Future Cop: L.A.P.D.

It’s the future, and Los Angeles has degraded into a smoggy trashheap of illegal drugs, rampaging mutants, and super-villains with cool names who enjoy clubbing baby seals and taunting the police. To keep law and order, the L.A.P.D. has created a bipedal, ass-stomping robot loaded with enough firepower to level a city, and lets it loose on evildoers everywhere. And of course, you’re the one driving the thing.

8As a pseudo-heir to Electronic Arts’ long running Strike series (Desert Strike, Jungle Strike, Urban Strike, and Nuclear Strike) it’s probably no surprise that Future Cop is all about action and short on story, where mission-based blast-fests are little more than an excuse for lots and lots of visual pyrotechnics; but like those earlier Strike games, it works. A fairly straightforward port from the PlayStation version, Future Cop doesn’t really break any molds, but it does deliver on the adrenaline rush with eye-popping visuals and non-stop action.

Played from a third person three-quarter isometric perspective, the camera programming is somewhat intelligent — though your viewpoint occasionally shifts behind a wall, you can keep tabs on the action most of the time. As your robot tromps through the post-apocalyptic L.A. battlefields, you’ll notice a handy-dandy auto-targeting feature, where a red laser sight draws a line to the nearest baddie. You can lay into the opposing forces with a standard Vulcan chaingun, a series of missile attacks, or a mini-nuke that gracefully arcs through the air and sends shockwaves slamming through whatever is in its way.

Though most of the enemy forces are robot drones, turrets, or large metallic vehicles, you’ll occasionally encounter a large group of humans, running around on foot. Here, the game shifts into “crowd control mode,” where the camera zooms in close as you slaughter dozens of squishy Homo sapiens in a scant few seconds. You’ll also get a sick thrill from blasting a guard tower and watching a flaming enemy soldier fly out of the explosion, screaming bloody murder. Through it all, your female navigator points out mission objectives and compliments you with Duke-ish one-liners whenever you nail an enemy.

Though you’ll spend most of your time in the robot’s walking mode, you’re able to transform into a high-speed hovercraft. Movement is a good deal quicker when in this form, but it’s also incredibly slippery and frustrating, so you’ll probably want to stay on two feet.

14Future Cop does have a few problems. Sometimes the computer targets an enemy who’s located behind a wall, and you have to change targets manually to avoid wasting precious ammo on a cement barrier. Transforming into your alternate form can also be a pain, requiring you to hit the use key and the change target key simultaneously. The option to map the action to its own key or gamepad button would have been nice — we’re not exactly limited to a PlayStation pad here. And lastly, the game is just a little too short, reaching its conclusion all too quickly.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

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