Special Criminal Investigation

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The arcade sit-down cabinet.

Special Criminal Investigation is a vehicular combat racing video game developed and published by Taito originally in the arcade in 1989. It was then ported to seven other 8 and 16-bit platforms. It is the second game in the Chase H.Q. series. The game "borrows" the sprite scaling technique pioneered by Sega in OutRun.

In the game, Raymond Broady and Tony Gibson, with the help of their radio officer Karen, are chasing criminals in a supped up sports car. Just like in the first game, Chase H.Q., you have to catch up to and disable the criminal cars before time runs out. However, in this game, you're not just smashing into criminals, but shooting at them with guns and grenade launchers.

Personal

I was aware of the Chase H.Q. series, but I had little interest in playing any of the games from it because I never find racing games of this nature to be very enjoyable. However, after doing a search for Master System games that are easy to beat, this one was listed as being both easy and short. Although I did find most of the game to be easy, the last level is quite difficult, so it took me several tries to finally beat the game, though I did on 2022-06-04.

I don't own this game, but I've beaten the Master System port without using continues.

Review

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3 4 7 7 3

Best Version: Arcade

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The game really pushes the ideals of the sprite-scaling racer to its max. At any given point in the game, there are tons of sprites flying at you, and not just on the sides of the road, but lots of environmental objects to interact with. There is even a rainstorm in one stage.
  • Though not as attractive as OutRun, the game does have a lot of nice background and roadside scenery.
  • The bulk of the game includes digital voice. And, while the actors aren't very good, the fact that the game in 1989 had so much speech was still pretty amazing.
  • Giving the player turbo boosts, which increase their top speed, but make driving more difficult, is a nice mechanic.
  • Having boss vehicles drop crates from their cargo at your car is pretty cool.

Bad

  • Having a time limit in the game doesn't make any sense. Is the warrant set to expire at 3:14 PM and 28 seconds?
  • The dialogue is terribly hokey.
  • Not only is there no penalty for hitting civilian vehicles, but you are actually awarded points for doing so!
  • Because the game has such tight time limits, it can be completed in just a few minutes. However, getting good enough to beat it is a chore.

Ugly

  • Like most racers, the game is obnoxiously difficult. You have an extremely limited time frame to work with, so you must memorize the twists and turns of every road to finish in time. Some ports are more forgiving than others, the Master System port is easy for most tracks, but all of them have their hard stages. The final stage is especially difficult where a single mistake not only guarantees failure, but also a game over since you can't continue on the last road.
  • The Commodore 64, Amstrad GX4000, and ZX Spectrum ports are all awful. And the Master System port, though based on the pretty impressive PC Engine port, was severely compromised.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Videos

Longplay - Amiga.
Longplay - Arcade.
Longplay - Commodore 64.
Longplay - Master System.
Longplay - PC Engine.
Longplay - ZX Spectrum.
Game Play - Amstrad GX4000.
Game Play - Atari ST.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English (USA) Special Criminal Investigation
English (Europe) Chase H.Q. II: Special Criminal Investigation

Links

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