It's been a while, hasn't it?
Don't ask me why I've been away for so long after saying I'd come back, I couldn't give you a good enough reason.
Back in the days that arcade games were still ported to new consoles because those said consoles couldn't handle that game being emulated, we have two games from the Taito Z System. Taito's Chase HQ and Taito's SCI. Chase HQ, being more of a classic to Japanese gamers, and SCI, being remembered by not really anybody. That's not to include Chase HQ II, which was a Mega Drive only game, interestingly enough known as Super HQ in Japan, while being released overseas as Chase HQ II. Not to be confused with the 2007 arcade game that nobody remembers. There was also a third game in arcades that nobody remembers, and with all the space they had on this disc, they really could have and should have included it.
Why is Chase HQ mostly remembered by Japanese gamers instead of WW gamers? More of a hunch than an assumption, based on the fact that the main Taito Collections of the PS2 featured them in Japan (both Chase HQ and SCI, on different comps.) while neither the Empire Interactive or PS2 Taito Legends 2 featured either of them. Those compilations, however, are to be covered another day; Memories games (Japanese compilations) were 25 arcade games per disc, with emulation ranging from good to bad (cough F3 emulation cough) and bilinear interpolation, because of course everyone loves that.
This game in particular is... an interesting one. It's got parts that are quite good, and... parts that are quite poor. Let's start with the parts that are good.
The games look quite good, especially in comparison to just about every other port of this game. The Sharp X68000's port wishes it was this good. The two games included here look beautiful, and to the untrained eye especially, you can't tell. Especially for being ports. However, there is one other Z System port to the Saturn by the name of Night Striker S that looks wonderful as well, so it's not all that impressive, just good looking, especially with how no other port looked nearly this good.
As far as the gameplay goes, I'll start with how the games control quite well. I'm an awful driver in-game, so I can't really tell as I constantly go off-road and crash into everything. Same thing happens with OutRun, so it's probably just me. However, there is one part that really sticks out to me, and that is the limited credits. That really sucks, as is with any port with limited credits, but it's not like Darius II or Darius Gaiden, you can just set the games to easy and have enough credits, time and turbos to get you through the game. Elevator Action Returns was the same, however, in that game you had to use cheats in order to get 7 credits. What I'm trying to say is limited credits sucks and they shouldn't have been in these games in the first place. It's like 5 lives, 3 continues in a game that was never in the arcades. Just make the credits and continues unlimited. Duh.
Sound is... um... another part of this game that is very, VERY lacking. Chase HQ on the Saturn (and SCI, of course) uses the CD audio track for the pre-mission briefings. The music is all done through the Saturn's sequenced music, and that's... not very good. The sound isn't that usual sharp Taito sound that pops right out at you like with other Z System games, (you may know what I mean) it's this dull, sometimes off-pitch poor sequenced excuse for music. I can hear it when playing the game on my Saturn on a TV as well, not just when I'm playing it with headphones on.
Before anyone says that the space for both the games' music wouldn't be able to fit into the CDDA, I can tell you that that's a load of nonsense. There was plenty of space with the data track being only 14MB, or 1m21s. Both games' OSTs could fit on there. The more logical explanation is that with the laser not having to seek to the audio track, there's no loading times. Interestingly enough, the CDDA was used for the mission briefing speech, which obviously sounds quite clear, but with how the mission briefing has to be seeked every time, the whole "oh, it cuts down on loading" is a load of nonsense. Hell, even Mortal Kombat II did that, and that port has a lot of loading on its own. Bottom of the line, the audio on this port is poor, which really shines bright on a port that is otherwise really good.
One minor nitpick is with SCI's final level, where if you make any fuckups, you are doomed to get a bad ending. No continuing, nothing. Screw up and it's the end of the line for you. That rubbed me the wrong way, but that's not the port's fault, it's the game's fault.
Overall, it'a a port that I can say is good, but I'd just say MAME emulation or playing it through Taito Memories is better. Memories and this game are quite damaging to the wallet, so if you wanna play Chase HQ, SCI and Super Chase: Criminal Termination (the last game is also known as Super Chase HQ on the SNES), just use MAME.
This isn't a real must-have, but it's a neat thing anyways.