Pole Position II is the sequel to the smash hit arcade racing sim Pole Position, and it was developed by Namco and first released in 1983. The game was licensed to Atari, Inc. for North American distribution.
The game is more or less the same as the original Pole Position, but with three extra tracks to race on and some digitised speech (which the first game didn’t have). Once again, the cabinet had a steering wheel, an accelerator and break pedals, and a gear stick.
At the start of the game you can choose between four tracks using the steering wheel: Fuji Speedway (from the first game), Test (resembling Indianapolis Motor Speedway), Seaside (resembling the 1982 United States Grand Prix West circuit in Long Beach), and Suzuka, and must first qualify before you’re actually allowed to race. Qualification means having to do a lap within a certain time, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Racing is definitely more exciting than qualifying, although in reality it’s not that much different – other than starting within a grid full of other cars.
Pole Position II‘s gameplay is identical to the first Pole Position, in that it’s fast and twitchy (meaning: you need good reactions to make sure you stay on the track and not crash into billboards, or other cars). It’s also a very simple game, which shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that it came out in 1983 and is almost forty years old now.
Like its predecessor, Pole Position II is an interesting historical curiosity, but it’s not what I would call “great fun” to play. If you want “great fun” you should try Chase HQ or Special Criminal Investigation instead.