APB (Domark) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

Your Sinclair

By Domark
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Your Sinclair #46


APB? Whossat stand for, then? Well... erm... it's obvious really. It means (sounds of dictionary being opened and banged shut very fast)... All Points Bulletin. And if you still can't tell your APB from your GBH or your BCG, all that means is a report on a particularly hard core criminal that all the cops on the street have to look out for or they're in big trouble with the Sarge.

Right. Now we've got that sorted out let's have a butcher's at this 'ere coin-op conversion. You're Officer Bob - an ordinary sort of cop on eight day's street patrol. If he survives 'til the end of the week, he should be left with a hefty wad. If he fouls up, wham, he loses all his money and gets shoved out of the force.

Each day, as you're driving around your eight-way scrolling patch, you've got to pick up a quota of litterbugs, hitchers and dopers, collect bonus items (time, money, fuel, equipment) and respond pretty pronto whenever you get an APB.

Crash, kill an innocent bystander or ram some law-abiding granny off the road and you get a demerit (too many and you're out on your ear). Pull someone in on time and you get a cash bonus - something extra for the wife and kids. Aaah.

APB suspects should be rammed off the road and gently persuaded to confess (throttle them). Just waggle the joystick and that big, fat reward is all yours.

Basically, what it all bolls down to is a heavily spiced-up version of Spy Hunter (whaddya mean, you don't remember it?). Apart from some rather spiffy little cartoon touches in between levels - the Sarge breathing fire at you, for instance - the graphics aren't really anything to write home about. But who cares when the gameplay's there?

You could be a bit disappointed by the look of the thing I suppose - the sprites are tiny and more or less unanimated, and it's all in monotone, but then take a gander at the coin-op. Hardly stunning, was it? More cute and playable. Once you've sussed out the controls (your car is dragged along by the cursor) you'll find the quotas get tougher at a nice, steady pace, and there's a whole world of dangerous highways to explore. I was going to write that the simple graphics at least free up the Speccy to do its famous smooth, fast and playable tricks, until I remembered a few niggles. The scrolling, while generally very good, can jerk around in a confused fashion if you spin the car too much, and there is some slightly ropey collision detection too. The soundtrack drones on a bit as well (but you can always turn it off). Still, not too much to whinge about when you've got a triffo game, now, is it Gerald? No.

Now, there's just one thing I had to say... no, it's gone. Oh yeah. I remember - gogedditwhydon'tyou?

Okay, so it's a bit limited graphically, but so what when it's dead playable and good for a laugh?

Kati Hamza