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Wahnsinn: Für bleifreie 79,- DM wartet nun Gremlins komplette Rennsport-Saga in einer Pappgarage!

Die Splitscreen-Wettbewerbe der Lotus Turbo Challenge mit ihren unzähligen Strecken (inkl. Nebel, Regen, Schnee und Eis) gelten seit jeher als Höhepunkt des gesamten Genres und konnten bis heute von keinem Konkurrenten überholt werden. Astreine Steuerung, blitzschnelle 3D-Grafik und etliche Zusatzfeatures, wie z.B. verschiedene Musikstücke, machen die Fahren im Boliden zum schieren Vergnügen; eine deutsche Anleitung gibt es obendrein.

Freilich, die drei Programme unterscheiden sich nur relativ dezent voneinander, trotzdem ist dieses erstaunlich preisgünstige Sonderangebot ein klares Muß für jeden Bildschirm-Raser!

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Well, it's absolutely unlikely that you don't own one of the Lotus games. If you don't, well, here's your chance to find out what we were shouting about. Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge is not the most realistic driving game in the world. But it was definitely the most fun at the time of its release, especially when played against a human opponent utilising the now split-screen display.

You'll get used to the courses after a while, plus the computer-controlled cars are a bit dull, following a fairly predictable left-to-right, right-to-left drifting pattern. Nevertheless, they're useful ina two-player race as they inevitably obstruct the leading car and give the other player a much-needed chance to catch up.

Later courses make it vital to visit the pits for fuel. Tactics and judgement come in here. You've got to guess how much fuel to take on to see you through the last lap of couple of laps. Get it wrong, you'll run out of fuel in front of the winning post. Gripping stuff indeed.

Lotus 2 promised to be better than the original and didn't quite deliver the goods. Instead of racing on courses, you raced over stages. Human opponents could be left twiddling their thumbs if they didn't pass the stage markers, which took a bit of the fun out of racing.

The sound wasn't as good as the original. Crashes into barriers at the side just didn't happen. It was too easy to complete every course in one sitting, apart from maybe the last one. But the ability to choose the control method and the inclusion of a serial link option were very welcome.

Last and by all means least is Lotus Turbo Challenge 3. Bolted on to the main game engine was a course designer which, theoretically, could create thousands of different courses. Somehow though, this version doesn't manage to be as good as either of its predecessors.

So there you go, Lotuses 1 and 2 are both available on budget. If you missed them first time around and are looking for some entertaining race games, this pack is very good value. If you already own any of the title, give it a miss.

Lotus Trilogy CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Format Gold

Gremlin 0742 753423 * £29.99 * Out now

It should have been called Fiesta Trilogy, but no, they have to use these fancy Dan Lotuses. Anyway, a collection of the three games it is and jolly good fun they are, particularly in two-player mode.

Racing against Amiga Format designer Bart Bartucca, I enjoyed some hair-raising moments, arrived a good four seconds in front in the final race and was robbed of certain victory by some biased bloke in the computer. But I'm not bitter. Much.

There are absolutely loads of tracks to choose from, some rank bad weather to contend with and obstacles aplenty ensure a rough ride. Many feel that Lotus II is the best of the lot, but me, I like the third one. A most excellent collection.

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Hier noch einige Kurztests (Chuck Rock, Lotus Trilogy, Project X/F17 Challenge & Alien Breed Special Edition/Qwak) von aktuellen CD-Konvertierungen, denen man bei der Versilberung keine Neuheiten spendiert hat - und solchen, denen der Umstieg auf das neue Medium schlecht bekommt...

Dieser Silberling wäre eigentlich ein Fall für das nächste Compilation-Special, denn im Grunde hat Gremlin nichts weiter getan, als die drei klassischen Lotus-Rasereien gemeinsam auf eine CD zu packen.

Mehr Grafik gibt's nicht und CD-Musik nur sporadish, wobei man dann während des Rennens auf Sound-FX verzichten muß und so weder Start-signale noch Sprachausgabe hört.

Schlimmer noch, die Steuerung wurde an den sechs Buttons des CD32-Joypads vorbeiprogrammiert, und statt eines Auswahlmenüs erblickt man nach Einlegen der Scheibe oft nur einen schwarzen Screen.

Alles in allem ein schludrige Umsetzung, die lediglich durch die alten Tugenden der Spiele (schnelle 3D-Grafik, Splitscreen-Modi, Streckenbaukasten, flottes Gameplay) überzeugt, womit sich die ehemaligen Hits nun mit 70 Prozent begnügen müssen.

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Gremlin, £29.99

Look, that's what they call it, alright? Nothing to do with me. We've reviewed the various games on this compilation, ooh, seven or eight hundred times already, but just in case you've never bought the magazine before or something, here's a recap on the party line.

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (the first game in the series) is a brilliant laps-based racer, with a negligible flaw in that in one-player mode, you only play on half of the screen. Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 (no 'Esprit' this time, because you could drive three different kinds of Lotus, to little discernible effect) abandoned laps in favour of a racing-through-checkpoints system, which was less fun in itself (it's much harder to learn the tracks and hence get any worthwhile feel for them), but also a complete nightmare in two-player mode, where one player could be left twiddling their thumbs for most of the game if they missed a checkpoint.

Also, hitting things in Lotus 2 results in practically no apparent speed loss, which feels a bit silly. The atmospheric road and weather conditions introduced in this sequel were little compensation. (Oh, and the null-modem-link four-player version of the original Amiga version has been lost from this incarnation too).

Lotus 3 - The Ultimate Challenge (words were dropping out of the title like flies by this stage) attempted to rescue matter by reinstating lap races as an option, as well as an interesting (if flawed) course designer, but driving games had moved on somewhat by the time it came out, and the likes of Crazy Cars 3 left Lotus looking sadly dated. Lotus 1 is still the best of the three, but at 10 quid each on CD this set is well worth having in your collection.

Incidentally, the press release with this claims 're-styled graphics' in addition to the predictable CD music track, but I couldn't say I noticed. And is it my memory playing tricks on me, or were the Lotus 1 sound effects always this bad?

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Correct me if I am wrong, but the point of releasing a sequel to a game is usually to make it better than the previous one. So why on earth would anyone want to buy three copies of what is essentially the same game, revised twice?

Back in the early nineties computer freaks raved about the speed and instant playability of Gremlin's superlative racing sim. It set new standards in pole position racing gameology. Nothing could match the original for speed, instant playability, competitiveness and sheer fun. The only thing missing was a two player option, so that you and a friend could burn rubber in head-to-head competition.

That was soon sorted out with the legendary release of Lotus 2, which did everything its predecessor did, but better. Lotus 2 introduced different tracks, weather conditions, more detailed courses, with underpasses and night time racing, plus the split-screen two-player challenge.

Gremlin thought they had the super-fast, background scrolling, racing genre market sewn up, but other companies were quick to pounce the idea. A whole spate of copy-cat racing games came out, including the Crazy Cars series and the more technically advanced polygon based racing sims. Then Core released Jaguar XJ 220 which achieved the seemingly impossible and conquered Lotus 2s until then apparently unassailable position.

Whilst Core took the money and ran, Core came back with what they hoped would be the definitive version of the Lotus Trilogy: Lotus 3.

The final game contained all the essential elements of its award winning predecessors but included a fistful of new features. Weather hit the tracks in sporadic gaps, with the sun shining one minute and rain pouring down the next. Torrents of water threw up all kinds of water hazards and puddles. But the most significant addition was the track editor. After you had raced your way around the computer designed courses you could actually sit down and create your own. The system was incredibly easy to use and you could literally design a track, complete with trees, hordings, tunnels and road hazards and be racing on it within minutes!

None of these games, barring Lotus 2, were great advancements in gaming technology and the gimmicks were beginning to take over in Lotus 3 (the CD is now the ultimate gimmick). Yes, they are all milestones in racing history, but to be honest, you only really need one of them, not all three. As for the CD version itself, the graphics have been made slightly smoother thanks to faster disk access, the music has been cranked up a notch and the sound effects have all been re-sampled for more realism. There is also none of that annoying, dodgy manual protection to wade through.

A welcome addition to the CD32 catalogue, but not too exciting for those of us who have been playing them for years already.