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 Amiga conversion features nicely drawn backdrops and has many similarities to the arcade, including waterfalls, unfinished sections of elevated highways etc. The scrolling is quite smooth but quite slow. Note that the Amiga conversion runs in EHB mode, which means it has up to 64 colors on screen. The game's sound is good, but nothing really special to get excited for, including music and some sampled speech and sound effects during gameplay.
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 MC68000 7.16 MHz MEMORY: 512KB of Chip RAM (OCS chipset - A500), 512 KB of Slow RAM or Trapdoor RAM can be added via the trapdoor expansion, up to 8 MB of Fast RAM or a Hard drive can be added via the side expansion slot. The ECS chipset (A500+) offered 1MB on board to 2MB (extended) of Chip RAM. GRAPHICS: The OCS chipset (Amiga 500) features planar graphics (codename Denise custom chip), with up to 5 bit-planes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 color screens, from a 12bit RGB palette of 4096 colors. Resolutions varied from 320x256 (PAL, non-interlaced, up to 4096 colors) to 640x512 (interlace, up to 4 colors). Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra Half Bright with 64 colors and HAM with all 4096 colors on-screen. The ECS chipset models (Amiga 500+) offered same features but also extra high resolution screens up to 1280x512 pixels (4 colors at once). SOUND: (Paula) 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs