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Review by  Joe Stegner
Reviewed on 2004-11-21
Attention span: 10/10 Very fun, very addicting.
Controls: 8/10 Clear to Exit? Aye aye aye...
Implementation: 6/10 Invalid file formats&no fullscreen.
Overall: 9/10 A keeper, indeed.

By now, most owners of Z80 calculators should know what Lotus Turbo Challenge is (based off the Amiga's Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 from Magnetic Fields, written by Badja for the 83(+), ported to the 82 by Sam Heald); now the 86'ers won't have to use an emulator to enjoy this game, as it was ported by Rusty Wagner (Virtual TI, Plusshell,Mars Patrol port for the 86, and much, much more; he's ranked 7th on the list of authors with the most downloads of all time).

I went to put the two files from the zip on my calc through the TI-Graphlink software, and it returned that they were invalid. I then went to CalcExplorer, and it said that they were corrupted. Taking a chance, I just sent them. Luckily they worked. Sorry, boys and girls, you'll have to download CalcExplorer (it should come with Asm Studio 86) to use this game (maybe VTI will send it too; I tried it that way and it came out bad...)

For those who don't know (i.e., the ones who've been under a rock), Lotus Turbo Challenge is a racing game where you are in a race against time; you have to cross the check points to fill your time bar again and again, while it decreases as time goes by. When the bar goes empty, you lose. It is a 2d game with a 3d-ish perspective, and it is a very fun game, indeed.

The game itself is unchanged. Not even the screen size is changed; 86'ers will still have to put up with using a smaller portion of the screen instead of having a full view. That shouldn't discourage anybody, though; the game now plays faster than it would through ASE, YAS, or Ion86. There is still a tad bit of choppiness at the beginning of races when you are starting to accelerate. When you're beginning to pick up speed, you'll notice the lines on the road freeze for about a split-second. At least I did; I eat my carrots...

The graphics are done nicely, and I especially liked the tunnels you went through in the Rain course. The fun thing about this game is how some people get obsessed with it; a friend of mine wouldn't stop playing until he beat the rain course, because he ran out of time, and decelerated enough to not cross the finish line by a few feet, which made him very, very upset.

My problems with the game? Just the little quirks here and there. I'm used to the exit button on my 86 as the exit for all programs; I get a weird feeling when I have to hit clear to exit. The TI-Graphlink software doesn't recognize the format the two files in the zip are in; you have to use CalcExplorer to send them to your calculator. Other than that, and the fact it doesn't use the full screen of the 86, I have no other quirks with it...well, I do NOT enjoy those NPC cars; they can speed through corners as fast as they want, and they sure aren't that careful about ramming you or getting out of your way...Sunday drivers....

It'll probably stay on your calculator for quite awhile; I myself have never been able to beat it (but that might be because only now can I use it at the regular speed...).

Review by  Brian Gordon
Reviewed on 2004-04-15
This game is truly a treat. The intense gameplay keep the player gripped to the calculator. The graphics are breathtaking: lightning cracks in the distance, rain falls down, streetlights, and trees blaze by as you go up and down hills and through tunnels and, of course, try to get the upper hand on your opponents.

However, there are a few problems. The graphics are stunning, but you pay a heavy price for them in archive space. Also, this game is very hard, and, while you can move one pixel at a time, this is one of those games where you must hit every key correctly. In some of the earlier levels, you might be able to collide with one or two things and still win, but in the later ones, you have to do everything perfectly. Another disadvantage you have is that all the other racers start out at top speed, slamming you from behind when you are trying to accelerate.

The idea of the game is to get through checkpoints and complete the level, not necessarily to win. In some of the later levels, Badja seems to have employed optical illusions such as tunnels to force the player to collide with other cars, which is incredibly annoying. The steering is reasonably tight, however, so if you know what to expect, you can usually pass through unscathed. The last three levels are excessively long and repetitive and often the player runs out of time in sight of the finish line, forcing him to retry the entire level.

Nonetheless, I recommend this game, for its initial fun and good graphics, if not for its replay value.

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