Shallow but enjoyable classic from the SEGA stable
Sega returned to its successful Virtua brand with this exciting and intense 3D shooter that takes the old-school thrills of Operation Wolf and updates it with 1990s-style graphics. Masterminded by Yu Suzuki, the creator of many of Sega's classics, from Space Harrier and Afterburner to Shenmue, Virtua Cop is a simple enough game but which is no less enjoyable for that fact. Players take the role of Michael Hardy and James Cools (worst names ever?) and are charged with bringing down an evil crime syndicate that is causing mayhem. This is basically an excuse for is copious amounts of on-rails blasting action, which sees Hardy and Cools gunning down criminals in a diverse set of environments. No shooter would be complete without a set of weapons to make your average action movie star jealous, so aside from the starting six-shooter, you also have access to shotguns and machine guns for that little extra excitement. Virtua Cop was undoubtedly a pioneering title, with its groundbreaking use of 3D polygon graphics and while the game remains quite enjoyable, it has dated somewhat. The graphics now look cartoonish and crude, with wildly oversized and out of proportion characters that are more comical than they are threatening. Fortunately, the gameplay has aged better and it remains a solid slice of action gaming. The original arcade game was played with lightguns and if you can find one, then this is by far the best way to experience it now as a keyboard and mouse just don't cut it (and with a second player as well). As a classic slice of arcade fun, this is a fun experience but its lack of depth soon shows so it might not be long before you move on to something else.