Virtua Cop engine?

After playing a big deal of Virtua Cop, (I love it! ive completed all courses in all orders and defeated the secret boss!) I started to wonder how the game engine actually worked. I realized that mostly objects (caracters, rooms, cars, etc) is made out of polygons. But I also saw that some objects used flat sprites, though, very skillfully masked. When walking around crates, you move exactly so that you wont see the edge of it. Now, what I wonder is, are those things true? Or how does it really work, since it looks fantastic. Also, could this engine be used for a walk around game. Like a first person shooter? It would be a little rough, but it would be "Counterstrike" on Saturn
My knowledge of game development is limited.. But I don't believe that the Virtua Cop engine would work as a walk around shooter, as the camera itself is on rails, and the game relies on predetermined paths and actions. Somewhat leaving out any exploratory elements. I could be wrong, like I said, I'm not the most knowledgeable person on the subject. But your post does deserve some attention.