Recently released on June 21st, 2019, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled gives a modern twist to a beloved classic. Instead of creating an HD version of Crash Team Racing in its original form, developers Beenox combine tracks from both Bandicoot kart racing games to create Nitro-Fueled. Under Activision, they improve upon the original kart racers by making the game accessible on multiple platforms. You can find Crash and his friends on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and XboxOne.
The story is rather simple. A green alien by the name of Nitros Oxide visits Crash’s planet, and like most aliens, wants to take over the world. He claims he is the fastest racer in the universe and challenges the inhabitants to race him, claiming he will leave if the earthlings win. He calls it a game, and names it “Survival of the Fastest.” Crash and his fellow racers must get first place in each of the 16 tracks in order to send Oxide back home. Characters who are normally rivals become allies because they all want to save their planet from this green menace.
Fans who love the original Crash Bandicoot racing games love how great the game’s controls feel. Thankfully, Beenox doesn’t disappoint them in the remake. The controls are just as smooth and accurate as before. Each character has a different combination of speed, turn radius, and acceleration level. This means that certain characters drive better on certain tracks.
A common, unique feature in this game is something called “power sliding” which can be difficult for new players. Nonetheless, steering and drifting are skills that any player can catch onto pretty easily. Whether you are a classic Crash fan or a newcomer, you can play this game without difficulty. Well, depending on what difficulty level you choose, that is.
One of the best things about this game is the way it allows you to have the freedom to choose. You can pick either easy, medium, or hard difficulty levels, along with kart colors, designs, and characters. For the less experienced player, I strongly recommend choosing easy. I’m not the best at this game, but I do consider myself mediocre, and medium difficulty can be frustrating at times. That being said, a racing game is not fun without a challenge, so I believe this is one of the game’s greatest strengths. The hard difficulty setting is definitely only for the most experienced players. Medium is a pretty good balance for those who play often but do not consider themselves experts.
Characters and Karts
As you play through the game, you unlock more characters, skins, stickers, kart types, kart colors, and parts. Additionally, you collect wumpa coins throughout the game which allows you to download items from the main menu’s “pit stop” option. This feature is fun, but there is a negative side. Unfortunately, items change from day to day, so if you don’t download an item, it is uncertain when that item will be available again. On the positive side of the pit stop feature, more characters such as Spyro the Dragon will be made available in the future through DLC Grand Prix seasons.
One of the coolest things about this game is that you can mix and match everything in kart customization. If you want to race as a Bandicoot but use a Cortex kart, you can! You can also randomize your character and kart if you’re the type who has difficulties making decisions.
In this mode, you experience the story. There are five different areas you use to access the tracks. These areas include N. Sanity Beach, Gem Stone Valley, Lost Ruins, Glacier Park, and Citadel City. In order to defeat the bosses, all you need to collect are the trophies which are won by finishing first place in each race. However, to fully complete the game, you must participate in CTR challenges and Relic Races for each track, as well as Crystal Challenges.
CTR challenges are simply races that contain the three letters “C,” “T”, and “R” scattered throughout the track. You must both collect each letter and finish in first place in order to win. Relic Races are simply time trials. These races include time-stopping boxes that slow down time to help you win. In Crystal Challenges, you must collect all the crystals before time runs out. That last one is much more difficult than it sounds.
You must also collect boss keys in order to proceed to each area of the game. These keys are collected by defeating each boss in a race.
An important thing to note is that the game gives you the option to complete the story in Classic Mode, or Nitro-Fueled Mode. Classic Mode is for those who prefer the original set-up of Crash Team Racing.
This mode is not story-driven and is made for local multiplayer or single player versus CPUs. This mode includes single races, cup races, battles, time trials, relic races, CTR challenges, and crystal challenges. Once you choose your race or battle type, you also get to choose the details. For example, if you pick a single race, you can choose the number of players, the number of laps, the difficulty level, and whether you want the track mirrored or not. If you choose a limit battle, you get to pick the time limit, whether or not you want teams, and which power-ups you want.
While this one is pretty self-explanatory, it is still worth going over. In online mode, you can choose to do a private match with friends, or simply let the game set you up with random online players. Each player votes on which track they want to race. It is also possible to vote for a random track. You must have PlayStation Plus if you want to join online matches.
The visual appeal is one of the best things about this game in my experience with it. I remember thinking the graphics in the original games were amazing, but Beenox absolutely blows my mind with their interpretations of each level. From Roo’s Tubes, all the way to Clockwork Wumpa, the game’s colors and details are nearly perfect. Sometimes the graphics are so good that it is difficult to differentiate the track from the scenery, like in Blizzard Bluff, for instance. The nighttime levels such as Electron Avenue, Interno Island, and Slide Coliseum are especially appealing graphically.
An added bonus is that the game includes the level “Retro Stadium,” along with unlockable retro skins for certain characters which resemble the original game’s style. Can you feel the nostalgia already?
As always, the soundtrack in this game is wonderful. As soon as the game begins, you hear a peppy tune that sends nostalgic chills down your spine. Similarly to Spyro Reignited Trilogy, the game allows you to switch between classic and remastered soundtracks which is a great feature for remasters. Furthermore, the sound effects are engaging without being overwhelming. They sound almost identical to the originals, but in a modernized way. Additionally, each racer has their own little sayings that they repeat during races and battles, which adds to the comedic side of the game. Subtitles are an option, and you can change the levels of the game’s music, sound effects, and voices.