Chase H.Q. (Taito) Review | Mean Machines Sega - Everygamegoing


Chase H.Q.
By Taito
Sega Saturn (US Version)

Published in Mean Machines Sega #48

Chase HQ Plus Pack

Listen up! Special Agent Jevons here of the C.G.I.S. (Crap Games Investigation Squad) with a cautionary tale for all of you. It'd been a long day on the beat. My partner and I had spent the past six hours prosecuting some pathetic movie licence-turned platform game, and we were ready for a beer and a good night's slee. But our night was just beginning...

We got the call at 10 o' clock. Seems some kid in the suburbs had bought the Chase HQ Plus pack from his local importers. Used to play it down the arcades and had 'fond' memories of the game. Didn't want to wait for the MMS review. The fool! We got there by 10:15 but it was too late. He was already bored to tears and suffering from classic W.O.M. (waste of money) syndrome. Not even prolonged play on NiGHTS could bring him round. But it doesn't end there. A few years down the line he married an Essex girl and became a chartered accountant. Tragic...

Double The Games! Half The Fun!

The Chase HQ Plus pack features both Chase HQ and its superior sequel Special Criminal Investigations in all their sprite-scaling glory. Both games involve you motoring along the road at high speeds in pursuit of your suspect, then repeatedly ramming (or in the case of SCI shooting) them until their damage bar is full and the vehicle stops.

Then it's on to a new level to do the whole thing again! Yippee! Admittedly, there are things like nitros, gears and extra weapons to worry about, but the basic game mechanics are as simple as Joanne Guest.

Converted To The Cause

One thing that I can't accuse Chase HQ Plus of being is a bad conversion. Despite the malformed sprites and ear-splitting sound, Taito have apparently created a spot-on conversion.

Just to check, we got our office retro expect, Dave Kelsall, to examine the game at length. He came away with this to say: "Yup, it's arcade perfect all right." Still the game does not make use of Sega's awesome analogue pad.


While Taito's Bubble Bobble is a good example of a game which has stood the test of time, Chase HQ is the perfect case study of one that hasn't. I remember playing this in the arcade when it first came out all those years ago, and being blown away by its realistic graphics and lightning fast gameplay.

It's a sign of the times that it now looks so laughable. The car handling is dire, the sprites look like flat cardboard and the sound made my ears bleed. If you *really* loved this game, you may be interested in an arcade-perfect conversion, but personally I'll wait for Daytona SCE.


Chase HQ illustrates the dangers of retro gaming in a sobering way. I had fond memories of this and games like Outrun but, rather like the first single you ever bought and your favourite episode of Chigley, these are memories best left alone.

Chase HQ is a museum piece that has purely novelty value - arcade perfect it may be, but arcades were very different places all those years ago.


Graphics 47%
Arcade perfect, but by today's standards - pants.

Animation 48%
The car spinning on the intro screen must be four frames of animation.

Music 49%
Turn it off, just turn if off.

Effects 41%
Japanese speech, which is sampled so badly it may as well by in English.

Playability 44%
Driving and smashing up cars is good in principle - but not here.

Lastability 42%
If you worshipped the coin-op, you may persevere with this.

Overall 45%
An arcade perfect conversion of a gimmick game, which will only appeal to really, really die hard fans of the coin-op.