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.
Lotus the Ultimate Challenge offers something that still makes me play it today, especially with some friends around. It is fast and it is fun. Driving is not realistic (too "smooth" to be precise), but it really doesn't matter here (I've seen worse... and I've seen better, but nothing I've ever seen so far can be compared to this one). There are 3 car models and 13 tracks to choose from, championship and time trial mode, manual or automatic transmission, adjustable difficulty level etc. Two player mode is supported by splitting the screen horizonaly. You can control your vehicle using either a (split) keyboard, joystick or a mouse, or any combination of the above - you name it :). The graphics are nice and the level design is excellent! Also, you can choose from a number of music themes that you wish to listen to while driving. As a special treat, there is a sort of a level editor that lets you choose track properties such as weather conditions, surface, steepness, scenery, curvedness, obstacles etc. It's easy to learn for a beginner and it is much more difficult to master, so you might easily become a "Lotus addict" even if you play it for the first time.
Third part of Magnetic Fields' great arcade-style racing game series - the only one converted to the PC. And what a great conversion it is. Really refreshing! Although the last part of the series is the worst in my opinion. The most obvious new feature of the game is a track generation system called RECS. Never liked that one a lot, but it's very easy to create different tracks with it.
Obviously the developers were very enthusiastic about it, as they said in the manual: "The most startling addition, however, is the stunning RECS system, which will give you access to a practically infinite number of different tracks. [...] It's straightforward, easy and instant-and like all the features of the earlier Lotus games, it's so good that other software houses will be featuring it in their games in about six months time." Hehe, I don't recall any game that used the system later on ;) Lotus III doesn't work on my PII, but runs fine on my old 486SX, so you may need to tweak fast machines a bit to play this one (see FAQ for more details).
Lotus 3 is one of the best racing games i have ever had the pleasure of putting my hands on; it is simply an outstanding game, but let's go on with order. In this game you can choose beetween three monsters of cars, all of them are real models, from the english Lotus, and each of them acts quite differently from the other two. I.E.:the Lotus Esprit is the fastest, but the least maneuvrable. One of the greatest thing this game has, anyway, is the "random track generator", wich lets you drive on almost infinite tracks, created one after another by the game's script.
Talking about the simulation itself, you may drive a single race, or a whole championship, it is your choice, and the tracks themselves are quite different, in one ther will be, for instance, a windstorm, and your car will have much less control; in another one you will race during a storm, and you'll find fallen trees on the road, or rocks, or pools of water wich will alter the handling of your car, truly a masterpiece this one.
Graphically the game's very good, and at the very least "sufficent" even for today's standards; the outstanding music only does her part in raising this game well above the others made during and a long while after that year.
People who downloaded Lotus 3 have also downloaded:
Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge 2, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge 3, Stunts, Outrun, Street Rod, Street Rod 2, Test Drive 3: The Passion
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