Pitstop II - Rerelease
Copyright/Publisher: Kixx, Epyx, Rerelease Year: 1989,
Genre: Formula One, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Five years old and facing tough competition from such brand new, full price releases as Continental Circus and Test Drive II, obviously this Epyx release is looking really dated, isn't it?

Nope, not at all. In my opinion this is still the best racing sim around on any computer. I'ts principal advantage is the superb two-player mode, using the split-screen to give real head-to-head competition.

But even in one player mode (in which the computer drives the other screen car in a full ten car field) Pitstop II is superb, with good graphics and supern sound - the engine roar is terrific, indicating speed so you don't need to look at the mph.

As you'd expect there's a choice of six different race tracks, from Brands Hatch to Vallunga in Italy, with a Grand Circuit option where you play each in turn to win points to be the World Driving Champion. There's also a choice of three, six or nine laps and three difficulty levels.

The main effect of a harder difficulty level is to worsen tyre damage. Each tyre starts off black but collisions with other cars, and the side of the track, change a strip of colour on the tyre to indicate damage.

After the strip turns yellow, beware! - the next collision will blow the tyre, sending you flying off the road and out of the race. In two player mode, one particularly sadistic tactic is to bump into your opponent's most vulnerable tyre!

On each circuit there's a brief strip of track which you can move into for a pitstop. The view then switches to the pits, with two mechanics to change tyres and refuel the car. Fast pitstops can be the key to the game, so be quick! But the best tactic is to avoid them, by taking care of your tyres and watching fuel consumption (which increases with speed!).

But the unique feature of Pitstop II is cramp! Even at amateur level you're always struggling for position, leading to pain on the scale of a Decathlon game! But no gain without pain, as they say. Pitstop II is simply one of the best games you can get four your C64!