Ocean Software‘s 1989 conversion of Taito‘s classic arcade race game, Chase HQ, is a bit of a doozy on the Amstrad. While it doesn’t have quite the impact that its amazing arcade parent does, it does do a very good job of trying to recreate its high-octane, criminal-chasing thrills.
Key to this conversion’s success are two things: one is the road movement, which is excellent for an 8-bit game. And two: the level of detail in Amstrad Chase HQ is high, with digitised speech, road splits, helicopters, bumps and jumps, and tunnels.
The game isn’t perfect, though. Control of the car feels a little sluggish, and cars moving towards you sometimes judder strangely as they get nearer and farther away from you. It’s also very challenging to get the target car to stop once you’ve spotted it. Or maybe I should say that it’s very easy to screw things up and run out of time, although you do get two continues before it’s game over.
The digitised speech in Chase HQ is really good, and well used. You’ll hear “let’s go Mr. Driver!” or “time’s up!” at relevant points. And, as I said previously, the road undulations are dynamic and better than most of its 8-bit peers.
Overall, Chase HQ is playable, challenging and maybe even the best third-person racing game on the Amstrad. It’s repetitive but well-structured and fun.
More: Chase HQ on Wikipedia