Virtua Cop – Triple Longplay and Review
Arcade, Saturn, PC – First released in 1994
90s Video Games, Episode 138
Virtua Cop, also known as Virtua Squad is a light gun shooter game developed by Sega AM2, led by Yu Suzuki. Music was composed by Kentaro Koyama and graphics designed by Akihito Hiroyoshi. Virtua Cop was first released on the Arcade in 1994.
A detective in the player’s department uncovers an illegal gunrunning operation and traces it back to a powerful crime syndicate named EVIL Inc. He compiles a large amount of evidence and is ready to take them down, but he is discovered and assassinated.
Some of the evidence manages to make its way back to headquarters and a special task force is put on the case. The policemen Michael “Rage” Hardy and James “Smarty” Cools must face that organization led by Joe Fang and his followers Kong, the King, and the Boss.
Players take the role of police officers, either Michael Hardy, or his partner, James Cools. Played in a first-person perspective, you must use a light gun to shoot criminals and advance through the game.
In following years, the game was ported to Sega Saturn and PC, where instead of light gun, you could use a mouse, or joypad. However, joypad is not recommended option.
Virtua Cop is a beautiful game. In terms of graphics it was far ahead of time. Sega even advertised it as “the world’s first texture mapped, polygon action game”.
And the gameplay is excellent, especially if you like fast-paced action and you have good reflexes.
Emphasizing the real-time nature of the game, enemies would react differently depending on where they were shot. It was also one of the first games to allow the player to shoot through glass.
If comparing the ports to the Arcade original, they are also flawless, near arcade perfect.
Virtua Cop was released around that time period when Sega started to lose ground. It was one of very few games that made you want to own a Saturn, because it was not ported to other 32-bit consoles like Playstation or Nintendo 64. However, if you had Saturn, and you wanted to get the maximum pleasure, you had to get the Saturn mouse. Playing this game with joystick is not that fun.
Please note that on PC, two different versions were released – one version is without music! If you are planning to get one, make sure you stay away from the Expert branded budget release and get yourself the original (with music), because music plays such a great role in this game.
Despite some initial skepticism over its introduction of 3D polygons in a genre that previously used realistic digitized sprites, Virtua Cop went on to become a commercial success.
It received critical acclaim for enhancing the genre with its 3D graphics, camera system, realistic animations, and ability to target specific body parts with realistic consequences.
The game is short, but for as long as it lasts though, it’s a thriller!
Enjoy the gameplay!