Paradigm Entertainment defied both expectations and convention with this novel racing game that’s all about travelling off the beaten path.
Beetle Adventure Racing came as something of a surprise: a licensed racing game that focuses around a specific model of car doesn’t sound like the most creative concept on paper. However, the actual game is a solid N64 racer that stands out from the rest primarily because of its incredible track design.
Controlling the Volkswagen New Beetle – which had been released a year prior to the game’s release – you partake in races across a selection of varied locations, many of which feature fantastical elements. Tracks are typically a lot longer than in most racing games and, more importantly, feature a wealth of hidden shortcuts and alternative routes for you to find. Ultimately, it’s about learning of all the routes and using them to gain a significant lead over your opponents.
It’s this gameplay mechanic that really puts the adventure into Beetle Adventure Racing, and it really encourages you to explore the tracks in thorough detail. Taking a detour from the designated race track doesn’t guarantee your success either; these hidden routes aren’t shown on the in-game map, meaning there’s an increased likelihood of crashing into obstacles (or worse yet, flying off into a chasm or body of water) if you don’t memorise the way to go.
The game includes multiplayer modes for up to four players. Two people can race head-to-head on any of the tracks (provided you’ve unlocked them), whereas three to four players can compete in the game’s Beetle Battle mode. In this mode, players must collect seven different coloured beetle items and can use weapons to destroy one another.
Beetle Adventure Racing is known as HSV Adventure Racing in Australia, and features the HSV Commodore instead of the Volkswagen New Beetle as its central vehicle.