Chase H.Q.

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Chase H.Q.
Chasehq flyer.png
Arcade flyer
Developer(s) Taito
Publisher(s) Taito
Designer(s) Hiroguki Sakou
Composer(s) Takami Asano
Series Chase H.Q.
Platform(s) Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Gear, MSX, Sega Master System, Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis, Super NES, Famicom, TurboGrafx-16, ZX Spectrum, Virtual Console
Release date(s) 1988
Virtual Console
  • NA July 28, 2008
  • EU September 5, 2008
  • JP August 26, 2008
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single player
Cabinet Upright, sit-down

Chase H.Q. (チェイスH.Q.?, "Chase Headquarters") is a 1988 arcade racing game, released by Taito. It is a spiritual successor of Taito's 1987 Full Throttle. The player assumes the role of a police officer named Tony Gibson, member of the "Chase Special Investigation Department." Along with his partner, Raymond Broady, he must stop fleeing criminals in high-speed pursuits.

The game was well received in the gaming industry resulting in three arcade-based sequels being released; Special Criminal Investigation (1989), Super Chase: Criminal Termination (1992) and Chase H.Q. 2 (2007). Two spin-offs were also released: Crime City (1989) and Quiz H.Q. (1990).

The game was ported to many home computers by Ocean Software in 1989, and included versions for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST. Taito released versions of the game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (1989), Game Boy (1990), Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear (1991), and TurboGrafx-16 (1992). It was released for PlayStation 2 in Japan in 2007 as part of Taito Memories II Volume 2.

Gameplay[edit]

At the start of each level the player is informed who they are pursuing, a great distance away: They must apprehend the criminal before their time limit expires. The criminal's car is constantly moving away, so if the player repeatedly crashes or drives too slowly, the criminal will escape. At some points during the game the road splits, and the correct turn must be taken, otherwise it will take longer to catch the criminal. When their vehicle is reached, the time limit is extended; the vehicle must be rammed a number of times until the criminal is forced to stop, then is arrested.

The game includes five levels. As both the initial time limit to reach the criminal and the time extension to ram the criminal are just 60 seconds, the game is very short - a player who is able to finish the game on one credit will enjoy at most ten minutes of game-play.

Interestingly enough when Nancy at Chase HQ (at the start of every level) calls on the radio the frequency is always 144.X (various)MHz. This is actually the 2-meter band of amateur or ham radio frequencies.

Although superficially similar in technology to Sega's Outrun, Chase HQ features significant technical advancements over that title in the presentation of perspective, hills and track splits.

Villains (for arcade versions)
1. Ralph, the Idaho Slasher (White Lotus Esprit)
2. Carlos, the New York armed robber (Yellow Lamborghini Countach)
3. Chicago pushers (Grey Porsche 911)
4. L.A kidnapper (Blue Ferrari 288 GTO)
5. Eastern Bloc Spy (Red Porsche 928)

Ports and related releases[edit]

Ocean released versions of the game for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga and Atari ST in 1989. Most versions were received poorly, but the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC conversions received very high review scores and are generally recognised as the most accurate and most playable of the Ocean releases. The ZX Spectrum version was voted number 1 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time.[1] Crash magazine gave the game 95%, while Sinclair User awarded it 90%. The Spectrum version of the game went to number 2 in the UK sales charts, behind Rainbow Islands.[2]

Taito released ports (known as Taito Chase H.Q.) for the Famicom (1989), Game Boy (1990/1991), Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear (both 1991), and TurboGrafx-16 (1992). It was released in Japan as Super H.Q. on the Sega Mega Drive and Chase H.Q. II on the Sega Genesis, with some minor changes, including alternative player vehicles. A pirate cartridge for the Famicom and a rare pirate version for the Nintendo Entertainment System it was titled "City Power H.Q."

In Dec 1990, the game was included on the Wheels Of Fire compilation, which also featured Hard Drivin, Power Drift and Turbo OutRun. In Jun 1991, the game was released on the Power Up compilation, which also featured Altered Beast, Turrican and Rainbow Islands.

In 1993, Taito released Super Chase H.Q. (known in Japan as Super H.Q. Criminal Chaser) for the Super NES. Unlike other home versions, it is played in first person perspective and is based upon Super Chase: Criminal Termination rather than the original Chase H.Q.. Gameplay is modeled on the original with some aspects of S.C.I. incorporated. There is also a Super Chase H.Q. for the Game Boy, which was released exclusively in North America, in 1994. The game is similar to the Game Boy's Taito Chase H.Q. (1991).

In 1996, Taito released an emulation of the arcade original for the Sega Saturn in Japan, bundled together with Special Criminal Investigation on one disc.

In 2000, Chase H.Q. Secret Police was released for the Game Boy Color.

In July 2008, the TurboGrafx-16 version of the game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console.[3]

A spin-off was released in 1989 titled Crime City. The game play deviates from the traditional third-person driving and is instead a side scrolling type shooter.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 97%[7]
Crash 95%[5]
Sinclair User 96%[6]
Your Sinclair 94%[4]
ACE 868/1000[8]
Awards
Publication Award
Crash Crash Smash
Sinclair User SU Classic
C+VG C+VG Hit
Your Sinclair Megagame

The game was very well received by critics, with all three of the Spectrum magazines awarding above 96%. They praised the speed of the game, and the originality.

Records[edit]

Brian Kuh from Weirs Beach, New Hampshire holds the official arcade world record with a score of 3,596,680 points achieved on the 1st June 2006 at Funspot Family Fun Center, Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Robert Gray from Dumfriesshire, Scotland holds the official MAME world record with a score of 11,490,280 points achieved on the 14th June 2010.

Legacy[edit]

Chase H.Q. was successful enough to earn two arcade-based sequels - the widely released Special Criminal Investigation released in 1989 and the extremely rare Super Chase: Criminal Termination released in 1992. It also earned two spin-offs - the run and gun Crime City, and the quiz game Quiz H.Q..

Special Criminal Investigation expands on the original with the addition of guns - the passenger can rise out of the T-top of his Nissan 300ZX Z32 and shoot at oncoming targets. To take advantage of this, enemies are placed throughout the level and will attempt to shoot at or ram the player as they attempt to pursue the main criminal. Deviating from the relatively realistic tracks on offer in the original, the sequel features pursuits through waterfalls and unfinished sections of elevated highway. Despite this the game was generally poorly received by critics.

Super Chase: Criminal Termination was the third arcade release in the Chase H.Q. series, released in 1992. Unlike prior games, the protagonist's vehicle was commanded from a first-person view.

The 1997 PlayStation game Ray Tracers, developed and released by Taito, has been described as "more or less a follow up" to the game,[9] with "only a few differences" such as a different speed-boost system and a greater variety of targets.[10]

In February 2006, Chase H.Q. : Nancy Yori Kinkyuu Renraku (English: Chase H.Q. - An Urgent Call From Nancy) was presented at the Arcade Operator's Union trade show in Tokyo.[11] The game was released as Chase H.Q. 2 later in the year.

Saint Etienne recorded a demo dance track called "Chase HQ" that was inspired by Chase H.Q. It includes samples of the "Oh man!" and "Punch the pedal!" exclamations from the game action. The track was released as a bonus track on the 2009 Deluxe reissue of the band's 1991 album, Foxbase Alpha.

References[edit]

External links[edit]