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|Publisher(s)||Zoo Digital Publishing|
|Release date(s)||November 14, 2003|
Beanotown Racing is a racing video game that was developed by Simian Industries and released by Zoo Digital Publishing in 2003 for the PC; the game features several characters from the British comic The Beano, with a few from its now-defunct brother comic The Dandy, as playable racers. It is the first (and only) videogame to be based on the two comics.
Players can initially select from Dennis the Menace, his sister Bea, Minnie the Minx, Roger the Dodger and Korky the Cat to compete in the Beanotown Championship; five other characters can be unlocked after winning certain races with certain characters, and there are also two secret characters who can also be activated by entering two of the game's cheat codes. Dennis's car is a dune buggy with the number "1", while Bea's car is a motorized pram (much like Baby-Face Finlayson's), Minnie's car is a cross between a scooter and a skateboard, Roger's car is a bumper car with the number "2", and Korky's car has his face moulded into the front of it (along with the number "8") - however, Gnasher's car also has this number.
Gnasher's car is a kennel, and to unlock him, the player must win any race with Dennis; Plug (from The Bash Street Kids)'s car is a garbage can with the number "3", and to unlock him, the player must win "The Bash Street Burn Up", with Bea. Bananaman's car is a banana with the number "7", and to unlock him, the player must win "Street Streak", with Gnasher - and Brain Duane's car is a futuristic vehicle with a laser cannon on the front, but to unlock him, the player must win "The Dandy Dash", with Minnie. Desperate Dan's car is a cross between a steamroller and a motorcycle, and to unlock him, the player must win a championship with any character; if the player types "WALTER" upon the main menu, then selects Dennis, he or she will race with Walter the Softy, and if he or she types "CALAMITY", he or she will race with Calamity James, who will replace the character they select, but his car (which has the number "13")'s steering is reversed, and it does not make him disappear from the dungeon on "Haunted Castle".
The weapon powerups cycle through the weapons each character brings into the game; if the player drives over one, he or she will receive the weapon that was displayed at that time. However, he or she would need to fire his or her current weapon in order to pick up a second one, as the cars could only hold one weapon at a time - and some of them were more effective than others when used in certain locations.
- Tomato: These heat-seeking fruits would home in on the racer in front and temporarily stun him or her; if a tomato alert went off at the bottom of the screen, this indicated that the player was about to be hit by one but he or she could avoid it by boosting away or weaving around the track (however, the first method would not always work, as the tomato could still catch up to them and stun them).
- Fumes: By pressing "Z" (the weapon key), the player's car would emit toxic fumes which would slow down any racer driving through.
- Peas: These small green vegetables would be fired by the player car directly ahead of it and temporarily stun any racer they hit.
- Dodge Shield: By pressing "Z" (the weapons key), a shield would appear around the player's car (for approximately three seconds).
- Mousetraps: These rodent exterminators would snap shut on the wheels of any car passing over them and temporarily slow them down.
- Bone: These "doggy treats" would temporarily stun any car they hit, but they would bounce off the walls until they hit one, which meant that the player could end up being a victim of them themselves, and allow the other racers to pass them during their stunned time.
- Rubbish: These piles of garbage, once laid, would start flashing faster and faster until they exploded (or were crashed into by a racer); again, the player could end up being a victim of this themselves and allow the other racers to pass them during their stun time.
- Bananas: These slippery yellow fruits would cause any car that passed over them to go into a spin and temporarily slow them down.
- Laser Beam: This futuristic power-draining ray would suck the power from any car it hit, and allow the player to drive past them.
- Cow Pie: This fictional food would be fired from the player's car towards the racers in front and temporarily stun them; if a cow pie alert went off at the bottom of the screen, this would again indicate that the player was about to be hit by one but he or she could avoid it by boosting away from it as fast as possible (and, this method also seemed to work better for escaping cow pies than tomatoes).
The game has six tracks, which can be played through in succession in "Beanotown Championship" mode or separately in "Single Race" mode (in the latter, the player can also select how many laps a race can be, from one to nine, while in the former it will always be five); there is also a "Time Trial" mode in which the player can test themselves to see how fast they can complete a lap of their chosen track.
- Wild in the Country: Set in the Beanotown Country Park, balloons for "Dandy Donuts" and "Beano Buns" can be seen hovering through the air on this track; Rasher, Dennis's pet pig, who first appeared in 1979, also appears in the field towards the end of the track.
- The Bash Street Burn Up: Set in Bash Street School, a graffiti "Dennis was 'ere" can be seen at the start of this track; there is also a beanstalk on the stage in the hall, implying that the school had just done a play of Jack and the Beanstalk, two drawings entitled "Our class at 9 o'clock" (Danny, Sidney and Smiffy with sad faces) and "Our class at 3 o'clock" (with happy faces) on the walls of the gym as well as a third drawing entitled "Wilfrid in a shy mood" (his head hidden in his jumper) on the wall of the swimming pool.
- Street Streak: Set in the streets of Beanotown, this track is based on the front endpaper of the 1993 Beano Annual (which also appears on the title screen); however, the Dandy Embassy, "Mount Bashmore" on the golf course, Olive (the Bash Street Lunch Lady)'s caravan at the end of the golf course (which is selling her "Milk of Magnesia Burgers") and the Haunted Castle are four later additions.
- The Dandy Dash: Set in the Dandy Embassy, black airships of "Dandy" can be seen hovering through the air on this track; Desperate Dan's pet dog, "Dawg", is also sleeping in his kennel in the corner of one of the embassy's rooms, but he never wakes up for any reason.
- Haunted Castle: Set in the Beanotown Castle, two archery targets with photos of Bash Street Teacher and Headmaster on them can be seen outside on this track; the moon also has Dennis's face, and there is a portrait of Freddie Fear ("Son of a Witch")'s Mum in the castle itself, as well as a cobweb-covered skeleton reading a Dandy, and Calamity James being stretched on a rack in the dungeon (he also does not disappear if the player enters "CALAMITY" on the title screen to play with him which means there could be two of him).
- Wild West Test: Set in Desperate Dan's home town, of Cactusville, this track is based on the front endpaper of the 1996 Dandy Annual (which showed his relations); however, the encampment of the "Smelly Foot Tribe" (of which Little Plum was a member), was a later addition, along with the winners' enclosure which the camera is seen going clockwise around after the player finishes this race.
In late 2003, The Dandy and The Beano gave out cheat codes for the game; when entered on the main menu, a picture of Dennis in a secret agent's hat and coat would appear, with the text "CHEAT ACTIVATED" next to him. There were seven in all and they are shown below:
- Aussie: This cheat would turn the screen upside down, much like playing as player 2 in an emulated cocktail cabinet for MAME.
- Bigbod: This cheat would give the character the player selected a giant body which allowed for better controlling over their car.
- Bigcar: This cheat would give the character the player selected a giant car that prevented the other racers from driving past it.
- Bigpie: This cheat would make the cow pies that were fired by the player giant (however, those fired by the CPU remained normal).
- Flip: This cheat would mirror the tracks (indicated by reversed writing on them), and effectively give the player six new tracks.
- Calamity: This cheat would let the player race with Calamity James, who would take the place of the character he or she selected.
- Walter: This cheat would let the player race with Walter the Softy if he or she selected Dennis; it can not work with the others.
Related comic strip
In the run up to the game's 2003 release, there was a comic strip in The Dandy, entitled Dandy Days in Beanotown, which featured the then-current Dandy characters (including Korky the Cat, Desperate Dan, Bananaman, Cuddles and Dimples, and Brain Duane), competing against their rivals from The Beano in their own town, after Dan had become ambassador there. It was drawn throughout by Steve Bright.