Two years ago, Crash Bandicoot made his return to gaming with a fantastic remake of the original trilogy. The N.Sane Trilogy was a love letter to all things Crash, giving us the first three games with today’s graphics. It was only a matter of time for Crash and pals to get in their little karts with CTR Nitro Fueled .
At the 2018 Game Awards, Beenox announced they were remaking Crash Team Racing (CTR) from the ground up as CTR: Nitro Fueled… And the hype was real already. Online racing and kart customization were confirmed along with the other aspects that made the original so great. The adventure mode was returning, time trails, the original roster and couch multiplayer. The world waited impatiently for the 21st of June release date of CTR Nitro Fueled.
First of all, CTR Nitro Fueled looks absolutely gorgeous. Every single course has been given a fresh coat of paint, brimming with personality. Classic tracks like Papu’s Pyramid and Polar pass look incredible and look like part of the world. Lions chase after hunters on Papu’s Pyramid, while a polar bears watch curiously as you speed by.
For all those who played the original, you’ll be happy to know that the gameplay is spot on. The karts feel just as they did twenty years ago, fast but with a good bit of weight behind them. The most important part of CTR has always been the boosting, using high speeds to fly past opponents, make shortcuts and feel like a complete speed demon.
Unlike Mario Kart, where racers are divided by weight, CTR’s characters are divided up by stats. There are four different types of characters stats;
- All-rounders (Crash, Cortex)- Decent speed, decent handling, and decent acceleration.
- Speed focus (Tiny Tiger, Dingodile)- fastest characters in the game but don’t handle great.
- Acceleration focus (Coco, N.Gin)- below-average speed, average handling but can reach their top speeds quickest.
- Handling focus (Polar, Pura)- Slowest characters in the game, but handle the best, making those right corners a breeze.
CTR’s adventure has two different modes, classic and Nitro Fueled. Classic is exactly how it was on the PS1. You pick one character and use them to the end. CTR Nitro Fueled lets you choose different characters on the fly, customize your karts for each race and use the Crash Nitro Kart characters as well. That’s right, Beenox has added in the characters from Crash Nitro Kart for the PS2, from bosses like Krunk and the Norms to Crunch Bandicoot and Zam. Not only that, but all the tracks from CNK also appear, fully remade. The amount of content on show here is amazing, all manner of a crash fan is catered for.
Online mode is good fun with friends but is a massive challenge. At the time of writing, CTR’s online mode is the same as Mario Kart 8’s. You and 8 other players choose your character, choose a course and race. Rinse and repeat. There is also a battle mode but it is a bit sparse just now, but I’ve enjoyed the racing a stupid amount to notice. I’m hoping that cup competitions are added in the future to change it up a bit, but I feel that if people aren’t winning they’ll just quit.
CTR has loads of unlockable skins, kart parts, and items to unlock. You’ll be pleased to know however there are no surprise mechanics anywhere near this game.
After every race, you get Wumpa coins. You get more coins depending on your placing and the track you do, up to a maximum of 80 coins. You can get more coins on your first hour of playing online, at least 5x what you would normally get in a standard race. This is a daily buff and resets every time the pit stop refreshes with new items.
The main question everyone wants to know: Is Crash Team Racing better than Mario Kart? For balance, I’d say they are both very, very different games. I would say CTR takes a bit more skill than Mario Kart to play. When I played Mario Kart 8, it took until 200cc to get a challenge, but I was being challenged on CTR on medium difficulty. However, both are tremendous kart racers.
Beenox has confirmed that they will be supporting CTR in the future… Over the coming months, we will be getting a new Grand Prix mode added, which will add challenges to collect Nitro points. Nitro points let you unlock new karts, skins, and new characters, with the first one being Twana Bandicoot, Crash’s girlfriend from Crash 1. The trophy girls from CTR are also returning, but as unlockable characters in the pit stop as part of the first Grand Prix on July 3rd, along with a brand new track. Future Grand Prix includes a prehistoric theme, with the rideable dinosaur from Crash 3 and baby Crash and Coco being unlockable characters, and Spyro the dragon-themed one (Spyro has not been confirmed as a racer yet, but here’s hoping).