Virtua Cop: Elite Edition – Retro Review

(Played on PlayStation 2)

Taking down criminals is good fun and very addictive

virtua cop screen 1
Shoot the criminal before he shoots you. Image Source: PSX Data Center

Light Gun and Rail Shooter games are fantastic fun. You shoot the huge amount of enemies or targets that appear on the screen, complete a level and aim for a high score. You can use a Light Gun which allows you to play the game as if you are actually holding and aiming a gun. There are many iconic Light Gun games that have released over the years such as Point Blank, Time Crisis and The House of the Dead but the one I’ve been playing recently is just as iconic and memorable as those just mentioned. The game I’m talking about is Virtua Cop.

I’ve been playing not only Virtua Cop 1 but also Virtua Cop 2 and that’s thanks to Virtua Cop: Elite Edition. Virtua Cop: Elite Edition is the first two games bundled together with some extra content included and was released on the PlayStation 2. I’ve been playing the game over the past two weeks and I can gladly say that Virtua Cop: Elite Edition is incredibly fun and has been an absolute delight to play.

Gameplay

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You can play Virtua Cop: Elite Edition on your own or with a friend. Image Source: PSX Data Center

The gameplay is as you’d expect it to be from a rail shooter, you don’t control the movement, the only thing the player does is aim and shoot. Simple yet effective gameplay.

Virtua Cop: Elite Edition allows the use of the light gun which is the preferred way of playing the game. Do not fret though, if you do not have a light gun peripheral then you can use a controller. As you’d expect, the differences between the controller and the light gun are night and day. The light gun is much more accurate and faster than the controller and is a lot more fun to use. If you don’t have a light gun though, the controller is good to use as well. You move the analogue stick to aim, square to shoot, triangle to reload and X to speed up.

(Virtua Cop: Elite Edition supports Namco’s G-con 2 light gun)

If you have friends that play video games then why not invite them over and play Virtua Cop in co-op. The game becomes even more fun as you are competing with your friend to see who can survive the longest and who can achieve the highest score. Both Virtua Cop 1 and 2 are fully playable in co-op. Virtua Cop would be a great game to play if you are having friends over.

Graphics

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The graphics are dated even by PS2 standards but there’s something wonderfully charming about them. Image Source: PSX Data Center

The graphics in Virtua Cop are nothing to shout about. It’s not the prettiest looking game on the PS2 but it doesn’t need to be. You’ll be too busy having fun shooting criminals than looking for intricate graphical detail. The enemy models and environments are pretty much how they were before but there is a slight upgrade in visual quality.

Despite the graphics being dated even by PS2 standards, there’s something wonderfully charming about them. Maybe it’s my sense nostalgia that makes me think like that but I don’t have a problem with how the game looks. Also look at it this way, the enemies aren’t going to be on the screen long enough for you to even look them in such detail.

Sound

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This gangster is standing in the open. What an idiot. Easy target for the player. Image Source: PSX Data Center

The music for the Virtua Cop games is seriously funky (why did no one tell me about Virtua Cop’s music before?) and when I was shooting bad guys, I wanted to have a bit of a boogie. It was either focus and shoot the enemies on the screen or do some awful dancing and try to shoot some criminals. Thankfully you can listen to the game’s music outside of the gameplay which is brilliant as it allowed me to dance terribly and bob my head without fear of being shot at by bad guys.

The music is great but Virtua Cop: Elite Edition’s biggest flaw is with its sound. The game does feature some dialogue and it occurs when a civilian is appears on the screen or when you start a boss fight. The voices for the civilians are okay but the bosses sound muffled, it’s as if they were recorded underwater. It’s weird, as it’s only the bosses that sound like this. You can hear what they are saying but the difference in quality is noticeable. Whilst the voice work could be better, it doesn’t take all that much away, if anything from the game. I would imagine most people won’t care about what the bosses say and just want to shoot them.

Story

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Story isn’t Virtua Cop’s focus but it has an 80’s/ 90’s action movie vibe. Image Source: PSX Data Center

Story isn’t Virtua Cop’s main focus and nor should it be but it does have one layered over the top. Both Virtua Cop games have a story and both are relatively similar. You play as a policeman who is tasked with taking down a criminal organisation called E.V.I.L piece by piece. After reading through the manual and bits and pieces online, the story is pretty much your 80’s, 90’s action flick thrown into a game and I’m not complaining.

If there was a focus on story for Virtua Cop, basing it off 80’S and 90’s films is exactly how I would want it.

Replayablity

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Virtua Elite: Edition isn’t a long game but it’s incredibly addictive thus adding to its longevity. Image Source: PSX Data Center

Virtua Cop: Elite Edition isn’t a long game as both the first entry and its sequel can be completed within two hours. Both games have three files and each file has three stages. Virtua Cop 2 has a fourth file which is a boss battle and it’s the toughest fight in Elite Edition. Now I know two hours isn’t a long time but both Virtua Cop 1 and 2 are so much fun that you want to play them again and beat your previous score. You can play the games in co-op with your friends so you can compete against each other for the highest score. There’s artwork and CG renders that can be unlocked by shooting certain enemies in the games.

Virtua Cop: Elite Edition does have a few additions to the main games. There’s a Training Mode which has VS Play and an Excercise mode which is a series of shooting galleries. Co-op is playable here as again you can compete for the highest score with your friends.

Even though Virtua Cop 1 and 2 can be completed in a short amount of time, they are hugely replayable. The rush of beating your previous score or beating your friend’s score whilst playing in co-op never gets old.

Verdict

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Two of the heroes of Virtua Cop, Michael Hardy and James Cools (very 80’s action movie names). Image Source: PSX Data Center

I have enjoyed every single second I played of Virtua Cop: Elite Edition and will continue to do so in the future. The simplicity of it harkens back to a time where games prided themselves on being good fun, that’s not to say that video games aren’t fun these days, far from it. There’s something about Virtua Cop where the game acknowledges that it is fun and as such prides itself on being fun, it swims in a pool of it gleefully.

It isn’t just me who has enjoyed Virtua Cop: Elite Edition, my parents have too. My mom and dad were big on games back in the day, they still play video games today but not as much as they used to. My dad can remember playing Virtua Cop and so I let him play Elite Edition and he had so much fun. My mom had a go and she had fun too. Then they played the game in co-op. The smiles, the laughter, the joy, it was priceless. The power of video games was in full force and it shows that video games can create so many wonderful memories.

Thank you Virtua Cop. Not only did you entertain me for several hours but you made my parents laugh and smile and have unbridled merriment. That is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Score –

10/10

Do you want to talk about Virtua Cop or video games in general? Talk to me on Twitter @ThatGreenDude95 or leave a comment in the comments section below.


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