Believe it or not, one of the most dangerous places to apprehend a suspect in America is around their car. American policemen refer to it as the Kill Zone, because suspects tend to get very itchy trigger finger just as the police move in to make the arrest.
Fortunately, in Chase HQ, the conversion of the Taito coin-op, no chances are taken. You're head of the Los Angeles Special Criminal Investigation department and that means the perps you pursue have to be approached with brute force.
A normal day's work involves driving around in your two-gear turbo charged Porsche 928 waiting for the inevitable call from Nancy at Chase HQ outlining the next mission. Then it's a case of foot to the floor and tear along the freeway until the suspect is sighted. Once visual contact is made, the only way to treat these crims is to bash into their car often enough to force them to pull over, then make the arrest.
There are five stage to the game, each one chasing a different criminal, and for each stage you have to sight the crim before the time limit runs out (you'll be in no doubt when you've spotted them because a large arrow with the legend 'Criminals Here' appears).
Manage it and your time is increased to allow you to get enough bumps on the car to force it to stop. Once the first hit has been made on the car, a damage meter appears on the left of the screen indicating how many more hits it needs to stop it.
There's more to it than that, though. For a start there are the other road users to avoid as well as roadside obstacles. Colliding with anything causes a loss of speed and consequently a loss of time, so try not to do it eh? Then there are the route choices: a large arrow will appear at a fork in the road and tell you which way to go (often they're shortcuts that will take you across scrubland). Miss the junction and you'll have to use up the three turbo boosts available for each stage if you're to stand any chance of catching up with the felon. Are you ready Mr Driver?
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
There's a good impression of speed (though not as good as Stunt Car Racer) and the backgrounds and roadside buildings and so on are all well drawn. There are some nice graphic touches, like the scrubland and tunnel scenes, and though the animation is a little jerky it suffices. The sound effects are great: screeching tyres, the occasional burst of speech and the siren, and the in-game music is all right too (though you can turn it off if it's all too coin-op for you).
With only two 'Continue' options things are not easy. Getting to that fifth stage will take some time doing, so it'll keep you going for a while. There's a high addiction level, so you're bound to keep trying.
A nice twist on the average driving game, and fun to play. It's very much like its coin-op parent and so suffers a little for not having enough variation, but it's well converted and if you fancy a new driving game or are a fan of the coin-op, you won't be disappointed.