1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Meet Officer Bob. He just graduated the other day from the Police Academy,
and is now ready to serve and protect. It's not an easy assignment; his
sergeant is a real hothead, and the slightest mistakes will get Bob into
trouble. Still, if Bob works hard and plays it straight, he may someday make
chief. But that's in the future; Bob has to go to work now -- after he gets a
donut. Preferably chocolate.
A.P.B. for the Atari Lynx is an adaptation of the cartoony arcade game of
the same name. You play Officer Bob, who patrols the big city in his squad
car. Every day, you must catch criminals big and small, while avoiding demerits
for actions unbecoming an officer. If you get too many demerits, you are fired
(rather painfully, too), though you can erase demerits by hard work. Along your
career, you will have chances to earn extra rewards, upgrade your patrol gear,
and maybe someday make the big catch.
Fans of the arcade A.P.B. will be pleased with the Lynx adaptation, as all
of the whimsy and almost all of the original features are translated intact.
At the start of each day, you are given a quota of traffic violators, from
litterbugs to speeders, to arrest. On certain days, an A.P.B. (all-point
bulletin) of an especially dangerous criminal is issued; capturing this suspect
is worth more points. Failure to either arrest the A.P.B. or meet your quota
will bring the sergeant's wrath, and earn more demerits.
The actual patrol takes place on a vast overhead city map that scrolls in
360 degrees. Violators submit easily and can be ticketed by pointing your
crosshairs and sounding the siren, but the criminals will put up a fight, and
require a chase to take down. Between arrests, you must keep your car filled
with gas, grab donuts for more time, and look for various bonuses. Hints and
tips will periodically scroll across the screen, giving warnings, game advice,
or what mistake you just performed. In all, there is a total of about 30+
levels to play, which keeps this game fresh for a long time.
There are a few flaws with the game, however. First, button "B" is used as
the accelerator; this means there is no fine speed control, and makes using the
siren (button "A") while driving tricky. Second, the arcade bonus sequence,
where you take a captured A.P.B. criminal and try to extract a confession, has
been removed. Finally, the Lynx version is more sensitive to collisions than
the arcade. If you are moving and touch another car when the siren is off, that
counts as a demerit against you, regardless of which driver is at fault. While
these problems are mostly minor, they do detract from the game somewhat.
The sights and sound of A.P.B. are very well done and entertaining. The
graphics, while not always identical to the arcade versions, are distinctive,
detailed, and appropriately silly. The 360-degree scrolling is very smooth, and
even the cartoon sequences remain intact. Sounds are equally impressive; the
music is identical to the arcade, while car honks and other sounds are
realistically rendered. Then there are all the digitized voices, slightly
scratchy, but very well done: cries for help, complaints from arrested
violators, and the sergeant's incomprehensible mumbling when he congratulates
you on a day well done.
A.P.B. on the Lynx is a decent adaptation of the original game, and offers
a refreshing variety to video gaming. The gameplay is fair, and is enhanced
by some very appropriate and entertaining sound and graphics. For people hooked
on the arcade title, and players interested in a slightly silly change of pace,
Officer Bob is waiting with a box of donuts.