Volkswagen made the Beetle cool again when
it reintroduced the car with a new design in 1997… so why not make a racing game featuring
the cars exclusively? Beetle Adventure Racing is a ton of fun. Actually,
it’s a lot more fun than the title and concept might imply. It may seem a little dull to
make a racing game featuring a single car brand with minimal vehicle variation – but
the rest of the game is actually incredibly varied. Although Beetle Adventure Racing is limited
to just 6 tracks, each of those tracks is especially large and elaborate. Single laps
take several minutes, and they’re filled with alternate routes and dazzling 64-bit scenery. And I’m not talking about the odd quick shortcut
here – these are significant detours that you can take through entirely new geography.
Down canyons, through volcanos, past towns, and into dungeons. Not only do the twisting paths of the tracks
result in some great variety, they also provide a serious dose of strategy – and thrills.
It’s not always easy to hit the necessary turn offs and ramps. Exploration is also rewarded with unlockables.
Each course contains 100 bonus points hidden in boxes throughout. You’ll need to find and
smash them all in order to unlock 6 additional Battle Arenas. The tracks also contain 3 Flower
boxes a piece. Each of these unlocks another cheat in the game’s cheat menu. And how about those beetles? BAR offers a
few choices among its samey selection to provide some options in vehicle stats at least. They
all handle beautifully too. Still, it would have been nice to see a little more variety
in the cars. Even just including the VW Bus for novelty would have been nice. As with so many other N64 games – Beetle Adventure
Racing actually includes a four player battle mode. Beetle Battle pits competitors against
one another in a mad dash for lady bug icons. You have to run around collecting the icons
while fending off your enemies with a variety of weapons and power-ups. Once a player has
captured all the necessary icons, he or she must then scramble to the level’s exit before
getting blown up. Beetle Adventure Racing was developed by Paradigm
Entertainment, a 3D technology company which was focused on flight sims before Nintendo
recruited them for console development. Check back next week for entry #29 on the Definitive
50 N64 Games when we reveal their other notable contribution to the system. Let me know what you think of Beetle Adventure
Racing and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below.