Beetle Buggin’

As a racing game, Beetle Buggin’ (based on the Volkswagen Beetle) is surprisingly broad. You can run Quick Races, but the game inexplicably doesn’t allow you to select the tracks, just the type of race. You can choose from any of the four race types: Speed (regular racing on concrete), Jump (a bizarre skill test requiring a nitro boost and a ramp to launch you in the air for a certain distance), Buggy (beach-based racin), Monster and Cross (dirt racing).

2The race types are a decidedly mixed bag. On the plus side, the Cross dirt track stadium racing is superb, with terrific handling, a decent level of challenge and some fairly nasty track design. The Buggy races are challenging as well, and pretty entertaining, but the cars prove too big for the tracks, making passing difficult. Also, the physics modeling on the seaside track seems to throw you into strange slides. The Jump race is silly but innocuous. Once you figure out how to time your nitro, it’s easy. The Monster Truck racing aren’t fun at all. You bounce off everything haphazardly,

Aside from Quick Races, there are two other modes of play, Championship and Beetle Challenge. Both are essentially variations on a theme. In Championship mode, you need to win a few races to advance to the next level (there are three in all). You get points depending on where you place in the race, and after you run the predetermined number of races, you advance if you have the most points. It’s all fairly standard stuff, and amazingly easy to complete. The Beetle Challenge has a career mode, where you win money for winning races.

Many Beetle models are included, though they’re hard to tell apart as far as handling. Graphically speaking, the cars do look pretty good, with some really shiny textures. The game unfortunately has no damage modeling, so they look pristine no matter what hell you put them. The 20 tracks are designed pretty well, with enough twists and turns to keep the racing entertaining. Throw in a multiplayer mode (including the almost forgotten Split Screen) and there’s enough hectic racing here to satisfy most arcade fans.

System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 32 MB RAM, Win98

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