Virtua Cop 2
Saturn owners should thank their lucky stars for Sega's AM2 development team. Without the team's efforts, they'd be sans one Virtua Fighter 2, AM2's finest console creation to date. Sega Rally Championship wouldn't look so hot, either, since AM2 used its advanced graphics libraries to soup up the racing title. And Saturn gamers would be without Virtua Cop, one of the best light-gun games to ever hit the consoles.
Now AM2 is readying Virtua Cop's sequel for the Saturn. Virtua Cop 2 packs more gun-toting punks, faster gameplay and longer levels than the original. VC2, of course, supports Sega's lightgun, as well as the regular ol' joypad.
Anyone who has pumped a few tokens into the arcade version of VC2 knows that it plays much like its prequel.
Put simply: Players look through the eyes of a virtual cop and pop any polygon bad guys who leap onto the screen, making sure not to nail any innocent bystanders in the process. Virtual cops will also stumble upon weapon power-ups-such as the shotgun and machine gun-by shooting garbage cans, boxes and other background objects.
The Saturn version retains all the features that set the coin-op apart from other light-gun games. Namely, careful aim is just as important to getting a high score as fast reflexes-thanks to a feature called the Justice Shot. Players earn Justice Shot points every time they shoot the gun out of a bad guy's hand, while regular body shots earn fewer points. Yet cops with fast trigger fingers will score well, too, since players get bonus points if they can nail a thug three times before he falls.
Besides the Justice Shots, the Saturn version of VC2 also retains the enemy death animations that have become a trademark of the Virtua Cop series. Enemies don't just fall down when they're shot--they react differently depending on where they've been blasted, often clutching wounds and writhing in pain. Depending on their tastes, players can shoot bad guys in their limbs, try for a head shot, or nail them in most painful place of all: the...er...below-the-belt region.
The main difference between VC2 and VC isn't in their graphics-the two games look pretty much the same. Rather, it lies in the gameplay, since VC2 has its virtual cops doing more interesting things while they go on their bad-guy-killing spree. For instance, players will blast away at enemies during a high-speed car chase and clamber around on the roof of a subway. Also, at key points in the game, players will come to signs they can shoot to determine which path they'll take, making VC2 a bit less linear than the first game.
VC2 offers three different missions: one easy, one not and one right in between. Each mission is divided into three different scenes, with the third ending in a confrontation with a Boss. The easy mission, called the Big Chase, has the virtua cops busting in on a jewelry store robbery. Much of this mission is spent on the road, with the players chasing the thugs and shooting out their tires. The second mission is set on a cruise ship, where players will battle poolside punks and a galley full of bad guys. The third mission takes place in-and sometimes on top of-a thug-infested subway train.
On first inspection, VC2 doesn't really appear that much different from its fun but repetitive prequel; however, VC2 is more than a rehash. It's branching paths give players a little more leeway in choosing how they'll dish out justice. And its faster gameplay will no doubt satisfy the virtual cop in all of us.
MANUFACTURER - Sega
THEME - Shooting
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2
Some say that violence doesn't solve anything--this can't apply to Virtua Cop 2. Talk about a game with a large body count. Of course, this is okay considering they're all bad guys (except the occasional civilian who's 'accidentally' shot). The graphics look great, and the accuracy of the light gun is near-perfect. I like the different weapon power-ups and the different levels of difficulty--this helps the replay value. I did find myself getting a little bored the fourth or fifth time playing through the game, though. I can't say that VC2 is a bad purchase by any means, but if you want long replay value, you might want to try something else.
It seems the Saturn can do no wrong with home translations, and Virtua Cop 2 is no exception. The home version looks picture-perfect. But think about this: As good of a game VC2 was in the arcade, do you really want to pay for a home version? I have never played a home light gun game that I've really wanted to play over and over again. The replay, I feel, is just not there. Sure VC2 has branching levels, but it's the same game through and through. But, if you like shooting things (which I admit I do), then it'll be hard to top this one. Try playing with two guns for a real challenge and a good time.
No surprises here. VC2, like the first game, is a solid port of the excellent arcade shooter-and yet another reason to buy a light gun for your Saturn. VC2 doesn't offer many improvements over the original; it's pretty much more of the same. But that's okay-both arcade games represent the best of the light-gun genre. Just as in the arcade, the bad guys die differently depending on where you shoot them. You even get bonus points for shooting their gun hands (or nailing them with multiple hits). Also like the arcade game, VC2 lacks replayability--especially since you can blow through it in no time with unlimited continues.
Virtue Cop 2 is in my books as the most interesting light gun game that I didn't buy (because I don't ever buy light gun games). The interaction between you and the onscreen action is very intense, and I did enjoy the little details sprinkled throughout the game, like shooting background objects to create special effects and other neat bonuses. Unfortunately, I feel that Virtua Cop 2 is a very simple game, especially since Sega forgot to limit your continues! This is still a good improvement over the original game, and the translation to the home market went very well, with all the playability you'd expect from Sega.
If you like Virtua Cop 2, try other games: Virtua Cop.