Go back to Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge

Written by: Rik

Date posted: April 28, 2010

If you’re going to whine on about how a sequel is inferior to earlier games in a series, it’s normally a good idea to put your strongly worded opinions to the test rather than relying purely on rose-tinted memories. In other words, if you were wondering if I’ve played Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge recently and enjoyed it – the answer is yes.

With the aid of the Atari ST emulator, Steem, and those websites which help you easily obtain copies of games that you did buy once but are now up in your parents’ loft, not only did I grab the original – and best – Lotus game, but also the ST version of the game reviewed here (known as Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge on platforms where it was actually the third game in the series to be released) to provide a basis for comparison.

So here’s what the newer game does better: there’s an additional animation which makes it look like the wheels on your car are going round, which is a step up from the rather static sprite in the original, and you also get a full-screen display in the third game, whereas in the first the bottom half is taken up by a rolling animation of mechanics working on a Lotus.

The original, though, has better music, better-designed tracks, shorter and more engaging races, and is just generally superior in every way. Even the graphics, actually, because the half-screen display was actually a clever way of covering up the sparse scenery and short draw distance, both of which are ruthlessly exposed in the third game.

So, with my rational, scientific head on, I’d say the first game is roughly 10,000 times better than the third. Or perhaps infinity plus one times – JINX! – NO COMEBACKS!