Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge early proto

Ok, so we’re not talking about a majorly different conversion that was in the works, but some fairly significant differences compared to the final edition that eventually ended up on the C64.

Many of you may remember the rolling demo of Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge on the C64 and being wowed by it. Did you spot the differences between that and the final version? No? Well, here we go…

The Commodore Format demo from Power Pack 4

Of course, very often when a preview is released – there can still be some significant amount of work left to do or changes which are requested. Seems like Lotus was no different, and there were some visible changes made just before release.

The final release
The final release

Firstly, there are two cosmetic changes which stand out. One where the score panel has been improved and bulked out a little – nothing too special. The other is significantly the removal of the red and white road banding that appears at the side. It’s a shame, as it looks great in the demo – but we are guessing that it was removed to compensate for speed – which does seem a lot quicker in the final release.

There also is the inclusion of a white counter in the top right corner of both screens, but the final different is a bit more subtle…

If you check the top cars in both of the above screenshots, you’ll notice that the demo features an extra frame of animation where the car turns inwards more. It’s been cut out for some reason on the final game, which we’re not entirely sure why. Maybe it was to squeeze more road objects into the game?

Looking into the game a bit more – it seems that the cars were entirely drawn via character blocks in the demo version, with the red/white bands being handled by expanded sprites which were overlaid onto the sides of the road. When the banding was dropped in the final game, it seems those sprite frames were replaced by the main car in its largest state – with the smaller state (where the car is in the distance) handled by characters still.

In early 2016, this was spotted in an old issue of Zzap 64 …


Sadly no colour screenshot, but here you can see the status panels being different yet again, a familiar red/white road effect (using expanded sprites like in the rolling demo), but it seems very different looking cars and darker shading effects on the mountains in the distance. There may not have been any raster bars either at this point – so a very early version!

But then here is a colour shot thanks to Martin/Stadium 64! …


And to conclude, here are some more images relating to the earlier edition and the programmer. Click each to view full version.

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