let me show you my favourite position

Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 logo

GREMLIN * £25.99 * Joystick/Keyboard * Out now

Brmm, brmmm, revv revv. Phwooaaargh, the birds are gonna luv me in this, I can tell ya. A brand new Lotus Elan, and some new roads for me to race the Esprit that I got last year on. Eh by eck, my pulling power's gone through the roof since I bought this big red throbbing machine> The wimmen I've 'ad chasing me you would not believe. You know that Fiona Fullerton piece off the telly? Well she's been after me, an' so's that lass of Coronation Street, Sally Webster.

Sorry lads, Trev 'ere. The reason why I'm so excited is that Gremlin have finally got around to chuckin' out the sequel to last year's stonker, Lotus Esprite Turbo Challenge. That racing game was the business as far as I'm concerned and Gremlin have at least done the sound deal by not chuckin' out the same game with a few more tracks, like with Hard Drivin' II or summat. What they've done is change the gameplay considerably to make it a separate package, like, and therefore worth the dosh. Or is it? 'Ere's the low down, lads.

This time around we get eight levels, starting off dead simple then endin' up pretty nasty, like. Instead of 'avin a race as such this one takes its cue from Rad Mobile, Sega's ace coin-op, and has a series of checkpoints that have to be reached before your time runs out.

You start off wi' summat like 30 seconds to reach the next checkpoint, or whatever, then when you reach the next one you are given the seconds to reach the next checkpoint, plus whatever seconds you 'ad left from the one you've just done, like. Clever innit? Each of the eight levels 'as upwards of five checkpoints with the final level 'avin' ten long ons. All this track adds up to over an hour of solid drivin', if you're 'ard enough to get all the way through like I am.

An' when me an' Shaz are in the front seat with the furry dice an' the sunstrip with our names on there just ain't no stoppin' us mate. I can tell ya.
The eight levels take the driver through a variety of landscapes, each of them presenting their own little problems, like. For example the marshland (level seven) has some tracks between certain checkpoints surrounded by deep water. You go off the track pal, then you're in deep, mate. Ha ha ha! Geddit? Or the snowbound level gives a near pure white background (where's the track, man?) and some mean patches of ice that throw you off course in a wicked skid.

The fifth level with the fog is the really smart one - the way they've got the effect of the grey blanket just out of love a poet, believe me! The same effect is used in a different way on the right time of level six, black in the distance but one of the neat touches is that if you go through a tunnel everythin' becomes fully illuminated, like, by the tunnel lights.

It's well ace - both these levels really get across the uncertainty of drivin' like a maniac in poor visibility, an' I should know. You're slightly on edge all the time because you know that the road could disappear around a corner, leavin' you behind at any minute.

The two-player options is where the game starts to come into its own. The split screen - only in two-player mode this time around, fact fans! - means that you get some really sound action as you try and chase down your human opponent, and if you're really clever you can keep 'arf an eye on 'is screen an' try and move around so that you get in 'is way when he tries to get past, like. Really smart.

What is even more smart is that you can now link up two Amigas to get four player action! Wow! With two players on each machine using the old null modem link (what?) you can get some well ace races goin' between the four of ya. Well smart. Even three players is pretty damn groovy. In short I reckon it's well sorted.

Cheers! Trev.
Thanks Trev. Jools is back for the techie bits.
It is different enough to warrant a purchase from those who have completed the original. In other words it is a standalone game in its own right, not half a sequel like some I could name. The graphics are up to the same smoothly animated standards that knocked your socks off in the first one. Each track-side object uses 17 sprites as it moves nearer then past your point of view to get that really smooth impression of speed.

The handling is superbly observed, just like the real thing. Lifting your finger briefly off the power on a hairy corner will pull you in enough to get around and this can be used to your advantage to get past some tricky opponents on the inside line. Sound is excellent - the high standard in-race effects are complemented by high class tunes, a separate one for each level, but the CD player of the first one, which I loved, is missing (bawl).

One big improvement is the way that the on-player game gives a full screen display, as opposed to the cropped one of the original version.
I have to say I preferred the original because there was more to it - the pitstops and the levels of difficulty - and I personally preferred the challenge of racing 18 or 19 opponents rather than the clock. But racing against the clock means continua pressure, and therefore continual entertainment, and it is only my preference.

There are very strong merits for the checkpoint approach, one being that you never get to first place and never stand the chance of getting bored. Taking a whole different approach was brave but it means that this is a worthy purchase whether you have the original or not. So, a highly addictive standalone product, and not a rehash cash-in sequel. Well worth the money.


Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 logo

Gremlin fulfill drivers' dreams yet again with the sequel to their licnce of one of the hottest sports cars around.

You know how it is: you pile away from the starting line, foot hard down on the accelerator, popping through the gears to break away from the pack as quickly as possible. You slip past the other cars on the straight and hammer into the bend. Unfortunately, there's that green marker car you never saw before! Heaving the wheel to the side, you narrowly miss the opponent and scream out of control. Wrestling with the controls you bravely try to bring the car back on line, then... you wake up. Gremlin allows you to live out this dream to a certain extend with Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge and now you can take it further with Lotus Challenge 2.

Courses of action
The game puts you in control of a Lotus Elan in a Pole Position-style, view-from-behind, race against the clock. The aim is to reach a series of checkpoints before the time runs out, the clock being reset every time you pass through a gate. You can either race solo, with the display taking up the whole screen, or in a head-to-head competition on a horizontally-split screen. If you happen to have a spare Amiga and a null modem lead, you can connect them together so that up to four people can race at the same time.
The competition takes place over eight different, gruelling stages, each one set in its own separate environment.

Forest Course
This is a basic 'hammer along the road as quickly as possible stage'. All you have to do is swerve around the other cars and watch out for the water on the track.

Night Course
Its headlights on to illuminate you through this one, as you whiz around a series of tight turns and tunnels through a darkened city. Watch your distance though, things are a lot closer than they seem!

Fog Course
Take it easy on this course. The thick mist makes it difficult to judge the bends and you never know what could be lurking around the next corner.

Snow Course
The roads are very slippery in this wintery, rather Christmas-looking section, so concentrate carefully and try to compensate as you hit and slide round the bends.

Desert Course
A dusty road littered with sand dunes and cacti hardly makes the best of racing conditions, so watch the signs and try to stick to the road.


The sequel has quite a few refinements which allow it to stand up in its own right

Motorway Course
Whatever you do, don't stray into the right-hand carriageway! You could find yourself in a head-on collision! Those low-bed trucks at the intersections will take some dodging too.

Marsh Course
Drifting off the sides of the road could cause problems here, since you tend to sink in the water! On the later sections, collect the time-domes to gain vital seconds.

Rain Course
Windscreen-wipers slapping, you have to take care not to come a cropper. The roads are slick so watch you don't skid!

We don't need no re-run
A lot of people would probably argue that Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 is a bit too similar to the original to be rated very highly. It's true that the style of the game is very similar, but the sequel has quite a few refinements which allow it to stand up in its own right.

As well as having a completely new series of courses, the graphics have undergone quite a few changes. For example, the original Lotus could only be played on a split-screen display, whereas playing in single-player mode on the sequel displays a full screen, complete with some pretty impressive horizon and sky effects. The addition of such items as a password system to access the higher levels and the fact that you can data-link two machines for a four-way competition also makes the game one of the most feature-packed car racing games available.

The action is pretty rapid, especially when you are hammering around a series of downhill bends, and the feeling of tension as the clock counts to zero as you approach the next checkpoint is so immense. The only real criticism of the game is that it's pretty much a straight racing game. Sure there are lots of bells and whistles, but when you get down to the bare bones of the gameplay, it's just a foot to the floor Pole Position variant, albeit a very enjoyable one.


Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 logo Amiga Joker Hit

Zu gerne hätten wir Euch schon in der letzten Ausgabe einen Test präsentiert, aber Gremlins Programmierteam Magnetic Fields wollte erst alle Details im Spiel haben - und recht hatten sie!

Obwohl sich der neue Lotus spielerisch an bewährten Mustern orientiert, wurden technisch diesmal wirklich alle Register gezogen. Das macht sich schon beim Intro bemerkbar, wo der Sound ohne Umwege ins Tanzbein geht. Solchermaßen beschwingt legt der Pilot in einem Auswahlmenü die Steuerungsmethode fest, wählt zwischen Gangschaltung und Automatik und entscheidet, ob er alleine, zu zweit oder via Datalink gegen bis zu drei weitere Fahrer (sogar ST-Racer dürfen sich ankoppeln!) antreten mag.
Als nächstes erscheint eine strecken-spezifische Zwischengrafik, und schon kann's losgehen...

Die Hatz beginnt noch recht gemütlich auf einer von Bäumen und Felsen umsäumten (hügeligen) Landstraße, dann ist eine nächtliche Stadtrundfahrt mit zahlreichen Unterführungen an der Reihe.

Später gibt es verschneite Pisten, streßige Nebelfahrten, eine sandige Wüste sowie belebte Strecken mit Gegenverkehr und sogar Kreuzungen.

Jeder der acht Kurse ist nochmals in acht Teilabschnitte auftgesplittet; nur wer innerhalb des Zeitlimits den nächsten Checkpoint erreicht, bleibt im Rennen.

Für Dramatik sorgt das höchst realistische Feature, daß der Wagen nach Ablauf der Zeit noch ausrollt - wer mal die letzten Meter gerade noch geschafft hat, weiß erst wirklich, wie spannend so eine Bildschirm-Raserei sein kann!

Freilich, daß einem andere Autos das Leben schwer machen und Berührungen mit Hindernißen wertvolle Zeit kosten, ist bei jedem x-beliebigen Rennspiel so, aber die zweite Lotus Challenge zelebriert. Altbekanntes halt in Perfektion: Düst man durch Waßerpfützen, dann spritzen die Fontänen, bei nacht und Nebel tauchen die anderen Fahrzeuge nur schemenhaft vor einem auf, auf Schnee wird's rutschig, und der Zoom-Effekt der hübschen 3D-Grafik ist schlicht und ergreifend sensationell.
Besonders spektakulär ist ein Level, der durch Blitz und Donner ein Gewitters führt - hier sind Grafik und Soundeffekte so wirklichkeitsnah, daß man am liebsten einen Regenschirm über den Monitor spannen würde.
Nein, an optischen und akustischen Höhepunkten (viel, viel Musik) herrscht hier nun wahrhaftig kein Mangel.

Die exquisite Steuerung und den Split-screen für simultanes Rennvergügen hat man vom Vorgänger übernommen, wobei Solo-Driver jetzt endlich den vollen Bildschirm für sich alleine haben. Zwar sind die tollen Boxenstops nun nicht mehr auf jeder Strecke zu finden, aber letzten Endes stört das ebensowenig wie der gewohnte Einheitslook der Feindfahrzeuge.
Mag Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 auch mehr ein Update denn ein völlig neues Programm sein - das beste Amiga-Rennen aller Zeiten ist es so oder so! (C. Borgmeier)


Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 logo

The first Lotus was celebrated for its two player mode as its ruthless speed. Now the sequel's here, and it's bigger, faster - and's got room enough for four!

Lotus Turbo Challenge II gives you the chance to drive a beautiful Lotus Elan or Esprit at insane speeds, though exotic locations without the slightest possibility of either crashing or being stopped by the law. As such you can't help but recommend it in the fun stakes - the AMIGA POWER team are well known for their liberal interpretations of the speed limit at times, but this is real wish fulfilment stuff.
If we really drove like we drive Lotus II we'd all have been locked up long ago.

Of course, you could say similar things about hundreds of other driving games, couldn't you? Well no, not really - they may or may not be fun (depending on the game), but almost universally they bear precious little relation to the actual act of driving itself. If they've (deservedly, by the way) come in for some stick for being a little bit samey lately, they equally deserve to be slagged for how unrealistic they all are.

Lotus II, on the other hand, while sharing plenty of surface similarities with its peers - the action is presented from your standard behind-view, pseudo-3D perspective, for instance - succeeds in being both great fun in an arcade-style way as well as remarkably true to real driving. In look, feel and ambition it quite confidently leaves its rivals munching on exhaust fumes.

Make no mistake then - this is one much-hyped game that actually turns out to deserve its pre-release reputation. Cynical readers (and of course, cynical journos like ourselves) - even those who enjoyed the first Lotus game - will have taken all the pre-release hype with a lorry load of road-salt, but it seems we needn't have bothered at all. Gremlin have mixed speed with convincing graphics, imagination, a good feel and simple car to produce. I'd say, the best sprite-based driving game ever on the Amiga.


The best thing is the ability to play against your pals

It's a pleasant surprise that this isn't a game in which you're forced to race against dim-witted computer opponents. You can either slog it out with the elements - much like in real fast driving, where you're not actually racing anyone, just trying to get somewhere fast - or take on one, two or even three(!) pals in the split screen or computer link version (more of that later). There's no racetrack as such - this is all out on the open road, and the only way to progress is to get to the checkpoint in time (OutRun-style, in fact).

In the first levels this is easy-peasy, but later on, with furious weather conditions to cope with, it gets altogether more challenging. Of course there are other cars on the road, but they seem to be about as intelligent as the oil slicks and felled trees that litter the roads. Really they exist merely to get in your way than try and beat you.

One trouble with the first Lotus was that, despite being a graphically excellent drive, it was badly flawed in the crash recovery department. If you got tangled up with an obstacle, the car would slow to a halt (it wouldn't actually flip upside down though, OutRun-style) making getting back into the race a real pain because the blasted car took so long to get itself started again.

Lotus II has fixed that, but in doing so has created some problems of its own. Now you don't stop at all - Lotus (the company) have apparently insisted that none of its expensive kit gets damaged even in computer simulation (the softies) - so instead of bringing you to an abrupt halt, hitting something just makes the control go wibbly and slows you down a bit.

This makes the game faster and saves the getting-started-again problem, but equally it makes it difficult to judge just how appalling your mistake was without you keeping a keen eye on the Speedo It's a moot point, but in the end I think I'd say this non-stopping is a good thing - though, of course, it's pretty hard to take a game totally seriously when slamming into a lorry at 140 just slows you down to 20 mph (instead of simply mashing you).

Still, that's all part of what makes it such an unusual game - it's so arcade-like in speed and smoothness terms, while much of the actual driving experience it's trying to emulate (the way the two different cars handle, say) is so realistic. Unusual, but it works.


It's so arcade-like in speed and smoothness

The other really unusual thing about the game is the style and range of the weather conditions presented - and how they really affect the way your car handles and you play the game. Throughout though, the cars handle a treat (just different enough from one another to be noticeable), the sweeping descents into valleys and blind hill tops (as in the first game) are as exciting as ever, and, of course, the programmers have made no mistakes with the parallax scrolling. As a one player game it's simply excellent.

That said though, the best, best thing about it is the ability to play against your pals. As we've often said before, computer games are always best when you're trying to whip your buddies, and I reckon this applies especially to driving games. The horizontally split screen option (carried over from the first Lotus game) puts you head-to-head against a pal using the same computer without any noticeable loss of speed - I would say that this is the best way to play the game, except a) Stuart beat me every time we played, so there MUST be something wrong and b) if you link two computers with a lead you can either play a friend with a full screen each, or split both screens for four (four!) simultaneous players. It's quite something.

So is it worth buying? Well, yes, of course - it may not be perfect, but it's probably the most atmospheric game of its kind, and most certainly the most fun. Definitely recommended.


DRIVING IT HOME If you were good enough to drive straight through the eight levels of this game, it would still take you a good hour - you can't deny that there's plenty to see. Of course, getting through in one go is not something you're likely to do though, not with these tough levels between the start and the finish lines...
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Forest
The Forest - Nice and gentle English-style country road with few obstacles, except some hamrless felled trees and the odd wayward driver. A pleasant drive, if a bit of a deceiving introduction to the rigours to come.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: City
In the city - Possibly the least impressive stage of all. At one stage you're driving along a motorway and avoiding a whole swarm of juggernauts which cut across your road at implausably placed crossroads - funny, but a bit silly really.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Desert
Desert - It's quite easy get bogged down in the deeper sand at the slides of the road - and if you stray off the course it really might as well be the end of the game - but otherwise not too tricky a level. A good driver will stay in the middle of the road, and survive.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Night Time
Night time - Placed here more for visual effect than for gameplay consideration, I reckon. It looks gorgeous in every way, with plenty of city lights parallaxing their way across the horizon, but to be honest it's really not all that tricky.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Fog
Fog - This is an excellent effect which looks dangerously realistic. The fog alone wouldn't make the course all that tricky though, so more twists and turns have been added here than on earlier stages. Bags of concentration required.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Snow
Snow - wouldn't make the check - Yep, you guessed it. The road is far too slippy to go fast, but if you don't you'll never make the checkpoint. The solution? Learn when to hit the pedal, and when to ease off. This section really sorts the 'flat out' merchants from the decent drivers.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Marshland
Marshland - Water in the road will slow you down considerably, but if you stray off the track there's every chance your car will get bogged down. The sensation of aqua-planing has been captured admirably on the tarmac bits though.
Lotus Turbo Challenge 2: Storm
Storm - Easily the best effects of the whole game, with mesmerising rain, and spooky lightning. More obstacles, twists and turns to deal with too. In fact, a satisfyingly difficult last level.
THOSE LOTUS TURBO CHALLENGES I & II DIFFERENCES IN FULL
  • In the first Lotus the two player option split the screen horizontally.
    In Lotus II, you've still got that, PLUS a cable link allows two computer to be joined and four players to join in!

  • In the first Lotus you only got the chance to use half the screen in one-player mode.
    In Lotus II the whole screen is used for one player.

  • In Lotus I you got to drive the ultra-fast Lotus Esprit Turbo.
    In Lotus II you get the Esprit plus the new Lotus Elan to drive, a slightly slower car, but one which manages to hand on in the corners better.

  • In Lotus I, you car was red and all the computer controlled cars were white - fine, except in two player mode both humans controlled red cars.
    In the new Lotus game there's a much wider range of car colours (based on the real Lotus colour range, in fact).

  • The first game was based on you racing around a series of circuits.
    The new game is based on a stage system, much more like OutRun, which built into a sort-of illegal road race across America.

  • The first game was entirely special weather effects free.
    The programmers have added as many effects as they can to the new one, the best in any Amiga driving game. They're not just there for visual effect either - they actually change the way the car handles and the way you play the game.


Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 logo CU Amiga Superstar

Gremlin's long awaited road racing sequel gets ready to take up pole position. 'Skidmark' Slingsby takes Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 for a spin.

Gremlin move into top gear this month with the eagerly-awaited sequel to their top-selling race game, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge. Produced by crack development team, Magnetic Fields, Turbo Challenge 2 is every bit as good as the original game and looks set to dominate the softcharts for the next couple of months.

Living life in the fast life has proved to be remarkably lucrative for the Sheffield-based software company with no less than four highly-rated motor racing games grabbing top-ten positions within the last year. The success of Supercars 2, Team Suzuki, Toyota Rally and the original Lotus have firmly established Gremlin's credentials as a force to be reckoned with in the car and bike sim market, and the company firmly believe that Turbo Challenge 2 will only reinforce their already formidable reputation.

Designing a sequel to what was widely acclaimed as the best racing game on the Amiga must have been a difficult task. By making superficial changes, such as adding extra tracks and tinkering with the graphics, Gremlin could have found themselves being accused of cashing in on the success of their first game. On the other hand, by implementing substantial changes and radically alterning the gameplay, they could unwittingly destroy the addictive qualities which made the original such a hit.

Thankfully, Lotus 2 manages to improve on the original formula without comprising the gameplay. Magnetif Fields have opted to drop the race track courses of the first game and have replaced them with a series of Outrun-style timed stages. This loses the competitive edge of the original Lotus, but the inclusion of a time element adds a sense of urgency to the proceedings.

The qualifying times start out quite easy, with any spare seconds added onto the next section, but as the stage progresses the driving conditions and course obstacles become more hazardous. Although there are no racing cars to compete against, the roads are still packed with other drivers, most of whom are incapable of steering in a straight line. Some merely hinder your progress by continually driving in front of you, while others actually try to ram you off the road.

The scenario involves the player in a mad dash across the United States during which you'll encounter a number of climatic and racing conditions ranging from rain and snow to fog and nightime driving. Each affects the handling of the car in different ways. For example, the Marshland stage has an abundance of water which causes the car to skid uncontrollably, while the Fog stage obscures upcoming bends and debris. This time, there's the chance to get behind the bonnet of both a Lotus Esprit and a Lotus Elan, as both cars are used in the game depending on the upcoming section. The Esprit has the fastest acceleration while the Elan is better at tackling corners and bends.

Extra points are awarded for reaching checkpoints and there's a bonus for any time left on the clock after a stage has been completed. Driving underneath the lorries in the city section also earns extra points, as does successfully negotiating the water jumps in the Forest section. There's also extra time bonuses on the Marshland and Desert sequences and a turbo-booster on the Storm section.

The split-screen has been retained for two-player races, but the one player mode now has a three-quarter display rather than having one-half of the screen redundant as in the original game. It's also possible to link-up two Amigas and have a four-player race, although i'm not sure how many people will bother to cart their Amiga round to a mate's house to have a game. Each player has a different coloured car, too, which helps make the action a lot clearer as does the variety of colours used for the drone cars.

Although the game uses the same control system as before, the gameplay has been enhanced to make it even more playable. Instead of smashing through numerous off-road signposts and shrubbery and being left stuck at the end of the track, once you've hit something you're immediately bounced back onto the road. Because the car doesn't slow significantly the qualifying times for each section have been kept tight to make the race even more exciting.

Each stage has its own set of graphics to differentiate between the various climatic conditions and look absolutely brilliant. The fog level, which is one of the stages included on this month's coverdisk, is especially stunning and, coupled with the in-game sound effects, add considerable atmosphere to the proceedings.

Other examples include the tumbleweed on the Marsh stage and thunder and lightning on the Storm section. There's also a number of smart in-game animations such as the water splash as each car ploughs through and sparks flying off the walls of the underground tunnels when a car smashes into the side walls.

In all, there are over sixty check-points and more than an hour's worth of driving in Lotus 2. With a difficulty level set just right so that each stage is progressively harder than the last, it'll certainly take you much longer than that to complete. Once you've played Lotus 2, you'll never want to play another race game again.


CRASH COURSE

Lotus 2 is split into eight stages, all of which feature a variety of road racing conditions varying from fog, snow and rain to marshland, desert and forests.

STAGE ONE
The Forest - This stage features tight bends and hilly sections with lots of fallen trees and rubble blocking the road. Logs can be used to jump over swollen rivers.

STAGE TWO
The City - Oncoming traffic fills the outside lane, so undertake at your peril! Underground tunnels, bridges and intersections are othr obstacles to contend with.

STAGE THREE
The Desert - No road marking to signal upcoming bends. Be careful to stay in the middle of the road or else you'll lose traction in the sand.

STAGE FOUR
The Snow - Heavy snow falls makes skidding an inevitability and the car becomes difficult to control. Poor visibility.

STAGE FIVE
The Fog - Some stunning effects here as visibility is cut right down and cars appear suddenly out of the fog. Slower times are inevitable and watch out for cars on sharp corners.

STAGE SIX
The Night - Nightime in the city! Oncoming headlights and darkened tunnels prove a problem here. Again, visibility is poor and the roads are full of erratic Sunday drivers!

STAGE SEVEN
The Marshland - Boggy conditions at the side of the road mean that high speeds are unlikely to result in anything other than massive skids. Oil spills likely.

STAGE EIGHT
The Storm - Rain-lashed roads prove particularly hazardous coupled with blinding flashes of lightening. Steering is particularly difficult and slow to respond.

MAGNETIC ATTRACTION Liandudno-based Magnetic Fields have built up a formidable reputation for designing top-quality racing games. Formed in 1988 from the remanents of Mr Chip Software, their first attempt at a racing sim, Super Scramble Simulator, was based on their 8-bit hit, Kickstart. From there, the company has gone on to produce the highly-playable Supercars 1 and 2, the original Lotus as well as the souped-up sequel.
Shaun Southern is the coding-genius behind all of these games and Lotus 2 is his best work to date. Inspiration for the game came from Sega's high-tech coin-op, Radmobile, which boasts fog, rain and night sections as well as a Sonic the Hedgehog mascot dangling down from the car's mirror! 'It's a brilliant coin-op, very fast, with some dazzling effects,' enthuses Shaun. 'The fog section is superb, but because of the game's complexity I don't think we'll ever see a version on the Amiga.

LAPPING IT UP It's amazing how far race games have come since Atari's Indy 500 and Night Driving VCS cartridges, and as home computer technology grows more sophisticated, so do the racers available for them. Until recently, ZZKJ's superb conversion of Sega's Super Hang-On was in Pole Position and is still rated as one of the most successful racers of all time. Of course, honorary mentions must go to Epyx's utterly brilliant Pitstop II which wowed C64 owners eight years ago, and also to Graftgold's practically perfect conversion of Ivan Stewart's Super Off-Road Racer which was faithfully recreated down to the last pixel and played like a dream.
What the key to a good race game is, is very hard to pin down. Smooth update is essential, yet actually getting the game to play well too can be extremely hard. In addition, as coin-ops get more complex, their Amiga counterparts are suffering, so it seems the only avenue worth exploring is to keep them original and within the Amiga's.

Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 logo

A screenplay. Script: Duncan 'my second name is Arthur Miller but I didn't Marilyon Monroe' Macdonald. Producer: Gremin. Best Boy: The Ed. (Of course! Ed.)

A 40-SCENE PLAY ABOUT LOTUS II
(STARRING, POSSIBLY, YOU)

(1) You discover Lotus II is a car game.
(2) You discover that you race against the clock.
(3) That there are 'gates'.
(4) Fail to reach the 'gates' in time and it's race over.
(5) You cock-up badly first time so try again.
(6) ...With some different options this time.
(7) For instance, you can pick automatic or manual transmission.
(8) But which?
(9) Automatic's easier, manual is faster.
(10) Er, manual then. No, automatic. Er, no, manual.

(11) Aha - Lotus II takes place over 8 levels.
(12) Pick another course then.
(13) Bah. That one was too hard as well.
(14) The graphics and sound are pretty smart though.
(15) So do you want to crack this game or can't you be bothered?
(16) You can't decide.

(17) Knock knock knock
(18) Oh, a female 'chum' is at the door.
(19) Brilliant.
(20) Quick, let her in.
(21) Get out your spare joystick - the useless one with packing tape wrapped around the fire button.
(22) Quit from single-player full-screen mode.
(23) Select simultaneous two-player split-screen mode.
(24) Think to yourself, "This'll be a laugh."
(25) Have a fight with your female chum about who uses which joystick.
(26) Your female chum wins the fight... curses.

(27) Plump for the desert course and wait while the scenery loads.
(28) Go! Carve her up!
(29) Oh. You both fail to reach the gates in time as a result.
(30) Get sent back to the options screen.
(31) Choose another track.
(32) This time your female chum makes the gates and you don't - game over for you.
(33) Sit there like a plinker and watch as she drives like a demon.
(34) Chuckle as she fails to make the fourth of gates.
(35) Wonder how many more gates there actually are on this level.
(36) Decide you don't really care.
(37) Buy something 'extra-special' from a funny shop round the corner.
(28) Suggest to your female chum that she joins you in a 'perv session'.
(38) - (40 Well! Good Lord!

Amiga reviewDunc: I love driving games and I thought this one was going to be a cracker. But it isn't. Oh dear. Let's take the 'storm' level as an example. It's raining. There are flashes of lightning. There's a thunder rumbling away. It's all dead gloomy and atmospheric. It even feels chilly. A promising start, so foot down and accelerate to full speed avoiding the roadside obstacles and computer controlled cars (hitting them slows you down). Get to the gate. Left, right, left, right. Screech, screech, screech. Phew, made it. Extra time. Then again. Then again. Then not.

So why don't you feel ' involved'? Maybe it's the unrealistic handling of the car. Maybe it's because there don't seem to be any 'surprises'. Maybe because Lotus II is just like Outrun. Aha, that's it. It's Outrun in flashy trousers, and I've personally had enough Outrun clones to last me a bally lifetime.

So how about the two-player mode? Great! Oh. Not so great, actually. Two-player racing games are all about carving one another up, but if you go in for that you probably won't get to the gate on time. (And if one does and the other doesn't then the two-player fun is over anyway - no clever catching up if your half of the screen says 'Game Over').

Lotus II may have showcase graphics and sound, but they just can't make up for the extremely mundane and rather dated gameplay. If Gremlin had put all their efforts into something along the lines of a simultaneous two-player split-screen version of the excellent Toyota Celica GT Rally, I'd probably be singing a totally different tune. As it is, I'm not. Ho hum.