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|Genre(s)||Light gun shooter,
First-person rail shooter
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
|Arcade system||Sega Model 2|
Virtua Cop (known as Virtua Squad for the North American Windows version) is a first-person lightgun shooter arcade game created by Sega AM2 and headed by Yu Suzuki. Its original incarnation was an arcade game in 1994 and it was later ported to the Sega Saturn in 1995 and Microsoft Windows in 1997. It was later bundled with Virtua Cop 2 in Japan and Europe on the 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.
Players assume the role of police officers in a first-person perspective and use a light gun to shoot criminals and advance through the game, with penalties for shooting civilians. The players could also shoot powerups that grants him a weapon or a life. The weapon is lost if the player is hit, but not if he shoots a civilian. Virtua Cop was notable for its use of polygonal graphics, which were subsequently used in both House of the Dead and Time Crisis, instead of the two dimensional sprites that were popular for previous games in the same genre. It is also notable for being 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 Racing.
A detective in the player's department uncovered an illegal gunrunning operation and was able to trace it back to a powerful crime syndicate named E.V.L Inc. He compiled a large amount of evidence and was ready to take them down, but he was discovered and assassinated. Some of the evidence managed to make its way back to headquarters and a special task force was 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.
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 Squad in-game.
- 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.
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 heavily influenced by Virtua Cop include the Time Crisis series, 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."