Published: Taito (1988) Ocean (1989)
Conversion: Amiga 500
Racing games in all honesty are not my genre of choice, retro gaming or modern. Odd considering one of my favourite game series on the Amiga is Lotus Turbo Challenge. Still, after playing Chase H.Q for awhile I realised I am just as bad at it as I was when I first played it on my Amiga. Chase H.Q is originally an arcade racing game (one of those cool looking cabinets where you get to sit down at a steering wheel) released by Taito in 1988. The game was converted to the usual array of popular home computers and consoles at this time by Ocean and was released for the Amiga in 1989.
You play as a police officer who works within the special chase department of the police force. At the start of each stage you are given instructions from “Nancy at Chase H.Q” via your police radio on which criminal you’ll be pursuing next. You’ll start a certain distance away from them and only have a certain amount of time to catch up. There will also be a fork in the road early on and an arrow letting you know which way to take, the other direction usually means a longer chase. Once you’ve caught up to the criminal your time limit is extended and you must ram into their car a number of times until they are forced to stop so you can arrest them.
My initial reaction was pretty good on loading this up; I had no preconceived ideas of what to expect having never played the original arcade version. The funky intro music was nice and I loved the police radio setup to give you your mission. Unfortunately it quickly went downhill; firstly the fact I couldn’t play with the music on and have sound effects. After playing with one or the other I actually decided the sound effects made the game experience a lot nicer; nothing like the sound of overtaking people at high speeds and ramming into the criminals car.
The graphics (from what I’ve seen of other conversions) didn’t seem to live up to any of them, the scenery was lacking in any style or colour and sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference between trees and buildings on the side of the road, the whole experience felt very shaky. It’s safe to say that beyond the intro music and mission briefing I didn’t like much else about this game, least of all the actual game play. For a relatively short game at 5 stages it wasn’t that easy to complete (not for yours truly anyway). I managed to get to Stage 5 but found the control system so irritating and slow to react I switched it off. You know, toys, pram etc.
To add insult to injury you only get the one chance on the final stage to catch the criminal, on the other stages you are given 3 credits or chances to do this, credits I desperately needed. Despite my admittedly biased opinion towards racing games I have tried to remain on the fence with regards to this review, but I can’t help but feel this isn’t as good as it could have been. It is still highly playable, if not short and a little hard in places, and this shouldn’t detract from the fact I can’t complete the damn game. The graphics seem to be lacking and the controls make game play and reaction times slow, in a game in which you need to go fast you inevitably end up spinning out of control through no fault of your own and begin to panic as you re-start in what appears to be slow motion.
I’m inspired to play other conversions of Chase H.Q and do a little comparison, but I don’t think I’ll be replaying this particular one anytime soon.
Check out a few other opinions back in the day!
Nice little review from CU Amiga 64 (Jan 1990)