Virtua Cop (バーチャコップ) is an arcade shooter game created by Sega AM2 for Sega Model 2 hardware in 1994. It is the first in the Virtua Cop series. It was one of the first light-gun games to take place in a 3D world, as the first light-gun shooter to use 3D polygons. Sega advertised it as the "world's first texture mapped, polygon action game".
A detective in the player's department uncovered an illegal gun-running operation and was able to trace it back to E.V.L Inc., a powerful crime syndicate. He compiled a large amount of evidence and was ready to take them down, but was soon discovered and assassinated by the criminals. Some of his 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.
Players assume the role of a police officer - either Michael Hardy, or his partner, James Cools. Played from a first person perspective view, the players must use the light gun to take down the multitude of sharp shooters who come for them. At the start of the game, the player is armed with only a pistol, but more powerful weapons, such as machine guns and shotguns, can be obtained as they progress. These weapons are hidden in breakable objects such as crates, and can be extremely useful when trying to take on the customary end-of-level bosses. There are penalties for shooting civilians.
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. The game's realistic graphics earned it the "Virtua" title, along with other 3D Sega games such as Virtua Fighter, Virtua Striker and Virtua Racing.
Arms Black Market (beginner)
Underground Weapon Storage (medium)
Gang Headquarters (expert)
300,000 copies of Virtua Cop were sold in Japan during its first week.
Virtua Cop revolutionized the light-gun shooter genre with its new 3D first-person rail shooter format, including new mechanics like positional body targeting and headshots, revitalizing the genre in the arcades. It also broke new ground by popularizing the use of 3D graphics in shooter games. It inspired 3D light gun shooters such as Time Crisis and The House of the Dead as well as 3D first-person shooters such as GoldenEye 007, which in turn laid the foundations for console FPS games.
Virtua Cop was followed by two sequels, Virtua Cop 2 and Virtua Cop 3. It was bundled 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. The "Elite Edition" includes gallery extras and implementation of Namco's G-Con 2 lightgun support.
Virtua Cop's arcade success meant it was ported to the Sega Saturn in 1995 and later to PC in 1996. The Saturn version of the game was initially bundled with the Virtua Gun, a light-gun peripheral intended for use with this game. If the user lacks a CRT television, the Virtua Gun cannot be used, and the game must be played with the normal Saturn controller.
The PC version was known as Virtua City P.D. during development (at least, in North America, where it would eventually be known as Virtua Squad). The PC version uses a mouse instead of a light gun, and a variant optimised for the NV1 graphics chipset initially shipped on the same disc.
Tiger produced a handheld version as a part of their Laser Games series of minature lightgun games. The folding gun included with this version was relient on infra-red technology.
In 2004, a port was developed for the handheld Nokia N-Gage, but was cancelled by the quality control team before its release. There are very few beta units in existence.