Spy Hunter
La Phlegm Applepalooza.

One of the coolest arcade concepts of 1983 was Spy Hunter, an overhead racing combat game where you took the wheels of a transforming supercar and battled rival spies for highway supremacy, plus the bragging rights of one country over another.

Your main weapon was the deadly double-lasers that shot out your car's front. This will cut through anything like butter, even innocent civilian drivers--yes, the game will let you do that. You lose points for it, but it's not much of a deterrent....who's NOT going to?

There are enemies that your laser is worthless against, however, and in order to defeat some of the trickier spies, you must catch the supply truck that whizzes by every so often. Slow down and back into it, and you'll come out with a killer new weapon that stays with you until you lose a life.

The blue car in the middle of this screenshot is bulletproof, and the only way to deal with it is to either avoid it, hit it with a harder weapon, or play the dangerous game of Bump The Other Guy Off The Road. The last tactic is effective, but slows you down. If you go slow enough you'll meet the limosuine that shoots at you, which isn't good.
The helicopter is a whole other kettle of fish, and I never found the weapon that shoots THOSE louts down. If you see a helicopter, position yourself below it for about two seconds, then steer away. It drops bombs where you are, not where you are going to be.

Wait, is it just me or am I driving on the water?

Okay, here's what's really going on: when I booted up the game to make these screenshots long ago, I hit a strange glitch that locked me to the side of the road forever. I couldn't play the game this way, but I also couldn't die, so I just let the game run itself and leisurely took shots of the action every so often. Normally, you're not allowed to drive on the side of the road.

The Enemy of the Screenshot this time is the long blue car with spikes. DO NOT TOUCH this car; steer away when you hear it ticking. One touch will crash you--your tires are just that lousy. And yes, this is the "snow area," accomplished by simply reversing the color palette.

The coolest thing that happens is when your car drives into a tunnel and comes out as a boat. You also have to deal with nautical spies, though, as well as the same helicopter, who somehow is making craters in the water.

The first time I saw the boat transformation, I was so surprised that I immediately died. Yay!

Despite my position, I was still scoring points, as the game keeps awarding you numbers for merely staying alive. How far can you get on Spy Hunter? To find out I just left the game on for a couple hours and let myself drive along the edge of the road. The maximum number of lives you can hold is apparently 8(seven icons plus the one you're using). Rolling the game past the 100,000 mark does nothing, and I didn't have the patience to wait 18 more hours to score a million.