A.P.B. logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

DESPITE what Tengen might try to tell you, APB doesn't stand for All Points Bulletin. It is an acronym for Atrocious Plastic Box, for such is its package. This box is cunningly designed to crease or tear the instructions while dumping the disc on the floor. It is also guaranteed not to close properly. Me and it don't see eye to eye. Packaging notwithstanding APB is a slightly ageing coin-op which is still to be found lurking in university games rooms and other dens of iniquity.

Basically, you control Officer Bob in his adventures as a US traffic cop. He's fairly typical as traffic cops of the American persuasion go, in that his car runs on doughnuts and he runs on petrol. Hang on, reverse that. And spell it donut. Might as well get into the spirit of the thing.

Office Bob's life is made a misery both by petty criminals like litterbugs and dangerous criminals like dope dealers and snipers. But worst of all, there never seem to be enough donuts out there to keep a man happy.
You gain a demerit if you do a wrongful arrest. Too many demerits and you're trash. Literally. Every day you must capture your quota of wrongdoers or face the wrath of the sergeant, who's really a nice man when you're in his good books, but isn't when you're not. It would be a very humdrum existence, just ticketing litter louts, and perhaps finding time for the odd donut or seven. That's where APBs come in.

If there's a special criminal to be caught you are told at the briefing at the start of the day - Hill Street Blues fans will warm to this - where the criminals are and what they're driving.

If you manage to find the criminals and ram them off the ram them off the road you get the chance to have the rest of the day off, provided you can get a confession out of the scumballs. You do this by using the age-old police technique of "Er, he must have fell down the stairs guv", being careful that guv doesn't find out.
The actual police brutality bit is a standard left-right bash, which gave me acute friction burns off my Konix, I'm suing.

Arcade APB had a huge hi-res monitor - Walking Circles has done a neat trick on the Amiga by overlaying the score bar on the overscanned scrolling area, thereby getting a large display, much, much larger than the ST (hawk, spit) version.

It's very fast and handles similarly to the arcade original. The graphics are good - maybe a little drab for the ultra-pedantic - and the sound is a straight lift from the arcade machine. Beautiful.

For once, fans of the arcade machine - and that includes me - can feel right at home. It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to say that it's identical. To use those mortal words from the thankfully deceased series, The Interceptor: "I like it, Mikey!"

A.P.B. logo

TENGEN/DOMARK £19.99 * Joystick only

Life as an American traffic cop is never easy but poor ol' officer Bob seems to be in it up to his neck, what with litter-bugs, dope peddlers and the cantankerous station Sergeant to deal with.

Bob's average day begins with the Sarge issuing him with a target number of law-breakers to bring in within the time limit. Catching the perps involves recognizing their vehicles and then hitting the siren (fire button) as the target just in front of your car (viewed from above) passes over it.

The number of times a criminal has to be warned in this fashion depends on just how bad a crime they've committed: for example, drunks need three warnings before they'll pull over and let you give them a ticket whereas litter-bugs will pull over first time.

Occasionally Bob's day will become even more hectic as the Sarge hands out details of some particularly vicious crims who Bob can concentrate on arresting, rather than the usual bunch.

Should you go after these, and catch up with them on the vertically- scrolling highway, you'll have to bash into them a set number of times (Chase HQ fashion) before you can capture them and return to the station. Get there before the time runs out and you'll then have to beat a confession out of the subject before the Sarge arrives by waggling the joystick from side to side (very ideologically sound!). Manage it and you'll gain a massive dollar bonus (for dollars read points) and the congratulations of the Sarge.

It's all sounding straightforward so far, but then there are the innocent road users to consider and the roadside obstacles to avoid. Collide with any cars without your siren on or run off the road into the rocks and you'll crash the car and incur a demerit: collect 10 and it's game over.

There are ways to reduce the number of demerits, primarily by collecting white bags that appear at the road side occasionally. Other things to collect are donuts to increase your time allowance and hitch hikers for dollars.


Both are marvellous. The screen scrolling might have been a little smoother but it suffices and the sprites and backgrounds are all nicely drawn. The sound effects from the siren wails to the music and the deliberately mumbled speech are all very good. APB looks and sounds very much like its coin-op parent.


The arcade game was good and so is the conversion. The control is a little tricky to start with and it's very easy to die, but persevere and you'll find it becomes a lot more enjoyable, to the point where you'll be coming back to it a good few times and struggling to make it to the next day.

A.P.B. logo

Price: £19.99

Oh the smell of the chase! The whine of the wo-woos! The scream of the pedestrians who... hang on a minute, haven't I read this review somewhere before? Yes! Because in time honoured tradition, the Amiga version has appeared long after the 64 version, and also traditionally, is ten times better.

In so far as the game goes, it's the same: after all it is a conversion. If you didn't see the last issue, for some unknown reason, then here's a run down of the story. You are a cop, you have various duties to fulfill, which usually consist of racing hell-for-leather across the busy streets of one of your typical US cities in search of a certain number of bad guys and crooks, the quota being laid down by your boss at the start of your day. Make it through the month, and you're a hero!

Crooks range from the cowardly litterbugs who give up at the slightest sound of a siren, through the honkers, yellow cabbies who constantly blaze their horns and take two bashes with the woo woos, right the way through to the dopers, who are so out of their heads they can't tell the difference between some woo-woos and a set of traffic lights. 'Wow, man'.

As you progress the bad guys get harder to find, harder to catch and there are more of them. To help combat the odds, there are lots of toys to collect such as improved engine, armour plating, enhanced brakes and most importantly, a gun which you can use in place of the woo-woos to get the bad guys from a distance.

The graphics are a massive improvement over the 64 version with only a small gripe. The scrolling is still terrible. Jerky in all the 360 degrees, it only really becomes unnoticeable at high speeds. The sprites themselves have been very well translated from the arcade, as have the backdrops, and I love the little incidental screens that have been thrown in here and there, for example, the confession screen.

After you have arrested an especially dangerous criminal, you have to get him to confess to their crimes, and this you do by beating it out of him. The screen is a picture of the door to your office, with a steamed window next to it. In the window are silhouettes of yourself and the criminal. By waggling the joystick, you throttle the perp and a confession meter slowly climbs. The object is to throttle the confession out of him before your chief gets to the door. I thought it was funny but I think Dirty Harry is a comedian.

The sound effects are brilliant. All of your chiefs' "humphs" and "hahs" have been copied directly from the arcade, along with a bumbled "well done" and "thankyouverymuch" thrown in. All this plus a groovy soundtrack, great in-game speech with things like "I sure could use a doughnut" and "where's the gas station?".

An entertaining conversion of a great arcade game. By no means as good as it could have been, but still fun nonetheless. Worth buying.

Banish those Hill Street Blues with Tengen

A.P.B. logo Zzap! Sizzler

Domark, C64 £9.99 cassette, £12.99 disk; Amiga £19.99

Officer Bob is a friendly sort of chap, but he is also a cop patrolling his beat with some tough arrest quotas to fill for his bonus pay. Everyday Bob gets a new quota, each one bigger than one before. To fill it Bob must arrest a set number of litterbugs, drunks, hitch-hikers and such-like. These aren't likely to resist arrest, but to find them you need an eagle eye and a good patrol pattern in a very big city.

Occasionally you'll get an All Points Bulletin which means a criminal a notch above your average lager lout is on the loose. Keep your eyes peeled for a master criminal such as Sid Sniper or Freddy Freak and standby for a fast chase. If you catch the felon it's back to the police station for a spot of interrogation. Needless to say the criminal has the right to a lawyer, to remain silent etc... but if you can get a confession out of him - before the chief arrives at the cell - you can forget about quotas for the rest of the day! So when the scene switches to the police cell waggle your joystick as fast as possible to shake some sense into the fiend.

While back on the beat you can arrest an offender by touching him (or her) with the Steering Wheel Cursor which is fixed just ahead of your police car. Press fire and the siren should force him to pull over. Hardened criminals may ignore the siren for a bit - APB offenders need to be rammed off the road - and later on in the game you'll need a gun to shoot up their cars. But if you shoot an innocent bystander, or crash into a vehicle with the siren off, or fail to meet a quota, then you'll gain a demerit point. Collect enough demerits and you're kicked off the force.

Tracking down all those criminals can get a bit tiring, so why not stop off for a doughnut to extend your time limit? Then there's the money bags which you can pick up to boost your revenue, very useful for the Speed Shop where you can buy better brakes, radar, turbocharge your engine and top up your gas tank.

Phil King This is great. The feeling of satisfaction when you bang one of the 15 most wanted felons behind bars is immense. Chasing them is certainly tough, whether you're bashing into their car or blasting away with your gun you have to be careful of innocent bystanders. It's really good how you can use donuts to extend your time limit to look for felons, rather than just filling your quota of litter louts. Surviving 32 days on this Police Academy police force is one tough task, but I reckon I'm going to persevere until those tough streets are safe for women, children and yes, even hedgehogs!
Robin Hogg Tengen coin-ops are always great to play and the conversions of APB bring home the humour that really made the coin-op for me. After C64 Xybots Tengen have got right back on track with good presentation and strong gameplay - it's great to see that right from the start you've got freedom of movement to explore and pursue two types of objective (quota or APB suspects) at the same time. While the Amiga game has that faithful cartoon look, the 64 game edges ahead with a slightly easier to control car and some excellent car graphics (I personally found the side graphics at times a little dull though). Put this one on your Most Wanted list now!
Stuart Wynne This is one of those rare recent coin-ops that concentrates more on playability than graphics, packing in lots of cartoon humour too. Thankfully most of the playability has been preserved by Domark, resulting in two superb conversions. The ability to wander around such a huge city is excellent, and if the time limit seems a little tight you can always increase it by visiting the donut shop. Similarly you can uprate your car by spending cash at the garages, though zooming around at top speed is always a bit dangerous on busy road. Both versions play very well, but the C64 game makes better use of the host machine to nab a well-deserved Sizzler.