Death Race was an old arcade game released by Exidy way back in 1976.
This game was a rather blatant attempt to cash in on Death Race 2000 ( a cheesy mid 70s movie featuring Sylvester Stallone in one of his earliest, and most forgettable roles). Exidy only produced about 500 of these before the game was banned in many places due to its violent content. Ten years later it appeared that this title had almost become extinct (with only 3 or 4 known copies left), but today it has become apparent that the majority of these games have survived unharmed to the present day (with most of them being in excellent condition, due to the fact that they haven't really spent much time out in public).
This title is very often (mistakenly) called "Death Race 2000". That is not the name of the game, it is only "Death Race", the number "2000" does not appear anywhere on the game, or in the literature about the game. Nor could it have, as this was an unlicensed movie translation (much like SHARK Jaws).
"Death Race" was followed up by Super Death Chase in 1977 (which ran on highly modified Death Race hardware), but only a few copies of this sequel were ever made.
The game has a rather simple concept. Each player controls a car on the black and white monochrome screen. The object is to run over as many people as you can before the timer runs out (they turn into tombstones as soon as you run them over). The game is fully time based, so just run over as many of the "gremlins" as you can to win (the things you run over are technically "gremlins", but everybody knows they were supposed to be people).
Death Race had one of the best looking cabinets ever made. It looks sort of like a fat pinball machine with a huge marquee/backglass. The 25" monochrome monitor is mounted down where the pinball playfield would have been. It has two steering wheels mounted up front. But the best part about this game's cabinet is the art on the machine itself. The entire thing is covered in cartoonish 60s style graphics of skeletons driving souped up cars (like the old cartoons they used to have in Rod and Kustom magazine).
Most cabinets have white sideart painted over a black cabinet, but some are reversed and have a white cabinet with black art (the pictures are the same). The marquee to this title is huge (bigger than a pinball backglass), and features 2 huge skeletons racing a 1959 Corvette and a late 60s Dodge (Barricuda?).
Where to play
If you want to play this then you are going to have to find an original machine, as this title has not been emulated, nor ported to any other system. It is in the works to be added to MAME, but this title does not use a CPU, and such games are notoriously hard to emulate.
If you see this game (and can afford it), then you should definitely add it to your arcade game collection. The cabinet is a work of art, and it is a two player driving title (which is always fun).