Top Gear 2 logo

Die Letzten sind manchmal wirklich das Letzte: Während Gremlins "Lotus"-Neuauflage erst auf dem Super Nintendo, dann am A1200 und CD32 gut gefiel, fährt sie nun mit Normalbenzin der Konkurrenz hinterher.

Daß am A500 keinen AGA-Qualität zu erwarten war, steht außer Frage - aber mehr als 16 Farben und ebenso ruckelige wie lahme 3D-Animation hätten schon drein sein müssen! Das konnte selbst die alte "Lotus"-Trilogie besser, und mit derart reduziertem Tempo bleibt natürlich einiges vom Spaß am Gas auf der Strecke.

Vielleicht hätte man also besser ein paar der Features geopfert? Hat man aber nicht, denn wie in allen anderen Versionen dürfen Solisten über den Fullscreen brettern, während Duellanten auf einen geteilten Bildschirm antreten.

Nach wie vor hat man die Wahl zwischen Automatik und manueller Schaltung, darf sich für Sound-FX oder Musik entscheiden und die anschließenden Infos (Wetterlage etc.) über den folgenden Kurs im Tuning-Shop umsetzen.

Das für unverbrauchte Slick, verstärkte Karosserien, Power-Motoren oder neue Getriebe nötige Kleingeld muß auf der Piste einfefahren werden. Nur die ersten sechs Plätze heimsen Prämien ein, für Rang elf bis zwanzig ist die Saison beendet.

Im Positionskampf gegen mittelmäßige Computergegner helfen eine hervorragende Steuerung sowie stets eingeblendete Anzeigen für Restbenzin, Streckenverlauf und Rundenzeiten.

Wer zudem die Sammelextras überfährt, erhält frischen Nitro-Treibstoff und damit kurzzeitige Extrem-Beschleunigung.

Im großen und ganzen macht die Berg- und Talfahrt durch Sonne, Nebel, Schnee und Regen in den 16 Ländern à vier Strecken also schon noch Spaß - nur eben längst nicht mehr soviel wie anno AGA. (rl)

Top Gear 2 logo

Gremlin have held the Amiga racing game crown for some time now but will they hold on to it with a console conversion? Tony Dillon gets behind the wheel and goes "brummmm". (ACtually he can't really drive).

If there's one mainstay that Gremlin Graphics is famous for, it has to be the racing game. Supercars, Lotus, Nigel Mansell and others have always been the secret to their success.

Most people thought that Lotus 2 and 3 were the definitive Amiga racing games and even Core Design's superb Jaguar XJ220 couldn't topple the Sheffield racers from the top of the pile. Which is why I find it so interesting that they should feel the need to convert a SNES racing game, and not a particularly good one at that, to the Amiga. Still, my lot isn't to reason why. (You're right, it's to get on with the review! - Ed)

As you may have guessed, Top Gear 2 is a racing game, and to be honest it's a pretty standard one at that. You simply have to race around the world in a league against 19 other drivers, through various weather conditions, with the aim of coming first every time. Naturally, you car goes faster than all the others, yet it seems to have a far harder time actually completing a lap of any given course than the other drivers on the road. Sounds familiar?

As well as receiving championship points at the end of each race, you also receive an amount of money reflecting your final position. This cash is accumulated over a number of races, and can be spent before each one on adjustments and improvements to your car.

For example, you can soup up the engine, or add better tyres (or Wet Tyres for races in the rain), and if you like you can even give your car a respray, free of charge, for those of you who don't like the default colours or just fancy a shocking pink race car.

There are three levels for each upgrade and as usual the best costs the most. As you can probably tell by now, this game isn't exactly packed full of surprises.

Playing this game, you realise what it was that made the Lotus trilogy as popular as they were - smooth animation and a nice, solid and responsive feel to the car. Although the updated of the track and objects is running in a frame most of the time (it comes down to about three frames when rain or any conditions are overlaid onto the screen), the game just doesn't look anywhere near as smooth as it predecessors.

This is really down to the fact that the scaling on all cars is terrible. You are given no real sense of distance or perspective simply because the competition go from being the same size as your automobile to dots on the horizon in about five steps, which just isn't acceptable these days.

Also, the game just doesn't feel right. The car is quite slow to respond most of the time, and you end up fighting the controls more often than not, where you should actually be in tune with the game itself. I know it might sound like a load of hippy nonsense, but the key to this kind of game is when you forget about how you're controlling the game and just play it intuitively, er, use the force as it were.

At the end of the day, Top Gear 2 is a real let down. It's a adequate racing game, with no frills, but it really just does not match up to Gremlin's glorious past. For those of you who have never played a racing game before it's worth a look. If, however, you've already played games such as Lotus or Jaguar XJ220 - avoid.

Top Gear 2 logo AGA Amiga Computing Gold Award

Tina plays girl racer for the day to take a look at Gremlin's Top Gear 2...


Despite its name, Top Gear 2 has nothing to do with Jeremy Clarkson et al. In fact, it's the latest race 'em-up from Gremlin that promises to be "the fastest ever Amiga racing game".
Released on the SNES to high critical acclaim and receiving the glitzy awarded for the 1993 Gamesplayer SNES Racing Game of the Year, it has now been ported over to the Amiga.


There are quite a few games that are rather like Top Gear 2. Many have taken on the formula of a sports car racing along the open road in various countries, with things getting difficult when bad weather occurs or there are obstacles on the track.

Lotus, for instance, is similar both in locks and gameplay, with the typical rain and fog scenes, or the logs and barriers on the tracks. Crazy Cars 3 is also quite similar, but the game added interest with an extra element of betting wagers with rival racers and also the option to upgrade your car.

Top Gear 2 around average with games of a similar nature. It does introduce some sort of tactical element with the upgrades you can buy for your car, and you'll need to decide when and what to spend your race winnings on.

Check the weather report to see whether you should replace your tyres with better versions adapted for wet or dry conditions, or spend your cash on improving nitros for better speed ups.



Car racing has always held wide appeal, both with participators and spectators alike. It has taken on many different forms from Stock Car Racing to Formula One Grand Prix - the first organised race being from Paris to Rouen in 1894.

There are many circuits that have been built for the purpose such as Silverstone and Nurburgring, along with street circuits including Monte Carlo and Monaco.

Many racing drivers have become household names through their profession - Graham Hill, Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart all finding fame through this means.

Motor racing is not without its dangers though - even for the spectators. One of the worst ever motor racing disaster was at Le Mans race-track when 80 people were killed when three cars collided at 150mph, crashing into the spectators stand.



Well, having never driven a high-powered super sports car (any offers?), it can only be left to the imagination how close to the real thing this is. Unfortunately, the control method certainly doesn't doa great deal to enhance realism and the steering isn't all that responsive, constantly reminding you that you are using a joystick and controlling a graphic on the screen.

The game does create the speed of the car well and you do actually move along at a fair old pace. The sound effects are adequate, but they don't create the nail-biting tension that these games should and don't sound that convincing.

Also you are blessed with a rubber car, in the sense that even when you crash at full speed into a concrete wall you'll still bounce right off again with no harm done. Great for prolonging the race but hardly realistic - I mean whatever happened to those impressive explosions that kept things exciting?

What I'm trying to say is you don't really get absorbed into the action as with some racing games and somehow the excitement isn't there.



This is the sort of thing nightmares are made of! Imagine a lawnmower sample for the roar of the engine, the nitros conveyed by the hum of a washing machine and the squeal of the breaks by the sound of a demented Hamster.

This is about all you need to accurately recreate the sound in Top Gear 2- it really is this dreadful.
The music option is quite a competent attempt but it is very tacky and mind-numbingly boring and repetitive after a while.




Top Gear 2 does look rather similar to many other games of this nature with the obligatory rain scenes, fog, night and city skyscrapers, but it has been done to a high standard and looks good.

The actual car itself seems to hover unconvincingly above the track and rear view of the car is relatively unimpressive even when the nitros are activated, with a feeble fire effects appear out of the exhausts.

The apparent "cut and paste" job on the scenery also spoils things quite a lot. While it is a nice idea illustrating the background with significant landmarks of a country, it becomes so obvious that the scenery has been continually repeated that it looks unconvincing.

In fact it becomes quite laughable as you count how many Sydney opera houses you pass, or how many pyramids and the like.




There are a few things that worry me about this game. While on the surface the game plays fairly well and everything chugs along quite acceptably, there are things that let it down. For instance, gameplay is distracted by these supposedly "hip" phrases interrupting the proceedings. Overtake a car, for example, and a bubble of speech will appear reading "Yo, eat my dust", "Crash 'n' burn" and other equally irritating phrases.

And another point to note: all your opponents seem to comprise of the role-model drivers who never put a foot wrong, who never crash into barriers and if you should collide - well, it's you that gets put back a few seconds while they speed off in to the horizon.

No chance for any foul play, no scraping together of paintwork and no mad scramble to overtake - removing tonnes of potential fun! It's not all bad by any means. In fact it is a very playable game with plenty of different tracks - 64 cities in 16 countries - to test your skills. And it is a very, very fast game, especially on a one-player mode.

A two-player game is the usual split-screen affair and is great fun, but unfortunately you can't easily tell who your opponent is from the many other cars of the same colour.

The sound and graphics let the game down a little and it doesn't seem to have all that much to it. Around five years ago it would have been received with more enthusiasm but now it is a little old hat.

If you're a fan of racing games and you have to have another, it is worth a look. It does play fairly well. It's just not particularly original.

Top Gear 2 AGA logo AGA

At last, a racer that's way ahead of the pack - except for the 10 others already in front of it.

When I first heard that Top Gear 2 was being produced for the A1200, I could hardly wait. After all, it's a Gremlin release and they've got a track record second to none with their racing games. But what a major disappointment when I started laying it. There are so many downers about the game that the best aproach is to cover all the foibles and irritations.

The first irritation is that Top Gear 2 is a direct conversion from the Super Nintendo. The only notable difference between the A1200 Top Gear 2 and the SNES's is that you can drive a second car using the keyboard if you opt to play a two-player game using the familiar split-screen arrangement. Note that you can sue the keyboard for control. Command on this will be made late on.

Now, I don't subscribe to the 'my computer's better than yours' school of thought. But the A1200 deserves a racing game that's going to stretch it a bit more than this. It's not that it's not pretty, it is. It's not that it plays like a dog, it doesn't. It's just that Top Gear 2 doesn't offer anything new to racing games.

Even more unforgivable is the fact that it's aimed at a young console market not used to jauntily-paced racing games, or 32-bit machines with keyboards.

As a prime example of shortsightedness, take the front end and the entry of player names. You have to enter letters and numbers using the joystick. This method of entry is tedious, especially when you consider that the A1200 has a whopping great keyboard. Make a mistake and you have to move the cursor all the way over to the delete icon, press the fire button and then locate the letter that you wanted to enter in the first place.

If you think that I'm going a bit overboard about this, consider the following. The game is played over 16 cities, each city boasts four tracks, giving a total of 64 tracks. Every city can be accessed using a password. The following is the password to one of the cities (find out for yourself which), VNJ9, [53[, [MPR, HI[]], WRQ$$. With a keyboard input, this would be acceptable, if not a bit quirky. With joystick it's bloody annoying.

Lonely road
And there's more. If you select a one-player game you're stuck with it unless you reset the machine. No recourse to the option screen to select a two-player game exists. This may be acceptable to SNES owners, but I'm afraid I expect a bit more.

Other detracting quirks are the omission of a pause option. You never know, your cook, thief, wife, lover may request your presence during play. Considering that progress to the next race depends qualifying in the top 10 and a that a interruption may thwart that progress, this is an unforgivable oversight. On the SNES you can pause the game from the joypad whenever you want. So why can't A1200 owners?

As for the game itself, it's no great shakes. Imagine Lotus 2 with bigger car and less landmarking scenery, racing over a circuit rather than trying to reach stages. That just about covers it.

The lack of any significant landmarks, other than the occasional set of barriers, imparts a generic feel to every circuit, so there's not character whatsoever to any particular track.

It's no great loss though. With good racing games you should have to learn every curve and bend, or at least the difficult ones. Due to the driving mechanics of Top Gear 2, learning the tracks isn't all that important a part of the winning equation - on my first couple of plays at championship level 1 zoomed through the first seven cities (28 tracks) with little concentration.

And that's not all that's poor about the driving mechanics. The actual view from the track is limiting too. The driver's apex - the spot that drivers focus on to anticipate the road and upcoming events - is too short. You can't anticipate the appearance of the other cars until they're just about on top of you. This is a real problem.

Funny stuff
This problem is compounded by the speech bubbles - one of the gimmicks intended to inject some humour into the affair. That's right, when you pass another car, hit another car, kick in your nitros or whatever, a little Americanized platitude appears in a bubble, directly blocking the driver's apex.

Favourites are: crash 'n' burn, you dude, loser and road hog. They block your view and lead to all sorts of problems. They might appeal to the console set, but they seem decidedly out of place on the A1200. Different strokes for different folks I suppose.

Top Gear 2 is a disappointment. It offers minimal driving skill gameplay. The reward for qualifying to the next race is pathetic. The sonics are abysmal and overall there's nothing that elevates this offering above a crowd of similar racing games. Shame.


Top Gear 2 AGA
Amateur musicians are catered for, but what about the driving?

Top Gear 2 AGA
Handy hint No 1. If you don't want to give away your age, select KMH.

Top Gear 2 AGA
Sadly, manual gears don't make a great deal of difference in the game.

Top Gear 2 AGA
The A1200 has a keyboard for a rason. It makes the typing of letters so much easier.

Top Gear 2 AGA
You can always tell a lot about the mood of a car from its colour.

Top Gear 2 AGA logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Manchmal kommen sie wieder: Gremlins "Lotus" ist seinerzeit am Amiga gestartet, hat dann einen Umweg über das Super Nintendo genommen und läuft jetzt unter neuem Namen und frisch aufpoliert am A1200 ein!

Was ist passiert? Nun, bei Gremlin hatte man vor rund zwei Jahren im Auftrag der japanischen Spiele schmiede Kemco den ersten Teil der erfolgreichen "Lotus"-Trilogie unter dem Titel Top Gear für das SNES konvertiert. Und weil das Game im Konsolenstall ein wenig auffrisiert wurde, schickt man es jetzt eben zurück an die Commo-Box, wo zunächst nur A1200-Piloten einsteigen dürfen - Versionen für das CD32 und Normal-Amigas sollen nachfolgen.

Da sich die Unterschiede zum ursprünglichen "Lotus" naturgemäß in Grenzen halten, können Gameplay und Optionen heute freilich kaum noch als innovativ bezeichnet werden; genreüblich wäre der bessere Ausdruck.

Man wählt also erst mal zwischen Automatik und manueller Schaltung, entscheidet sich für Sound-FX oder Musikbegleitung und stellt die Anzahl der Spieler ein.

Pro Saison rauscht dann ein Pulk aus 20 Boliden durch 16 Länder à vier Strecken, immer auf der Jagd nach WM Punkten.

Vor der Startflagge teilt ein Infoscreen dabei Streckenlänge, Rundenanzahl und Wetter mit, so daß man sich für alle Eventualitäten rüsten kann: Pneus für trockene, nasse oder verschneite Pisten, ein besserer Motor, ein neues Getriebe oder ein verstärkte Karosserie stehen in Austausch gegen Siegprämien zur Verfügung.

Im Rennen jagt der Lehnstuhl-Lauda dann mit 280 Sachen in Kurven, sammelt Extra-Boni ein, schaltet den Nitroboost zu, fliegt über Rampen und Bergkuppen und liefert sich dramatische Kopf-an-Kopf-Entshciedungen mit der Konkurrenz. Ständig sichtbare Anzeigen für die eigene Position, den Zustand des Vehikels und das Restbenzin sowie vor allem die famose Steuerung helfen ihm dabei über die Runden.

Um Cash für die insgesamt 36 Tuningsteile einzufahren, muß zumindest der sechste Platz belegt werden, und ab der elften Position kann man die Saison ganz abschreiben. Wäre aber schade, denn der Spaß an der Freud' stimmt: Ob als Solist am Fullscreen oder im Duo am geteilten Bildschirm, stets kratzt man die Kurven dank guter Übersichtlichkeit und hohem Grafik-Tempo wie ein junger Schumi.

Je nach Lust und Laune können die Fährer übrigens die Farbe ihrer Kiste wählen und auch bestimmen, ob die Geschwindigkeit in Kilometern oder Meilen gemessen werden soll. Überhaupt sind die Autos im Vergleich zur Urversion deutlich bunter gewroden, und auch Effekte wie Nebel oder Schneewelten kommen gut rüber.

Bei Unfällen sind spektakuläre Überschläge zu sehen, beim 3D-Zooming allerdings auch ein gewisses Ruckeln. Und selbst die atmosphärisch dröhnende Lärmkulisse vermag nicht ganz darüber hinwegzutäuschen, daß die paar Bäume und Tunnels an der Strecke nicht das Maximum an 1200er-Grafik darstellen.

Beim schieren Unterhaltungswert lauf der überarbeitete Oldie aber den meisten jüngeren Asphaltschluckern immer noch den Rang ab! (rl)

Top Gear 2 AGA logo AGA

We don't know. Racing games, platformers and football games. What happened to imagination? Creativity? Trying something new for a change?

Before you start flicking through your back issues of AMIGA POWER to find out what we thought of the original Top Gear, forget it, there wasn't one. Well, for all we know there might have been one on some other format, but it certainly never came out on the Amiga. Gremlin started using the Top Gear name for console racing games when they found they couldn't use the Lotus licence, so what we've got here is a SNES version of a Lotus-style game converted back to the Amiga.

The Lotus series, you'll recall, started with, er, the prehistoric Lotus 1, hit a high with the graphically lovely, very fast and split-screen two-player-moded Lotus 2 (AP7, 87%) and then went away for almost a year before returning with the 'new and improved' Lotus 3 (AP18, 74%).

Hang around under the red line for ages

Number three may have had a course designer, but it simply didn't have the same 'whoomph' as its predecessor, and it's this lack of 'whoomph' that severely injures Top Gear 2.

There's not much to say about the principle of the game. You've got a Lotus-meets-Ford Probe kind of car and the idea's to work your way round 64 tracks in 16 countries. There are 20 cars in each race and your position on the starting grid inversely depends on your finishing position of the previous race (so if you won you start at the back and if it you were useless you're near the front). All you have to do to qualify for the next race is to finish in the top ten, although you've got to finish higher to win money and earn points.

The more you win, the more you earn, which means you can splash out on better engines, nitro boosters, tyres and all that happy-Halfords stuff to make your car bigger, better and generally groovier. Eleventh position or below and you're out of the game.

You're given the option of an automatic or manual gearbox, which in my case directly translates to finishing first or finishing last. In Lotus 2 and 3 (yeah, I know I'm ging on about them a lot, but they're actually similar to Top Gear 2) there are two ways you know when to change gear, namely a rev counter that rapidly redlines ("Increases to the maximum speed for that gear" - Ed) and the accompanying unhealthy engine squeal that tells you to change up or blow up. In Top Gear 2 though, the revs are a bit wishy-washy and hang around under the red line for ages and the sound, well read on.

This game's got terrible, terrible sound. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that most in-game music originates in the hell-spawned mind of Beelzebub himself (with the exception of Dynablaster and The Chaos Engine) but the music in this is extraspecially poor. If I wanted to listen to listless, generic, half-hearted, plinkety-plonkety music, I'd go out and buy a Transvision Vamp CD. (Or play your Philip Glass soundtracks. Again, - Ed).

Thankfully you can turn the music off, only to have it replaced with horrible engine sounds and a piercing tyre squeal on EVERY PIGGING CORNER. Aaargh, another game played in total science.

The races themselves turn out to be all the same, apart from some tracks being longer than others. In the Lotus games, you had races where lorries thundered across crossroads in front of you, or where you could crash through the central reservation and run the risk of ploughing into oncoming traffic, but in this you've got the wide road all to yourself. Yes, just like F1GP, but that's a simulation and not a thrills-and-spills speed racer. So there.

I tried to barge it off the road

What really hampers Top Gear 2 is the surefire way of finishing in the top three in every single race. Here's how it goes. At the start of every race, regardless of how big your engine is, or how many nitros you use, or what place you start off in, the entire pack will sweep past you and speed off into the distance.

Then, after about thirty seconds, you catch up with the tail-enders and, assuming you don't run into the back of anyone (which drops your speed by about 30mph) you can just overtake everyone and hold tenth position or thereabouts.

Then, on the penultimate lap of the race, just start hitting the nitros to boost your speed and blast you to the front, but don't forget to save one for the very end, as two or three cars usually storm past and you practically on the line, even though they've been trailing you round for most of the race.

It's a simple, winning system (and one that highlights the rubbish opponent drivers - there's no logic as to why the cars overtake you at some stage of the game but you can zoom past them at others, and you rarely have to battle for a position against another car, either blasting past them or getting blasted past. In fact, on one rare occasion where I actually seemed to be going the same speed as another car, I tried to barge it off the road, only to see myself spin out and watch it shrink to a dot in front of me. So if a car barges me off the road, I crash, and if I barge a car off the road, I still crash. Great) which allowed me to get through about half of the game before getting bored and giving up.

Top Gear 2 just doesn't give you the feeling that you're driving a car. You can get round most courses with the throttle permanently open ("The fire button held down all the time" - Ed), the turning circle of your car's wide and ponderous, and when you steer it looks like your car's turning on its centre point rather than the front wheels. All criticisms that can be directed at Lotus 2, true, but that's still more enjoyable than this. It just is. Trust me - I'm a professional.

If I were a cruel and heartless man, I'd give Top Gear 2 a score in the low 40s to convince people not to buy it. But, er, it isn't that bad. It's damned with being average - Lotus 2 beats it on crash-zoom-spill antics, F1GP beats it on realism and handling, and F1 beats everything hands down in terms of excitement and all-round brilliance. Top Gear 2's all right - just don't buy it, okay?

Top Gear 2 logo CD32

Nicht umsonst sind die "Lotus"-Piloten von Gremlin für ihr Tempo berühmt: Keine vier Wochen hat es gedauert, schon war dieser Bolide vom 1200er auf CD umgesetzt! Nur die Verbesserungen blieben auf der Strecke...

Dass sich diese rückkonvertierte SNES-Version von "Lotus" am CD32 dennoch einen Tick besser spielt als am Amiga, war quasi unvermeidlich - die zusätzlichen Buttons des Joypads sorgen für mehr Fahrkomfort, und die diversen Musikstücke klingen direkt von der Schillerscheibe halt noch mitreißender. Der Rest folgt dem altbekannten Kurs:

Im Optionsmenü stehen Automatik oder Schaltgetriebe, Sound-FX oder Musik und ein oder zwei Spieler zur Wahl. Die erhaltenen Infos über Austragungsort und Wetter sind dann im Tuning-Shop umzusetzen, wo der Wagen um insgesamt 36 Goodies vom Regenreifen über mehr PS bis hin zum Nitrobooster bereichert werden kann. Das dazu nötige Kleingeld liegt tatsächlich auf der Straße - in Form von Sammelextras oder Preisgeldern. Allerdings kassieren im Ziel nur die sechs schnellsten der 20 Fahrer, und ab Position elf ist die Saison beendet.

Ständig eingeblendete Anzeigen für Restbenzin, Karosseriezustand, Rundenzeiten und den Streckenverlauf sowie eher mittelmäßige Computergegner erleichtern die abwechslungsreiche Hatz durch 16 Länder à vier Strecken: Bei Nebel, Regen oder Schnee pfercht man solo durch Bildschirmfüllende Landschaften oder wagt ein Duell am Splitscreen.

Und selbst wenn die grafischen Details und das leicht ruckelige 3D-Zooming nicht mehr ganz up-to-date sind, die Steuerung und vor allem das Spielgefühl stimmen hundertprozentig. Und damit ist Top Gear 2 allemal der bessere "Lotus" auf CD. (rl)

Top Gear 2 CD32 logo CD32


Well, there's not a lot to say about this CD32 version of the A1200 game we reviewed two issues ago. It's really just exactly the same game. There's no fabulous new intro, no more options or anything really. But what about the game?

Well, if you read Cam's review you'll know that it's yet another in the long line of racing games that do everything well, but nothing spectacularly. You throw the car around the tracks, braking slightly to avoid hitting the scenery or other cars, and then you finish the race.

The graphics are okay, the game plays very well overall, but it just doesn't offer any incentives or rewards for playing. If you're after a racing game for the CD32, I suggest you go for the Lotus Trilogy instead.

And if my memory serves me correctly (It does. - Ed), that's very similar to what Cam reported in his recent review.