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A Hack of Pole Position 2

Genre: Racing

Awards: None
Patient: "Doctor, I Have a Three Floating In Front of My Eyes At All Times" Pros: We Now Have Giant Spoilers to Overcompensate for Things...
Cons: Odd Choices, Tedious Gameplay Changes
Doctor: ... "That's Really F*^&ing Weird, Dude."

Overview: I don't care if people hack away at Atari games and make weird little monstrosities for their own amusement. Its okay if they are trying to figure out how to program these tiny little game carts and make some poops along the way. Its how people learn, and failure breeds success. But what I take umbrage with, is jacking up a perfectly fine game with a weird idea, putting the mess on cart, and attempting to sell it to an unsuspecting public as a brand new game. . . which is what we have with Pole Position 3, a "hack" job in the truest since of the word. Purchased for what I would say now was an ungodly, overpriced amount off of ebay, Pole Position 3 takes PP2 and tries to turn it into Enduro (Atari 2600) but fails to capture the magic.

What We Gotz Here: PP3 is a buggy mess, with floating "3" stuck on the screen and graphical oddities galore. The real sin is this treatment makes Pole Position 2 a bit WORSE. PP2 had a tepid reaction at best in 1986, but even in our review on the site, Silverback claims that some of the criticism was unfair. But even the biggest Prosystem Pack-in game apologists would say the game was still flawed. Here, none of the gameplay issues, audio, or tightness of the controls have been improved upon. That's all the same... or even worse. What has changed are the rules of the race, with a bunch of odd choices thrown in. The numeral three mysteriously floats in front of your car the entire race, yet distorts in the turns. That's not distracting or anything. On the course selection screen, the TEST track is now called BLUE. When you select the track, there's nothing blue about it. In fact, the BLUE track is in the desert... the least blue place on earth. On the course selection screen, it looks like BLUE's straightaways have some interesting forks in the road to navigate, but this is a lie. The track plays the same as the TEST track in PP2. All the tracks are the same. The SEASIDE track is now known as SANFRAN (no space). The programmer must have ran out of creativity, because he left the FUJI and SUZUKA tracks' names alone. The hobby hacker did not change any background graphics from PP2, but he did horse around with the cars. The player controlled car is now purple instead of that brown color from the 7800 racer, and that's possibly an improvement. The car crash explosion is now purple too... and that makes it look like the Joker was somehow involved. SPOILER ALERT! Each car also is now equipped with HUGE spoilers. They are ridiculous. They are so big and exaggerated and in your face, they remind me of Dolly Parton for some reason.

The gameplay is a bit different, too. PP3 is now an endurance race. You basically race forever until you run out of time. This reminds me of Enduro for the Atari 2600, which was the best racing game on the system. Sadly, Pole Position 3 is devoid of sunsets, snow, fog, night time and morning racing, making Pole Position 3 feel more like a chore than a challenge. Enduro is vastly superior. Be warned: racing on the BLUE track may absorb your remaining years on this planet.

Verdict: Pole Position 2 was okay, but coming from a racing family, qualifying with cars on the track had always irked me. That's not how things work, Marge. Pole Position 3 is an anonymous programmer's stab at altering gameplay on a famous game, but all he did was make it more of a DUD than it was. Worse yet, he/she/they called it Pole Position 3 instead of what it was... a Pole Position 2 hack.

Additional Information: I would like to thank Gambler172 for the screenshots used in this review.