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Beetle Adventure Racing

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Released: 1997

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: Nintendo 64

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: Paradigm Entertainment

Main ImageThere are two cars that I’d love to own. One is a Ferrari Testarossa convertible from Out Run (which I’m reliably told, doesn’t actually exist) the other is the new model Volkswagen Beetle that was first released in 1997.

When I first saw the new look Beetle it just looked like an amazingly fun car to drive, and that fun was personified in Paradigm Entertainment’s sorely underrated racer, which took the free-roaming elements of Konami’s arcade racer GTI Club and massively built upon it.

The amount of secrets to discover in Beetle Adventure Racing! was insane, and no matter how many times you play it, there’s always a new way of shaving precious seconds off your time. You can leap over bridges, smash through bushes, take different road forks – the choices feel virtually endless, and as the game progresses you’re simply presented with more and more entertaining choices.

The fun is further fuelled by the fact that your vehicle handles extremely well, bouncing around the devilishly-designed tracks with the same sort of reckless abandon that had made Midtown Madness so popular a few months earlier. Add in a number of additional game modes that ranged from a hilarious Beetle Battle mode – that saw up to four players trying to collect ladybugs – to more conventional single races and Beetle Adventure Racing! proved itself to be one of the N64’s must-have racers. 14 years on and we’re still trying to discover its myriad secrets.

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