The Lotus series consists of three racing computer games based around the Lotus brand: Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge, Lotus Turbo Challenge 2, and Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge. Published between 1990 and 1992 by Gremlin Graphics, the games gained very favourable reviews upon release. Original Amiga versions of the games were created by Shaun Southern and Andrew Morris of Magnetic Fields, and then ported by other individuals to several other computers and game consoles.
The third game in the series combined the gameplay aspects of its predecessors, allowing players to choose between racing opponents of Lotus Turbo Challenge or the arcade-like time trials of Lotus 2. The two-player option was retained and the music selection feature returns (Patrick Phelan's soundtrack to Lotus III spawned many modern remixes). Lotus III also added a third car - a concept Lotus M200 automobile - and allowed the player to choose which one to race with. The game recycled most of the graphics from Lotus 2, but added a number of new sceneries.
The Genesis/Mega Drive version bears the name Lotus II: RECS (referring to the game's new course creation feature) or simply Lotus II depending on country of release, while the MS-DOS port released in 1993 was called Lotus: The Ultimate Challenge. The MS-DOS version features the Lotus Esprit S4 instead of the Esprit Turbo SE. Apart from the slightly different car's graphics, the difference in gameplay is minimal, if any. The MS-DOS version was released again in 1996, this time on a CD-ROM.
Lotus III features a Racing Environment Construction Set (RECS) course creation system. The system allows users to create a race track by defining various basic parameters, such as amount and difficulty of turns and hills, amount of obstacles, type of scenery or difficulty of opponents. The created track can then be raced by one or both players. The course can also be written in form of a letter-and-digit code and later reused; these can be raced individually or in a series of up to nine user-created tracks.
The RECS system allows players to quickly create a unique track without having to use a course editor; however, it sacrificed the facility of precisely positioning turns or obstacles. The RECS system was later reused in another Magnetic Fields' game, International Rally Championship.
The Amiga and Genesis versions of Lotus III again contain a hidden game, accessed by the password CU AMIGA in the Amiga version and POD PLEASE on the Genesis. The game is a graphically enhanced remake of Southern and Morris' Commodore 64 game POD.
This version of Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge was designed for personal computers with operating system MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System),
which was operating system developed by Microsoft in 1981. It was the most widely-used operating system in the first half of the 1990s. MS-DOS was supplied
with most of the IBM computers that purchased a license from Microsoft. After 1995, it was pushed out by a graphically more advanced system - Windows and
its development was ceased in 2000. At the
time of its greatest fame, several thousand games designed specifically for computers with this system were created. Today, its development is no longer continue
and for emulation the free DOSBox emulator is most often used. More information about MS-DOS operating system can be found
Available online emulators:
4 different online emulators are available for Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge are summarized in the following table: