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
Programmer(s) Takeshi Ishizashi,
Takeshi Murata,
Kyoji Shimamoto[1]
Composer(s) Takami Asano
Series Chase H.Q.
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Racing,
Vehicular combat[16]
Mode(s) Single player
Cabinet Upright, sit-down
Arcade system Taito Z System[17]
Display Raster,
320×240 resolution[17]

Chase H.Q. (チェイスH.Q.?, "Chase Headquarters") is a 1988 arcade racing game, released by Taito. It is sometimes seen as a spiritual successor to Taito's earlier 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, including 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 (1990), PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 (1990) and Sega Game Gear (1991). It was released for PlayStation 2 in Japan in 2007 as part of Taito Memories II Volume 2.


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 959)
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 December 1989.[3]

Taito released ports (known as Taito Chase H.Q.) for the Famicom (1989), Game Boy (1990/1991), Sega Master System (1990), PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 (1990) and Sega Game Gear (1991). 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 was titled City Power H.Q.

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

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 PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 version of the game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console.[18]

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.


Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 93% (Amiga)[19]
93% (Atari ST)[19]
97% (Spectrum)[19]
97% (Amstrad)[20]
36% (C64)[20]
86% (Master System)[21]
31% (Game Boy)[10]
90% (Game Gear)[12]
Crash 95% (Spectrum)[22]
Famitsu 30/40 (PC Engine)[5]
24/40 (Famicom)[4]
23/40 (Game Gear)[11]
18/40 (Mega Drive)[15]
Sinclair User 9/10 (Arcade)[23]
96% (Spectrum)[24]
Your Sinclair 94% (Spectrum)[25]
ACE 840/1000 (Amiga)[26]
868/1000 (Spectrum)[26]
928/1000 (PC Engine)[27]
Commodore User 9/10 (Arcade)[28]
70% (Amiga)[29]
Génération 4 92% (Amiga & Atari ST)[30]
85% (PC Engine)[31]
Joystick 92% (Amiga & Amstrad)[32]
90% (Atari ST)[32]
89% (PC Engine)[33]
93% (Master System)[34]
83% (Game Gear)[35]
Tilt 5 stars (Master System)[36]
Publication Award
Gamest Awards Hit Game of the Year (10th)[37]
Golden Joystick Awards Best 8-Bit Coin-Op Conversion,
Best 8-Bit Soundtrack[38]
Your Sinclair Readers' Top Game of All Time,[39]
Computer and Video Games C+VG Hit
Crash Crash Smash
Sinclair User SU Classic

The game was very well received by critics. Upon release in arcades, Computer and Video Games gave it a positive review, stating "At last" a "racing game with something more to do than just whizzing around a track to beat the course time." They concluded that it is "Fast and challenging with great graphics" and "good clear sound effects" and is "definitely a winner."[2] ACE said that the "Out Run theme keeps being expanded and presented in different ways" like Power Drift but "Chase HQ is the best so far." They concluded that the game's driving and violence is "a winning coin-op combination."[40] Crash said it "is a great game" and "the ultimate arcade version of cops-and-robbers movies".[41] According to Arcade History, it "was arguably the first sprite-scaled racer since" Out Run "to truly capture the gaming public's imagination."[1]

The home computer conversions were also mostly well received by critics. The 16-bit Amiga and Atari ST versions received positive reviews, while the 8-bit 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 Software home computer releases. All three of the ZX Spectrum magazines awarded it 94% or above, praising the speed of the game and the originality. Crash gave the game 95%,[22] while Sinclair User awarded it 96%.[24] On the other hand, the 8-bit Commodore 64 conversion received a generally negative reception.[20]

At Japan's 1989 Gamest Awards, the arcade version was nominated for Hit Game of the Year, for which it was voted 10th place.[37] According to an Ocean Software advert in 1989, the arcade version was voted Arcade Game of the Year.[42] At the 1989/1990 Golden Joystick Awards, the 8-bit home computer versions were awarded Best 8-Bit Coin-Op Conversion and Best 8-Bit Soundtrack.[38] The Spectrum version also topped Computer and Video Games‍ '​ "The Best Games of '89" list (along with Super Mario Bros. 2).[43] The ZX Spectrum version of the game went to number 2 on the UK sales charts, behind Rainbow Islands.[44] The Spectrum version was voted number 1 in the Your Sinclair poll of Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time in 1993.[39]


Brian Kuh from Weirs Beach, New Hampshire holds the official arcade world record with a score of 3,596,680 points achieved on 1 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 14 June 2010.


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The 1997 PlayStation game Ray Tracers, developed and released by Taito, has been described as "more or less a follow up" to the game,[45] with "only a few differences" such as a different speed-boost system and a greater variety of targets.[46]

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.[47] 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.

Chase HQ‍ '​s gameplay, which involved ramming the enemy car while avoiding oncoming traffic, has been cited as a precursor to the gameplay of later titles such as Driver and Burnout.[48]


  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^ a b Computer and Video Games, issue 85 (November 1988), page 140 (published October 1988)
  3. ^ a b The Games Machine, issue 25 (December 1989), pages 76-77
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^
  7. ^ Computer and Video Games, issue 103 (June 1990), pages 94-95 (published May 1990)
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Computer and Video Games, issue 114 (May 1991), page 72 (published April 1991)
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b Computer and Video Games, issue 118 (September 1991), page 89 (published August 1991)
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b Taito Z System, System 16: The Arcade Museum
  18. ^ "One WiiWare Game and Two Virtual Console Games Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of America. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 4 August 2008. 
  19. ^ a b c
  20. ^ a b c
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^
  24. ^ a b
  25. ^ "Chase HQ". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  26. ^ a b
  27. ^ ACE, issue 34 (July 1990), page 59
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Génération 4, issue 18 (January 1990), pages 38-39
  31. ^ Génération 4, issue 20 (March 1990), pages 60-61
  32. ^ a b Joystick, issue 1 (January 1990), pages 94-95
  33. ^ Joystick, issue 4 (April 1990), page 44
  34. ^ Joystick, issue 7 (July-August 1990), page 108
  35. ^ Joystick, issue 18, page 190
  36. ^
  37. ^ a b Gamest, The Best Game 2: Gamest Mook Vol. 112, pages 6-26
  38. ^ a b "High Society". ACE (EMAP) (33): 10. June 1990. 
  39. ^ a b "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ "The YS Rock'n'Roll Years - Issue 53". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  45. ^ "allgame ((( Ray Tracers > Review)))". allgame. Retrieved 29 August 2008. 
  46. ^ "Ray Tracers for PlayStation Review". GameSpot, Inc. Retrieved 31 August 2008. 
  47. ^ "System 16 - Taito Type X+ Hardware (Taito)". Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  48. ^

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