You're not logged in! Sort it out. Sign In | Register | Lost Password?

Lotus Turbo Challenge Review

Lotus; the epitome of British sports and racing cars. It was inevitable that a driving game featuring the legendary car manufacturer would surface. For Amiga owners, three Lotus games were developed to please the petrol-head among us. For us Mega Drive owners, we only received two. But from this reviewer’s perspective, they’re definitely the best of the three games to own and play.

So here we are at Lotus Turbo Challenge; the second in the series but the first for Mega Drive owners. The premise (as with all racing games) is simple; drive from one end of the track to the other whilst overtaking as many cars as possible and trying not to crash. Lotus takes the arcade approach by adding a timer which is replenished every time you reach a check point. This makes the game a race against time instead of a race for first place, thus making the game an incredibly fast-paced and urgent one.

The game is eight tracks long, each containing a different gimmick or set of hazards to keep things fresh. The first stage sees you trying to avoid puddles and streams by riding up logs to help you clear the obstacles without losing any time. The second and third stages add poor visibility to the mix forcing your reaction time into places it would never have previously tried to comprehend. The tracks are a brilliant showcase of the amount of detail the developers have gone into to make the game consistently exciting.

Car control is extremely simple too. Two cars are available to play with; the Lotus Esprit and the Lotus Elan, both of which drive identically and are merely there for cosmetic purposes. Acceleration is handled with button B, braking with button A and ‘Yeeeeeehaw!!’ with button C. If that last one makes little sense on first glace then allow me to elaborate: Button C activates a taunt which sees the driver howl ‘Yeeeeeehaw!!’ as you press the button. The original inclusion of this gimmick was an Easter egg in the Motorway track. To access it then you had to skilfully drive under one of the flatbed lorries which crossed the track. However, the Mega Drive developers saw fit to add this sound clip to the pressing of button C. After a few presses it becomes incredibly obvious that this feature is here merely to annoy than to entertain. Multiplayer races become a bombardment of cowboy-based yelling which can be initially funny but soon degenerate into the wanton destruction of everything around you.

Either way, the entertaining tracks and easy control make the gameplay experience an enjoyable one and one that you will definitely revisit. Unfortunately, these positive things cannot be applied to graphics and sound. The game contains one music track which plays in the title sequence and on the main menu. It’s a funky little ditty composed by Amiga music legend Barry Leitch but unfortunately that’s all you hear of it. The rest of the music is contained in the introduction screens for each track but you won’t be spending a lot of time there so they might as well not be there at all. Sound effects are limited to the same old ‘vroom’ noises you expect to hear out of the Mega Drive’s feeble sound chip, some decent braking noises and some cool sampled effects like water splashes and and announcer who starts the race. Other than that, there’s nothing to write home about. No in-game music to enhance the gameplay experience, nothing.

As I said before, the graphics also fall low of the standard you’d expect (especially seeing that Super Hang-On had been out for quite some time before this). Everything seems to be limited to the very bottom of the screen. The draw distance is terrible and makes it difficult to judge your cornering. Things get a little bit exciting when hills and slopes get introduced but they don’t happen enough to add enough visual flare to the surroundings. The colour palette is also quite bland and muddy, bringing an overall downer on a game that has such great gameplay as this. For some strange reason, the developer saw fit to remove all colour from the player’s car, leaving it in a bland, white, lump of boredom. Gone is the lush red of cars from the game’s original release, shame that.

Overall, Lotus Turbo Challenge is an exciting, fast-paced and varied racer that’s well worth your time. It’s such a shame that the general experience is brought down by a lack of colour and boring aesthetics.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 6/10/2008

Box Artwork


Instruction Manual


SEGADriven is proud affiliates with the following websites:

- Dreamcast Live
- Emerald Coast
- Project Phoenix Productions
- Radio SEGA
- Saturday Morning Sonic
- SEGA Retro
- Sonic HQ
- Sonic Paradise
- The Dreamcast Junkyard
- The Pal Mega-CD Library
- The Sonic Stadium
SEGADriven and its original content are copyrighted to their respective authors. Media related directly to SEGA is copyrighted to its respective authors. Any comments on SEGA-related materials do not represent SEGA themselves. All rights reserved 2008-2022.