The player assumes the role of a police officer, à la Miami Vice, driving a custom Porsche with a two-speed gear shift and a turbo button on the side. In each of the five levels, the player has sixty seconds to catch up to the criminal, then another sixty seconds to ram his car until it is too badly damaged to drive.
Tropes in this game:
- Artistic License Cars: In the first game, while the Porsche 928 you drive is no slouch performance wise, especially with the top engine, it should have problems keeping up with the fourth car, a Ferrari 288 GTO and the third car, a Porsche 959 (the fastest production car ever when it was first sold), should leave it for dust. Can be HandWaved as your car having a "police" package giving it enhanced baseline performance as well as nitro boost capabilities.
- Badass Driver: One logical explanation as to how you can keep up (without using the nitro boosts) with three of the cars in the first game as one is equal to and two are superior to your car in acceleration and top speed is that your driving skills are superior to the criminals and they are unable to take full advantage of their cars superior power whereas you can drive at the limit of yours.
- Cowboy Cop: In Real Life, police officers are only authorised to use deadly force in a police chase as a last resort if the suspect is determined to be too dangerous to be apprehended in a non-lethal manner; the 1989 sequel takes this to a ludicrous extreme by giving the player military-grade weapons to stop fleeing felons and two of the vehicles have a hostage on board!
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Apparently all of the suspect cars in the games have a fuel tank with the durability of a Ford Pinto.
- Fauxrrari: Chase H.Q. 2 has completely fictionalized cars instead of real-life cars in other games, due to licensing concerns.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: You either rear-end or open fire at the suspect's vehicle until the perp's car bursts in flames, yet the ending cutscenes for each mission show the suspect(s) and their vehicle as intact without even a single scratch. Taken Up to Eleven with Special Criminal Investigation where you're supposed to rescue abducted girls stashed in a car or a van, yet you're given a rocket launcher to put the suspect vehicle with victims on board to a burning halt.
- Mirror Match: The final level of the first game has you facing off against the bad guy in another Porsche 928 like the one youre driving.
- Mission Control: Nancy in the first game, Super Chase, Super Chase H.Q., and Chase H.Q. 2. Special Criminal Investigation has Karen.
- Nitro Boost: A variable number of these are available depending on the game, massively boosting your speed and acceleration for several seconds.
- Ramming Always Works: Keep rear-ending the criminal's car to stop him from fleeing.
- Timed Mission: Catch up to the criminal and destroy his car within 60 seconds. You can get one time extension per stage upon reaching the criminal.