Out Of My Way!
Everyone has a kart racer that they enjoy especially back when home consoles were new, if you were on a Nintendo 64 you were going to be a Diddy Kong Racing or Mario Kart person, if you were on a SEGA system then Sonic was your go to. While there were some contenders for the original PlayStation like Speed Freaks, it was Crash Team Racing that held the highest praise. This was also one of the games that featured the original PlayStation Multitap, allowing you to play with 4 players on Crash Team Racing was one of the best reasons to own this peripheral.
As with all Crash Bandicoot games the world is at peace. Crash and Coco are going about their daily lives, enjoying some go-karting when a threat befalls them. Nitros Oxide is an alien from the planet Gasmoxia, proclaiming himself the "fastest racer in the galaxy." He challenges the best drive on Earth to a race to determine the fate of their planet. By collecting all of the trophies in the world across a variety of races, you earn the right to challenge Oxide. Just like other Crash Bandicoot games, there is a story with enough for setup, a reason for the gameplay, and a conclusion.
Crash Team Racing's Villain Never Looked... Worse?
The story covers the Adventure Mode, which allows you to explore five different overworld areas. Each area consists of 4 races, and you race a boss after earning a trophy for each. After defeating the boss, you claim a key which grants access to the next area. In the original Crash Team Racing, the Adventure mode had a single difficulty and had you pick a character that you would play as throughout the campaign.
In the Nitro-Fueled remake, there's a new option that includes three difficulty levels as well as the ability to customize your racer with skins, as well as customizable car parts including body, paint job, decals, and wheels. None of these customization options alter your stats at all so you can look as normal or as weird as you want. In the easy difficulty, you'll find yourself comfortably ahead of the rest of the racers. The medium difficulty forces you to know drifting mechanics and even some shortcuts to make sure you come out ahead. Hard is a legitimate challenge, as well as a wake-up call for any self-proclaimed CTR masters.
Start your engines in Crash Team Racing!
There are three types of races that you can participate in during the story mode; Normal Race, Time Trial, and CTR race. In Normal Races, you're up against 8 other competitors and you simply need to win. In Time Trial you need to complete three laps as fast as possible. Regular boxes around the course transform into time boxes that pause your timer. Completing these trials quickly earns you a Blue, Gold, or Platinum Relic. The CTR races shake up your racing by scattering the letters 'C', 'T', and 'R' around the course. In order to earn a CTR Token, you need to collect all three letters and finish first. Much like other Crash Bandicoot games, just beating each level will allow you to complete the story but you can get a true ending by earning all of the available collectibles.
Races play out as you expect. You and your opponents zoom around a variety of courses for three laps. These courses correspond to the different regions in Adventure Mode. If you pay attention, you'll also notice plenty of motifs from all of Crash's PS1 adventures. A track like the Sewer Speedway looks like you might almost be able to walk off your kart into Crash Bandicoot 2's Sewer or Later, the wordplay is just as good too.
Crash Team Racing sends you zooming around familiar environments.
Many of the tracks will also have divergent paths and even secret shortcuts to give you a chance to get ahead of the crowd. While many of the secrets only require you to know where they are there are a couple that requires you to also have a certain item either to gain the correct speed or to destroy something in your way. All 16 tracks from the original Crash Team Racing come with Nitro-fueled, as well as all of the tracks from Crash Nitro Kart.
Crash Team Racing offers players an assortment of items during races. The type of item you get depends on how well you're doing, and the types of items you get are pretty familiar. You can get a NOS canister for an extra boost, a shield to protect you from incoming attacks, and an explosive beaker to drop behind you or throw ahead of you. Some of these items are quite unique, including a bomb that can roll forward or backward before exploding on command. The Wumpa Fruit that you collect as you race not only make your kart go faster (a feature that used to be unique to CTR but has not been adopted by other popular kart racing games) but also upgrades all your items. This gives you even further incentive to collect those fruit as you can experiment with different weapon combinations.
Beat the pack in Crash Team Racing
CTR's power slide mechanics are tough to master at first. Once you learn the ropes, sliding around provides lots of chances to really pick up some speed. As you move through your slide there are a number of indicators that let you know when you can activate an additional boost. There's a meter in the lower left of the screen, the changing color of your exhaust smoke and even your back wheels lighting up. This promotes the player knowing not only the course but also the handling of their character so that they can make the most of these additional boosts.
When not playing in the single-player mode the game has a local couch co-op as well as an online mode. In multiplayer, you can compete in races just like you would in the single player but one of the big reasons to try out multiplayer is the different arena Battle modes on offer. Instead of being on a track vying to be the fastest there are objective based game modes such as Capture the Flag, Collecting Crystals, and trying to survive with all of your lives. These work well to add some variety to the gameplay, even if you might end up heading straight back to regular races.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Review | Final Thoughts
At the moment your best bet for multiplayer fun is through local play as there seems to be a lot of technical issues occurring in the online multiplayer. While you won't experience any lag in your own game the opponents you're facing around the track might seem to appear and disappear around the track. Unless you're someone who enjoys the added 'challenge' of players lagging around the track this might be something you want to wait a week before giving a try.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has managed to do again what N. Sane Trilogy did. Bringing forward the classic PlayStation experience to current gen systems while retaining all that made the original game so great. The story mode gives players a fun single-player experience without bloating the game, and multiplayer practically doubles the available tracks as well as adding fun party variants. For those who enjoyed it during its original release, you're going to want to take this trip down memory lane, especially when it looks so good.
TechRaptor reviewed Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled on Xbox One with a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.
- Same Old...
- Story Doesn't Overstay
- Looks Great
- ...But Also New
- Online Stability