Your Sinclair1st March 1991
Published in Your Sinclair #63
Chase H.Q. II: Special Criminal Investigation
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 - it's racy, pacy and lacey. But we've seen most of it before (except the lacey bits). (Oi! Come back here! Ed)