Saturday, April 14, 2018

Virtua Cop 2 for Sega Saturn (1997)

Original add featured in the January 1997 issue of Ultra Game Players magazine (no. 93).
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Arcade quality action right in your living room

If you ever visited an arcade hall during the 90's you remember Virtua Cop fondly. It was one of Sega's most well-known brands and an absolute quarter-muncher. Graphics were very impressive for the time, thanks to the brightly colored polygons that gave the shooter a very futuristic feel. The same could be said about the sound and the overall feel of the game. It just encompassed Sega arcade quality and made for a memorable visit right next to other arcade classics like Daytona USA and Sega Virtua Racing.

Now imagine replicating that experience in the confort of your living-room, without the obnoxious cigar haze, twenty-somethings in leather jackets, beer spills and sticky flooring of the average mall arcade (this could be a good thing if you liked to live dangerously). In 1996, VC2 delivered the goods with a solid port to the cooler than cool–and expensive–Sega Saturn. If there ever was a fun two-player game this was it. It was short, yes, but incredibly intense. You and your buddy should be coordinated if you wished to have any success at all ("I'll take the right-side of the screen, you take the left!").  Also, the reloading mechanic of the included stunner gun, when bought as a kit, made you're interaction with the Saturn a deeper experience: just like the arcade, you had to tilt the barrel of the stunner a full 90 degrees upwards to refill your six-bullet virtual gun.

One last thing for all you collectors out there: this game was designed during the golden era of CRT screens. The bigger your TV, the better experience you had with rail-shooter type games. Aiming and locking on to your target was made much easier on a larger displays. You can forget about replicating the experience of this particular franchise on modern HD screens, a real bonus for hard-core gamers who want to play VC2 "as it should be".

The overall design of the printed ad if very Sega. There's some bold contrast with the reds and the greens over a monochrome background. Those two layers make the page feel less "flat". The letter type if is a nice serif, although the VC2 logo remains faithful to the brand. There's some good detail on the very center of the frame where your eyes naturally flow thanks to the blood-red eyes of the ciber-policeman. Upon closer inspection, though, you can actually see he has some kind of measuring mechanism over his face. A very nice touch, since your vision will naturally flow downwards once you've seen enough of the policeman's face.

Unfortunately, the copy is very difficult to read. The grainy detail of the picture renders the type unintelligible in the right-hand side of the advertisement. On second thought, maybe this was done on purpose, since the real purpose of any kind of advertisement is actually making the potential buyer aware of the product before making a purchasing decision.

One last interesting aspect of the copy. Although it's basically fluff just like 99% of all video game ads, this one is specially violent. Reread the first three lines of the page. That's some violent stuff right there. And even though Mortal Kombat was the main lightning-rod in the video game violence debate, it would difficult to see a popular light-gun game ad with this type of language after the Columbine massacre.

Virtua Cop 2 print ad copy

Virtua Cop 2. Twice as lethal.

There's shooting, And then there's slaughter. Virtua Cop 2 is faster, deeper, more challenging, and more fatally engaging than its predecessor. And, like its predecessor, it was an arcade hit before being brought faithfully translated to the powerful multi-processor Saturn.

For the full arcade experience and maximum mayhem, don't pack anything less than the optional arcade gun. It's just what your trigger finger itches for.

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