The storytelling in Lance Stone, though far from perfect, is still superior to that of another cyberpunk comic, Virtual Cop (Digital Entertainment). We looked at issue number two, The Angel Returns. While there’s a lot that’s clever and innovative here, the story itself is hard to sit through – especially when lousy actors on grainy videotape take over for a couple of scenes. This is the story of John Copeland, alias Angel, a virtual officer who confronts an evil wetware extractor – and his own dark past! It’s a shame the disc’s content is such low camp; the interface has a lot of interesting qualities to recommend it, and some real chances have been taken here, to generally good result. This is a truly multimedia comic, splicing video and animations into a moving storyboard. The end result is reminiscent of something one might see on MTV’s Liquid Television (The Max in particular comes to mind). You’ve never seen sequential art quite like this; it’s part slide show, part cartoon, part comic-book, and part movie. There are a couple of different paths you can take in the comic, which makes it interactive, but except for those – which are hardly crucial – it could just as well be on videotape. If only the story weren’t so nail-bitingly obvious, Virtual Cop might have some success in any medium.
– January 1996
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