It's demolition derby time again as our favourite cops return to the beat. Ray Broady and Tony Gibson are on the trail of the Mayor's kidnapped daughter Jennifer in their own special way. AS Tony's black Porsche 928 was wrecked by his stock car tactics in Chase HQ he now drives a trendy red Japanese sports job (well, the car's red in the coin-op).
Five levels of road-racing action make up the game and the objective is to stop the head honcho at the end of each section. An APB (All Points Bulletin) is called at the start of each section and , when you know who to hit, hit 'em as hard as you can.
The chase begins in earnest with you putting pedal to metal in search of a Porsche 911. of course damned annoying civilians are in the way again, but this time you have a surprise up your sleeve (or rather in your holster): a large 9mm automatic pistol. It's easy to poke your head out of the sunroof and blast away at all and sundry in true Sledge Hammer style.
As with Chase HQ a timer ticks down, so hit the turbo button as often as possible (thought the charges are limited). When the target vehicle is in sight a large arrow appears over it and the blasting fun can commence. A damage meter appears to the left of the screen. This time, instead of ramming the crook's car with your front bumper to nab him, your gun will have to do the job.
As damage increases so does the height of the meter until his car is full of lead and you're moved to the next APB where another chase awaits. When all the bad guys have been capture it's off to a warehouse to rescue Jennifer. The good news is she's still alive, the bad news is you only have thirty seconds to get to her before the warehouse goes BOOM!!!.
I loved the original Chase HQ in the arcadesm but when SCI appeared it seemed little more than a continuation of Chase. All that really changed was Ray's ability to shoot the villains rather than ram them, and to me half the fun was in smashing the bumper off the crook's car. All I have to say about SCI in nice graphics, but gameplay does not go way beyond Chase.
MARK … 75%
'It's a bit of a tradition with sequels for them to be disappointing. Chase HQ 2 obviously didn't want to break that tradition because it's sadly not much cop. The game isn't all that bad, it's simply too similar to the original in looks and gameplay. You jump into the seat of your flashy car, drive speedily along, then bash into a criminal's car over and over until he surrenders. This you have to repeat time after time until the end of the game. The only noticeable difference between this and Chase is that you're now armed with a gun to take pot shots at your target as well as bashing them. Still, Chase HQ 2 is a great game if you don't have the original.'
NICK … 72%
Phwoar! Hands up who remembers Nancy from Chase HQ! Bit of alright, wasn't she? - Well, here's Ocean's sequel, and there's a brand-new babe on the CB! She's called Karen - and she could pull me over for questioning anytime! (Ahem.)
For those who've never heard of the original Chase HQ (it came out just over a year ago - welcome to the planet Earth), Karen's a sort of lady cop taxi controller, in charge of a squad of motorway (or 'highway') 'fuzz' cars. It just so happens that you're sitting behind the steering wheel of one of them and it's your job to 'hop to' and chase whichever baddy-mobiles she tells you to. Sneak up behind 'em, shout "Boo", give them a ram or two up the bum and then arrest them when you've knocked them off the road. Bingo! At least, that's what happened in the first game - what about this newie?
WELL, LET'S TAKE A LOOK!
Er, well I hate to disappoint you but there's not that much difference actually. You're after a bloke called Bob Black, a gangland bully who's rather cruelly sellotaped the Mayor's daughter to a timebomb. Before you get anywhere near him though you've first got to complete six missions (in much me same way as you did in the first). Blasting a couple of joyriders in a Porsche, wrecking a station wagon, destroying a limo - they're all not-so-subtle variations on a theme, the most obvious being that you can now stick your head out the top and blast away with a pop-gun, (You've got endless bullets, but if you're a crap shot - which isn't that hard with a 240mph wind blowing in your eyes! - you can always slam on the old turbo boost and ram 'em instead)
And that's about it really - ramming and blamming! The ramming's a lot like the first Chase. The blamming is new. Other variations include a juicier selection of weapons (rocket launchers and machine guns which get dropped from a helicopter), varying weather conditions, and a chance to race in deserts, mountains, cities and along the side of some rather crap lakes. (I first thought the lakes were cornfields so I tried taking a short cut through them. Nice one, Jimbo! That's a £100,000 car you've drowned there!) Oh yes, and there's a time limit of one minute to find each Criminal vehicle, then another minute to stop it.
SUFFERING FROM SEQUALITUS
All at which does not a fascinating game make. Ho hum. I hate to say it but Chase HQ2 is about as typical a sequel as you could ever hope to find - just a blueprint of the original with a couple of extra bits glued onto the bodywork. Your car sprints down the road at a fairly zippy pace but there isn't any real sense of speed (perhaps because the sound effects don't seem as effective this time round - you haven't go the siren for a start). Because of this it isn't half as much fun stopping the perps anymore. (Sob!) And so far as the visuals go, well, how can graphics which haven't changed much in 12 months compete with a game as professional and sturdy-looking as Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge? (Not very easily, matey-poos, is the basic answer!)
I dunno - the reason there are so many bad sequels in the world is because the people who make them misunderstand the reason for the originals' success. Chase HQ didn't succeed so much because you put a siren on top of your car and chased after criminals - it succeeded because the idea of having a siren and chasing criminals was so brain-stonkingly original, and had never been done before, and was really, really well executed (if you see what I mean).
Who wants a game that looks the same as the one they already own but hasn't got half the soul? If you never bought the original Chase HQ then I'm ordering you to do so right now. If you did then sorry to disappoint you with this paltry effort. Of course, not that it's that dire. Just that your money's better off with a different game. (One about kettles, Or woodlice. Or something.)
SCI - Special Criminal Investigations - is the sequel to Chase HQ, you won't be surprised to hear, because it's practically the same game! Oh yes, there are a few additions and variations, but nothing that will make you dampen your diaper with excitement.
It's a 128K only game, and the plot's pretty familiar - you're a special agent chasing hoodlums through suburbs, cities and deserts in your souped-up sports car. At the start of each level you receive your assignment from your gorgeous controller (ooh, I do like a woman in uniform). Your first task is to rescue three kidnapped girls, chasing their abductors along dual carriageways, freeways and desert roads.
Your car has automatic gears, so all you have to worry about is burning up the tarmac at full pelt, screeching around the curves and up and down the bumps and dips, ploughing through the sand and avoiding obstacles which slow you down. No matter how many cars, motorbikes, bollards, buildings and fences you bash into, you don't get damaged; you do, however, lose speed, which is crucial, because you lose a life if you don't catch up with your target before the timer runs out. Fortunately you can resume play from the current position if you have credits left.
Your position relative to your target is shown on a radar scanner on the right hand side of the screen. Once your target is in view, an arrow indicates him, and you get to poke your head out of your sunroof (presumably steering the car with your... er, feet) and bang away at the baddies with your handgun. A crosshair appears to tell you when you're lined up with him, and when you force him off the road you get a graphic screen showing your subtle interrogation of the suspect (bang... smash... take that... yarooo.. gosh...)
On later levels, the action gets faster, the road twists and turns more violently, and extra weapons can be picked up as they are dropped by a helicopter thoughtfully sent out from your base. The first weapon is a rocket launcher, which gives you six super projectiles to shoot off. The baddies get heavy artillery too, though, and you also have to cope with hazards like trucks unloading cargo over the road.
The original SCI coin-op features gorgeous graphics and super sound, while the sound in the Spectrum version is nothing but an irritation - I think the in-game music is meant to sound like the theme from Miami Vice, but it's more like the grinding of a dentist's drill. The whining of the engine and popping of your gun don't add much to the excitement, either.
Now, I don't want to sound too unenthusiastic about SCI - it's a pretty good game, with lots of excitement and decent graphics and animation. Trouble is, it just doesn't add enough to Chase HQ, and since that was a chart success and has also appeared in various compilations, you may well have it already. If so, I'd suggest you save your dosh for something a bit different rather than retreading old ground with SCI.
Price: £10.99 48/128K
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter
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