£10.95 cass, £13.95
split-screen motor racing duel
Excellent 3D graphics, superb
Remember the time you first stepped into a Pole Position
arcade machine and wowed at the graphics and sheer exhilaration
of the experience? Well, it returns again with Pitstop
II, a motor racing game which allows you to have
the race of your life against another player.
Believe me, it's amazing stuff.
you load the game you are presented with several options,
the first being a one or two player mode. Selecting
one player will pit you in a duel against the computer.
race tracks are available, ranging from Brands Hatch
to Vallelunga, complete with its mile long straight.
You can choose any of these or take them all in one
great Grand Prix competition. Select the number of laps
and one of three skill levels, then you're ready to
you experience a big surprise. The display is split
horizontally across the middle. Each display is a screen
in its own right, and shows speed, time, and fuel left.
The cars are seen from behind and above, like Pole
The screen halves show the views form the separate cars,
and here's where this game scores over all the competition.
The action is accurately portrayed from both players'
viewpoint so if player A was ahead of player B, then
B would see A in front of him. If B then overtakes,
A will be highly annoyed to see his opponent appear
from the bottom of the screen, pull level, and then
roar ahead of him into the distance.
jostling for the optimum line around a bend, or fighting
for the front at the start, much aggression will be
experienced. It is possible to rub tyres and try to
knock your opponent sideways to get a clear path to
The trouble with driving like a totally crazed maniac
is that your tyres will wear out. Murderous tendencies
towards other cars like bumping and nudging, also taking
corners at 251 mph, will eventually result in a blowout.
This sends you out of control, off the track, and your
race will be over.
The tyres start off black, but throughout the race they
will turn lighter and lighter as damage increases. When
they're white, the slightest bump will hurl you from
the racecourse. However, if your tyres show a lot of
wear, then you can make a pit stop and change them.
you race you'll see your fuel gauge ticking steadily
down. The faster you go, the more fuel you'll use, therefore
needing more pit stops to fill your tanks. It is just
possible to make three laps on some circuits before
you have to fill up. If you try for a fourth on any
course, you will find your engine splutters and dies
when you are halfway round and nowhere near the pits.
your car does crash, it will leave the track and stay
there. The other player will see the wreck as he whizzes
by, and it's a great feeling to look in the wrecked
player's screen as you pass him and see yourself positively
whip past and hurtle into the distance.
actual game controls are simple: left, right, accelerate
and brake. You can also switch on your turbo by pressing
the fire button. This will give you greater acceleration
and speed, and is useful at the beginning of the race.
There is a tendency to use it all the time, but beware.
On longer tracks you will only be able to do two laps
with turbo on non-stop before having to refuel.
control has a great feel to it. If you're speeding along
and try sharp turns, you will find yourself swinging
all over the shop in a desperate effort to straighten.
As with most computer race games, a certain edge is
lost by using a joystick for control. But when you play
there is still a realistic feel to the car, partly because
it's so easy to lose control. This does not detract
from the game in any way but makes it more of a challenge
-- with practice there is potential for a high degree
you are racing, a map of the course will appear in a
small box on the right hand side of your screen. It
shows the starting point, pits and your current position
-- to see where your opponent is you need a quick glance
at his map.
3D effect of the game is stunning. The realistic perspective
of the road has always been a problem on race games,
but here the track is represented accurately. The cars
rush up in full 3D and are beautifully portrayed.
Each car, including the other computer cars, has it's
own colour and personality. For example, the yellow
and green cars have homicidal tendencies and try to
cut you up when you try to overtake. The detailed background
scrolls smoothly from left to right as you hare round
bends at suicidal speeds.
1, suffering serious tyre damage, prepares
for left-hand bend. Player 2, with two undamaged
tyres, steers to the right.
corners themselves rush up quickly and adhere closely
to those of the map: the sharper the bend, the more
you will skid to the opposite side of the track, so
if you take a sharp corner at high speed you will end
up careering onto the red and white curb, slowing you
down and ruining your tyres.
eight computer cars, apart from your main opponent,
are not just placed things to pass and gain points for.
They actively race you and you'll have to overtake them
to gain first place in the race.
they never have to make a time-consuming pit stop, they
do present quite a challenge. They also don't like being
overtaken, let alone lapped, and will try to thwart
your efforts by hogging the middle of the track or swinging
from side to side in an attempt to cut you up.
playing in one-player mode, the computer's 'Epyx Robodriver'
will fill the role of player two. This driver proves
himself a formidable opponent. Although it's easy to
gain some seconds over him, he drives much more safely
and therefore does less damage to his tyres and needs
fewer pit stops. When he does take a pit stop it's done
in record time, so good, fluent racing is required to
you choose to take the grand circuit, then the computer
will keep track of all the scores and results of the
races. Scoring is the same as a real Grand Prix: nine
points for a winner, six for the second placed, and
so on. All the cars feature in this table, so if you
have a bad race you might find yourself overtaken by
a computer car in the points' table. If you fail to
complete the race, then you won't get any points at