If you're at all familiar with Virtua Cop, it will almost certainly be because you're one of those types who visit arcades, push loudmouthed children out of the way and put all your beer money (or curry money or child maintenance or whatever) into the machines. You will also almost certainly be aware that Virtua Cop has been more or less superseded by another shooting game called Time Crisis, which has something to do with a frustrated watchmaker going berserk in the streets of Gstaad with an automatic pistol. (Something like that, anyway. We don't really pay a lot of attention to the plots.)
Hot new arcade game hits PC shock... well...
Time Crisis was the the first game that actually lets you duck when you're being shot at. Virtua Cop doesn't have any of that. Time Crisis lets you hide behind handily placed large objects, pop up to redecorate the walls of whatever shop in Gstaad High Street you happen to be in with blood and offal rather than chocolate and clocks, and duck out of sight again, tittering to yourself. (Until you pop up at the wrong moment.) Virtua Cop is a straightforward Operation Wolf or Terminator 2-style blast. So what we're saying is that although it may at first seem pretty swish to get an arcade thing like this on the pc, don't get too carried away. Because a) it's not exactly up to the minute in the arcade world, and b) we've seen this sort of thing before.
The virtua bit
Alright, so technically it's better than the older games mentioned. The CVirtua' bit seems to come about because you Cmove' through the area in which you're blasting merrily away at everything, climbing slag heaps or riding escalators as you shoot. (You do this automatically, in a game-on-rails style, and the people pop up conveniently as you get to certain pre-set places.) And the other advancement is that the people you're shooting are polygonal rather then sprite-based, and that they react differently according to where they're shot. They slump over if you get them in the knees, clutch their wrist if you get them in the arm, or grunt and start supporting Millwall if you get them in the head.
The cop bit
As far as the cop bit goes, it's all very fast-paced and action packed. More John Woo than policing as British Bobbies would know it: there's little or no chance to push anti-ring road protestors under bulldozers, shout through the letterboxes of dead pensioners or run down schoolchildren in a high-speed car chase and walk away free. It's Cbang, bang you're dead', from start to finish. Probably much as you'd expect from a shoot 'em up, of course...
The review bit
As far as the conversion goes, it's pretty well done - if you have a P133 or above. The recommended minimum spec, according to Sega, is a P90 with 8Mb ram. Bollocks, it is. On a P90 with 64Mb, it ran like a snail with arthritis. It was unplayably slow. Even on a P166, there are times when the screen doesn't pan as quickly as you'd like to show the people shooting at you. So be warned.
To be fair, the control system works surprisingly well: left click on the mouse to shoot, double right-click to reload. To allow for a bit of mouse judder, you can adjust the sensitivity of the mouse aiming, allowing you to be a little wilder in your aiming and still get away with a hit. The downside is that you can also accidentally shoot the hostages when aiming at the mobster who's using them as a human shield.
As a game you'd stick sop into in the arcade (actually, it's probably more like $2, these days), it's alright, if you can't get onto Time Crisis. But you wouldn't want to pay 40 quid for it and play it over and over again. For a start, it's not that long a game. Put it on easy, put the continutes up to 9, and even the most ham-fisted person should be able to get through the game in one go - about half an hour's playing time. I did it even though I was shooting all the hostages as a point of principle. I know, we shouldn't moan about the length of a game if they put it on easy, but there are a lot better players of this sort of game than me, and presumably they could do the same thing on the Normal setting. Even if you have the machine to run it, it's just not worth the money.
The hostage situation
If you aren't familiar with the game, there are hostages. Or, to be more accurate, brain dead cretins who deserve to have their genitals shot into pate. They pop up all over the place in their crimplene shirts and disgusting faces, squeaking pathetically about not wanting to die (Ooh, ooh, help me or somesuch nonsense -1 didn't really listen). It's always just as you're trying to get a bead on a bastard mobster. God, I hate them. They are such an incovenience. Just shoot them. That's what I do. So what if it costs you a life? Shoot them anyway. Shoot them twice.
This would all be a lot more satisfying, of course, if you could map digitised faces of famous people onto their heads, and add your own samples. If you really don't care whether you shoot them or not it could be people like Mother Theresa. (Squeaking ,0ooh, oooh, I'm really poor...) Or the Queen Mother (Oooh, oooh, a fishbone - cough - a fishbone...). If you wanted an incentive not to shoot them, it could be Hathaway from ER. Or your Mum. (Don't shoot! It's your Mum! I've got your dinner...) Or whatever.
Download Virtua Cop
One of the coolest arcade lshooting games is about to blast onto the Saturn. Virtua Cop is another hit from Sega's in-house AM2 design team who continue to crank out some of the best games around. All of the fast-paced arcade action is here, along with all the stages from the arcade. The advantage it has over other gun games is that it uses polygon figures, so you can aim at specific parts of the enemy and get a proper hit reaction depending on where you hit them. AM2 is sure to pack in hidden goodies to add plenty of replay value.
Put on your shades, tighten your skinny black tie and smooth out your slim-cut, single-breasted black suit and prepare to kick some tail. It's Virtua Cop time!!! Sega's arcade hit is making its expected debut on the Saturn this fall and by all indications it's one hell of a ride. While not arcade-perfect, it's close enough to the original's madcap Hong Kong movie carnage to satisfy even the most jaded gamer.
If you're unfamiliar with the game, check this out: Virtua Cop is the fastest, most brutal, most drop-dead cool of any gun game out there. Lethal Enforcers? Weak. Doesn't even compare to Virtua Cop's white-knuckle adrenaline thrills. The VG staff checked out the nearly complete version at Sega's recent gamer's day and we were all blown away by what we witnessed.
Looking for a way to ease the tensions of everyday life and snuff out criminal scum at the same time? Two words, baby: Virtua Cop!!!
Worried that you won't be getting the full Virtua Cop experience when it hits home? Ease your mind, because Sega is packing in a replica of the arcade's cooler-than-Lee-Marvin guns with the Virtua Cop disc. Check it out: It's heavy, it feels like plastic death when you hold it in your hand. Basically, it's super-bad. When you play Virtua Cop you'll feel like the hero of a John Woo flick and you'll look like one too. It's the ultimate gun for the ultimate gun game and you'll be able to own it this fall. Just don't go running around your neighborhood waving it around, okay? It's only a game, kid. Happiness is truly a digital gun.
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