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Not exactly a winner of a game

Pole Position is an early 1980's F1 racer game. It seems to be either a clone or a PC port of the insanely popular arcade game Pole Position (Arcade). You must attempt to drive as far as you can around a track in the allowed time. The further you drive, the more points you get, and setting the high score is the way to compete with other player. You can drive the F1 car with a joystick (not tested) or the keyboard, using the arrow keys to to brake, turn and accelerate. You also must shift between the HI and LO gears. This is done by pressing a keyboard key that I personally was not able to find. No matter though, at the menu you can conveniently reassign the keys to whatever you want. You aren't just driving on an empty track however; you also must navigate around other drivers who are all much slower than you. If you touch them, or veer off track and hit a sign, you crash. While driving, this game seems almost disorienting; the sensation of speed you feel definitely does not match up what you would expect looking at the car's speedometer. The lane markings pass by very slowly, even if the speedometer says you are moving quickly. This made the game seem slow and boring, as it felt as if you were driving a slow go-cart rather than an F1 car. Bringing up the DosBox cycles seemed to show no improvement. In addition, the colours of this game are inaccurate, however this is likely because this game may have originally been designed for greyscale systems. After setting my screen to greyscale, the game looks fine. Players may (no pun intended) tire quickly of this game, as it seems to feature only one track, and the only purpose being to set the highscore on this single track. However, as with all games, before being too critical we must remember the era it was released in. While the game was based around the extremly popular arcade game, it definitely missed out on many features that greatly enhanced gameplay. Nowadays, apart for nostalgic reasons, you probably wouldn't be playing this game for long.

Formula 1 game with forward scrolling sprites

This game is perfectly playable today, but you will have to allow it some concesions. This is a forward scrolling sprites type engine based game, looking like the NES era racers. However for what it's worth, the game is not half bad. You have to make sure you don't push the car too hard at the corners, you have to make sure you don't get out of the road strip and just keep your finger on the acceleration. The problem is that the game doesn't really manage too good a feeling for the tracks. You will just feel like you're playing a game that was designed to be played with regular cars, because the sky and the road feature almost no distinctive elements to remind of a circuit/track. So, after 5 to 10 minutes spent with this one, you will either go back to a serious F1 racer or you will try a cool arcade such as the Super Mario kart series. Yap, the beginnings were humble, and the skies looked like they were lifted from a crochet book, but it was good enough for the era. Not any more however.

Race your heart out

They say that it's the pioneer of arcade racing games. Well I say they are bang on with it as this game really takes one back into the 1980's gaming experience. Launched back in 1982, Pole Position is simple yet catchy with its CGPA palette featuring 4 colors. The foreground objects are scalable with good background graphics, attractive scenery and a pleasant looking sky. It has all the features of a good classic arcade game which syncs well with most of the PC operating systems. The controls can be mastered with little practice and gives a good gaming experience. You won't find the music which you are used to with need for speed or games like that but it's the Era of Arcade games which it brings in a charming manner. Though it's not as tough and full of options as you might see with the new PC games versions but is still quite competitive. At least to my liking! No wonder that Pole Position has been one of the instant hits of its time and is still strong with arcade game lovers. So it's an overall good treat for lovers of classic racing games. You can also try Pole Position 2 as it is equally good.
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Pole Position (pc game)
4.8 out of 5 (10 votes)

Images gallery:

  • Main game menu
  • Started!
  • Steering left
  • A straight line to get speed!
  • Game over!
  • Not on the road sign!
  • Try to pass on the right
  • You can see a car far away
  • Steering right
  • Prepare to qualifying
  • You got a great speed!
  • Courtesy of Abandonware France.
  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.
  • Image extracted from youtube video.
  • Courtesy of My Abandonware.