Prepare to qualify! Fly to the finish line in a fierce field of Formula
One competitors in a qualifying lap. Leaving the track is trouble - and
hitting one of the billboards dotted around the edges of the Mt. Fuji
track is a sure way to miss out on the subsequent race.
When Atari announced its home versions of Pole Position, its
first-person racer licensed from Namco, there was rejoicing (for the 5200
version) and scoffing (for the 2600 version). As it turns out, both
expectations may have been off the mark: the 2600 version was unexpectedly
good for what it was, and by comparison the 5200 version seems at times as
though it's not all it could have been. Maybe the biggest surprise is that
these two interpretations of the game weren't wildly different.
There's some finer visual styling in the 5200 Pole Position...but
not that much. Even the look of the cars isn't that different. For once,
the accursed 5200 joysticks don't completely hinder the proceedings; they
almost function like a car without power steering - if you push the
joystick hard left and leave it there, your car is going to do the
Newtonian boogie and keep moving in that direction until something
interrupts its travel (most likely a billboard). It all looks and sounds
and plays pretty good, but the thing is, one would almost expect the 5200
version of this game to lok and sound and play better than how it turned
It certainly doesn't do anything to dilute the fundamental fun of the game,
and it's a worthwhile addition to the 5200 library.
Four quarters - prepared to qualify, but not quite a contender for
the big race.