Real life couldn't have created an enemy more terrifying than your standard police officer; after all, what other civil servant has the state-sanctioned power to murder us, both with military-grade weaponry and egregious parking fines? True, most of your garden variety cops spend their shifts hassling non-violent drug offenders and telling rude teens to stop skateboarding on things, but a small minority employs the power of the badge to abuse their authority with criminal intent. Thankfully, the medium of video games allows us to seek vengeance against those who've fallen over to the icky side of the thin blue line a more gratifying fate than seeing the traditional crooked cop punishment of extended paid vacation.
(WARNING: Some pretty significant spoilers lie within)
Since 1994's Pulp Fiction, the casting of Samuel L. Jackson in any role serves as a sort of shorthand for the audience, as if to say "this expletive-shouting man may be dangerous and unstable." If he's on the protagonist's side, then victory's in the bag, and the creative vulgarities can fly freely without caution; unfortunately, the first five minutes Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas spell out the fact that Officer Frank Tenpenny is a very, very bad man. His behind-the-scenes string-pulling gives our hero CJ the mass-murderer status demanded by every Grand Theft Auto installment to date, and Tenpenny's own crimes eventually lead to a full-scale riot the aging hardware of the PlayStation 2 did its best to simulate. Close to ten years later, and Grand Theft Auto as a whole has yet to come up with a more enigmatic villain or at least one voiced by a guy with some clearly defined snake boundaries.
As someone who grew up in the '80s, I can tell you that the PSAs and educational cartoons didn't lie: drugs were everywhere. Like many "very special" episodes of your favorite cartoons indicated, walking more than 50 feet proved impossible without a pusher aggressively forcing his latest drugs into one of the pockets of your Ninja Turtles backpack. Thankfully, the United States government launched the War on Drugs to combat this rising problem, even if billions of dollars were spent just to have The Muppet Babies and A.L.F. team up to sing a song about just saying "no." And Midway's N.A.R.C. which came before the infamous "Winners Don't Use Drugs" splash screen can be seen as a product of the drug war, what with its slogan of "say 'no' or die" and the whole focus on wiping out waves of crusty junkies. Granted, Narc at least offered the ability to arrest instead of kill, but when you give a cop a rocket launcher, every problem starts looking like a thing that can be blown up with a rocket launcher.
By the mid-'90s, Nintendo's squeaky-clean image had begun to tarnish after all, there was Mortal Kombat money to be made. And, unexpectedly, one of the most subversive moments in the 16-bit era could be found in a then-unpopular Japanese RPG which would later build a cult currently rivaling Jonestown in terms of fanaticism. Yes, Earthbound may pit you against various critters and citizens brainwashed by the evil Giygas, but the cops you fight aren't under this alien overlord's control at all; basically, they're just dicks. Onett's police officers pride themselves on shiftless belligerence (and roadblock erecting), so when a young teen they've been sworn to serve and protect outdoes them at their own job, these boys and blue do the sensible thing: namely, organizing a prison-style beatdown intended to teach this headstrong scamp to mind his apples. Captain Strong acts as the ringleader in this exaggerated case of police brutality, and, as expected, returns to the safety of his cushy desk job without a question asked when this abuse of power misfires. At this point, hemorrhoids would be the next best thing to poetic justice.