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Super Chase HQ

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Released: 1993

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: Taito Corporation

Developer: Taito Corporation

Submitted by: Retro Gamer

The original Chase HQ’s team hit upon a masterstroke when the game was being designed. Instead of just enabling the player to drive like a nutter – see: almost every other arcade racing game up until that point – it tasked them with driving like a nutter and ramming a foe to a standstill. Therefore, it combined the average gamer’s twin passions of his need for speed with the need for smashing things into tiny pieces. Result: instant classic.

For some reason, few subsequent games of the era jumped aboard that particular bandwagon, and even Chase HQ’s own arcade sequel switched the satisfyingly tactile ‘ramming a car to a halt’ with ‘shooting at the bad guys from a distance’. However, Taito’s SNES sequel, Super Chase HQ, brought home the magic of the original, combining it with a few aspects of its sequel, and the result is a thrilling retro arcade racer, with plenty going for it.

The game uses the original Chase HQ as its template – your weapon is your car, and your aim is to weave through traffic, catch up to the bad guy, and ram his car until it bursts into flames, scuppering his plans and probably ensuring that his vehicle won’t pass its next MOT. Rather unfairly, though, some of the bad guys are armed to the teeth: biker gangs shoot through your windscreen; a truck has what looks to be a perfectly innocent boombox in the trunk, but no, it’s only a bloody rocket launcher; and the guy in the final level gets assistance from his heavily armed chum with a helicopter. Nice.

In these days of high-octane pile-ups in the Burnout and Need For Speed series and car-jacking aplenty in Grand Theft Auto XII: The Police Won’t Be Crowing About A Drop In Car Crime Figures This Year, Super Chase HQ looks simplistic and feels a little quaint. Although, truth be told, the graphics are rather lovely: the view area’s smallish, but the environments are vibrant and nicely drawn, with light and weather conditions that change as you belt along. But when you’re zooming down the freeway at the behest of Nancy, you won’t care.

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