Codex Gamicus

Chase H.Q. (チェイスH.Q.?, "Chase Headquarters") is an arcade racing game, released in 1988 by Taito. In the game the player assumes the role of a police officer named Tony Gibson in a black Porsche 928 chasing after a fleeing criminal. Along with his partner, Raymond Broady, they are members of the Chase Special Investigation Department, who must stop fleeing criminals in high-speed pursuits.

The game was well received in the gaming industry resulting in two arcade based sequels being released; Special Criminal Investigation (1989) and Super Chase: Criminal Termination (1992).

The game was converted to many home computers, by Ocean Software in 1989, and included versions for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST. Taito released versions of the game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (1989), Game Boy (1990), Master System, Game Gear (1991), and TurboGrafx-16 (1992).


At the start of each level the player is informed who they are pursuing, and are quite a distance from them: They must apprehend the criminal before their time limit expires. The criminal's car is constantly moving away, so if the player repeatedly crashes or drives too slowly, then the criminal will escape. At some points during the game the road splits, and the correct turn must be taken, otherwise it will take longer to catch the criminal. When their vehicle is reached, the time limit is extended; the vehicle must be rammed a number of times until the criminal is forced to stop, and then arrested.

The game includes five levels. As both the initial time limit to reach the criminal and the time extension to ram the criminal are just 60 seconds the game is often criticised for being very short - a player who is able to finish the game on one credit will enjoy at most ten minutes of gameplay. (However, this criticism can be levelled at many other similar arcade games, including Out Run, which has a similar maximum playing time, although the latter game does not allow the player to insert another credit to continue.)

Although superficially similar in technology to SEGA's Outrun, Chase HQ features significant technical advancements over that title in the presentation of perspective, hills and track splits.

Villains (for arcade versions)

  • 1. Ralph, the Idaho Slasher (White Lotus Esprit)
  • 2. Carlos, the New York armed robber (Yellow Lamborghini Countach)
  • 3. Chicago pushers (White Porsche 911)
  • 4. L.A kidnapper (Blue Ferrari 288 GTO)
  • 5. Eastern Bloc Spy (Red Porsche 928)


Chase H.Q. has two arcade based sequels - the widely released Special Criminal Investigation from 1989 and the extremely rare Super Chase: Criminal Termination from 1992.

Special Criminal Investigation expands on the original with the addition of guns - the passenger can rise out of the T-top of his Nissan 300ZX Z32 and shoot at oncoming targets. To take advantage of this, enemies are placed through the level and will attempt to shoot at or ram the player as they attempt to pursue the main criminal. Deviating from the relatively realistic tracks on offer in the original, the sequel features pursuits through waterfalls and unfinished sections of elevated highway. Despite this the game was generally poorly received by critics.

Super Chase: Criminal Termination was the third arcade release in the Chase H.Q. series, being released in 1992. Unlike in prior games, the protagonist's vehicle was commanded from a first-person view.

The 1997 PlayStation game Ray Tracers, developed and released by Taito, has been described as "more or less a follow up" to the game,[1] with "only a few differences" such as a different speed-boost system and a greater variety of targets.[2]

In February 2006, Chase H.Q. : Nancy Yori Kinkyuu Renraku (United States Chase H.Q. - An Urgent Call From Nancy) was presented at the Arcade Operator's Union trade show in Tokyo.[3] The game was released as Chase H.Q. 2 later in the year.

Home versions[]

Ocean released versions of the game for the ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga and Atari ST in 1989. Most versions were received poorly, but the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC conversions received very high review scores and are generally recognised as the most accurate and most playable of the Ocean releases. The ZX Spectrum version was voted number 1 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time.[4]

Taito released ports for the Nintendo Entertainment System, known as Taito Chase H.Q. (1989), Game Boy (1990), Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear (both 1991), and TurboGrafx-16 (1992). It was released in Japan as Super H.Q. on the Sega Mega Drive and Chase H.Q. II on the Sega Genesis, with some minor changes, including alternative player vehicles.

In 1993, Taito released Super Chase H.Q. for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Unlike other home versions, it is played in first person perspective and is based upon Super Chase: Criminal Termination rather than the original Chase H.Q.. Gameplay is modeled on the original with some aspects of S.C.I. incorporated.

In 1996, Taito released an emulation of the arcade original for the Sega Saturn in Japan, bundled together with Special Criminal Investigation on one disc.

In July 2008, the TurboGrafx-16 version of the game was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console.[5]

A spin-off was released in 1989 titled Crime City. The game play deviates from the traditional third-person driving and is instead a side scrolling type shooter in which players "go for a kill time".


The official arcade world record for Chase HQ was achieved by Brian Kuh with a score of 3,596,680 achieved at Funspot Family Fun Center, Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, on June 1, 2006. The official MAME world record is held by Robert Gray from Dumfriesshire, Scotland, with a score of 11,490,280 on July 14, 2010.


  1. allgame ((( Ray Tracers > Review ))). allgame. Retrieved on 2008-08-29
  2. Ray Tracers for PlayStation Review. GameSpot, Inc.. Retrieved on 2008-08-31
  3. System 16 - Type X+ Hardware (Taito)
  4. "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993. 
  5. "One WiiWare Game and Two Virtual Console Games Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of America. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 

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