Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Retro Lookback # 5: Chase HQ - Arcade

"Listen up. There's 5 perps out there who need to be brought in. Use any means necessary, but bring 'em in. Go get 'em, guys!" What? I couldn't think of anything pulse raising as a starter. Anyway, TAITO's Chase HQ sees you in the drivers seat of a Porsche 911. But this isn't a normal Porsche. Oh, no. It comes equipped with 3 turbos and what seems to be a kevlar molecular bonded front (thats what comes from watching Knight Rider). And you'll need it, as the perps you'll be chasing are in sports cars themselves.
Chase HQ starts out like a normal driving game. Drive to a certain point before your timer runs out, which then resets to 60 seconds when you see your target (your bloke even puts the flashing light out as well!). Your objective then is to smash the living shit out of the back of his car, until he pulls over before his engine goes pop. At certain points in the 'tracks', the road splits, with a big arrow pointing where you should go. Take the wrong turning, and you'll have even further to go. Take the right turning, and your chances to catch the bad guy would have jumped. As mentioned, you have 3 turbo's per level, which DO NOT reset when you get to a certain distance from your target, but when you reach the next level. If you use them before you reach him, you're seriously screwed, so you have to be sure you really, really need them.
Controls wise, the streeing wheel feels realy comfortable in your hands, and the gearstick gives a good clunk when you switch between high and low gears. The responsiveness of the wheel is excellent, with you never having to wrestle with it to control your car. The graphics are what you would expect with a game from 1988. They are simply brilliant, and still have that charm they had from back in the fay. It even has speech in it, with Nancy shouting 'This is Nancy at Chase HQ.....' at you before you start your next mission, and when you're running out of time.
I loved this game and played it everytime I went to Southend or Yarmouth. I would actively seek out the game as soon as I got into an arcade. Special Criminal Investigation: Chase HQ II is worth checking out, as well. Its not as polished as C-HQ, but it adds weapons and some improved graphics to the mix. But C-HQ is where it all began, so make sure if you pass by a working cabinet or if you can emulate it with a steering wheel (essential), do it.


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