Dateline : 11th November 2011


Now this is more like it. Plenty of tyre screeching mayhem, putting the foot to floor and chasing criminals at high speed before ramming them off the road and arresting them. Boy oh boy was Chase HQ a great arcade game ! Surely Ocean can’t screw this one up ? The most anticipated arcade conversion of 1989 comes to the Amiga, and boy is RetroBear in for a shock……..


As loading screens go this isn't too bad, but it all goes downhill from here

There is nothing we all enjoy more in a film than a good old fashioned car chase. You know the ones where the bad guys are getting away and our heroes leap into the nearest flash fast car they can find and head off in hot pursuit. Always exciting and always with the good guys winning, someone somewhere thought this would be a rather jolly idea for an arcade game. And so in 1989 Taito created Chase HQ.


The simple premise being this : you take control of a Porsche and following instructions from Nancy at HQ you head off in pursuit of your target vehicle (of which there are only 5 in the game). Once you have them in your sights you get just 60 seconds to continually ram the back of their car so it lurches to the side of the road and you make your arrest. You are also armed with turbo boosts enabling you to keep up with the villains.


Ram the villains off the road - you can almost smell the petrol from here


I used to think the arcade game was total quality so it was no surprise when Ocean converted Chase HQ to the home formats as there was already a tremendous buzz about the game. The fact it was Ocean on conversion duty was also good news – they usually did good jobs on coin-op games. So I made sure that I had a copy ordered by my mum in time for release. And it was here that my love affair with Chase HQ began to wane…..


Firstly the game took approximately 2 weeks to arrive, and when it did they had sent me the Atari St version rather than the Amiga one. It then took another 3 weeks to come back and all they had done was put an Amiga sticker over the Atari ST one on the box as well as changing the disks. Surely after all this it would be worth the wait. The anticipation had been killing me and a mate of mine at school had been raving about it.


Imagine my surprise when I was confronted with an inferior version of one of my favourite arcade games. Firstly it’s incredibly slow. I know the Amiga should have been able to cope better but it didn’t. So one of the main points of the arcade original was now neutralised. Secondly, everything is much smaller. All the sprites are squashed down and now resemble Volkswagen Beetles. Thirdly and probably most importantly of all is that it quite simply isn’t very good. The scrolling on the road leaves you feeling sick, the sampled speech is all tinny and distorted and the last two stages of the game are very difficult to get past.


THis game sucked so badly it's hard to recommend it - you'd be best off with the arcade original


All in all the Amiga version of Chase HQ is incredibly average and can’t be recommended. Therefore either seek out the arcade original, or perhaps the Spectrum version. Yes the humble Speccy produced arguably the best version of Chase HQ on the home formats. Its regarded as possibly the best game for the Spectrum ever. One thing is for sure, it certainly pisses on the Amiga version from a great height.


VERDICT : The only top speed accelerating you should be doing is to get away from this game. A very poor conversion of a top coin op.


NOTES : Chase HQ was converted to just about every format there was. On Amazon only the Game Boy Color, Game Boy, C64 and Master System versions are available. On Ebay there is more choice but just the one Amiga version priced at £5.99


UP NEXT : Back to the Mega Drive and Master System for the next 2 games – all will be revealed shortly, and then it’s on to the N64