Pole Position for the Vectrex

If you feel the Need for Speed but have a minivan in your driveway, don’t despair. The Vectrex has got you covered. Just pop in the Pole Position cartridge and you’re off to the races. Now, I must confess that I wasn’t sure how Pole Position would translate to the Vectrex. I mean when I think of racing, I think of curvy lines – not straight ones. Vector graphics are nothing if not straight. Fortunately, Pole Position’s developers found clever ways of making track curves and wheels as round as possible. The ultimate effect is a great looking game. The cars, track, scenery and explosions are all first-rate. The signature Pole Position billboards are also present. Who puts up billboards for racecar drivers? I mean, that is a very select target market for your products. And, these billboards are incomprehensible. They have a triangle and a sort of squiggle. I don’t know what they’re trying to sell me. The Vectrex overlay works particularly well in Pole Position. Since your car is always in the lower center of the screen, it is consistently rendered in a nice yellow. Scenery in the distance is blue and green.

Sound effects are quite good. During the game itself, noises consist mainly of the roar of your engine and, if you’re me, frequent crashes. Special attention seems to have been paid to the opening music and starting horns. These are some of the best sounds I’ve heard out of the Vectrex speaker.

In terms of gameplay, Pole Position doesn’t disappoint. I found the gear buttons a bit awkward in relation to the gas. You must shift from 1st to 2nd gear at about 135 mile per hour. Eventually, this becomes easier, but the Vectrex button placement doesn’t make this easy. Otherwise, the controls are effective. Your car moves nimbly with a nudge of the joystick. Which is a good thing because your racetrack is crowded with other drivers. Unlike some other versions of Pole Position, there is only one track here. And, while it is very well executed, it can get repetitive after a while. Nevertheless, I found that Pole Position delivered a great deal of racing excitement. The next time you are in need of some vector related speed, you may wish to check it out.

Gameplay Video


Author at Retroist
Vinvectrex has not only reviewed every game made for the Vectrex, but discovered a long lost game for the IBM Jr. and probably changed the history of Star Wars fandom.

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