When something looks like a duck, but it can’t move or quack like a duck, we generally call that a knockoff. But what about when a mother duck comes along and says, “Yup, that’s my duck there” - what then? Believe it or not, this poorly-constructed analogy has real-life parallels, such as today’s game, Cosmic Cop (known in Japan as Armed Police Unit Gallop.) It looks like the duck in question just fine. The dithering, color palette, circular gradient explosions and even architectural and enemy designs are right out of an R-Type game. These still images look like something out of an unreleased prototype R-Type game. And Irem assures us that Cosmic Cop is part of the R-Type universe. Its music is included in R-Type compilations like R-Type Special and its ship, the R11, is featured in later R-Type games as a playable option.
Yet, this plays like no other R-Type game. The series is known for methodical, somewhat slow gameplay, memorization, precise maneuvering of your ship to avoid enemies and carefully placed obstacles. And while there are plenty of enemies and obstacles to avoid here, Cosmic Cop is a frantic race. Indeed, the objective of each stage is to finish as quickly as possible and the screen scrolls faster the closer to the right edge you are, rewarding your dangerous behavior with higher bonus points–should you actually survive. (It does share R-Type’s level of difficulty.) It doesn’t sound like an R-Type game, either. The music, in keeping with the rest of the game, is much faster than you would expect and its style is in keeping with a more traditional shoot-em-up. It’s catchy in its own way, but it’s not R-Type.
Playing Cosmic Cop is like watching one of those movies where an alien has taken over the body of the main character’s friend. Everything seems fine until it jams a cockroach in its mouth or starts talking about how great it is to be a carbon-based, oxygen-breathing lifeform. Indeed, for all its many flaws, Rezon actually feels like a more authentic R-Type experience. If you’re able to disassociate yourself from those feelings and you’re willing to withstand a massive challenge (or own up to reality and turn on cheats), this is worth checking out.