Lotus III: The Ultimate Challenge is the third arcade racing game in the Lotus series, combining all the gameplay aspects of its predecessors.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Lotus III is the third game in the Lotus series and it combines the gameplay aspects of its predecessors, allowing you 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 features returns (Patrick Phelan's soundtrack to Lotus III spawned many modern remixes). Since this is a racing game, there is no actual story. As all games of the series, Lotus III is based around the Lotus, a sports car series manufactured by the homonymous British car factory and offers the ability to choose among three different cars: the Esprit, the Elan and the Elise, each one having its own pros and cons. Note that during a race, all opponents will use the same car type you finally choose to drive. The gameplay is fast and progressively it gets too hard to master, so a little practice is needed.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The game runs in VGA mode only, featuring really smooth and fast scrolling, while the backgrounds are nicely detailed, identical to the Amiga version. The game recycles most of the graphics from Lotus 2 game (which was never released on the PCs), with some added race tracks. The PC graphics use a few more colors compared to the Amiga (i.e. different shades of green and red) and up to 32 on screen (VGA graphics could do better). The sound is pretty good too, as it supports AdLib / Soundblaster cards and Roland hardware, featuring a very nice choice of in-game rhythmic soundtracks to choose from, during gameplay (by selecting one from the car's hi-fi). You can also choose sampled sound FX only. There is also a pretty catchy intro theme. Note that the Amiga version offers the same tunes but of excellent quality and it’s another good example why the Amiga's sound hardware was ahead of its time (and its competitors)!
CPU: Various processors from Intel,AMD, Cyrix, varying from 4.77Mhz (Intel 8088) to 200Mhz (Pentium MMX) and up to 1995 (available on this site) MEMORY: 640Kb to 32MB RAM (typical up to 1996) GRAPHICS: VGA standard palette has 256 colors and supports: 640x480 (16 colors or monochrome), 640x350 in 16 colors (EGA compatability mode), 320x200 (16 or 256 colors). Later models (SVGA) featured 18bit color palette (262,144-color) or 24bit (16Milion colors), various graphics chips supporting hardware acceleration mainly for 3D-based graphics routines. SOUND: 8 to 16 bit sound cards: Ad-Lib featuring Yamaha YMF262 supporting FM synthesis and (OPL3) and 12-bit digital PCM stereo, Sound Blaster and compatibles supporting Dynamic Wavetable Synthesis, 16-bit CD-quality digital audio sampling, internal memory up to 4MB audio channels varying from 8 to 64! etc. Other notable sound hardware is the release of Gravis Ultrasound with outstanding features!