If you're currently living in Virtua City, get the hell out. For the love of all that is Holy, get out. Have you seen the state of your city? Criminals greatly outnumber the citizens and all of them are happy to appear out of nowhere in vast numbers in the shooting range that is Virtua Cop 2.
Following on from the original arcade game comes a sequel with three short but action packed levels of murderous mayhem - in the name of justice, of course.
I'm not able to play the arcade original, nor do I have a light gun to point menacingly towards a television. The best I've got is Virtua Cop: Elite Edition for the PlayStation 2, which combines Virtua Cop 2 with Virtua Cop and updates the graphics and whatnot too. Quite the package for a quick blast at hundreds of villains.
Once you've tweaked the difficulty, button layout and number of lives to your liking, you - and a second player, if there's one available - are free to jump into the chaos that is Virtua City. Even after stomping out the E.V.I.L. Inc criminal empire in the last game, Michael 'Rage' Hardy and James 'Smarty' Cools can't take their cop lives easy, for today is the day when the biggest jewellery store in the city gets raided in broad daylight by tens - hundreds - of criminals.
They're bloody everywhere. Sometimes acting alone, other times in groups, and usually just a second or so after their fellow criminals have been blown to bits by your six shooters. You will not be short of people to shoot in Virtua Cop 2, though it will help if you can not shoot the civilians.
Criminals will - like dutiful video game enemies should - wait for a while, clearly telegraphing their intent to hurt you, giving you more than enough time to shoot them first. In fact, their intent is so clear that those who will shoot you - as opposed to those who will just run across the screen from time to time - will be highlighted by a kind of target clock thing.
A change of colours indicate a change in threat, and swooping marks on the side will count down to the moment they pull the trigger, with a cracked screen showing you were too late, and have just lost a life.
Keep your eyes peeled for other weapons hiding behind objects in a stage and you can blast away your foes with automatic rifles and the like. Once their ammo is gone, though, playtime is over.
There's not much to it, really. Aim your reticle (if you've turned it on in the menus) where you want to shoot and pull the trigger. Enemies go down pretty easily, no matter where you hit them, which is good when you've only got six bullets before needing to reload.
Those reloads will likely cost you. You can turn on automatic reloading if you want, but even then if you find yourself in a fight with too many enemies, and you've put too many rounds into one and left none for the other (or, if you're playing with a controller, you miss too much), it won't take long before you get shot while you had no opportunity to return fire.
By default, you've got a good number of lives to keep you on the safe side of the Game Over screen, and there are extra lives hidden behind destructible scenery in the levels. Whether you've time to find them in the midst of the fighting is up to you.
With all these enemies to shoot, some of them are going to be tricky. There seem to be a few too many occasions where they're so far off the screen that by the time you've got a bead on them they're about to shoot, and even then you can only see their lower half. Still, one bullet is all you need if you're aiming that far south.
Further Fun Times
You're on rails, as you'd expect, but here and there you can take branching paths through a stage to vary the scenery.
It's an action packed game, and I'm serious when I say the criminals outnumber the citizens. There are so many enemies and so few civilians that you almost have to try to shoot them. Don't though, as you'll lose a life.
At the end of each stage is a boss fight, and while I only managed to reach and beat the first, he did try chucking a van on my head. Predictable patterns meant he was trivial to defeat, but I suppose that could be said of most of his army of underlings.
Eventually, as was always going to happen, I ran out of lives, and then ran out of continues, dying to a single shot from the umpteenth generic opponent to be hiding behind a counter that clearly - clearly - didn't hide twenty guys just a few seconds ago. The enemy spawn points are laughable. Still, the last laugh is with this guy here.
Turns out that I'm a Good Cop, even after killing hundreds of criminals. Oh, I'm sorry. 'Arresting' them. Yes...
Virtua Cop 2 is all about the high scores. The plot is irrelevant, and with only three stages to the game, it's not exactly going to be a deep plot that asks the player to contemplate the bigger questions, is it?
This remake allows you to mix up the difficulty and controls and whatnot, and while it looks a little strange in many places, it functions perfectly fine as a quick bit of entertainment to test your reflexes. Perhaps not as fun as Point Blank, but that's arguably too different a light gun game to compare to Virtua Cop 2.
If you want to spend an afternoon seeing how far you can get through the game, or want to exercise your trigger finger from the comfort of your own sofa, by all means, try Virtua Cop 2. If not, well, I don't think anything will convince you to try it - certainly if you don't have access to an arcade machine.
Virtua Cop 2 finds itself on the German Index of video games with sales restrictions due to their content. I guess shooting hundreds of people in a city in an FPS light gun game could have something to do with that decision...
Virtua Cop 2, developed by Sega AM2, first released in 1995.
Version played: Virtua Cop: Elite Edition, PS2, 2002, via emulation.
Version watched: Arcade, 1995 (Liberal Decay)