Last Updated on October 6, 2022
Super Chase: Criminal Termination is one of the four games of the Chase H.Q. series. Developed and released by Taito in 1992, it is the 3rd game of the series. While the gameplay is the same in which you have to chase the criminals before they escape, it has differentiated itself from the other two previous Chase H.Q. games in a number of ways.
I remember playing it in Bangladesh when I was a kid. There was a big arcade in one of the main shopping centres. I always use to go there on Fridays with my parents as an occasional hangout while my parents would shop for shoes and clothes. They would give me coins for the arcade, with the promise that I wouldn’t leave the arcade centre till they returned.
While roaming around the arcade, I discovered the Super Chase: Criminal Termination arcade cabinet. When I first saw the opening title scene, it literally blew me away and I wanted to play it. On my first go I was able to complete the first stage before getting the “Game Over” on the 2nd stage. Even so, this game has really left a huge impression on me.
Years later, I am playing Super Chase: Criminal Termination on MAME and it is one of those games that I return to regularly, even though I am playing it on a keyboard! Having already played the previous two Chase H.Q. games from Taito, I have noticed various differences between the three games.
One of the most intriguing features in this game is that we are driving in the cockpit view which shows us driving rather than showing the screen in which we are controlling the car. This could be a good thing because it allows us to see as if we are driving the car instead and it makes a sweet experience when bustig the criminal’s vehicle. We can experience the action from the cockpit point of view and I will never forget the experience on Stage 3 when the motorcycle gang tried to stop me from reaching the target. This can make a great experience but it comes with a disadvantage.
Another good feature of Super Chase: Criminal Termination are the game’s animation and cutscenes. Because of the updated 68EC020 main CPU and improved raster graphics, we were able to see the opening scenes of each stages, Nancy directly briefing us on the mission and what happens after arresting the criminal. The stage completion scenes have more animation than the previous two games. Even in some stages, the criminal’s car exploded unlike the other two of its previous games where the car only go up in flames. This huge animation and graphic improvement has made Super Chase: Criminal Termination a huge improvement over the two Chase H.Q. games.
I can still remember all the cutscenes of this game to this day which goes to show how much I love this racing game. It’s one of the reasons why I love arcade racing games. The opening scene is also another highlight: the animation of the car starting, its tyres screeching, engine rumbling, then hitting the other car which explodes and is followed by the game’s title screen is what got me hooked onto Super Chase: Criminal Termination.
I am still intrigued by the opening scene alll these years later.
Super Chase: Criminal Termination is the second game in the series to feature different vehicles that the players can drive in (the being the SEGA Genesis release of Chase H.Q. which has three vehicles to choose from on each stage). Switching to a big truck or jeep changes how you play the game slightly, and offers some crazy propositios (e.g., can you use a nitro boost on a real-life truck-on-truck chase in real life?)
The final good point is the continue system. Unlike the two other games where the enemy vehicle’s health goes back to zero even when we continue the game, it doesn’t happen on Super Chase: Criminal Termination, which gives a chance for the player to finish things off with the criminal with less pressure from the time limit when they continue the game.
However, there is a catch.
For every second when the continue time limit goes down, the enemy vehicle’s damage meter goes down as well. To counter this, you would have to quickly insert the coins to continue the game immediately so that the damage meter of the enemy vehicle doesn’t reset.
You remember that I said the cockpit view experience can be a good thing? Well it does have its problems as well. First off, because we are driving in the first-person view, the view is somewhat limited, resulting in less time to dodge obstacles. I either hit cars or run into trees and rocks which has an obvious effect on the timed stages, eventually letting the villains get away. To make it worse, the only times we can get to see our car is when the target vehicle is behind us, we crash or when we busted the target vehicle. There is no chance to change the view so you have to be on the first-person view at all times. Lose focus, and you don’t catch the criminal.
Like every other Chase H.Q. games, Super Chase: Criminal Termination has only five stages. It is a shame though because it could have the opportunity to expand the stages numbers or make a story where someone gets kidnapped and we have to go rescue him/her, if only to ramp up the thrills that bit more. Also, some stage track surroundings are repeated later in the gaame, which would have anyone like “Wait a minute! I have been on this surrounding and route before!”
Should you play Super Chase: Criminal Termination?
Despite a few mishaps, Taito did a great job on making a deserved sequel to the two earlier Chase H.Q. games. Super Chase: Criminal Termination looks amazing for a 1992 game, illustrating how technically advanced Taito’s development team was at this point. A similar game was also made for the SNES version which featured a different story and title name but the gameplay and the first-person view is the same.
It is sad that after the release of Chase H.Q. 2 (2007), there have been no further Chase H.Q. games. These games have potential for revisiting thanks gameplay different from your typical arcade racing games. Although it seems like that gameplay has fallen out of favour in recent times, I believe that Taito can still find some use of the IP since all of these games were successful or even moderate successful to some extent.
Perhaps some indie game companies can develop an arcade racing game which could be seen as a spiritual successor to Chase H.Q. or at least pay a homage to that franchise, and maybe even incorporate some gameplay aspects of Super Chase: Criminal Termination.
The best thing is that this game is fully playable on MAME so now is the perfect time to grab your device, update MAME find the ROM, and launch Super Chase: Criminal Termination to begin bringing bad guys to justice!