Review: Chase HQ 2 – Special Criminal Investigation (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18)

Equipment Used/Recommended

  • MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator.
  • Any of Automation 473, Pompey Pirated 66, Vectronix 518
  • Speedlink USB Joystick

My Review

And so we finally conclude this run of racing games – ST Format 18 had a lot of them. This takes us back to the more traditional rolling road found in Outrun and Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge, only this time, as with the original Chase HQ, there is vehicular combat.

So by now you’ll be thoroughly familiar with the rolling road racing game. The road it generated in front of you with horizontal stripes while road-side sprites whizz past, to give the impression of speed. Meanwhile the camera might pan left or right but mostly your car moves left or right around the screen. You get tight bends, in this case you get the road splitting into two parts, and that’s how you make a late 80s racing game.

In this case we’re chasing a criminal, and helpfully said criminal has attached a huge floating red arrow to the roof of his car so you can spot him in a crowd. Your job as a police officer is to apprehend the perp, by blowing his car up. Not quite sure how that works.

In this case you’ve got a couple of methods you can go for. You can ram him (or her, let’s not be sexist) and that’ll do some damage. Or you can hold down the fire button which sees your passenger stand up in his seat and fire what I think is a gun at the car ahead, or at random other cars if the mood takes you (nobody seems to mind too much).

So the game starts with a loading screen that already feels a few years out of date, and takes us to the start of the race via some other semi-static screens. And then we get to the driving. It’s all standard stuff as you’d expect, distant scenery, rolling road, roadside sprites, other cars as sprites scaling in and out of view, all the usual suspects. We have a bit of a problem though. In the same issue of ST Format is the brilliant Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge. That game runs at a decent pace and the driving feels great. This game runs like a slug on valium and the driving feels unresponsive. I reckon it’s chugging out about 2 frames a second. Even the ST can do better than this. Oncoming cars are quite hard to dodge when you have two frames in which to do it, but at least colliding with other objects only slows you down a bit.

Ok so the driving sucks but what about the combat? Well ramming vehicles is ok but shooting is.. well it feels like you’re firing a pea-shooter, with no real feeling that you’re having any impact whatsoever on the other car. There’s a tremendous lack of connection as your shot jerks around the screen eventually maybe hitting something – perhaps it would be easier to tell if the frame rate was better.

Video

Here’s a video to show you just how bad the game is. I want you to be fully aware of how awful it is. Automation put it on the same menu disk as Codemasters Italy 1990, the worst football game ever created so maybe they were just getting all the absolute stinkers out in one go.

Verdict

This is absolutely 100% your typical lazy Ocean game. Take a license, minimal effort on the game, shove it out and hope the marketing does the rest. It’s genuinely baffling to me that ST Format can give this 78%. One line stands out from the review: “The scrolling is fast and smooth” and regarding sprites “you won’t have time to admire them as they thunder past” while the soundtrack is “funky”. Graphics get an 8 – what on earth was going on here. I reckon there’s quite a good chance they were testing the Amiga version (and given we’ve already seen them use the Amiga version for screenshots in their review of Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge that isn’t so unlikely) – the music is a lot better and the road rolls a little more smoothly (still not thundering past mind you but more tolerable at least) which is in line with their comments.

Don’t play this game. It is not a good use of your time. Do something more interesting instead like playing Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge or Toyota Celica GT Rally if you want a racing game from this issue of ST Format. Personally I’d rate this much lower than ST Format’s 78% – probably something more in the 50s. Avoid.

Reviews From This Issue of ST Format

Review: Golden Axe (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 399, Fuzion 23, Pompey Pirates 64, SuperGAU 402, Vectronix 281/828 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review So we’re bringing out the big guns.…More

Review: Pang (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 427B, Flame Of Finland 48, Pompey Pirates 65, SuperGAU 473/805, Vectonix 35/112/801 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review I’ll start with a confession…More

Review: Badlands (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 392, Flame Of Finland 48, Medway Boys 102, Pompey Pirates 69, Vectronix 417/667 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review Continuing our run of…More

Review: Toyota Celica GT Rally (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. The usual suspects didn’t work, getting stuck with joystick controls not working, but there’s a Pompey Pirates crack available within the TOSEC collection found on…More

Review: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 383A, Fuzion 20, Medway Boys 98, Pompey Pirates 60, Vectronix 219/904 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review Making our way through the wonderful…More

Not-Quite-Review: Nitro (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 377, Flame Of Finland 45, Pompey Pirates 61, SuperGAU 476/809, Vectronix 192/342/814 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review This game did not score…More

Review: Speedball 2 (Atari ST)

ST Format Review (Issue 18) Equipment Used/Recommended MiSTer box running the Atari ST core – a 1MB STE running TOS 1.62 – you can replicate this with the Steem emulator. Any of Automation 400, Fuzion 30, SuperGAU 374/541, Vectronix 593/785 Speedlink USB Joystick My Review In many ways there’s really bugger all point in me…More

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