Ross: "Atari puts you in the driver's seat! Pass cars like they're standing still, but watch for those curves! One mistake and you could go up in flames!" So says Atarisoft on the cassette sleeve of Pole Position. All the features of the arcade original are in the Spectrum version, from the qualifying lap to the vicious left-hand bend that appears just when you think you're doing so well. All the joysticks are supported and the controls are nice and simple... left, right, brake and change gear.
To qualify for the race you must first complete a lap within 73 seconds - and, once you've made the grade you get allocated a grid position.
Immediately the starting light turns to green, the other cars go speeding off - leaving you to do the best you can. The car accelerates automatically, leaving you to change into high gear at about 100mph. You soon start catching up with the other cars, though, and you'll get a satisfied feeling as you coast past them. Each time you complete a lap you're given a time bonus and the end of the race comes when you run out of time or complete three laps; you'll see a little chequered flag at the finish.
For my book this is the best Atarisoft game yet. It's also the best racing game I've seen on the Spectrum and it's eminently playable. 4/5 HIT
Dave: With the possible exception of Full Throttle, this has got to be the best racing game yet... but it's far too expensive! 3/5 HIT
Roger: OK, I'm smiling! This is a great game... better than any race game yet. Buy it! 5/5 HIT
Rick: Stone me, if it's not another (if not the original) grand prix simulation game.
As the holder of no less than 9 provisional licences, I lapped up the idea. A golden oldie that pre-dates history lessons and is slightly more raunchy. Arcaders will either groan with the familiarity of it all, or welcome it as an old friend into the swelling cohorts of Spectrum games.
So what d'ya do then? Quite simply whizz your mighty McLaren around the mountain encircled track within the alloted qualifying time. Just feel the horse power throb in the grip of your joystick... the faster you qualify, the higher up the grid you climb. Then for the race proper. Avoid banging your comrades, (in any position, let alone Pole), or pranging the placards as you try to set a new lap record or get a high score.
This game has good, if not world championship graphics. Added to joystick responses this Pole's Position could be first past the flag, compared to say Chequered Flag. No matter how many times you burst into flames, your car keeps going. Whatever your position on racing games try the Pole one. 8/10
Ross: Hang on a minute, it may be 1 o'clock in the morning but I can still spot that this is a re-release of Atarisoft's Pole Position. The roadside signs may've been changed, but the game's the same. Might be cheaper to find the old version. 7/10
Dougie: I must admit that the first time I saw this game was on the Commie 64, but the Spectrum version is just as good, and addictive too. Lots of action here, and it's fast...! 8/10
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