Virtua Cop is a lightgun shooter created by
Sega AM2 and designed by
Yu Suzuki. Its original incarnation was an arcade game in 1994 and it
was ported to the
Sega Saturn in 1995 and Windows in 1997. The Saturn
version included support for both the Virtua Gun and Saturn mouse, as
well as a new "Training Mode" which consists of a randomly generated
The game was later bundled with
Virtua Cop 2
Virtua Cop 2 in
PlayStation 2 as Virtua Cop: Elite Edition (
Virtua Cop Rebirth in
Japan) on August 25, 2002 and November 29, 2002 respectively. It
included gallery extras and implementation of Namco's G-Con 2 lightgun
support. In 2004, a port was developed for the handheld Nokia N-Gage,
but this was cancelled by the quality control team before its release.
Very few beta units were manufactured.
Virtua Cop was notable for its use of real-time polygonal graphics,
which were subsequently used in both
The House of the Dead
The House of the Dead and Time
Crisis, instead of the two-dimensional sprites and static backgrounds
used in previous games in the genre. Emphasizing the real-time nature
of the game, enemies would react differently depending on where they
were shot. It was one of the first games to allow the player to
shoot through glass. Its name derived from this graphical style, which
was previously used in Virtua Fighter,
Virtua Striker and Virtua
Virtua Cop was followed by
Virtua Cop 2
Virtua Cop 2 and
Virtua Cop 3.
4 In other games
8 External links
Players assume the role of police officers - either Michael Hardy, or
his partner, James Cools. Played in a first-person perspective,
players must use a light gun (or a joypad in the
Sega Saturn version)
to shoot criminals and advance through the game. Taking damage or
shooting a civilian causes the player to lose a life; powerups can be
shot to grant the player a special weapon or even an extra life.
The special weapon will be lost if the player takes damage, but not if
he shoots a civilian. Players can score extra points for "justice
shots" (disarming an enemy without killing them, done by shooting
their hand) and "bullseyes" (shooting the center of the target
A detective in the player's department uncovers an illegal gunrunning
operation and traces it back to a powerful crime syndicate named
E.V.I.L. 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 Hardy and James
Cools must face that organization led by Joe Fang and his followers
Kong, the King, and the Boss.
A division of
Sega AM2 began work on the Saturn version in April 1995.
Along with the Saturn version of
Virtua Fighter 2, it was one of the
first games to make use of the
Sega Graphics Library operating
system. Head developer Takashi Osono said, "We are trying to keep
to the quality of the arcade. If three of us agree for improvement,
then we try to modify the graphics."
In June, the team displayed a playable demo of the Saturn version's
first level at the Tokyo Toy Show. Then began work on the third level,
since it was the most difficult to convert due to the large polygon
areas of the office building walls and ceiling.
In other games
A minigame in
Sega Superstars Tennis is based on Virtua Cop, using the
Wii Remote to shoot the crooks. However, it is referred to as Virtua
The default gun, the Guardian, can be used in Ghost Squad; however, it
can only be obtained by playing the IC Card or Evolution versions.
Tiger Electronics made a version of
Virtua Cop for the R-Zone.
Sega Saturn Magazine
Virtua Cop received generally positive reviews from critics. Reviewing
the Saturn version, Next Generation noted that the ability to target
specific body parts with realistic consequences "totally eliminates
the hit or miss polarity of other light-gun games and adds a whole new
level of detail to the genre." They also applauded the impeccable
accuracy of the port, but opted not to give it the full 5/5 stars they
awarded to the Saturn's other two arcade ports of that month (Virtua
Fighter 2 and
Sega Rally Championship), as they found that the game,
while long for an arcade game, was too short for a console release.
Game Informer's Reiner, Andy, and Paul gave the Saturn version scores
of 8.5/10, 8.25/10, and 7.5/10, praising the game as one of the best
in its genre but noting that it lacked longevity for a console
Rad Automatic of
Sega Saturn Magazine said of the Saturn version,
"It's got more depth than you'd imagine but is still mindless enough
to be frenetically playable." He praised the effectiveness of the
joypad control with its two cursor movement speeds, the authentic
arcade feel when playing with two Virtua Guns, and the realism
compared to other light gun games: "You don't see thousands of enemies
popping up from behind exactly the same barrel ... In fact, you won't
see enemies popping up from barrels at all that much, as your foes
arrive on screen in far more interesting ways."
All four reviewers of
Electronic Gaming Monthly
Electronic Gaming Monthly praised it as a
flawless conversion of the arcade game, though half of them also
remarked that they felt the game itself is too short and lacks lasting
appeal. Scary Larry of
GamePro praised the realistic and stylish
graphics and the Virtua Gun action. Similarly to EGM's reviewers, he
remarked that the game is a near-perfect arcade port but too short and
completely lacking in replay value, though he nonetheless gave it an
overall recommendation. Maximum instead argued that the game is
compelling enough to be played over and over again despite the lack of
replay value. They also described the Saturn conversion as nearly
identical to the arcade original, and remarked that the mindlessness
and simplicity of the game make it particularly enjoyable.
Time Soete of
GameSpot said the PC version is jerkier than the Saturn
version and less intense without the use of a light gun, but that the
mouse control is surprisingly smooth and that it retains enough of the
fun of the arcade and Saturn versions to appeal to newcomers to the
game. Next Generation voiced similar criticisms: "It's noticeably
slower on the majority of PCs than in the arcade or on Saturn, running
at speed only on the most high-end Pentiums. Worse, played without a
light gun using only the mouse, the game loses a major part of its
appeal ..." They concluded that the game felt out of place on PC.
In 1996, Next Generation listed the
Virtua Cop series (which then
consisted of just
Virtua Cop and the arcade version of
Virtua Cop 2)
number 83 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time", praising the skill and
realism invoked by the enemies' differing reactions to being shot in
Virtua Cop was a major influence on both light gun shooters as well as
first-person shooters. When it was released in 1994, the game broke
new ground by introducing the use of 3D polygons to the shooter
genre. Some of the popular rail shooters influenced by Virtua Cop
Time Crisis series,
The House of the Dead
The House of the Dead series, various
Resident Evil spin-offs, and Dead Space: Extraction.
Virtua Cop was also the primary influence on the seminal first-person
shooter GoldenEye 007, which was originally envisioned as an on-rails
light gun shooter akin to
Virtua Cop before it ended up as an
off-rails first-person shooter. According to creator Martin Hollis:
"We ended up with innovative gameplay, in part because we had Virtua
Cop features in a FPS: A gun that only holds 7 bullets and a reload
button, lots of position dependant hit animations, innocents you
shouldn’t kill, and an aiming mode. When you press R in GoldenEye,
the game basically switches to a
Virtua Cop mode. Perhaps more
importantly following the lead from Virtua Cop, the game was filled
with action. There was lots to do, with very few pauses."
Virtua Cop Short Stories". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap
International Limited (2): 117. November 1995.
^ a b c Hickman, Sam (December 1995). "Call the Cops!".
Magazine (2). Emap International Limited. pp. 34–39.
^ a b c Guise, Tom (November 1995). "Cop a Load of This!".
Magazine (1). Emap International Limited. pp. 42–45.
^ a b "Next Wave: Virtua Cop". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis
(78): 102–3. January 1996.
^ a b "Review Crew: Virtua Cop". Electronic Gaming Monthly.
No. 78. Sendai Publishing. January 1996. p. 40.
^ a b Soete, Tim (December 4, 1996). "Virtua Squad Review". GameSpot.
Retrieved 9 July 2014.
^ a b "Maximum Reviews: Virtua Cop". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine.
No. 3. Emap International Limited. January 1996.
^ a b "Stunning". Next Generation. Vol. 2 no. 14. Imagine
Media. February 1996. p. 162.
^ a b "Virtua Squad". Next Generation. No. 26. Imagine Media.
February 1997. p. 134.
^ a b Automatic, Rad (December 1995). "Review: Virtua Cop". Sega
Saturn Magazine. No. 2. Emap International Limited.
^ Reiner, Andrew; et al. (January 1996). "Rendered and Ready to Wear".
Game Informer. Archived from the original on November 20, 1997.
^ "ProReview: Virtua Cop". GamePro. No. 89. IDG. February 1996.
^ "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine
Media. September 1996. p. 43.
^ Virtua Cop, IGN, July 7, 2004, Accessed Feb 27, 2009
^ Martin Hollis (2004-09-02). "The Making of GoldenEye 007". Zoonami.
Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-12-22.
Virtua Cop at the Killer List of Videogames
Virtua Cop at MobyGames
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