I remember heading up to our local bowling complex as kids. To be honest, bowling wasn’t the main attraction to us, back then. The smell, lights and surround sound of coin operated games, lured us in. Arcade cabinets that are now classed as “classics” now taking high bids on eBay, were the standard line-up, back then. One of them was the original Virtua Cop. I can’t even begin to think of how many coins I dropped into that cabinet. But if you gave me back every last one…I’d do it all over again (or use them to bid on eBay).
Virtua Cop was the very first light gun game to use the helpful targeting system. As soon as enemies appeared on-screen, they were locked-on with a green cross hair-like targeting system. This didn’t only enable the player to quickly notice enemies in awkward off-screen positions, but it also indicated when the enemy would pull the trigger. Green simply meant he was aiming. Red meant you better have at least one heart left!
As well as being the best arcade light gun game graphically, Virtua Cop was also the first of its kind to offer breakable windows. It gave a much more realistic feel alongside exploding barrels and breakable boxes.
Those looking to relive their police lock-on days, can easily obtain an emulator online. But did you know that the windows version of Virtua Cop was actually released under the title: Virtua Squad? It just seems very strange to establish a well known arcade brand, to then home-release under a different name. I never could understand why Sega did that…
Virtua Cop was also released for the PS2 under the name Virtua Cop: Rebirth (for Japan) and Virtua Cop: Elite Edition (for Europe). Both of those editions supporting the awesome Guncon from Namco (a must for any light gun game!).
So what about a remake of Virtua Cop?
We’ve been asking this for years. Light gun games are far from dead. House Of The Dead got a compilation release for Wii, Ghost Squad also got a home release (a unique but short experience) and House of The Dead: Overkill was not only a great game, but had us in fits of laughter throughout.
So what would Sega need to do in order to make the Virtua Cop remake a success? Would it sell on current consoles and would it need to be bundled with anything to help the sale? Well, it’s clear that light gun games do sell, but are the PlayStation Move and Kinect really selling the light gun game? At the moment we would have to say…no.
Virtual Cop Bundled with a new gun peripheral
If Virtua Cop is to be remade it would have to go back to its roots and bundle a peripheral with the game. A new gun model based on the original arcade classic or guncon would work well. But this is a financial risk, being that the remake would be the only reason to buy it (we would…but sadly we’re not everyone). Unless Sega could come up with more remakes or originals to accompany it, they may have to go for something a little less expensive.
Virtual Cop with an add-on gun peripheral
Maybe the idea of an add-on would work better? The Wii and Move have already tried but current designs still don’t make you want to play. A virtual Cop remake would need a simple add-on for the Wii/Wii U/PS3 Move that would produce a believable and nostalgic design.
What would you buy? Do you think a more expensive, complete gun would convince you to buy, or do you think a cheaper (but better designed) add-on peripheral would do the trick? Would you even favour the current Move or Wii accessories?
Let us know by posting your comments below. Look out for our next Virtual Cop remake article, which will look more into how Sega should remake this classic.