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Virtua Cop is a successful 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 Hardy/Rage, James Cools/Smarty 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, but the light gun peripheral was sold separately. The game followed Rage and Smarty as they systematically took 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, 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 Play Station 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 (so far), and released only in the Arcades. Graphics exceptionally 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, Rage, Smarty, and Janet must stop them. The leader of the ECM is none other than Joe Fang, who was thought to have been killed twice.
The game features examples of these tropes:
- 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.
- 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.
- Bullet Time - Exceeding Sense mode
- Car Fu - On his last bit of health, Wolf, Virtua Cop 2's Beginner stage boss, will throw a van at you!
- Crossover - Fighters Megamix which featured characters from it's sister games Virtua Fighter, Sonic the Fighters, Fighting Vipers and Daytona USA.
- Fair Cop - The three main characters.
- Hostage Spirit Link - Stupid hostages popping out of nowhere.
- 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.
- Painfully-Slow Projectile
- Recurring Boss - Gale from Virtua Cop 3, a ninja with stealth and can pull off the Rider Kick at you.
- Ryu and Ken - Rage and Smarty
- Shoot the Bullet
- Spider Tank - The boss of the hard mission in Virtua Cop 3.
- Spiritual Successor - Confidential Mission, another gun game, borrows many, many, elements from the Virtua Cop series. However, there is a proper sequel to the first two games, in the form of the third game.
- Throw a Barrel At It - Wolf, 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).
- Very-High-Velocity Rounds - During Exceeding Sense mode.