Welcome to -- RETRO GAME DAISUKI ! -- a blog about the wonderful world of Japanese retro video games (ARCADE / PC-88 / X68K / MEGA DRIVE / SATURN / PlayStation / PC-ENGINE). Re-live the strangest games from the 80's and 90's. Retro games were our youth!
Author : HERZOG
-- Playing video games since the 80's ! --
Still trying to translate all the posts from my old blog. Please see this post for more info.
Also, please excuse any grammar and any other related errors you may find on this blog, as English is not my first language.
A.B. (AIR BIKE) COP is an intense sprite-scaling battle crashing racing game developed by AICOM for the prolific SEGA X BOARD arcade hardware.
● Title: エアバイクコップ ● Genre: Racing・Action ● Release Date: 1990 ● Developer: AICOM ● Publisher: SEGA ● Media: Arcade System Board ● System Specific: X BOARD
A.B. COP is just one in a long line of motorcycle-based sprite-scaling racing games from SEGA. Although in this case the game was really developed by AICOM whom also made 「RACING HERO」for SEGA the same year.
What sets A.B. COP apart from the other SEGA motorcycle arcade games however, is that this is more of an action game than a traditional racing game.
Similar to the 「CHASE H.Q.」series from TAITO - A.B. COP revolves around 「BATTLE CRASHING」with enemies at high speed.
Of course the original CHASE H.Q. was still for the most part a racing game that demanded skillful driving from the player. A.B. COP in turn depreciates the whole skill driving aspect, and instead bases its gameplay experience nearly entirely around the battle crashing concept.
As a member of the A.B. (AIR BIKE) COP squad it's your job to capture the various criminal gangs that are terrorizing society.
In order to capture the criminals you must hit them with your armored hover bike whilst going at a high enough speed.
【 PLAYER CONTROLS 】
Like the majority of the SEGA motorcycle arcade games, the game originally controlled via a motorcycle handlebar replica and two levers.
Twisting the right lever activates your hover bike's [TURBO] mode allowing you to reach maximum speed.
The [TURBO] mode can be used indefinitely, and unlike in 「SUPER HANG-ON」, it doesn't even require you to reach the maximum normal speed before activating it.
It goes without saying that this move is paramount to be able to crash into your targets.
On the left lever you have the [JUMP] button which can make your hover bike take to the air and deliver a powerful blow to your target at the cost of one of your[ J ] power-up units in stock.
This is essentially your 「Boss Killer」move, since due to the lack of any serious road obstacles to avoid, jumping is very much unnecessary during the regular stages.
There's a total of 6 stages in the game plus a hidden unlockable bonus extra stage.
To clear a stage you first will have to take care of all the gang members with the ▼ marks. Once they've all been captured, you can proceed to arrest their Boss.
Unlike in other similar battle crashing racing games, the chances of crashing into obstacles and the penalty for doing so is minimal. Thus your only real concern here is to catch up and hit all of your targets before the time limit runs out.
Particularly you will need to be careful to not outrun your targets, specially the last few remaining ones. Doing so in most instances will force you to decelerate, costing you valuable seconds. 【 MISSION 1 】 There's been an armed robbery at the national bank ! The culprits are making their getaway through the downtown highway. All air bike units must give chase immediately ! !
This is an easy introductory stage that's meant to get you acquainted with the gameplay basics.
By the way, the boss looks like it was taken straight out of the GOLDEN AXE series, or from HOKUTO NO KEN.
【 MISSION 2 】 Bio-monsters have escaped from a top-secret research facility ! You must capture them alive at all cost ! !
This stage takes place in an aquatic zone (I suppose for variety's sake). There will be more enemies to chase down this time, but the overall stage difficulty is still rather low.
Also, it's funny how the bio-monsters will scream just like regular enemies when defeated.
【 MISSION 3 】 A group of mercenary ninjas are trafficking drugs for the yakuza ! Chase them and bring in their SHOGUN boss for interrogation.
I think this stage makes for a good example on how the game was designed. In spite that there's quite a few vehicles and other road obstacles around, somehow it's just hard to actually crash into any of them. And even if you do, your infinite turbo boost will more than make up for it.
【 MISSION 4 】 Stop the infamous kidnapper group and their human trafficking circus !
There's not much to say about this desert stage except that it's a clear step down from the previous one.
There's less road obstacles around and the enemies are also easier to capture.
【 MISSION 5 】 Heavy-armored bandits have raided a secret government installation ! Recover the stolen prototype weapon before it falls in the wrong hands.
This is my favorite stage. The dark, cyberpunk look is very reminiscent of NIGHT STRIKER.
I wish the programmers had made the entire game more like this and in line with the whole 「future cop」theme, instead of opting for the more generic 「variety route」like in most standard racing games.
【 MISSION 6 】 The criminal bosses have broken loose from their maximum security prison ! Recapture them before they escape ! !
In this stage you will be fighting all of the previous bosses but with greatly reduced HP.
You will also discover that the real mastermind behind this latest crime wave is actually this strange-looking green creature....
【 EXTRA STAGE 】 If you can manage to clear the game with only 1 coin you will get to play this short bonus stage before the ending screen.
This is a simple bonus stage where you have to run over gashapon like figurines of the game's bosses for bonus points.
It's interesting how in this stage you actually have to use your jump attack to hit some of the targets. Something that the normal stages should of have done.
It's very obvious that A.B. COP wasn't made by SEGA as it just lacks the top-notch production values and meticulous attention to detail that made most of the SEGA sprite-scaling games timeless masterpieces.
The game's overall design just feels a little too bland and uninspired.
I think back then the game's stronger point was that it was a rather easy game that you could clear with only 1 coin. But I guess now even that has become more of a disadvantage.