CRASH TEAM RACING – NITRO FUELED [Race-Off Review]: Vigor & Victory.

“Shepherd” Daniel Sorensen

Crash Team Racing (CTR) was a game changer for the original PlayStation back in ’99. Finally a karting game that could not only challenge the old, Italian plumber but beat him silly at his own game.

That ass-whupping was delivered by none other than Crash Bandicoot, Sony’s own mascot and their answer to Nintendo’s Mario and Sega’s Sonic. CTR was a fantastic game that entertained me and my friends for countless of hours back in the days with its addictive 4-player split-screen support. There were bruises and broken controllers, all part of the fun. Question is, how does the gameplay hold up 20-years later with Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled?

Felipe “The 3rd Deacon” Crespo

Since Daniel remembers the O.G. series better than I do, I’ll let him handle all those comparisons and Adventure Mode. And I’m reviewing the Switch version as opposed to the game on PlayStation 4. But above all, we’ll both answer what you’re wondering: If I have Super Mario Kart, do I need this?

DANIEL: Yes. Beenox nailed this refuel by understanding and respecting what Naughty Dog achieved back in 1999. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: the distinct feel of the karts, the gratifying feel of executing perfect slide boosts around corners, the colorful and exciting tracks, the instant recognizable music, the teeth-grinding and punishing weapons in your arsenal. Everything that made CTR great is here and has not been tampered with. What has changed drastically though is the graphics and design.

As nostalgic as the original game makes me feel, I’m glad they didn’t just up the resolution and threw together a half-assed remaster for easy money-grabs. The updated graphics captures the CTR design perfectly throughout the whole game. I recognize the characters and tracks from the original, but with the current hardware they’ve managed to enrich the world of CTR even further for new and old fans to enjoy.

Winner gets a lifetime supply of Pop Tarts?? Whoopeeee!!

FELIPE: Yeah, D– I’d say Nitro Fueled is worth a purchase. First off, let’s be honest; Mario Kart is great, but gott-damn if those tires aren’t worn out. Hell, most of us know a lot of those tracks by heart. CTR is a breath of fresh air in the Kart racing genre where MK (no fatalities here) has reigned for a while. The graphics are colorful and vibrant, and the characters have tons of personality. It’s immensely satisfying to beat friends and celebrate at the podium with Crash’s “suck it” dance.

In case you’re wondering, CTR: Nitro Fueled has the same modes as before; Adventure Mode, Time Trial, Arcade, Versus, Battle etc. But since we’re not stuck in 99′, there’s online multiplayer too for those who don’t have four buddies available for split-screen when you feel the urge to own a son or two.

DANIEL: Yes, sir! In Adventure Mode, our hero Crash is on a mission to save the world from Nitros Oxide. You accomplish this by winning races against minibosses to collect keys that opens up new areas and tracks, which all leads up to the final race against the alien scumbag. Along the way you can now change characters and there’s a lot of customization items to unlock. And I was pleased to see that there’s no “surprise mechanics” aka loot boxes. No micro-transactions at all, just like in ’99.

FELIPE: Well thank the Kart racing gods for that. Fair warning, though. Don’t think that because you’ve mastered Mario Kart, you’re going to come to CTR and run laps around the competition (huzzah!). Even on medium, you’ll have a tough time adjusting as the relentless AI keeps snatching first. Also, the drift/boost mechanic just doesn’t feel as smooth as it should be.

Yeah, not cold. Not cold at all..

DANIEL: Fair points, but the new challenge is what separates this racer from its (sadly) more popular predecessor. In the end, I hope Nitro Fueled is the spark of more CTR games to come. 4.5/5 Ooga Boogas.

FELIPE: Yup. This remaster has lots to unlock, a fun multiplayer, and outstanding visuals and animations. Just watch the learning curve and brutal AI. 3.75/5 Bibles.

-Daniel Sorenson & Felipe Crespo

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