Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Review
Everybody, start your engines.
The time of the original Sony PlayStation was a very different era of gaming from what the industry is like now in 2019. Even with all the changes, people have proven they still love games from that generation with the fantastic sales for remakes like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited Trilogy. Following the success of the return of Crash Bandicoot after a number of years, fans were asking for remakes of some of the popular spin-offs from the series and Activision has listened with the release of the high octane Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.
While Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy was a true 1 to 1 remake of the original in size and scale, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is something a bit different. Developer Beenox took the existing Crash Team Racing experience and not only remade the visuals from the ground up, but also added in some additional content as well. On top of the 18 tracks from Crash Team Racing, 13 tracks from the PS2 era Crash Nitro Kart and one bonus track on PS4 have also been added to the game as well.
Crash Team Racing has always been a pretty difficult racer, offering a bit more challenge than some of its respective counterparts. This is especially the case at the very start before you learn how to master techniques like the Turbo Boost. The Turbo Boost in particular even comes with three meter options for you to choose from, which you can select either from the menu or just by pressing a button from within the race. Mixing this with the boosts from jumps can really help you succeed in races, though you will always have to deal with rubberband AI without fail. Even though it can be really difficult at times, the style of racing found in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled still holds up very well to the standards of kart racers today.
The original Crash Team Racing released back in 1999 for the PlayStation, which allowed it to take some notes from Diddy Kong Racing that released a few years prior. Rather than your typical kart racer with little more than a cup race mode and standard multiplayer, both of these games included an Adventure Mode that made them feel much more like fully fledged single player games beyond the multiplayer content people would expect from the genre.
Adventure Mode is just as you remember it in the original, where you must travel between four themed hub worlds that each have four main tracks, a boss fight, and a bonus Purple Coin challenge race as well. Your first time through each world, you must come in first place in each of the first regular tracks and then beat the boss for that world in a race. This will then unlock a number of extra options for that respective hub world, including two new challenges for the four existing tracks, as well as a Purple Coin challenge as well.
The first of these additional challenges are known as Relic Races, which you can only earn by completing a track in a certain amount of time. However, you do not have to compete against other racers here. Instead, you must hit boxes with numbers 1, 2, or 3 on them that will freeze the timer for that many seconds, so that you can limit the overall time for your race. CTR Races are the other challenge unlocked, which task you with not only coming in first place in the race, but also collecting three letters, C, T, and R, during the race as well. Some of these are pretty tricky to acquire, so this is definitely quite the challenge. The Purple Coin challenge is much less interesting though, as you are simply put in a smaller arena area and tasked with collecting pink crystals in a certain period of time, though they lead to a very difficult challenge later.
While the additional play types like Relic Races and CTR Races can really be a lot of fun, the Boss Races are not quite as interesting. These races are one on one bouts against the boss, where they start off racing you normally before continually dropping infinite supply of a certain item. These include TNT boxes and rolling bombs, which can really make it difficult for you to get past them. However, the constant dropping of these items ahead of you begin to feel like more of an annoyance than an outright challenge, making them one of the less enjoyable parts of the game as a whole.
Adventure Mode also comes in two varieties, Classic and Nitro Fueled, which you get to select between at the start. Classic is just as it was in the original, where you are stuck with one racer and kart with no customization or difficulty level selection. Nitro Fueled on the other hand lets you select who you want to race with, select your kart, and choose the difficulty level. The games does allow you to still unlock the new customization items even if you are playing on Classic thankfully as well. Having both options was a good decision, as it let the developers come up with something new, while also including the style that people who want to relive the original can select as well.
Not only can you earn new new racers, skins, and kart pieces in Adventure Mode, but you can also purchase them via the Pit Stop in the game. The Pit Stop is full of daily deals that rotate, which you can purchase with the Wumpa Coins earned entirely in-game. It can take quite awhile to earn these Wumpa Coins though, so prepare to grind quite a bit to get everything unlocked in the game. The good news is that Wumpa Coins are not purchasable with real currency, so these do not feel like they are locked behind a paywall in any possible way. In addition, the different kart pieces are purely cosmetic as well, so they do not affect the races themselves at all. This allows you to design your kart the way you want in the game without having to worry about hurting yourself on the track itself.
For those that could not care less about an adventure style mode in their kart racer, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled also has typical offline racing options for single or multiplayer. You can do this as either a single race or as part of a four track Cup Race as well, just as you would get from something like Mario Kart as well. There are also Time Trials and standalone versions of the different challenges from Adventure Mode that you can access here if you don’t want to dive into that mode just to play something like Relic Race.
Adventure Mode is just as you remember it in the original
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled also brings back the game’s Battle Mode as well, which brings maps designed specifically for the mode with it. Just like with the regular tracks in the game, you also get five additional maps that have been completely remade from Crash Nitro Kart from the PS2 generation as well. Though Battle Mode itself is nothing incredibly groundbreaking compared to other existing battle modes in kart racers, there is no question that it is still a lot of fun this many years later.
One of the brand new features in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is that of online play, which obviously was not a part of the original. The game comes with options for both Matchmatching and Private Matches with friends between both racing and battle modes, making it quite easy to get paired up with someone to race. However, there were some major issues with the online in the game’s pre-release state at least. Typically finding other players to race with online prior to release can be a problem in of itself, but that was not an issue at all this time.
Where the problem lies is with the racing itself, where there were two different issues that both happened. The first was that of just typical lag, which made it hard to perform well in a race by itself. Even worse was the most common issue, which was where the opposing racers wouldn’t even show up correctly, fading in and out throughout the race to where you couldn’t actually see them move or have much luck hitting them with items. Hopefully this is just an issue in the lead up to launch, as having either of these issues post-release would make online something to avoid.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a souped up version of the cult classic original with not only completely remade visuals from the ground up, but also a healthy collection of extra tracks that were not included in the PS1 release. The few issues with online play were definitely problematic, which hopefully will be smoothed out with the release of the game, but there is a bevy of both single player content and local multiplayer content available locally as well.
Coming straight from the kart racer renaissance era, Crash Team Racing was just asking for a remake and Activision and Beenox teamed up to make it happen with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. Not just a 1 to 1 remake like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled comes with the content you love from the original as well as additional tracks from a later entry in the series as well, proving that everybody’s favorite Bandicoot still has plenty of gas in the tank.
- Available On: PS4, Xbox One, Switch
- Published By: Activision
- Developed By: Beenox
- Genre: Racing
- US Release Date: June 21st, 2019
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "Not just a 1 to 1 remake like Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled comes with the content you love from the original as well as additional tracks from a later entry in the series as well, proving that everybody's favorite Bandicoot still has plenty of gas in the tank."