A.P.B. / Atari / Arcade
To be entirely fair to A.P.B., it was a stand-up arcade cabinet with a gas pedal and a steering wheel, so emulators or retro compilations played at home have a hard time doing the control scheme justice. I played it on MAME to refresh myself for this review, and I found it totally unplayable with the Xbox 360 controller, I had to use the keyboard arrow keys to get anywhere near a level of precision to make it playable. I did play this a lot as a kid in the actual arcades, however, and even with ideal control, the game still pushes too hard with the quarter-sucking.

You play a couple of weeks in the life of hapless Officer Bob, as he goes about his routine busting hitchhikers, hippies and obnoxious cabbies. Picture Crazy Taxi, but with the overhead 2D driving style of the old Micro Machines games, and you're pretty close to how this one works. Bob's only defense against criminal scum, however, is his siren. When turned on it scares the weaker criminals into capitulation, and makes you immune to ramming the more hardcore ones. However, if you point it at innocents on the road, you get Demerits, so you can't just keep it turned on all the time. You also get Demerits for crashing, which can happen a lot, since there's shit tons of deadly obstacles around the town. Rack up too many demerits and your career (and credit) is over.

There's a few gameplay problems that contribute to the quarter-suckyness, mostly revolving around use of the siren. Every couple of game days, you have to chase down and ram off the road some major criminal (thus the whole A.P.B. thing.) While chasing them, to successfully ram them you have to basically keep the siren on constantly, but it's too easy to accidentally hit innocent cars in passing with it. In general it's also just way the hell too easy to crash.

Even with some iffy over-difficult gameplay, the game is still interesting and entertaining. It has an experimentalness and complexity that you developers usually shy away from these days, and the goofy humor is classic. It'd be nice to see a revamped, more playable release of this.
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