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Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge

aka: Lotus II, Lotus II: R.E.C.S., Lotus III, Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge, Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge for your PC
Moby ID: 2020
Amiga Specs
Buy on Genesis
$11.69 used on eBay
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Description official description

Licensed by the classic British car company, this game featured 2 modes of play - one has you racing against 19 computer rivals (with witty names such as Alain Phosphate and Crash-Hard Banger), and the other pits you against the clock.

There are 13 different types of races, ranging from Motorways to night-time to sections punctuated by roadworks, and some are lap-based with others being simple A-B. 2 players could play on a split screen mode.

The game's crowning glory, however, was the RECS editor, which allowed you to create courses of your own, with theoretically millions possible.

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Credits (Amiga version)

4 People

A Game by
Level Design by
Music by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 75% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 63 ratings with 3 reviews)

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 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. Jaguar has a far better editor.

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 paired one racing style with one circuit style?

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, the initial release is not compatible with faster processors - a disaster as the A1200 was launched soon after.

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.

Amiga · by Martin Smith (81743) · 2015

Not what it may seem...

The Good
I've always loved the music (albeit not as much on DOS, Amiga wins by far here) and the variety of different scenarios you can race in - It is truly an endless selection of possibilities ...

The Bad
... Which leads me to my issues with this game. It gets boring very quickly and there is no flexibility or tools for the user as to the design and layout of the circuits and it is just random. The AI is non existent and I just found myself finding this game a tad repetitive after a few minutes of play!

The Bottom Line
Worth a play for the nostalgia... always been a fan! Big replay factor? Probably not.

DOS · by Quackbal (45) · 2013

An excellent game.

The Good
Despite I like the Amiga version better (far better sound, plus, it runs just as fast on lesser hardware in one player mode), I must admit that the PC version is excellent to say the least.

From a visual point of view, Lotus has excellent graphics: great landscapes and good sprites. The menu interface is excellent, both functionally and visually, and the between-track pictures are way cool. The game itself is fairly fluid and actually looks very good, and two-player game is kind of fun.
Probably the best thing about Lotus, though, is its music: again, despite the obviously inferiour sound hardware (AdLib as opposed to the Paula chip on the Amiga) the game puts out great sound, and the tracks are magnificent (and very well performed on the PC as well).

The Bad
Well, it's a racing game and as such simply gets boring after a while. I also wish there'd be more variation inside the tracks (they're not particularly interesting).

The Bottom Line
A great racing game, one of the few I like. However, if you can get your hands on the Amiga version, get it instead.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4535) · 2000

Discussion

Subject By Date
Wrong Alternate Name Benjamin Hodgetts Mar 4, 2015

Trivia

Bonus game

There is a hidden bonus game which was an updated version of P.O.D.. See here on how to unlock it on the DOS version of the game.

Cars

It appears that there are only three kinds of cars in the game, but there are actually five for you to choose from. The original three, the opponent's car, and the sprite car. All three were playable in early versions of the game.

Editor

The RECS track editor was originally planned as a data disk for Lotus 2.

PC version differences

The PC DOS version differs in some odd ways from the Amiga and ST versions of the game:

  • from the selectable cars, the Esprit Turbo SE has been replaced by the Esprit S4 in the PC version
  • some gameplay elements are not present, like the trunks in the forest level (so you can't jump over water)
  • the screen's aspect ratio is wrong, causing the car sprites to be squeezed vertically
  • even when selecting "Soundblaster", the game does not feature any digital sound effects.

Still, the PC port is quite remarkable as it is playable on a 286 with 12 MHz already and is almost perfectly fluid at 16 MHz.

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1993 – Best Sports Game of 1992 (Readers' Vote)
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1993 – #2 Best Sports/Racing Game in 1992 (Amiga version)

Information also contributed by ケヴィン

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 2020
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Luiz Pacheco.

Amiga added by 80. Genesis, Atari ST added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, MAT, Henry Aloni, Martin Smith, Martin Smith, Timo W., formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, FatherJack.

Game added July 21, 2000. Last modified March 1, 2024.