Chase H.Q. II: Special Criminal Investigation (also known as S.C.I. - Special Criminal Investigation) is the sequel to the Chase H.Q. arcade shooting and racing game released in 1988 by Taito for the arcades. The game was initially released in 1989 on the arcades and the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis, and later ported to various home computers by Ocean Software and Taito at the same year, including versions for the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore C64, Amstrad GX4000 / CPC+, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, NEC PC Engine, Sega Master System.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Two police drivers patrol the highways with a modified Nissan 300ZX Z32, a specially modified, high-powered car for the law forces. After they get a call from Nancy (the Police HQ voice) telling them that a criminal is on the loose, it's time to hit the gas on the floor. With (limited) turbos at their disposal, they're off in a hot pursuit. The chase splits into two sections at each stage. In the first part you must find the criminal, who has a substantial lead and when in your sights your siren automatically starts and you see a big red arrow indicating the position of the pursued car! You then have 60 seconds to ram the criminal off the road. Fortunately this time the two policemen carry guns (in contrast to the original Chase HQ) and the co-driver can shoot at the criminal until his car blows up. Note that the enemy vehicles (bikes, cars etc) are everywhere throughout the level and will attempt to shoot at or ram your car as you attempt to pursue the main bad guy. As you race against the clock traffic is a major problem and the incoming vehicles can hit you easily, resulting in decreasing your speed and losing precious pursuit time. There are power-ups dropped by a helicopter like weaponry (i.e. a rocket launcher) to help you in your task. OK Chase H.Q. II is fun, but it gets repetitive. The main improvement to the Chase HQ formula is the weapon, but an added firepower doesn't significantly increase the gameplay quotient.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Atari ST conversion has decent backdrops and includes some details from the original like waterfalls, unfinished sections of elevated highways etc. But the on-screen colors are only 16! Also, the scrolling suffers a bit when things get crowded, but fortunately the game remains playable. The sound on the ST is good and includes music and sound effects simultaneously like engine throttle, gunfire, a police siren and explosions (but none of these is sampled).
GAMEPLAY SAMPLE VIDEO
On our video below you may watch the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amiga OCS, Turbografx-16, Arcade and Mega Drive versions of the game.
CPU: Motorola 68000 16/32bit at 8mhz. 16 bit data bus/32 bit internal/24-bit address bus. MEMORY: RAM 512KB (1MB for the 1040ST models) / ROM 192KB GRAPHICS: Digital-to-Analog Converter of 3-bits, eight levels per RGB channel, featuring a 9-bit RGB palette (512 colors), 320x200 (16 color), 640x200 (4 color), 640x400 (monochrome). With special programming techniques could display 512 colors on screen in static images. SOUND: Yamaha YM2149F PSG "Programmable Sound Generator" chip provided 3-voice sound synthesis, plus 1-voice white noise mono PSG. It also has two MIDI ports, and support mixed YM2149 sfx and MIDI music in gaming (there are several games supported this).