Chase H.Q.

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“Let’s go, Mr.Driver!”. It has to be said, that it ever there was a moaning, spazzy character in any game, your Chase H.Q. co-driver wins the prize. He’s full of useless exclamations like “Bear down!” and “Harder harder!” What with him spoiling his pants every time you hit the turbo button and Nancy at head-quarters moaning and suggesting that you’ve picked the wrong job, no wonder they say a policeman’s lot is not a happy one.

It’s good news, then, to discover that you’ve got one of this year’s best driving games full of action, drama and astounding speed to keep your mind off the down side of the job.

Chase H&Q was an arcade favorite last year, and its transition to the Spectrum was predicted by some as utterly impossible. However, bearing in mind the capabilities of the machines concerned, I reckon that the Speccy version is by far the best, beating Atari ST and Amiga hands down on both graphics and gameplay.

The aim of the game is to track down deadly criminals who are racing from one side of America to the other in an attempt to flee the scenes of their odious crimes. Behind the wheel of a Porsche 928, you hurtle down the highway in hot pursuit of the bad guys up ahead. Once you manage to find them (often with a little help from a following helicopter) you have to barge into them repeatedly and run them off the road. It’s always good to have a big chopper helping you from behind. Ooer.

Once off the road, you can then proceed to nick the driver. Nancy at head quarters will then tell you who’s next for the rubber hose treatment in the back room, and what sort of car they’re driving for easy identification.

As you belt around the countryside, infuriatingly dithery innocents drift around the track – sorry – road, getting in the way. Bloody civilians. Thankfully, there’s absolutely no penalty for crashing into these drivers, except it slows you down a bit. Just like the real thing.

While the chase is in progress, it’s easy to pay scant attention to the fantastic surroundings. It’s really only when someone else is playing, or you’re watching the demo that you notice the astounding undulating hills, the ultra-smooth scrolling and the excellent speech (128K only).

When you look at Chase H&Q moving as quickly as it does, choc-a-black full of gameplay tuned to the finest degree, all the graphics with their excellent animations, other action driving games seem to look pretty silly.

All the allowances you’ve been making for the other car games, things like “Well, there are a lot of objects, so it’s bound to be a bit slow”, or “it doesn’t really matter what it looks like so long at the gameplay is there” seem a little bit daft.

When you see and play Chase H&Q, you realise that there simply aren’t any excuses. It is possible to do everything without compromise.

Finally, a driving game without any flaws. Nail-biting, tyre squealing action right to the very end. If you’re not bowled over by Chase H.Q., you are off your rocker.




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