“Go Go GO!!”
Who remembers ‘Pole Position’? Well let’s base this article around that, actually, scratch that.
This offering from Taito was such an upgrade to the classic that I feel it deserves every bit of attention as the game itself.
As with any racer the onus is on winning of course, and winning with style. Steering wheel and pedals, the season is set and an epic adrenaline fueled campaign begins as you drive your way through the many circuits of the racing calendar.
Starting at the qualifying round, your aim is to achieve pole position on the grid for the start of the race by obtaining the quickest time of all the contesting drivers. Once a position is gained the race can begin, and begin it does!
The first thing to be aware of is the sheer speed of the game as working your way through the gears and overtaking cars becomes a precise and focused affair and one which needs your undivided attention if you are to avoid hitting markers or skidding across puddles into cars and bursting into flames or damaged. If damage does occur, there is always the pits but be cautious, driving a flaming car can be hazardous to your health if care is not taken so wisdom is paramount on how much risk is to be taken to get there quick enough for repairs and rejoin the race.
Of course with any race comes its own set of natural circumstances such as weather, more precise, rain. Pits can be entered to change to a suitable tyre to maintain grip and balance to keep the competitive edge.
Just as the game was upgraded, so was the cabinet. Coming in various styles, stand up or cockpit, the game engine never changed, that is untill a 3D version was released using an extended binocular scope, giving a three-dimensional image to the driver which made the whole experience stand out as it were and generating the feeling of reality to the game.
Racing through checkpoints to extend play to complete laps to the ever illusive finish line to win the race and progress to following circuits, the game is fast paced, an intense struggle and brings the genre’ to a cutting edge in the history of arcade racers and rightfully deserves a place on the podium as one of the classics!
“Driver’s.. Start your engines!”
Review by Rob Joy.