Lotus 2

As the title suggests, this is a racing game where all the cars are various Lotus models.  Which is awesome if you’re me, or the Roger Moore-era James Bond, or the president of Lotus.  For the 98% of you who are saying “What’s a Lotus?  Are they the company that makes the Corolla?” though, this is probably not a big selling point.  Which is most likely why the Lotus licensing is less emphasized than the game’s random track generator, known as “RECS”.

RECS allows you to set a few general parameters, from which the game then creates a race course based on those guidelines.  This sounds pretty cool – you get a brand new track every time after all – but it’s actually not.  Well thought-out and designed tracks are a really important part of a racing game.  In fact, they might be the MOST important part of a good racing game.  Think about it – in a racing game, the tracks are the levels.  Would you want to play a version of Sonic where all the levels were just thrown together by chance?

Anyone else remember when this game was called Pole Position and came out like 30 years ago?

Look, the difference between a really good game and a mediocre one is the level design.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a platformer, and beat ‘em up, or a racing game.  Once you take care of the essentials, like control, graphics, core gameplay, etc, you have a game that is potentially fun to play.  But without putting it into some kind of interesting context, it’s going to be mediocre at best.  This is something that should have been painfully obvious all along.

That’s is not to say that Lotus 2 is a disaster.  Unless you set up some really whacked-out parameters, you’ll get a track with a decent layout and have some fun.  But all of  the races ultimately end up feeling pretty generic and unmemorable, and as you can imagine, being created at random means there really isn’t any kind of flow or logic to the layouts.  And that’s the difference between a game that’s kinda fun like Lotus 2, and one that makes our Top 50 list.

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