Beetle Adventure Racing! © 1999 Electronic Arts.
Superb track design, a bodacious battle mode and a fleet of everyone's favorite impish car peg BAR as the the most innovative racer in a long time, bar none.
The VW New Beetle may not be the fastest car on the market, but it's definitely one of the most intriguing. Even though the VW Beetle has represented peace, love and great gas mileage since the 1960s, this new racing game from Electronic Arts is no lovefest.
Beetle Adventure Racing has the look of a gritty realistic racing simulation, but it has the power-ups and huge jumps found in arcade racing games. You'll be driving shiny Beetles through movie theaters, over volcanoes, across a mini-Stonehenge, and over terrain that ranges from ice to sand. Apparently your Beetle is even equipped with a time travel option, because on one track you'll come face to face with a T-Rex. Now that's a feature that can raise the sticker price in a hurry!
Intriguingly, all this zaniness comes to you courtesy of two developers best know for their racing sims. EA's EA Sports arm gave us the realistic NASCAR 99, while Paradigm Entertainment co-developed F-1 World Grand Prix.
To be sure, Beetle Adventure Racing has plenty of sim-like touches. First-rate play control allows each of the three standard and eight hidden cars to respond differently, depending on its handling, acceleration and top-speed characteristics. Tactical downshifting plays as big a role here as it did in F-1 WGP. Fog and popping are virtually non-existent, even in two-player vs. mode.
Putting the Adventure in Beetle Adventure Racing are some of the trickiest tracks to grace any racer. Within the fairly simple Coventry Cove course lurk shortcuts through train tunnels and over a sailboat. The most complex track, Metropolitan Madness, is a virtual honeycomb of driveable alleys, parking lots, train tracks, warehouses, movie theaters and hotel halls. Exploring it is just like, well, exploring a real city -- except there's no police officer to pull you over.
The two regular and four hidden courses are long, easily taking three minutes or more for each lap. All races last three laps, with the shortened last lap tailing off into an all-new finishing stretch.
You can't see many of the choicer shortcuts until you've practically passed them, while others lie concealed between boulders, shrubbery and other cleverly placed obstacles. Carefully placed in almost every shortcut is at least one Bonus Box.
In all, each track has 100 bonus points taking the form of Bonus Boxes worth as many as 10 points apiece. Naturally, the more artfully concealed Bonus Boxes are worth more. If you collect 50 bonus points, you'll win a continue, which will help your quest in Championship mode to unlock hidden tracks. Collect all 100 points in a track and you'll open up a hidden Beetle Battle arenas.
Because the devious developers have scattered Bonus Boxes hither and yon, you won't be able to score a perfect 100 unless you drive three different routes as you complete your three laps. To make matters more difficult, if you take too long to finish pointing, you'll be disqualified, as will all your earnings.
The unorthodox weaponry in the four-player Beetle Battle includes a soupy fog and a speed reducer. You can also find more conventional missiles and mines. Beetles that take too much damage cough up Ladybug icons. Be the first to collect a set of six Ladybug icons and, just like John Lennon, you'll be crowned head Beetle. Initially, Beetle Adventure Racing only allows you to battle in three arenas.
Much as Diddy Kong Racing did a couple of years ago, Beetle Adventure Racing has broken the rules of the racing genre and set some new ones. Any player with a taste for high-octane action should take this Pak for a wild ride.
Cartridge ID: NUS-NNSE-USA
Released on March 24, 1999 in USA.
Lead Engineer: Richard A. Baker
Software Engineers: Francesco Gigliotti, James Richmond, Sam Perera, Mike Bienvenu, Angus Henderson, Drew Powers, Mark Beardsley, Rick Weyrauch
Lead Artist: David Krueger
Art Director: Shawn Wright
3D Artists: Robert A. Gaines, Chris Oliver, Ben Groves, Mark Grigsby, Dave C. Wallin, Lewis M. Walden III, Raymond Arriaga, Howard Hanna
Sound Designer: J. D. Smith
Music Support: Brenden Tennant
Producer: Jim Galis
Special Thanks: David Szymczyk, Wes Hoffman, Mahdad G. Ansari, Dave Gatchel, All the others at PEI who make this possible.
Game Design: Scott Blackwood, Scott Jackson
Producer: Scott Blackwood
Assistant Producer: Brooke Burgess
Localization Producer: Serena Whitters
Senior Producer: Hanno Lemke
Executive Producer: Sam Nelson
Art Director: Scott Jackson
Art Consultant: Sheila Allan
Conceptual Track Art: Shaun Hayes-Holgate
Technical Consultant: Tom Loughry
Music Composition: Phil Western, Scott Blackwood, Brenden Tennant
Vocal Talent: David Kaye, Blu Mankuma
Speech Editing: Ron Coté
Product Manager: Peter Royea
Director, Product Development: Brian Wideen
Development Director: J. David Elton
Production Co-Ordinator: Xenia Mul
QA Project Co-Ordinator: Rod Higo
QA Project Lead: Gordon Thornton
QA Project Assistant Leads: Jason DeLong, Kyle Seller
QA Project Testers: Earl Berkeley, Tim Dale, Mike Gascoigne, Andrew Hendricks, Paul Inouye, Octavio Izzuralde, Thomas Kennedy, Willie Loh, Griffin Mitchell, Avinash Narayan, Ryan Santos, Paul Spears, Jim Steel, Martin Waisel, Jeff Yu
EA CQC: Anatol Somerville, Benjamin Crick, Etienne Grunenwald, Daniel Hiatt, Bobby Joe, Michael Jung
Language Testing - Coordinators: Iain Hancock, Simon Davison
German (Localization) Manager: Bianca Normann
German Version Manager: Hans-Jörg Brand
Translations: Bettina Bachon, Michaela Bartelt
German Language Testing: Frank Göerdes, Alexander Golubowitsch
French Version Localization Manager: Christine Jean
Quality Assurance Manager: Lionel Berrodier
French Version Translation: Nathalie Fernandez, Sandra Picaper
French Language Testing: Frédéric Faye, Sylvain Caburrosso
Quality Assurance: Samy Benromdhane
Special Thanks: Robert MacDonald, Brad Gour, Saki Kaskamanidis, Crispin Hands, Bruce MacKinnon, Dwayne Wudrich, Simon Craghead, Ted Sylka, Mr. Bischoff, Mr. Breust, Dr. Biermann, Mrs. Gour, Adam MacKay-Smith