Virtua Cop (Saturn) review
"Light Guns are fun accessories. They add a whole new dimension to first person shoot' em up games, especially automated ones such as Virtua Cop for the Sega Saturn. But when Sega failed to release a solid first-party company Light Gun unit, gamers were forced to put up with un-calibrated third-party bull crap. People who lacked the availability to get any Light Gun of some sort, they were forced to tag along with the directional pad on the Sega Saturn controller. "
Light Guns are fun accessories. They add a whole new dimension to first person shoot' em up games, especially automated ones such as Virtua Cop for the Sega Saturn. But when Sega failed to release a solid first-party company Light Gun unit, gamers were forced to put up with un-calibrated third-party bull crap. People who lacked the availability to get any Light Gun of some sort, they were forced to tag along with the directional pad on the Sega Saturn controller.
Soft spots aside, the game sticks to the Arcade premise of cops versus gang members. While it's quite easy to understand that you are a cop, shooting against bad guy thugs that are up to no good, the lack of specific events would of added a bit more of depth to the game play.
Albeit a shallow story line is present, the game brings excellence in one category: action. It may seem boredom-filled at first, but the further you get into stages, this game will always keep you on your toes. Another thing it succeeds in is being clever. After a long bout with petty bad-guys, with you expecting nothing but a new enemy to shoot at, the camera will focus into a spot that you think will pop a baddy up, but a hostage will run out of the screen instead. The game takes perfect advantage of your reactions and senses.
The game is completely automated, so the only thing you really have control over is the aiming cursor. The lack of different alternative tracks you can open to yourself by shooting certain objects, people, or whatnot makes the game somewhat shallow, and leaves you somewhat more demanding of the game play. Reloading is confusing at first, strangely because Sega strangely demands that you double tap C really fast to reload your chamber. It's an interesting idea to add challenge, it's just an odd thing at first glance.
Maneuvering the aiming cursor about can be a challenge at first, but it grows on you quickly. To familiarize you with the aiming system, Sega implanted a Training Mode. It gets your thumb nicely exorcised before you take on baddies in the main game. In training, numerous targets will grace you by popping out quickly by a wide variety of methods. Each round of the training mode has it's own set of requirements before moving on. Such as get a certain Hit Percentage, Hits, or Time limit. It's all relatively pleasing to the learners eye, and does a nice job of introducing the games playing mechanics.
Once you have mastered your skills in the Training Mode, you will go onto your next mission: Arcade Mode. Once chosen, you'll be shown a screen in which you choose what stage you'll play on. Each stage has three acts that you complete. Stage One is pretty easy, pitting you in a basic parking lot/business yard. Stage Two takes place at a mineral factory, a somewhat challenging interface with more enemies. Stage Three is obviously the toughest, with the longest acts of them all, with quicker enemies to test your eyes. What's bothersome about the difficulty is the fact that each baddies takes only one shot to kill. Despite the setting the difficulty is set on, even a shot to the elbow will kill off anyone. Bosses have more health, but aren't normally that tough. Shoot any projectiles being thrown at you, and take as many shots as you can before you do the process over again. The only noticeable difference in between each difficulty are the quantity of enemies that are presented.
Each stage is almost as generic as can be, with cars, windows, and roads. I was surprised with Sega when I saw how bright and detailed each stage was. The rather normal every-day objects that are found in each stage set a great atmosphere of a Cop's daily life. Character models, unfortunately, don't do the game justice. Each thug is just as same as the one that you shot before it, with black tuxedo and sun glasses. Except, of course, with the difference in hair colors. Every now and then, you'll find a few rather 80'ish dressed characters with shotguns stroll in now and then, but nothing truly justifying. Boss models are truly lacking, with generic tough man muscles and the normal tank top.
Seamlessly crafted into each level are random power-ups that my help your mission. Health units, found popping out of shot barrels, closets, and cars all revive any damage you have in your continue. Also hidden on bad guys' bodies and around hidden areas are different guns you can equip. You have a pistol, a shotgun, an automatic, and a powerful semiautomatic. Sadly, since a small pistol bullet to the elbow will kill the baddies in this game in one shot, this gun system isn't all that innovative.
The musical score in this game is all that we come to expect of Sega. Upbeat Japanese techno can fit the description more correctly, but many of the songs found in this game contain chords that can be easily reproduced on a MIDI editor. It contributes somewhat to the suspenseful game play, but it get's rather too upbeat and obnoxious to actually serve the atmosphere well.
While it's entertaining the first time around, Virtua Cop leaves little to be desired for once you have completed it. While the scoring system and two player cooperation mode will leave some replay value, the fact that you can't save any high scores to the Sega Saturn's memory RAM makes you fill empty after achieving a 1st place ranking.
Virtua Cop did as well as it could. Making arcade-perfect translations are a very tough things to do, especially with certain peripherals missing from the scene. An exciting game, but some easily fixable flaws are present. -Shin (1/13/02)
Community review by shinnokxz (December 18, 2003)
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