Originally called L.A.P.D. 2100 this action game from Electronic Arts picks up where the Strike series (Soviet and Nuclear) left off. However the differences are so great, this game stands on its own. In Future Cop the main vehicle is a mech robot that transforms into a hover ship. Also, since the game takes place in the future it is a bit more fantastical and less realistic than the other games of its kind.
Right off the bat you will notice the explosions. It is the highlight of the game. Everything explodes in a different way and it is all very detailed and clear. This game provides some of the best exploding graphics of any game without cutting away to cinema or slowing down gameplay. Another great feature is the selection of weapons. Each vehicle can pack 3 types of weapons which can be fired simultaneously. Each type of weapon has 3-5 choices making it possible to have multiple combinations.
If you have ever played a "Strike" game you will know how the play of Future Cop is. It is a mission based action game where you progress through the level blowing up everyone and everything there is. There are also hostages to be rescued and main targets such as power generators that must be destroyed. Everything is relayed on an intercom by the dispatcher (who for some reason has a tattoo she says Angel, your character, gave her). This game's format (where the mission is given to you piece by piece as you move along) makes each mission exciting since you do not know what will happen next.
The control of the mech is a bit difficult and really takes some getting used to. Even with the analog and Dual Shock features the mech still slides weird and sometimes does not strafe the way you want it to. In hover mode the vehicle slides all over the place knocking into walls and making it hard to aim.
Aside from the control which gets easier with use, the game is a fun shoot- em-up. It is extremely difficult however (much like its Strike predecessors). Each board gets harder and harder until it seems near impossible to finish. There are 9 different levels and each one must be completed without dying. To aid this there are three difficulty settings and many power-ups throughout each level. Still I foresee many people putting their Game Shark to good use on this one. Another great advantage that aids the process is the ability to play with 2 players at the same time. This split screen mode of play is really fun and allows cuts the difficulty in half. One player can Cover the other while they try to take out a big obstacle. Take care of each other though because if one goes they both go. The only disadvantage to this is the limited view. Only having half of a screen in sight allows enemies to attack form blind spots which really gets annoying.
Still with all of this great gameplay, the feature that everyone will be still talking about months from now is the Precinct Assault game also included on the disk. This takes the vehicles of the mission based game and uses them in a high-tech futuristic battle of capture the flag. There are two main bases and many weapons in between that go to whoever captures them first. Each team gains points and uses them to buy attack vehicles or an outpost and tries to use all of their powers to take over the opposing station. Play against the computer or with a friend. It combines high action with high strategy all in real time. What's more is that there are all kinds of different worlds to choose and each one has its own unique character.
As most people will have gathered by now Future Cop is definitely a game for anyone who liked Soviet or Nuclear Strike. For those who just find all of that shooting and dodging too damn hard this game will not prove to be a solution. I also urge anyone who want a more action packed Command and Conquer type game to check this one out especially if they want to play two players. There seems to be a lack of overhead 3-D shooters in the market and this one fills the void nicely.
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