by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Something’s going down...
The room was full of known felons. From our intel, we knew there were four, plus the head of the crime syndicate. It was going to be tough to bring them all in without some gunfire. I was actually surprised they hadn’t been alerted by all the other noise we have made to make it this far into the compound. I indicated to my partner to head around to cut any escape from the other exit and with only sign language counted down the cue to enter. Three, two, one, then in. The crooks drew their weapons, but we were both on them. Two down before they could even get their weapons unholstered. One went rushing at my partner and went down like the proverbial sack of potatoes and then the last gave himself up as I slapped the cuffs on him. The boss, who was hiding behind a wall, had no such plans and stepped out with a semi-automatic, hitting my partner in the shoulder. He wasn’t quick enough for me though, as my shot knee-capped him and he fell to the floor in pain, his gun spinning across the floor. The mission was complete and he’d be taken back to the station for questioning. I went over to see how my partner was coping. He just sat there smiling. “They didn’t touch my mo’, there’s no holes in my flares, and my sunnies are unscathed”. Welcome to the LA police department in the 70’s.
LA Cops is a squad based to-down isometric shooter which seems to pay homage to the classic Syndicate, albeit with a 1970’s buddy-cop theme. In each of the game’s main storyline missions, you take the role of two of the six available cops. Playing as both members of the team, you must work your way through the missions. This will involve shooting or arresting cooks, destroying drugs or the criminal’s equipment and saving innocent people from being killed - usual cops stuff.
Although the missions are rather varied and have different mission goals, the gameplay is basically the same. Walk into the building, take out the criminals and then reach the exit. It is a simple formula that works well. Taking out criminals could involve two things, shooting them or arresting them. And deciding which method you choose to take depends on how you will go about completing the mission. Shooting the villains is often the easier option, as you can do so from a distance. But discharging your weapon also has the effect of alerting other nearby criminals. On the other hand, arresting criminals plays out like a stealth game, requiring you to sneak up to a bad guy and performing a melee attack at close range resulting in an arrest. And unless you are in the direct vision of other criminals, the take-down will not be noticed. It also has the added bonus of not wasting any ammo.
Although there are the two cops in each mission, you only control one at any time, but can direct the other to head to wherever you want them to go. You can also switch between the partners at any time. And if the officer you are controlling is downed, you will immediately take control of the other. Luckily, if one cop is out of action, he or she can be revived with the use of a health pack. There is normally one per level, so it often does not pay to go into a room all guns blazing.
Instead, a small amount of reconnaissance can often be helpful. Most criminals will patrol their locations in some sort of pattern, so if you can sneak up on them at the right moment your chances are better. Doors and walls can also be beneficial to your health as you hide from felons. Although the game has an isometric view, the camera can be rotated to allow a view from a different angle. It is certainly a good idea to keep the partners reasonably close to help each other out if they get into strife.
Cool audio and visual style
Occasional issues with aiming, repetitive dialogue