Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge (GameCube) Preview

By 06.08.2003

Lotus Challenge is great! Or is it? We could finish and end this preview with that statement, but we guess it wouldn't be much of a preview if we did so we'll continue. Racing games are always welcomed to the 'Cube with open arms, we couldn't do with out them, sadly the Nintendo 64 had to do and was left with only a few mediocre realistic racing games such as Top Gear Overdrive. The only good racing games were the type of racing games that contained fat, green dinosaurs and short, Italian plumbers. The Nintendo Gamecube and, since the Playstation we think it would be fair to say that it has been somewhat a tradition on a Nintendo console that it lacks many, good racing games. The Gamecube has a few good driving games, but on average the standard on the Gamecube is low. The Gamecube is in need of an alternative to the wonders of Burnout; the Gamecube is most definitely in need of variety. So has Motor Lotus Challenge got what it takes? Read on to find out.

Thankfully as with Burnout, Lotus Challenge isn't just your average racer, in that the object of the game isn't always to go round a track a few times in the shortest time. In fact, this racer is exactly the opposite. Lotus Challenge is much more story based than most good racing games at the moment.

The first pointer that makes it different from most current Gamecube driving games in that it's the first licensed racing game to feature realistic crashes. This means the days of tiny little scratches that are hardly noticeable are gone, that is, only in this game. The cars will be fully crushable. The wheels can fly off, the chassis can be broken and the windows can be smashed. Everything you want in a racing game is here and more. Another problem that should be noted is that in the first person view you're treated to a very confusing layout of the speedometer, the current lap time and the total lap times. Not only could all this be shown at the end of the race but the idea of a first person view is to see the actual speedometer on the car dashboard no, not some great translucent speedometer in the centre of the screen?

Screenshot for Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge on GameCube

The speedometer engulfs a large area of the bottom half of the screen that could cause for frustrating times when you're partially blinded. All of the needless and generally useless stats are dispersed across the screen and could cost you a lap, a race or a championship, just a little design fault. Thankfully when in the third person view none of this is seen. The graphics seem to resemble those of Burnout, in that they are very bright, colourful and very varied, this at the cost of some of the track outlines looking blocky instead of curved and other little blips in the graphics that give you a shrill reminder of the Nintendo 64 days. On a whole though we must say the graphics are shaping up well and the car models are drawn well but could be improved, polished and finished off to give a better look.

The second and much more important is that there is a much bigger emphasis on the story mode and different modes of play. Like in Burnout often in Lotus Challenge you will find yourself on the wrong side of the lane. With oncoming traffic darting past you whilst trying to escape from the Paparazzi this sounds like great fun that at the end of a few games out should have the controller pad slipping out of your sweat filled hands. Then you can take part in some amazing feats by flying over many long coaches end-to-end to get your name around and progress through.

Screenshot for Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge on GameCube

Speed alone won't necessarily win this game for you; you'll need much more than that. These missions will be fairly simple to complete but should add some much need length to the single player area of the game. Lotus Challenge won't just be an advert for the make of car, Lotus but a very deep game, as you'll find as you progress further and further into the game and unlock nearly 40 different models ranging from the latest roadsters to the original Lotus and even some concept cars designed solely for the game, proving yet again that this isn't just an over done advertising campaign. Along with these concept cars are a few Lotus designed Formula One cars that look to be great fun to drive around the circuits in.

Screenshot for Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge on GameCube

On the topic of the actual cars, everyone would dream of having a Lotus Esprit or some other fast, classy Lotus that gets you noticed as you burn down the main road screeching the tyres as you rip tread off of your wheels at stupid speeds? If you don't like the sound of having the responsibility of such a grand piece of mechanics then Lotus Challenge gives you all the flashy cars without any of this in the form of what is looking to be a game that is making use of a good license. The Lotus trademark represents a pristine range of cars that have always been shadowed by the giants, Lamborghini and Ferrari although they are some of the fastest and most stylish cars on offer. Lotus cars are the type of car you would feel proud to drive around in and be washing every day of the year. From the Exige to the Esprit, from the Elise to the 7, they're all included.

Like in Project Gotham Racing, Lotus Challenge offers a small cityscape area remade and remodelled of some of the largest cities on the planet such as Tokyo or London. If bustling cities aren't your thing then you can race in a whole range of different locales from the Alps to the outskirts of Florida to the country.

Screenshot for Motor Trend Presents Lotus Challenge on GameCube

Final Thoughts

What's your favourite type of racing game? If it's wacky, fast, crazy gameplay mixed with innovative weapons and Nintendo's all stars then its Mario Kart for you. If you like driving simulations where you can earn your license then work your way up in a career style ladder well where the physics of the cars are perfect and the cars always remain pristine without a scratch then Grand Turismo 3 is for you. No, wait, sorry, Grand Turismo isn't on the Gamecube, and there aren't any good simulations on the Gamecube at the moment and for the foreseeable future. If you want to drive on the wrong side of the road dodging oncoming traffic whilst trying to overtake an opponent then Burnout 2 is for you. If you want a different kind of racing game that is sure for you to enjoy then Lotus Challenge is worth your hard earned money. With a full multiplayer option and much more we can definitely say we're excited about this game. As we gain more information on this game you can be sure we will keep you updated as we find out if Kuju Entertainment have set their sights too high by trying to offer more than what they can perfect and tweak for the best racing experience possible.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

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European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   


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