Wednesday 15 January 2020

Beetle Adventure Racing! (N64 review)

Developer: Paradigm Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: 1999

Beetle Adventure Racing! is a racing game that was released in Australia as HSV Adventure Racing.

It features 2-4 player Race and Beetle Battle modes (arena competition where the winner is the first person to collect six ladybugs and reach the exit), as well as one player Single Race or Championship Circuit (with six courses). What's makes the gameplay so much fun is finding the multitude of shortcuts that are littered around each course, each one usually taking you completely off the beaten track and into perilous territory. And then there's the need to drive a little wildly to collect the Nitro crates, helping to keep you on the edge of your seat; this feature adds to the excitement and you're always guessing as to whether you should chance going off-road to gain an item, or play it safe and live to fight another day! Even if you do crash, it's never tough to get back into the action, as you're placed directly onto the track within a split-second. What works amazingly well is the mixture of course types, as one minute you'll be driving along typical highway settings in traditional racing action, before blasting through Jurassic Park inspired tracks (complete with a ferocious T-Rex!), and catching some serious air amid snowy terrain that's reminiscent of the white-knuckle gameplay found in Excite Truck (2006, Nintendo Wii). It's all absolutely exhilarating and the rock-solid frame-rate and excellent draw distance play a big part in making the action so enjoyable. A very minor complaint is that the courses are very long with some laps taking upwards of three minutes to complete. However, redemption is found in the final lap of each race as the last stretch has a unique layout, providing added intensity.

Beetle Adventure Racing! is an outstanding Arcade style game that gets your adrenaline pumping thanks to its fast-paced action, varied course design and exciting shortcuts. If you're a fan of Ridge Racer 64 (2000, N64) give this game a try, as it features similar high-octane gameplay without irritatingly hostile CPU opponents!

Random trivia: The Australian version called HSV Adventure Racing has a number of differences which you can see here.

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