Ah, Crash Bandicoot. Just mentioning his name brings back nostalgia to those who’ve experienced the adventures of our orange, dim-witted friend. Among Crash’s first three adventures, he had found himself in the driver’s seat along with old friends and enemies in the 1999 release of Crash Team Racing for the PlayStation 1. After nearly 20 years, Activision presents yet another smashing blast from the past with the aid of Beenox Studios. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled for the PS4, XBox One and Nintendo Switch is a nostalgia trip of the upmost variety. Let’s see how the remastered version holds up to the original!
Adventure Mode is present in this retelling of CTR. In the first game’s campaign, you must race in various races to collect the four boss keys in order to race Nitrous Oxide, an alien who is determined to beat the world’s best racer and turn the Earth into one big parking lot. Nitro-Fueled has the same campaign mode in which there are three difficulty modes; Easy, Medium and Hard. Adventure Mode also features a Classic Mode, in which you choose a racer and use them from start to finish. Unlike Classic Mode, you may change up car parts as well as change racers to customize your experience in Adventure Mode. The Adventure Area is the Adventure Mode’s hub world hub area, allowing you to practice with your character and mechanics of the game before races, such as turning and Power Sliding.
The game gets a bit complicated when trying to master Power Sliding, however. It’s all about finishing first and whether you play online or local, you’re gonna have a hard time trying to win if you don’t know how to Power Slide. Even after getting the hang of Power Sliding, you’ll need to consider when and how you obtain Wumpa fruits from Wumpa crates scattered around the tracks. Collecting Wumpa fruits helps speed up your car and by collecting ten, your Power-ups are made stronger. Alas, this game is akin to Mario Kart rules, in which if you get hit with a Missile or slip on a Beaker, you will lose Wumpa Fruits, momentum and speed. This adds a bit more strategy to racing when it comes down to collecting Wumpa Fruits and Power Sliding as your main source of boosting. Easy to learn, yet hard to master.
The Pit Stop is a totally new feature introduced in Nitro-Fueled, where you can buy cosmetics with in-game Wumpa Coins that are awarded when you finish high enough in a race or finish first in Adventure Mode. These items are purely cosmetic, so you don’t need to obtain them as there are racers whose stats are similar to the starting roster’s stats. As for cosmetics, it really doesn’t appeal to grind races in order to get coins. At most, a racer can get up to 80 coins per race, and most of the items are rather expensive.
Having the downloadable Switch Version, Nitro-Fueled has a tendency to crash when the software is being launched. The cause is likely due to the amount of game data online as well as the game files requiring more time to load on the console. You may also race online with other racers, but make sure to have a good, stable connection before doing so.
Looking at gameplay and controls, they feel as tight and responsive as the original game’s controls. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses in Speed, Acceleration and Turning. In the starting roster, Crash and Cortex are the more balanced racers, having good all around stats in all three areas. Drivers who are faster from the get go include Dingodile and Tiny Tiger. Coco and N. Gin are characters that gain more speed from boosts from their good Acceleration stat. Pura and Polar are great at handling tough corners on specific race tracks due to their high Turn stat. Unlocking more characters are possible by beating certain areas in Adventure Mode and buying them from the newly added Pit Stop Feature.
In the way of race courses and soundtrack, Beenox did a phenomenal job in recreating the sound track for Nitro-Fueled. Activision’s redesign of all CTR’s race tracks are spot on and have added an immense amount of detail to the lighting, textures and even small aesthetics like blades of grass in Crash Cove breathe new life into the retro classic’s remaster. In doing so, they’ve exceeded expectations by even adding in courses and racers from the 2003 title Crash Nitro Kart. They have truly exceeded expectations in the redesigns of the race courses, characters and soundtrack by adding a modern twist with powerful software and extra attention to detail.
Overall, Nitro-Fueled is a truckload of fun! Lots of modes like Cup Races, Battles, Relic Races, and more to keep you going to try and beat your fastest time. Racing is just fun as a whole. The power-ups stay the same from the original game with major tweaks to design and special effects. Similar to Mario Kart, the lower the place you’re in, the better the power-ups you get, however, racing does require a bit of mastering. The Power Slide mechanic is essential to winning any race. Once you’ve mastered timing and Power Slides as well as control with your vehicle and character, racing becomes a whole lot easier.
For those who grew up with Crash Bandicoot, Nitro-Fueled is highly recommended to add to your game collection if you want to relive the nostalgia of your childhood or if you just want to have a goofy fun time with Crash and crew blowing each other up with TNT and bombs as they battle for the top spot in a race. This game feels right for all ages and would be really fun with friends and family.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled gets a 9 out of 10.