Pitstop II
Copyright/Publisher: Epyx
Release Year: 1985, Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Ultra-realistic, split-screen motor racing duel .
Excellent 3D Graphics, superb competetive action.

ZOOOOOOOOOM!!! Remember the time you first stepped into a Pole Position arcade machine and wowed at the graphics and sheer exilaration 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.

When 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.

Six 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 race. Immediately you expereience 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 Position.

The screen halves show the views form the seperate 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.

A will be slightly annoyed to see his opponent appear from the bottom of the screen, pull level and then roar ahead of him into the distance. When 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 overtake.

The trouble with driving like a totlaly crazed maniac is that your tyres will wear out. Murderous tendencies towards other cars like bumping, nudging, also taking corners at 251mph will evevtually 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 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 you can make a pitstop and change them.

When you race you'll see your fuel gauge ticking steadily down. The faster you go the more fuel you'll use, therefore nedding more pitstops 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. If 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.

The 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. The 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 relaistic 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 a potential for a high degree of control.

When you are racing, a map of the course will appear in a small box on the right hand side of your screen. Its show the starting point, pits and your current position - to see where your opponent is you need a quick glance at his map.

The 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 have their own colour and personality. For example the yellow and green cars can 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 the bends at suicidal speeds. The corner 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 carerring on to the red and white curb, slowing you down and ruining your tyres.

Gary Penn
Fantastic! This game takes its predecessor, Pitstop I, and improves on it immensely. All other 3D driving games, including some of the arcade ones, pale into insignificance when compared to this. The perspective on the track and cars is near faultless, a point where a majority of other versions fail.

Planning your race, as well as actually driving it, is thrilling stuff, making this the best of the Pole Position genre currently on the market.

This has to be the best ever driving game. It makes Pole Position look like a Sunday afternoon trip in a Morris Minor. The sheer thrill of actually racing against an opponent, even the computer, makes all the difference. With groovy graphics, smashing sound and a panicky pit stop this is enough to keep any manic drivers happy. My joystick hand is still killing me after a nine lap grand circuit with every muscle throbbing, nut boy is it worth it.
The game seems so realistic that there is a tendency to wrench the joystick from side to side. This is especially true at corners where the feeling is that the harder you wrench the joystick the quicker you'll get under control. You have to remember that this is a normal game and that only normal control is necessary.

Try to use a joystick with a trigger - constantly holding the fire button down on an Atari type joystick will give you horrendous cramp over long periods of time. (Even so, the game is so involved we didn't notice until we finished the race: that's when the pain starts.)

During a race you will eventually have to make a pit stop to take on more fuel or change your tyres. The pits are located at the lap starting point and you can enter them by driving into a marked slip lane.

You will be presented with a new screen showing a close up of your car with two men next to it, one carrying a fuel hose (to refuel your car) and one wearing a blue tracksuit (to replace faulty tires). A steering wheel icon will appear on screen and you use this to put your team into action.

Move the icon to the desired member of the team. Press the fire button and the icon will disappear giving you control over the man.

If you need fuel then just move the attendant up to the petrol tank and he'll connect the pipeline. While this is happening you can guide the other man to replace your damaged tires as fast as possible. Beware though, if the tank fills beyond its capacity it'll automatically empty and you lose a lot of valuable time.

Remember, every second counts. A race can be won or lost on your pit stop performance.

Julian Rignall
This is SUPERB implementation of the 3D race game format. Sound is excellent, both cars can be heard independently of each other, and pit stop sound effects like the tyre nuts being undone are terrific.

The graphics are clear. crisp, detailed and very convincing. Pitstop II is a stunning and innovative arcade game and should prove to set new standards in the race game approach.


Excellent instructions and in game options.
Great perspective, pits and cars.
Great engine roar and tyre screech but no music.
Another race game but with split-screen, twin-racing.
Belt yourself in and drive till your muscles throb.
Lots of variability and two player excitement.
The best race game yet.