Whenever I'm in an arcade I'll always head straight for the Chase H.Q. machine, so I was delighted when the conversion finally arrived in the office. As racing games go in the arcade, this has to be one of the most popular, even more so than Power Drift, Hard Drivin' and so on, because you don't have to get out a loan to play it!
The Amiga version was programmed by the same team as Continental Circus, which got deservedly received good reviews. You can see the similarities in their conversion of Chase H.Q. You take charge of a turbo-nutter-ba*t*rd Porsche, with your partner next to you shouting and urging you on. When you start a game you will get a report from Nancy (No, it's not the late, lamented Picard version. She's in Washington telling Bush where he's gone wrong!) at the headquarters, telling you of the dastardly criminals that have to be tracked down and stopped.
A description and picture of the criminal's car is given for each assignment, and you get 60 seconds to track it down. When you have it in your sights your time goes up to 40, plus any extra time you have left over. You have to repeatedly ram the criminal's car until it eventually pulls over. When you hit the criminals, a bar at the side of the screen will appear and this will go up block by block until the car is engulfed in flames.
As in the arcade version, you see the picture of you and your partner arresting the criminal, and there's a bit of speech taken from the original. Bonus points are awarded depending on how many seconds you had left over, and then it's off to the second stage where you will meet an even tougher opponent. Don't worry though, because for each stage your Porsche comes complete with three super fast turbos that last for about five seconds.
The first stage is fairly easy, but even if you run out of time you can continue your game with one of the three credits you are given at the start. To start off with you will probably find it difficult to keep your car on the road, as it skids if you don't control it properly, but there's a technique to use that I'll let you find out for yourselves.
Almost everything from the arcade version has been included, such as the tunnels, forks in the road and barriers. The only thing I could find missing was the surveillance helicopter. The scrolling is impressive too, and matches up well to the arcade, with smooth parallax scrolling even when there is lots going on in the screen. Your car and the others in the game move around realistically, and every time you speed past them you hear the roaring of their engines.
With the arcade version you have the gears (hi and lo) and turbo button on the same stick, but as your computer will be unlikely to have a foot pedal, you have to use the space bar to activate a turbo. This can be a bit awkward at times because if you take your eye off the action for just a second you may well find yourself spinning off onto the dirt.
Each stage has its own different scenery and colourful graphics, so you are constantly trying to progress to see the new stage. Although racing games are nothing new, Chase H.Q. has got plenty enough new and good ideas to make it a very entertaining game. There are even brake lights and a flashing siren on your Porsche to give the game added realism.
It's not often that arcade conversions really impress me; I usually find myself disappointed with the games just relying on their name. Chase H.Q. would have more than likely done well in the charts regardless of how the game played, but it deserves to achieve exceptional success because it has been converted as well as anyone could have hoped.
There are loads of really good sound effects and samples, and the occasional outburst of speech. The music too is good, but I preferred to leave the music off and just have the sound effects. You get a real feel of movement and speed especially when you use a turbo and power past the cars.
There are plenty of race games around to choose from at the moment but Chase H.Q. would be very near the top of my list. Great graphics, stunning sounds and perpetual playability, and all on one disk make Chase H.Q. one to get!
Very classic game from the arcades. Drive your super car and blast the others with a gun. Chase the bandits and kill them :) Nice game with nice graphics.
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