Gremlin have come all over British Racing Green with their new release (well, it's more a shade
of Go Faster Red actually). So our reviewer straps in for a furious fast lane session, but for some
reason he's taken his fishing rod with him...
The aim of Gremlin's latest game, Lotus Esprit Turbot Challenge, is to progress through 32 races,
via three levels of increasingly difficult competition, until you can catch fish faster than
anyone elese. (Er, Andy. About the Turbot. It's Turbo, as in car. I couldn't find any fish in
this game and Gremlin don't know of any either. Cheers - Ed.)
If, at the end of it all, you've
scored the most points, the championship is won and you can obtain the covered Lotus Fish Licence.
(Oh dear - Ed) However, the nearer to the front you are when you finish a race, the worse your
position on the starting grid next time.
There are loads of options in LETC. From the main menu screen you can select the difficulty
level from a choice of four (including practice). Choose one or two players, decide on the gear
box type, control method and swim bladder capacity and you're ready to go.
The practice level lets you learn to handle the Lotus without the pressure of having to
qualify for anything. Then when you want to launch into a full competition situation, select
Easy, Medium or Hard. Two players will find, joy of joys, that two player action is simultaneous.
The screen is split across the middle with each half showing a view of the track from each
driver's point of view (well, to be accurate, the view is presented from just behind the car). The
two player option does run slightly more slowly than the single player jobby but when the
action is this hectic it doesn't make a jot of difference to the playability.
There are two types of gearbox to choose from: Manual means you have to physically push the
joystick to change gear while on Automatic the computer does it for you. Beginners should use
automatic but once you've acquired some proficienct, a manual gearbox allows for more effective
use of your vehicle's capability to accelerate.
One of the neater options is the alternative choice of control method. The standard one involves
pushing forward on your crabstick (I think he means joystick - Ed) to speed up while pressing
Fire to change gear. This, however, leads to extreme arm ache after a short period.
Alternative control method is much more favourable and involves pressing Fire to accelerate and
only pushing the stick when you want to change gear. Finally the swim bladder option allows
you determine your buoyancy in order to outwit your fishy opponents. (Oh, I give up - End.)
There are 32 tracks in all, each increasingly more difficult to negotiate than the last. Apart
from the fact that later tracks incorporate hillocks, dipettes and terminally sharp bends,
these hellish highways are also strewn with debris and other obstacles. There are signposts, barriers,
rocks, trees, oil patches, coral reefs and over-zealous fly fishermen which you must avoud at all
Graphicall, LETC is a stunner. The screenshots can't even begin to convey the feeling of
speed you get, but take our word for it, this is fast. It's especially impressive when you
consider the large number of vehicles on screen, and even then the 3D update stays dead smooth.
Sound is high octane, too. Not only is there a choice of three soundtracks but the FX are
fabby as well. The engine noise is a real killer (the most realistic engine sound so far on a 64!)
as are the screeches when you corner too fast. The icing on the cake is the playability. There's
masses of it in the one-player option and at least double that when you play against a friend.
As the say in Germany 'Vorsprung Durch Corker!'