past worlds. When playing in one of the worlds, you can save and quit at any time by pressing , and you can also exit the stage to the main world map, or exit back to The Hideout.
Worlds and stages
When looking at any of the world maps in The Hideout, you can go straight to any of the key locations you've already been to. You'll also see what you've accomplished in each stage at the bottom of the screen. There are three icons at the bottom, which start out as outlines and later become filled in when you've accomplished the tasks they represent. The first one is a key, which you get at the end of each stage, the second is pages from the Thievius Raccoonus, which you can obtain by collecting all the clue bottles in the stage and unlocking the safe. The final icon is the Time Attack icon, which you can start doing after beating the game, by entering a stage and grabbing the hourglass item to start.
When in the main world map, each stage is marked by a holographic icon, which looks like a glowing green orb. These mark entrances and exits to and from the stages. In most stages you will use a combination of stealth and platforming to evade bad guys and reach the end of the level where a key usually awaits. Along the way you can collect coins, charms, extra lives and clue bottles.
Coins increment as seen in a counter at the top of the screen and after every 100 coins collected you will receive a charm, which allows you to take damage once. The first charm is silver, showing that you can take one hit, and the second is gold, meaning you can take two hits. When hit while wearing a gold charm, the charm will turn silver. If you have a gold charm when you collect 100 coins, you'll receive and extra life instead. There are also charms and extra lives in item form which you can collect by picking them up.
Clue bottles can be found all over stages, usually in hidden or out of the way places. Each stage with bottles contains a certain amount, and the counter will show how many you've collected out of the total possible. When you've collected all the bottles in a stage, Bentley will be able to use the clues to crack the code to the stage's safe. Find the safe and enter the code to open it, and you will receive a special thief power or blueprints to the current world. When you find blueprints, clue bottles and breakable objects will be highlighted when you look through your Binoc-u-com.