Amstrad Computer User

Chase HQ
By Ocean
Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Amstrad Computer User #64

Another driving game, but one with a real difference as you ram the crooks off the road in your Porsche 944.

Chase HQ

Another driving game, but one with a real difference as you ram the crooks off the road in your Porsche 944.

The chase is on as you've never seen it before. The squealing tyres on hairpin bands, the nerve shattering boost of the turbo, and the criminals. You have to be good, very good, to be admitted to Chase HQ. No dowdy squad cars for these guys but the groin throbbing power of a black Porche 944.

Nancy calls the shots and away you go. A burst of sampled speech, so good you don't have to squint to understand it, and you put the pedal to the metal. The tyres scream as you switch to high gear and the chase is in full swing. You have 60 seconds to find the first crook but he is fast so you have to be faster. At the top of the screen is a small display showing the distance between you and him, but don't let this discourage you, you have the means to burn that sucker.

Chase H.Q.

Despite your status as a law enforcer the public are less than happy about pulling over. Passing the other road users peacefully has several advantages. A collision results in a loss of speed, definitely not helpful, the destruction of the offending car and the loss of bonus points. Speed is critical but the loss of bonus points is a crying shame. Each car safely passed earns you a bonus. This bonus doubles with each car passed until it reaches a maximum of 8000 points. Hitting a fellow road user not only loses you the bonus but resets it to 200.

At the speeds your car travels the road behaves in some unusual ways. The everyday undulation of the highway turns into ramps and more often than not you find yourself flying through the air, engine revving, and yourself cringing, waiting for the impact. Just when you master staying on the road the program throws a curve ball. The road splits and you find yourself traversing a less than friendly short cut.

Here the tarmac surface disappears and you find yourself pounding a dirt track. Alone this does not present much of a problem but barricades and scrub dot the landscape. Hitting these results in an aerial display of debris and a loss of valuable speed.

Chase H.Q.

The final stretch of road between you and the villain passes through a lighted tunnel. Here you can create some interesting pyrotechnics by scraping your car along the walls.

If you manage to close the distance between you and the escaping criminal the combat begins. The desperado is not about to pull over for a mere Porsche, so brute force must be used. To arrest the offender you must repeatably ram his car until it ceases to function. A damage indicator at the side of the screen displays the amount of damage you have inflicted upon the enemy vehicle and how much is left before he relents and pulls over ready for arrest.

During the chase you may find yourself lagging behind so a quick tap of the space bar activates the turbo and you hurtle forward, wheels screaming, into the fray. Three turbo boosts are available on each level so judicious use is essential.

Chase H.Q.

If you fail to disable the crook within the allotted 60 seconds you lose a life. Being benign souls, the game creators allow you to continue the game three times.

This may help you to explore further levels but the points accumulated are less than those by completing the game the first time round.

There are five criminals for you to pursue in this game each fully described at the beginning of the level by the delectable Nancy radioing Chase HQ. Throughout the game there are a number of hidden bonuses to collect. This means that it is often best to deviate from the seemingly best route in order to seek out those precious points.

On the CPC few games can match the pace or the action of this game. The smoke and screaming tyres add the intangible tension that turns this from a game you play around with to a challenge worthy of serious attention. The only gripe I have is all the sleep I lost due to playing this game well into the night.

Adrian Pumphrey

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