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Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge (Amiga)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Martin Smith (63134)
Written on  :  Jun 04, 2005
Platform  :  Amiga
Rating  :  2.25 Stars2.25 Stars2.25 Stars2.25 Stars2.25 Stars
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Less fun in practice than in theory

The Good

It's packed with features - a course editor, 13 types of terrain including new ones such as Roadworks and Rally, 3 different types of cars, a 2-player mode, 3 skill levels, some A-B races as well as some lap-based ones, the option of playing against other cars or the clock, and it's built on the basis of two classic racing games.

The Bad

It's very sluggish to drive, with some unresponsive handling at times. The loss of Lotus 2's 4-player mode is hugely disappointing, especially as Championship mode would've been suited to it. Like the first two, it's not compatible with faster processors - a disaster as the A1200 was launched soon after. The Genesis/Mega Drive version is a lot faster, and probably a better one to check out, but all the other faults listed below are still present and incorrect.

The RECS course design system is too limited, only allowing for randomized designs rather than actually being able to edit a track to create any real excitement

The level designs are awful, clearly just randomly constructed with little consideration for where the bends were, and often lacking any variety. In Lotus 2 each individual course had a subtle difficulty curve as new hazards and tougher corners were added as you passed each checkpoint -t hat feature is sadly missing here. The new scenery sets are dull as well, with the Rally one not affecting the handling the way it should, the Mountains being inexcusably slow, and the Future basically just gimmicky.

Arcade lap-based races don't work because you learn the tracks too quickly and it becomes boring (usually you end up gaining more on more time on each lap), and Championship A-B races aren't ideal, because you lose the buzz of having to battle back-markers as well as the leaders. Sadly, you have to do both in either mode. Now can you understand why the first 2 Lotus games stuck to one style?

The Bottom Line

A jack-of-all-trades game. It's clear that they wanted to do another game in this money-spinning series, but were struggling for ways to improve it. Compared to other racers available at the time (Crazy Cars 3, Micro Machines, Formula 1 Grand Prix et al) it's a poor effort.