Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge is the first game in the Lotus racing games series. It was initially released in 1990 for the Commodore Amiga by Magnetic Field's Shaun Southern and Andrew Morris. The game was later ported to the Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computers.
STORY / GAMEPLAY In Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge you drive a (what else) magnificent Lotus Esprit sports car and race against other Lotus drivers. Each track is lap based and consists of straights, curves and turns of varying degrees as well as hills and hollows that can slow down or speed up the car. Each turn is indicated by a chain of road-side signposts while its difficulty of each turn is reflected by the number of the signposts. Unfortunately, the game window is far too small and takes up just half of the in-game screen! This sometimes may frustrate you since you just can't see the track (especially when ascending)! Nevertheless, Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge was well received by gaming press of the time that praised its quality and 2-players versus mode. All of its versions have been rated around 80-90%. It's also the only title in the series that was released for an 8bit machine as the ones that followed were on 16bit machines only.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The graphics on the Amstrad CPC are quite decent and this version is a direct ZX Spectrum port. The only difference between the ZX and the CPC is some extra more colors for the latter! During the race, the scrolling is not that fast so it doesn't give the actual feel of speed. As far as the sound, there's a nice chip-tune intro music (taken from the Amiga) and a few sound effects of the car engines and bumps.
GAMEPLAY SAMPLE VIDEO On our video below you may watch the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST and Amiga versions of the game.
The Amstrad CPC version is at 05:09.
CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards) GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.