Lotus III

Title           Lotus III
Game Type       Driving
Publisher       Gremlin/Magnetic Fields
Players         1/2
Compatibility   OCS/AGA
HD Installable  Via patch
Submission      Glen Lambert

Well, who on this earth isn't familiar with the Lotus games?

Yep, those racing games made all the more fun by the fact that you couldn't
crash because Lotus didn't want their cars to be seen crashing or exploding.
Consequently smashing into a signpost at 200mph means you slowdown a bit and
your car suffers no damage.

Being a bit anti-car-game myself I found this approach very good as I no
longer had to concern myself with the well being of my vehicle and could
just get on with the game tearing around the track trying to do better than
I did last time. Anyhow, I'm rambling on about Lotus 1 here, which was the
first car game I enjoyed and the one that got me hooked on this trilogy.

For those not familiar with the first two games I'll summarise. All of the
Lotus series are sprite based racing games viewed from a third person
perspective. In Lotus 1 you race around circuits against 19 other cars. In
order to qualify you must finish in 10th place or better. The higher you
finish, the more points you get, the better your chances of an overall
first place at the end of the tour. The split screen two player mode was
where the game shone though, racing then against 19 other vehicles, one of
them driven by your mate. Great fun with plenty of scope for dirty tactics
constantly providing amusement. Action was fast & furious but the downer
was that the one player mode was still played with split screen view.
Lotus 2 corrected this and changed other things too; now, for example, you
raced against the clock and not round circuits anymore but lengthy courses
instead. The idea was to race from checkpoint to checkpoint within a
certain amount of time, whilst it was quite exciting racing through them
with a second to spare or just making it through as your car was slowing
down it was never as much fun, for me anyway, as racing for position.
Lotus 2 was polished with a few additions such as weather effects and
night time racing, but the onscreen action, though prettier suffered
slightly in the speed department.

As Lotus 2 seemed it was the result of numerous letters claiming this and
that were wrong with Lotus 1, Lotus 3 seems to be the result of Lotus 1
fans writing in whining that this and that had changed and been lost in
Lotus 2. Lotus 3 therefore is an attempt to sit in the middle and keep all
sides happy. Now you can choose to race against time (Lotus2) or other
vehicles for placement (Lotus1). The terrains and weather effects from
Lotus 2 have crossed over with a few more added for good measure. One
player action fills the screen and the 2 player split screen is still

The sound seems the same as the previous games though the main theme doesn't
sound as nice to me as that of Lotus 2. A rather clever password system
allows you to not only return to a level at a later date but also design
your own to a certain extent. I must confess to not having toyed with this
too much as I can't really see the point. Mind you, I was never interested
in designing my own Doom or Quake levels either so this feature is
probably God's gift to some people.

The big downer I find with Lotus 3 is the speed decrease. More noticeable on
some levels than others, it's now jerkier and slower than before. The
mountain road levels are especially horrid, so slow and chug-chug sometimes
it looks like you're moving backwards which is really off putting on a level
that's difficult enough as it is with a really narrow road to race on.

Lotus 3 could easily have been the best of the trilogy but I can't help but
feel it has been 'overdone'. Bringing back all the features from Lotus 1 that
were lost in Lotus 2 was a wonderful idea. Had they left it there it would
have gone down as the greatest of the lot and one of the greatest games of
all time. Sadly though, for the further enhancements of the graphics and
terrains the gameplay has paid a hefty price. If anything they perhaps
should have reduced the graphical effects in favour of speed and ditched the
mountain level altogether.

7/10 - Despite it's flaws, it is still a Lotus game and as such is far more
enjoyable than most of the car games out there.

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