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Bug Riders: The Race of Kings is set on the planet Entymion, where the ruler of the planet is on his death bed. A new ruler is to be picked, but the only way to choose the Emperor's successor is by having contenders for the throne to race giant bugs in "The Great Race". The winner is touted as the greatest bug rider in all of Entymion and also becomes the planet's next Emperor. The tables are set and several famous Bug Riders have arrived to accept the challenge.
Bug Riders is based around racing gameplay, with players riding eight different kinds of giant, flying insects around six different courses. All bugs have different strengths and weaknesses, such as maneuverability or speed increases, but all work in the same way, with the player whipping their mount in order to go faster. Of course, you cannot whip your insect too hard or else it refuses to fly. Players can also collect special power-ups such as bombs or missiles along the way to use on their opponents, and shortcut routes are also available if you can find them.
Riders only have a limited amount of time to reach the next checkpoint (rings floating in the air) in the course or their race is over. If they complete the course, and also beat all other racers, then they win. Up to 16 racers can be present on one course at a time. Split screen play is allowed with the console versions of this game.