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Thread: Lotus II: RECS

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Sonic Lotus II: RECS

    The range of computer ports Electronic Arts brought to the Genesis was quite broad, and everything from RPGs to platformers and action games made the jump. Even racing titles found their way onto Sega's wonder console, and among the franchises that saw success there was the Lotus series of games. Featuring real cars and a ton of courses, the Genesis port of Lotus III was redubbed as RECS when it was ported. How did it fair against Sega's own OutRun and others? Read our full review to find out.

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    Road Rasher
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    I disagree with the review. Lotus II just isn't very fun to play. The sense of speed is never there, the tracks are boring, the generator isn't particularly interactive, the sound is awful, the cars don't look that great either. The game would have been better if there was a more structured championship mode, better graphics and sound, and better controls. Look to the Road Rash series on how to properly make a 2D racing like this. Lotus is a snooze fest.
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    vintagegamecrazy's Avatar
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    You know, I actually almost bought a copy of this recently but the case was in bad shape so I held off, I'm kinda glad that I did since it sound's pretty mediocre from most of you.
    Check out my review channel at GameFaqs here. Then feel free to leave feedback and comment here

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    Raging in the Streets Aarzak's Avatar
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    The Lotus series inspired and is similar to the SNES "Top Gear" series of racers. Both series were developed by Gremlin Interactive. The Lotus games (at least the Genesis incarnations, dunno about the original Amiga versions) seem quite boring in comparison. One of the TG games ("Top Gear 2") made it over to the Genesis however, so you Lotus detractors could try that.

    I thought Lotus II's music was good. Nice FM-synth and drums. One of the better GEMS compositions I've heard.

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    Master of Shinobi MN12BIRD's Avatar
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    I just picked up Lotus Challenge and its okay but really I can't stand racers on a 16-bit gen machine that have no music! There is no excuse not to have music during gameplay! Rad Racer and Freggin' Outrun pulled it off on the 8-bit machines!! Its just so boring racing without some music.

    This Lotus II looks a little better and has music? If so it must be pretty good. I mean the original is still a decent racer.

    Top Gear 2 on the SNES on the other hand is one of the best 16-bit racers! Plus the music is insane!

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    It's called a Mega Drive Master of Shinobi Devil N's Avatar
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    Ahh, I used to play this game (Lotus III that is) on my PC a lot back in the day. It hasn't aged well in the meantime, but I might get this for my MD someday just for the sake of nostalgia. The MD version is a surprisingly solid port too.

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    Road Rasher
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aarzak View Post
    The Lotus series inspired and is similar to the SNES "Top Gear" series of racers. Both series were developed by Gremlin Interactive. The Lotus games (at least the Genesis incarnations, dunno about the original Amiga versions) seem quite boring in comparison. One of the TG games ("Top Gear 2") made it over to the Genesis however, so you Lotus detractors could try that.

    I thought Lotus II's music was good. Nice FM-synth and drums. One of the better GEMS compositions I've heard.
    and both the genesis games in the series both this and TG are very good, I agree with this reviewer

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    Master of Shinobi Curryman123's Avatar
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    What a average game......I guess Amiga fans are easy to please?

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    Year of '6502
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    The review suggests the RECS module is an addition from the Amiga original game. While I admit not having seen how the RECS display looks on the Megadrive version, I can tell for sure that Lotus III on the Amiga has a system which allows you to generate your own courses based on length, curves, steepness, obstacles, type of scenery etc. In the end, you get a nine letter code which can be combined with two digits for added difficulty level. It sounds to me the RECS is exactly the same system? The Amiga version even lets you define a custom circuit of some 8-10 races, each one is a nine letter code that is deterministic so a skilled player can see from the letters forming the code what kind of race it will be.

    Besides, I used to own the first Lotus game for the Megadrive and found it decent to play, although probably better on the Amiga. Maybe I should try to locate Lotus II: RECS since I used to like these "non-fatal" racing games.

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    Master of Shinobi LinkueiBR's Avatar
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    LOTUS II RECS (Lotus III on amiga) is one of my favorite racing games and is one of the best racing games for the system!

    Unfortunately, i still don't understand some problems found in this game:

    -Why don't release these 2 games what their original names, LOTUS II for LOTUS and LOTUS III for Lotus II RECS?

    -Why don't use a single FM sound channel or one of the 4 PSG channels for the car engine, knocks and skid sounds effects.

    Everybody know that SEGA GENESIS have a much more faster processor for their time, but why this game don't have a better FPS in 2 player mode than the TOP GEAR 1 released for the SNES from the same developer for example?

    One more question: Why the majority of SEGA GENESIS racing games have poor fps, is due to the lack of optimization on the code?
    Last edited by LinkueiBR; 01-03-2016 at 05:18 PM.
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    Super Robot Raging in the Streets Obviously's Avatar
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    I have a soft spot for this game because I had it when I was younger. I remember asking my parents for Virtua Racing and this is what I got. I enjoyed it regardless. It's got some nice music tracks though it's really odd that playing with music mutes the sound effects.

    It's not the best racing game out there but you can do worse.

  12. #12
    Hero of Algol
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    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    LOTUS II RECS (Lotus III on amiga) is one of my favorite racing games and is one of the best racing games for the system!
    I have the same opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    -Why don't release these 2 games what their original names, LOTUS II for LOTUS and LOTUS III for Lotus II RECS?
    As the first game wasn't released on the MD, EA probably thought it would be a good idea to ignore Amiga's index and label the games according to the MD series.

    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    -Why don't use a single FM sound channel or one of the 4 PSG channels for the car engine, knocks and skid sounds effects.
    IIRC, the engine noise actually uses the PSG and most of the other sound effects are made using PCM and synth through the FM chip.
    The problem is the audio driver they used in both Lotus games and Top Gear 2 on the MD. It's one of the worst and less optimized ones so it would stop the music to play PCM samples, for an example.
    The developers of these versions probably didn't know any better or didn't have the time nor the will to improve anything in such regard and ended up going with the usual Amiga "style" of Music OR Sound Effects. It was the easiest way to go.


    Quote Originally Posted by LinkueiBR View Post
    Everybody know that SEGA GENESIS have a much more faster processor for their time, but why this game don't have a better FPS in 2 player mode than the TOP GEAR 1 released for the SNES from the same developer for example?
    One more question: Why the majority of SEGA GENESIS racing games have poor fps, is due to the lack of optimization on the code?
    A few things to consider:
    1) It has been stated by former magazine reviewers that, at first, Gremlin sent some SNES prototypes of a Lotus version for the console to be evaluated by selected magazines and it run very poorly on the console. The feedback was very negative, so Gremlin decided to build a new engine for the SNES, from scratch, which would later be used in the Top Gear games.

    2) Straight ports of Top Gear 2, like the CD32 and Amiga 500 versions run poorly (even with the CD32 using a much more powerful CPU) which might be an evidence that its engine was really optimized for the SNES.

    3) SNES CPU is better than the MD's in terms of handling interrupts, significantly better. IDK all the technical details that play behind split-screen modes, but if it's a scenario heavy on interrupts it might be one of the reasons why such modes usually seem to flow better on the SNES than on the MD.

    4) Lotus games on the MD were straight Amiga ports and as such we might question how well optimized they are for the MD architecture. I haven't managed to have a deep look in their code but for what I've seen in terms of palette usage and audio it seems to indicate that there was some room for improvement.

    5) There's a lot of things going under the hood of these games which aren't so easy to notice just by looking at them but which may affect their performance substantially:
    • Lotus games (both MD and Amiga versions) have significantly more track side objects with more variability in terms of width and height than Top Gear 2 on the SNES.
      On Lotus games you have moments where there are like four distinct vertical lines of track side objects at each side, including some BIG trees. On SNES' Top Gear 2 you have like two lines of objects at most, with most of segments having a single line on each side and many times - especially on turns - just one of the track sides have objects. Also, most of the track side objects in the SNES game are significantly smaller, especially the trees. The SNES sprite system works best with a certain size of sprite (which is a small one) and Top Gear 2's engine is probably taking that into account.
    • Lotus games scroll the track significantly faster than Top Gear 2.
    • Lotus games have longer draw distance than Top Gear 2, with the camera angle being a bit different on the SNES game which seems to allow smaller gaps between the lowest and highest elevation of the track (this probably helps to cut/simplify some calcs).
    • I consider the MD version of Top Gear 2 a poor port, but it's kinda interesting because it seems to be using the Lotus engine instead of the Top Gear 2's engine; so putting both the MD and SNES versions side by side you can notice some differences. Despite being based on the SNES version graphics, the MD version seems to have more track side objects for an example of what I had already cited above.
    • The first Top Gear game on the SNES was designed around the split-screen mode, so it has significantly reduced draw distance compared to both Lotus series and Top Gear 2. A better comparison IMO would be with OutRunners on the MD, which is also split-screen all the time and seem to employ the same kind of cuts the first Top Gear did on the SNES.


    6) Other MD and SNES games need to be analyzed one by one IMO in order to give us a better picture of what is actually going on; people tend to generalize and miss out on important details.
    • MD's Super Hang-On, for an example, seems to use 32-bit precision to determine its tracks elevation changes, curve rendering and the lateral movement of your bike. The game runs at 20 fps but regarding track rendering and bike handling it seems to be doing A LOT more than any of the Lotus or Top Gear games in terms of precision. There's also the fact that on SHO your bike can go outside the track and such part has a different terrain which affects your speed and grip.
      Both Lotus and Top Gear games are MUCH simpler in such aspect and the range of the track width that you can actually run on is significantly reduced.
      On SHO the handling is also affected by the inclination angle of your bike, something which is totally out of the equation for the other games.
    • OTOH a game like Street Racer on the MD has noticeably low precision in the way your car relates to the track, there's no elevation changes IIRC and very sparse track side objects. The game runs very fast (floor scrolls at 60 fps and the scrolling speed is insane) but, as you can see, it's doing less things on several aspects.
    • RoadBlasters runs very fast on the MD too but its tracks also doesn't have noticeable elevation changes and the draw distance is kinda short.
    • Lamborghini American Challenge on the SNES also feels relatively fast but it has several cuts like the ones I mentioned previously, with the car handling feeling disjoint of the track and the track side objects being presented in sparse waves of the same objects all the time (and they seem to have poorer animation than the ones in Lotus or Top Gear 2).
    Last edited by Barone; 01-04-2016 at 12:03 AM.

  13. #13
    Master of Shinobi LinkueiBR's Avatar
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    Barone, thanks for the technical explanation!
    +1
    VISUAL SHOCK!
    SPEED SHOCK!
    SOUND SHOCK!
    NOW IS TIME TO THE 68000 HEART ON FIRE!


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