Time to wake up... no, NO, NO! The mountain-side is awful (see Mountainous) - very jerky and very boring.
It looks as though Lotus 3 is strictly a single-player game. Yes, it does have a 2-player mode (just like numbers 1 and 2), but... the 2-player mode is split-screen. This not only serves to confuse the player because of the squashed look, it also slows the game down even further. The link-up option has now gone (which allowed four players to compete) too.
Right, that's my negative mood over with - let me tell you some of the game's nice features and extras...
RECS: RECS is the new 'Build your own track' thing, which enables you to, er... build your own track, of course. Being more specific, RECS (Race Something-or-other Construction Set) gives you many options to tweak. For example, would you like 100% hills? Or even 75% obstacles? RECS gives you the chance to semi-construct your own courses. I say semi because it is a little random - you can choose how steep you would like the course (in percentage terms)
and other things, but you can't add your own hills at the positions
you would like etc.. The upshot of this being that the courses
are stored in the computer's memory, meaning you only have to type in a code (which is given to you after deciding what you want your track to be like). Very nice and very user-friendly, but Jaguar XJ220's Construction kit is far more flexible. Still, we can't complain too much - at least it's there if you want it.
A New Car: Yes, you heard right, Lotus 3 now features 3 cars - the new one being the swish green M200. The M200 is a good all-rounder, being faster than the Elan (but not as good handling-wise) and better handling than the Esprit (though not quite as fast).
New Tunes: Alright, let's face it - most of the new soundtracks on offer are pretty awful. There're a couple of good 'uns though (including one tune which was originally going to be used with Zool !), but I'd stick to sound effects, simply because the music replaces all sound (a major hate of mine). The first Lotus had tunes that were better than these but still didn't sacrifice the sound, so this seems a bit strange. The intros to the levels now include accompanied tunes which is neat. (Lotus 2 had these as well, fact fans.)
New Courses: Yes, read about them on the previous page.
Optional time or Computer Races: Lotus 1 involved racing against the computer controlled cars, whilst Lotus 2 opted for a race against the clock. Both had their fans and enemies. Gremlin have put this right now, so racing against the clock or computer is entirely up to you.
RECS: Oh, we've mentioned that already, have we?
New Box Illustration: Hmm... I think we'll stop at this for now.
There you have it then, Lotus 3 has a few good extra features (even if some of them are a little gimmicky) and knobs. As the programmers put it - "Lotus 3 is Lotus 1 plus Lotus 2, a course designer, new tracks, loads of new graphics, sound effects and music" - and, you know something - in one sense, they're right; but in another sense, they're wrong, simply because No. 3 compromises speed for these added bonuses.
Some of you may have heard about the Lotus Trilogy disc for the Amiga CD≥≤ - this is simply a compact disc with all three Lotus games on. There are promises of enhanced sound and graphics, but even better still - a smoother update! Can I hear an applause? (Yes - it's us readers celebrating the fact that now that you're happy, you'll probably shut up. - Every reader of C.A.C.G. in the world)
Alright then, you certainly WON'T be hearing me rambling on about the slow speed of Lotus 3 anywhere else in this review (Oh, thank goodness for that - Readers).
Presentation is slick. There's now a brand spanking new front-end sequence, complete with fabby muzak. The options are presented clearly, requiring you to just move the joystick around to the desired position and press fire. The options are similar to the previous Lotus 2 game, bar the RECS feature and time & computer race thang. This means you can select how you accelerate (pushing the joystick forward - which can tell on your arm after a bit, or simply pressing the fire button). As before, you can also select between manual or automatic gears (I bet you're thinking that this review is going to become more and more predictable as I begin to run out of ideas about what to write next, and - yes! - you're right). Would you believe it, there's even a 2-player simultaneous mode built in! Oh, you probably knew that already, didn't you? (Yes. Yawn - Reader)
Erm... Graphics are as good as you'd expect from this sort of thing. The Lotus cars are particularly well drawn, and there are quite a few new track-side objects for you to look at. (Yes, I'm sure you're finding this very interesting - go on, look at the final score and buzz off.)
Oh, you're still here, are you? Look, I tell you what - you write the rest of this review - I'm off to buy a packet of Monster Munch...
Neah, only joking. (or at least I think I am.)
Anyway, the real problem with Lotus 3... (Is the speed? - Reader) No, the fact that it's all been seen before. If you have both Lotus 1 and
its sequel, you won't find anything radically new in the third instalment. Sure, you now have the track-editor and a few more weather effects and things, but that's as far as it goes. As mentioned earlier on in this review, action sequences involving chases and shooting etc. would have taken the gameplay concept even further. Actually, even Lotus 2 had more variation. On the later levels,
for example, there were time bonuses in the form of green capsules, which added to the tension a little. The final level included some red turbo boosts which were very satisfying to collect - oh, and there was also a bit of speech with 1-Megabyte machines. The original Lotus had refuelling - this added greatly to the strategy side of things, but unfortunately, this feature is not present in Lotus 3. Additional extras from off the top of my head would include... The mountain stage with Lotuses pushing and bashing each other off the road and down the mountain, only to find themselves later bombarded by other rival cars. Perhaps the computer opposition could all gang up and find ways to trap you, causing you to divert off the track. This is then followed by a side-on view of the car tumbling down the mountain. What a hoot! Instead though, you simply rebound off the barriers when at the edge - how not very unoriginal - not! (Er, could you repeat that? - Reader) Wouldn't it be great if you could leave traps behind, like nails to flatten the opponents' tyres, or oil to make them skid wildly into other cars, producing a massive pile-up? Of course it would. The future stage is a good idea, although a speed zone and lasers are the only real redeeming features. How about lights flashing on and off rapidly, or planes flying above you trying their utmost to bomb your car? The city stage could go OTT and have lanes branching off in to others, with cars fitted with turbo boosters as standard. A stunt course could feature loop-the-loops, twists or/and even ramps. I'm sure it wouldn't be too tricky for the programmers to implement something new that would make people jump up off their seats and say "Hey! This is great!" Unfortunately, as explained
earlier, Magnetic Fields (the programmers) were limited in what they could do, because of Lotus' restrictions.
Mario Kart on the SNES included loads of fun-packed features and original touches - some similar ideas - if added to Lotus 3 - would have turned the game into something really special.
Enough of my griping, grousing and moaning; overall Lotus 3 is a good example of the driving genre. Combining the original two Lotus games together makes Lotus 3 appeal to everyone. Basically then, if you've never ever played a driving game before, Lotus 3 will instantly appeal to you. However, Formula One Grand Prix is the game for you if you want an accurate rendition of real life racing with many options to define, so don't go buying Lotus 3 if you want 100% (or thereabouts) realism.
What you can expect if you do buy L3 is a fine arcade-style racing game with a couple of additional features and good playability.
To sum it all up, then: If you already own the original two Lotus games, think twice before rushing out and parting with your cash. If you are new to the Amiga, or computers in general, Lotus 3 will satisfy you for quite some time. The tricky decision is whether or not it is worth investing in L3 if you own one of the originals. If this is the case, then think carefully - do you need all those extra features?
Do you really need RECS?
Do you really need extra courses?
Do you really need that extra car (nice though it is)?
And... Do you really need a SLOW, JERKY update? (I knew I couldn't trust you. - Reader)