An antibody. What a terrible name for something which is actually rather useful. I used to read horror novels and I definitely saw horror movies long before biology arrived on my school curriculum and thus spent a sizable part of my youth thinking that an antibody was like an Antichrist, only worse. It stands to reason: If it's anti-your-body, it's gonna kill you, right? Horribly. A quick cuff on the back of the head by my Biology master (a priest, would you believe) soon cured me of this delusion in no uncertain terms.
The hero of this game is a sort of antibody. A mechanised, armed, robot antibody, called DAVE or the Digital Armed Virus Exterminator. And the storyline is short but sweet: Viruses (who look like green Jabba The Huts) have inhabited a virtual games theme park called GameDisk and DAVE is sent in to sort them out. The gameworld is split into several zones some of which pay homage to an awful lot of popular games from the past
You start off in the sports world which is filled with American football gridirons, pool tables, baseball parks and bouncing footballs. You then move into a platform world called the urban jungle, where you have to climb terraces, speed around the roofs of houses and cross platforms. The next level is the gods level, where everything is in miniature, except the viruses and DAVE. Here tiny troops attempt to stop you, but inevitably end up dying horribly in Cannon Fodder style.
The Adventure world, known as Crusader is filled with swamps, castles, ghouls and knights while the final world, Silicon Valley is right in the depths of the computer that controls GameDisk and the surroundings are circuit board, chip and transistor orientated.
The type of enemy varies widely throughout these levels, from pool balls, American footballers. Scalextrix F1 cars and kids on space hoppers in the sports world to microchips and guided missile turrets in Silicon Valley. As mentioned earlier some of the levels and creatures pay homage to the past: there are whirlwinds which turn into demons (like Ghouls 'N' Ghosts) and the adventure level has swamps filled with frogs reminiscent of Chaos Engine.
ViroCop has been produced by Graftgold, with the magic hands of Andy Braybrook, Ian Wellington and Steve Turner at the keyboard and this pedigree and quality shows Everything is smooth, from near perfect sprite detection to a fast, economic and intelligent loading routine which means that it's a pleasure to play from disk. But just in case, it's hard disk installable. (Praise be! A platform game that's hard disk installable. There is a god.) Also, just in case you've any doubts as to who is responsible for the game there are plenty of hints, logos and famous characters from past ventures on the background scenery.
DAVE has three weapons slots which, at the beginning, are filled with a single shot gun, a grenade launcher and a mine layer. These can be added to by picking up icons that provide you with a range of weapons including a multi-direction, multi-shot gun, a smart bomb which causes damage to anything and everything on screen, an invincibility shield and destructor drones.
Throughout each level you can pick up and store power icons that allow you to shop in between levels. The 'shop' is like a printed circuit board with connectors to 12 different weapons. To make a weapon available for use you need to power it up. These weapons include mines, lasers, guns and homing missiles. The more useful the weapon, the more power you need to get it. Once you have more weapons available you can insert them into any of DAVE'S three slots, picking the best weapon to deal with a particular situation.
The password system, which is unique to each copy of the game (you won't be able to use another person's level codes), records the level, the amount of lives and the weapons you have available for use. This means that you can go back and pick a more appropriate weapon to deal with an enemy second time around.
Although it has a two-player mode you still have only one DAVE, with one player controlling his movement and the other controlling his firepower. This system tends to lead to heated arguments when the controller doesn't go in the direction the gunner wants them to. The only other problem is that although Graftgold have gone to great pains to make each world unique, the gameplay doesn't differ that much between them The platform level isn't significantly different from the regular fare, nor is the shoot 'em up one.
Never fear though, you're unlikely to gel bored. ViroCop is great fun throughout and the difficulty curve is just about right. Original and not-so original enemy sprites are a joy to behold and you can't help laughing at some of them - until they kill you that is. Progressively getting hold of new weapons and selecting the right ones for the mission on hand means that you never get put off and always return to a level to beat all the bad guys and to collect enough power points to get a really big weapon
In summing up I have to say that ViroCop is a well planned, superbly executed game that gets a bit predictable from time to time, but remains good fun and highly addictive.
An interesting hybrid of platform and action games. You control the virocop robot and have to find the exit on funny but dangerous places. For example the first level is a billiard table, full of monsters and popping billiard balls.
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