Video game designers have an odd fetish for the past and for the future but rarely for the present. The terrible thing about this is that the future is always dirty, grimy and violent. Future Cop is no exception to this rule. Future Cop is an overhead 3d shooter that is surprisingly fun and has a nice arcade feel. You play the part of a Los Angeles police officer who's sole purpose is to keep order and kill the bad guys. This title will get no points for originality but it does have a lot of good things going for it. You control a police mech and have total authority to kill anything that moves.
Graphics are 3dfx and Direct3d accelerated. The graphics are smooth and I did not notice any glitches. Besides being smooth, everything is nicely rendered. As a whole though the graphics are average. They are good but do not stand out from the pack. Textures are somewhat mediocre, and the models are nothing special. The levels are not eye dropping but they are nice to look at. There are several cool smoke and fog effects but since its third person the light levels do not affect your field of vision. Lighting is used sparingly and is somewhat uninspired. One thing that did bother me was the menu system. Instead of having menus that stay in theme with the game the menu system looks like standard windows. I found this to kill the mood once I started the game. It's a small detail, but one that mattered to me. The 3rd person camera angles are very well orchestrated and allow you to see most of the board making this game very easy to play. There are some very cool details such as people catching on fire, the aforementioned fog effects and some reflection effects as well. Overall Future Cop has a well tuned graphics engine, the actual models and textures just have to be a little bit better.
Sound is the same as the graphics, just average. The sound was clear and well recorded but the effects sounded like stock library sounds. There are some cool speech effects which serve to guide you but other than that much of the sound is uninspired. It would have been nice to see a couple more event noises such as when you shoot a human or kill an airplane.
Multiplayer in Future Cop is provided through DirectPlay which means that every single type of connection is supported and works well. I am on a LAN so I didn't notice any lag but with the large amount of projectiles and models on the board at once I can imagine it being pretty bad. It is possible to play in both cooperative and deathmatch modes. I found cooperative play to be the most fun but then again that's because I kept getting spanked in deathmatch. As a bonus it is possible to play in split screen mode for those without network connections.
The gameplay in Future Cop is surprisingly good. It is not overly difficult but it is still challenging. The game provides a nice targeting system so it is easy to aim and dodge at the same time. It was fun to shoot civilians or run them over. Some missions have different objectives and certain structures or people must be destroyed before it is possible to move on. I do find it disturbing that on every corner there is a large machine gun encampment. Then again it is Los Angeles. Control was smooth and responsive. The weapon selection is good but none of the weapons are really original. It is possible to jump but I found the height you are able to jump to be too short. The streets are so crowded with enemies that it is hard to believe that there is still a police force. Little things like that made it really impossible for me to get into this game as it was not real enough.
Future Cop is a fun game and has a great arcade feel. Like arcade games I found it to be enjoyable in only short doses. It is great to play for a half an hour at a time but past that its not very enjoyable. I would have also liked that ability to switch to a first person view but that would have made the game more like Mechwarrior 2 than what it is supposed to be.
I am very mixed on this game. Pick it up if you want a fun arcade game and are a little bored. I do have to admit that I tend to stay away from this type of title as I find it to get somewhat repetitive and I have a hard time keeping my concentration. If you are unlike me then I recommend getting this game. It's a solid game with good graphics, clear sound and solid gameplay.