Personal Favorite: VIRTUA COP
Several Sega arcade games were ported to the Saturn, Virtua Cop was one of the best. It came to arcades in 1994 and to the Saturn in 1995. Virtua Cop is an on-rails shooter in which the player controls a cop who must gun down terrorists, starting with a standard revolver and has ability to pick up better guns along the way. The Saturn version added a randomly generated shooting gallery “Training Mode”. It was developed by Sega AM2, who made basically every Sega arcade game, including the popular Virtua Fighter series. Virtua Cop spawned two sequels over the next decade and is one of the most popular arcade shooters ever.
There isn’t much to say about Virtua Cop‘s art or in-game graphics. The devs didn’t try to go too realistic with the resolution and focused on models that are easy to distinguish. I think that’s a great choice for this game because you have limited time to shoot an enemy before they shoot back, so you need to be able to identify them quickly. There also aren’t many tracks in the game, but what few it has I enjoy. The primary one is catchy and almost iconic at this point. I feel like you could play it for anyone who visited arcades in the 90s and they could probably guess what game it was from even now. Virtua Cop‘s sound effects are pretty good for its time. Shots are satisfying, explosions are clear and the different guns have unique firing sounds.
The bottom line of an on-rails game is typically not characters or plot. The question is whether Virtua Cop is a blast to play or not and the answer is definitely yes. Virtua Cop‘s choice of simple graphic design actually pays off in the long run because it holds up better. Zwei and Nights into Dreams tried and failed so hard to look realistic that they look like crap when you go back to them now.
I had so many memories of playing this co-op with my brother and cousins and I was scared it wouldn’t live up to my nostalgia. But I’m happy to say Virtua Cop holds up well. My wife and I had a blast gunning down terrorists and fighting our way to their bosses. The fast pace and the variety of enemy attacks keeps Virtua Cop fun and challenging. Boss fights provide just enough differing mechanics to make them feel special. This may not be the best game on the system, but it just might be the one I have the most fun with, especially with a co-op partner.