The Game: So, you survived the qualifying lap and the big race in Pole Position and you’re ready to move on to bigger and better challenges? Well okay then. Now, in addition to the Fuji track, there are others to choose from – the simple oval of the Test track, and the elaborate (and sometimes deadly) curves of the Seaside and Wonder tracks. As before, going over the shoulder isn’t a good thing – nor is crawling up the tailpipe of the cars in front of you, for the explosions in this game are even more spectacular than those of its predecessor. (Atari [under license from Namco], 1983)
Memories: Namco knows a thing or two about decent sequels, having given us such classics as Galaga (the sequel to Galaxian), Dig Dug 2 and the obscure Hopping Mappy. Pole Position II‘s controls are even more responsive, the graphics more fluid and realistic, and the explosions? Well, let’s put it this way – Pole Position kills you with a nice big explosion. Pole Position II throws debris.
The new courses add quite a bit of variety, though the Seaside and Wonder courses are definitely not for those who haven’t mastered the hairpin turns on the classic Fuji track (carried over from the original Pole Position). Each track has its own unique scenery, tricky curves included.
Pole Position II was translated for home audiences as early as the Atari 7800 console’s test marketing run in 1984, though most gamers didn’t get their hands on that machine – or its version of Pole Position II – until its long-delayed general release in 1987.