I remember some time ago when Crash Team Racing made its way to the kart racing world, but everyone was too busy with Nintendo’s Mario Kart series to really take notice of it. Those who did were treated to a very solid competitor to the famed series that is loved by gamers even now. Beenox and Activision knew about this and decided to put together a cool reboot and remaster of the Crash Kart titles in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. While it takes a bit getting used to at first, fans of the Bandicoot and kart racers will want to strap in and get ready to drift through some crates.
Beenox decided to mix some of the best elements from Crash Team Racing and other follow-ups such as Crash Nitro Kart instead of just rebooting and remastering the original game. Anyone who is familiar with racing titles and kart racers will fit right in here, as you pick a character, a kart, and a stage and race to see who comes in first place, all while using various power-ups you get from running into wooden crates. Of course there’s also a story mode where the racing crazed alien Nitros Oxide is back to take over the world and turn it into a giant parking lot unless some racer can stop him first.
That’s where you come in as you make your way through various tracks and fun cutscenes in the fight to finish in first place. Fight is definitely the fitting word here as you’ll be doing a lot of it as the game isn’t too nice to newcomers or rookie racers. The key thing you will need to master here is drifting, and thankfully there’s a meter in the corner of the screen that lets you know if you’re doing it right. When you turn and hold down the hop button, you’ll begin to drift and build up a turbo meter as you go. Build up a big enough boost and you’ll soar past the competition, but be warned as the AI-controlled challengers will be doing the same as well as using power-ups to take you down, from exploding TNT crates to homing rockets.
As you race, there’s coins you can earn to unlock new customization options for your characters, karts, and more (sadly only visual ones and not performance options). You’ll also unlock new characters to play as once certain conditions are met or when you beat some of the bosses and can then play as them for a total of 26 racers (with more to come in free updates). This is where online play comes into the picture as you earn a lot more coins in this mode than you do playing against the CPU. I heard there were some online issues when this game was released, but thankfully I didn’t run into any problems on my playthrough. You’ll also be happy to know there’s four-player local co-op with a classic split-screen view for racing and a battle mode where you and your buds can duke it out with your karts.
With this being remastered, the graphics look really great as all sorts of lighting effects, smooth animations, and crisp details have been added to make you feel like you’re playing a Pixar-like racing game. The audio is just as awesome as the redone music and sounds are a blast, and you can even change the music back to the original PlaySation One tunes if you wish. Speaking of which, in the PS4 version, you can also switch Crash, Coco, and some other characters back to their original, blocky appearances from the PS One for added retro fun.
It can be a bit daunting for newcomers and rookie gamers at first, but once you’ve mastered the drifting, you’re bound to have the race of your life in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. The remasted visuals and audio are amazing, the online multiplayer mode is fast and frantic, and the nice sized roster and tracks to pick from with more to come via updates are sure to get you revved up and ready to smash some crates with the best of them.