Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Virtua Cop

Go To

Virtua Cop is a 3D Light Gun Game series created by Yu Suzuki and Sega's AM2 department and initially released in arcades in 1994. The game series revolves around the VCPD Special Investigations Unit and their operatives, Michael "Rage" Hardy, James "Smarty" Cools and (from the second game onward) Janet Marshall. The core gameplay of all four games in the series is assuming the role of either Rage (first player) or Smarty (second player) and use a light gun (or controller for the console versions) to shoot criminals and advance through the game, with penalties for shooting civilians. There are three missions to choose from, Easy, Medium and Hard, that can be picked in any order. Items like better guns, health packs and even explosive oil drums can be found during the missions.

The franchise consists of:

  • Virtua Cop (1994): The original. Was ported to the Sega Saturn as a launch title in 1995, but the light gun peripheral was sold separately, with a PC port the following year. The game follows Rage and Smarty as they systematically take down an illegal gun-running operation by the EVL Inc. criminal empire, led by Joe Fang.
  • Virtua Cop 2 (1995): Ported to the Saturn in 1996 and the PC in 1997, the game had similar gameplay, but with new stages, storylines and improved graphics. Janet is added to this game as she helps with the investigation after the death of her partner, Nick Anderson. This game marked the return of EVL Inc. and Joe Fang.
  • Virtua Cop: Elite Edition (2002): Released on the PlayStation 2, Elite Edition was a compilation remake of Virtua Cop and Virtua Cop 2 including bonus unlockable artwork. Known as Virtua Cop: Re-Birth in Japan, this game was released in Japan and Europe.
  • Virtua Cop 3 (2003): The last game in the series, and released only in the Arcades. Both graphics and gameplay were greatly improved upon. The player can now switch between weapons instead of using a powerful weapon until it's out of ammo. A pedal was also added, that when pressed, put the player in "Exceeding Sense" mode. When activated, time slows down to the point where enemy bullets become visible and can be shot away. In this game, a group of terrorists known as ECM has taken over various industries in the city. As usual, Rage, Smarty, and Janet must stop them.

The original arcade game is a major milestone, being the first fully 3D shooter and having some influence on the development of the First-Person Shooter genre.

Virtua Cop is only tangentially related to another Sega franchise with a similar name, Virtua Fighter; Janet from Virtua Cop 2 is a Guest Fighter in Fighters Megamix using a moveset largely borrowed from Virtua Fighter 3 character Aoi Umenokouji.

The game features examples of these tropes:

  • Action Girl: Janet, when she’s not serving as Mission Control.
  • All There in the Manual: Par the course for an arcade series, much of the game's backstory and characterization aren't seen in the games themselves.
  • Anti-Frustration Feature: A minor one, for what it's worth. All three games feature some sort of lock-on sight that shows you which bad guy is going to shoot you. The sight even uses a traffic light-style color system to show you when the bad guy is going to shoot you. This allows you to pick and choose your targets when a group of bad guys attack you.
    • The first two games actually have brief in-game demos (during the Attract Mode) that show you how the lock on sight works.
    • Also, the camera zooms in on the bad guy that's trying to shoot you.
    • However, the first two games do give you the option of turning the sight off to give you a slight challenge.
  • Arch-Enemy: Joe Fang to the VCPD. It’s especially personal for Rage, since Fang had murdered Rage’s father, John Hardy.
  • Armor Is Useless: In all three games, you will eventually encounter Elite Mooks that wear some type of tactical body armor vests (like those worn by real life SWAT teams). However, the armor doesn't seem to make a difference and even a single bullet from your standard revolver is still enough to put them down.
  • Back from the Dead: Joe Fang in the second game and the third.
  • Big Bad:
  • Big "NO!": Whenever a hostage gets shot, they usually yell "NOOOO!"
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Called a "Justice Shot" if done in the games. In the first game, it's called a "Nice Bullseye" outside Japan. Either way, it provides significant bonus points, representing being able to take them into custody and allow for rehabilitation. (According to the manual)
  • Boom, Headshot!: Virtua Cop is possibly the Ur-Example of this in video games. In Virtua Cop 3, however, this is not a good thing. It doesn't give nearly as many points as a Justice Shot, and doesn't even allow for a 3-hit combo followup.
  • Boss-Only Level: The fourth and final missions of 2 and 3.
  • Boss Rush: The true final stage of 3.
  • Bullet Time: Exceeding Sense mode, introduced in the third game. Though rather than letting you dodge bullets, it lets you shoot bullets out of the air.
  • Cap: Virtua Cop 3 has a score cap of 99,999,999. It is very possible to achieve this if you understand the scoring mechanics well (and, of course, don't die).
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: The second game's beginner level features the cops following after the robbers in cars where players blast them as they pop out of their vehicles to shoot them. The Saturn version follows this up with an exclusive section that also features another car chase shootout.
  • Car Fu: On his last bit of health, Bobbie Louise, Virtua Cop 2's Beginner stage boss, will throw a van at you!
  • Da Chief: Frank Carranza is the chief of the VCPD.
  • Demoted to Extra: Janet in the third game. She plays the role of Mission Control this time around, although she joins the boys in the Hard mission and the true final stage. In any case, she's not playable.
  • Denser and Wackier: Virtua Cop 3. There's Bullet Time, and the final boss turn into a large mutant.
    • To a lesser extent Virtua Cop 2, which had things like the first boss throwing a van to you, the second boss being a squad of jetpack-equipped baddies, the third boss riding a tank, and the final boss is equipped by a jetpack, compared to the first Virtua Cop, where the only "outlandish" thing is the Big Bad riding an attack helicopter.
  • Disney Villain Death: Joe Fang is defeated like this at the end of the second game.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: This is a requirement in order to get Rank 10: Gangster in Virtua Cop 2. Unlike with all the above ranks, in order to achieve rank 10, you need to just shoot as many civilians as possible until you reach an amount that will override the rank you would normally get from all the points you gain from shooting criminals. Taking the Hostage Spirit-Link into account, This technique requires you to make at least one or more continues until you reach a part in the selected scenario where many civilians appear at once. In Big Chase! this is the first car chase sequence.
  • Elite Mooks: In all three games you will eventually encounter "special" enemies wearing tactical body armor. On the one hand, they're not very durable and they go down with just a single bullet from your standard revolver. On the other hand, they are still quick to aim and shoot at you and you'll need fast reflexes to shoot them first.
  • Fair Cop: The three main characters.
  • Flunky Boss: King, the 2nd stage boss from the first game. His boss battle alternates between him shooting a flamethrower at you and then (after a few hits on him) he hides behind some crates while a wave of henchmen attack you. Then it's rinse and repeat until he goes down.
  • The Ghost: The second stage in Virtua Cop 2 is called "Save the Mayor!", who is never seen. Or, at least, it's not announced who he is, if he's one of several civilians running through the level.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: At least in the first two games, the bosses are easy when compared to the stages themselves. The exception, however, are the Aero-Divers.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The leader of the terrorist group in the third game turns out to be Joe Fang yet again.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: Stupid hostages popping out of nowhere…
    • Subverted in the Normal and Hard missions of Virtua Cop 3. Two hostages in the Normal mission and one in the Hard mission will pull guns on you. Yes, they will shoot you if you don't take them down. The "fake" hostage in the Hard mission actually counts as a Civilian shot in both the Interim (Mid-stage) and Mission Reports, but you receive no penalty.
  • Hot-Blooded: Rage, true to his nickname.
  • Hot Pursuit: The Beginner stage in the second game is mostly this.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In Virtua Cop 3, one must wonder how is it possible that shooting away the metal beams that falling on you would end up falling down onto the criminals in front of you, without hitting their hostages.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Kong, the boss of the Beginner stage in Virtua Cop, tries to pull this on you when he's one shot away from death.
  • Jet Pack: The Aero-Divers and Joe Fang himself fly in one in Virtua Cop 2. The Joe Fang clones also have them in the bonus stage of the third game.
  • Last Breath Bullet: A rather peculiar example in Stage 3 of the first game (Gang Headquarters). After the first scene, you make your way up a staircase into the main building. A random Mook takes a shot at you like normal. But, after you shoot him, he staggers back into a wall, leans against it, and takes another shot at you. You have to shoot him a second time to put him down for good and proceed.
  • Lighter and Softer: Virtua Cop and Virtua Cop 2 are this when you compare them to Lethal Enforcers or House of the Dead (their equivalents at the time). All three franchises are first-person rail shooters, but the first two Virtua Cop games have no blood, less violence, a lighter tone, and more colorful, cartoony graphics compared to Lethal Enforcers or House of the Dead.
  • Mercy Rewarded: Shooting a weapon out of an enemy's hands to merely render them unable to fight rather than shooting the enemy directly to kill them results in a "Justice Shot" bonus.
  • Mook Chivalry: In the first two games, when confronted by a group of bad guys, they will attack you one at a time (except in 2-player mode where you might get two buys attack you simultaneously). As indicated by the lock-on sight, the next bad guy in a group won't attack until the previous one goes down.
  • Never Found the Body: The plot of Virtua Cop 2 says that after Joe Fang's helicopter was destroyed, his body was never found. Then, he returns as the final boss of the game but flies in a jetpack instead.
  • Nightmare Face: This magazine ad for Virtua Cop 2.
  • One-Winged Angel: At the end of the Boss Rush Stage of Virtua Cop 3, you face Joe Fang yet again, this time having mutated into a giant green gargoyle wielding an equally massive minigun, that looks like a freakish mutation of Bizarro-Sephiroth, The Wheel Of Fate, and the Heavy.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile:
    • Every boss in the first two games attacks with slow-moving rockets or fireballs that can be shot out of the air.
    • Brand, the second level boss in the third game, throws fairly slow-moving homing boomerangs at you.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Every boss has this upon confronting them.
  • Railing Kill: Expect this to happen quite a lot when you shoot certain baddies in all three games.
  • Recurring Boss: Gale from Virtua Cop 3, a ninja with a cloaking device who can pull off a Rider Kick at you, meets you several times throughout the game, fleeing before you can beat him. You have to get the True Final Level in order to finally take him down.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Rage is the Hot-Blooded cop who rushes in and never wears his lock-on goggles. Smarty is the more levelheaded and intelligent cop who always wears his lock-on goggles.
  • Schmuck Bait: A minor one in Virtua Cop 2. Sometimes a random bad guy will pop up and yell "HEY!" and point a gun at you. But instead of shooting, they'll quickly go back into hiding. This is likely a deliberate attempt to distract you from the real bad guy that's actually trying to shoot you. However, the game's lock-on sight can negate this trick to an extent.
  • Score Multiplier: Introduced formally in Virtua Cop 3, where every single enemy shot will level up your score multiplier up to sixteen times.
    • And taken to ludicrous levels where you'll realize that shooting away bullets during E.S. mode rakes up its own set of multiplier, so you'll end up shooting so many bullets that a single bullet is worth three times more than a Justice Shot. Seriously.
      • And the sickest part? You are required to do that in order for you to completely max out your score. And by max out, we mean literally getting all 9s.
  • Shoot the Bullet: Larger enemy projectiles (like missiles) can be shot down in flight.
  • Shout-Out: In the Elite Edition version of 2, the split path in File 3 was renamed from "Arcade Line" and "Saturn Way" to "Blue Line" and "Green Hill".
  • Spider Tank: The boss of the hard mission in Virtua Cop 3, with the ability to launch a Macross Missile Massacre at you every other attack.
  • Story Branching:
    • In Virtua Cop 2, each level contains a split path that lets you go between two different options.
    • In Virtua Cop 3's Normal mission, there is a branching path available in the street section of the stage. During the truck quick time event, shooting one of the top targets first selects one path; shooting one of the bottom targets first selects the other path. If the quick time event is failed, the path is randomly selected.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: Bobbie "Wolf" Louise, the Beginner stage boss of Virtua Cop 2, does this as his primary means of attack other than firing Painfully Slow Rockets. When he's one shot before death, he graduates to Car Fu (see above).
  • Trick Boss: In the final level of the first game, you face a man known as Boss piloting a tank-like machine... then when you beat him, Joe Fang flies in with a helicopter for the true final battle.
  • True Final Boss:
    • The Boss Rush level in the third game can be unlocked only if you have successfully complete the mini-missions presented in the 2nd and 3rd stages in order.
    • In the first game, your final battle with Joe Fang in a helicopter will only commence at the end of Stage 3 if you beat all three stages in numeral order (1-2-3).
  • Updated Re-release: Virtua Cop: Elite Edition, or Virtua Cop Re-birth for the PlayStation 2.
  • Very High Velocity Rounds: During Exceeding Sense mode.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You can kill civilians, but this makes you lose HP.
  • You Killed My Father: Joe Fang, the series’ Big Bad, is directly responsible for the murder of Rage’s father, John Hardy.