Crash Team Racing was released a long time ago for PS1. Back in the heady days of video game mascots when Mario Kart was the only ‘real’ kart racer around.
Naughty Dog’s PS1 title had enough going for it back in the day to set it apart from Nintendo’s efforts. It was released to decent reviews and generated quite the fan following.
Now, 20 years later, Activision and Beenox have dusted off Crash’s old go-kart for another spin around the track.
Is it successful? Yes and no.
Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled Review
The best things Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled has going for it are the visuals and audio. Both are terrific and exemplify just how good Activision and its teams have gotten at recreating these old games.
Crash N.Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited were great examples of old, PS1-era games being given a rebuild and Crash Team Racing is no exception. The details of the characters — fur, scales, spikes etc — are amazing. Watching Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled in action is just like watching Saturday morning cartoons.
Not only have the characters been brought to life, but the tracks have also been extensively rebuilt and they too look great. As you zip around each track you’ll be blown away by the lighting and particle effects as well as the attention to detail and little things that bring them to life.
Playing on PS4, I can’t fault the visuals at all. They’re brilliant. On the Switch, you’re looking at a less pretty game, but it’s still going to look decent in handheld,
The audio is another part of Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled that is pure perfection. The sound effects you know, love and expect from a Crash Bandicoot game are all accounted for. Best of all, they sound great with the tribal, island tunes pumping out underneath. Even the character’s vocalisations are great.
Usually, I find the incessant chatter of character’s in kart games very, very annoying, but not so in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled. Beenox has struck just the right balance to bring the racer’s to life, but not annoy the player.
Sadly, while the visuals and audio are top notch, I can’t really say the same of the actual racing. Which, for a racing game, is a big letdown.
That’s not to say that the racing in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is bad. It’s not. It’s just badly dated, incredibly unbalanced and frustratingly difficult on occasion.
Playing in the included Adventure mode sees Crash and his friends having to claim victory in a number of races in order to race against the alien Nitros Oxide. Oxide is threatening earth unless he is beaten by earth’s best racer.
The story is flimsy, but fun.
In order to get to Oxide, players need to win a series of races before racing a boss. There are four bosses before Oxide and four tracks for each boss. Overall, that’s 16 tracks, and five boss races at a minimum before you get to the credits.
At first, the races are fun, whacky and easy to enjoy. However, it doesn’t take long before the spectres of all the worst parts of kart racers rear their heads.
Bad Old Rubber Band
Regardless of how well I raced, I was never able to get a comfortable lead and avoid the other racers. Most of the time, I struggled to get out of the pack simply because of the constant bombardment of weapons.
I’d be hit by a missile, crash out, then get hit by a bomb before another missile would hit me and leave me in last place. You expect these sorts of things to happen in a kart racer, it’s the nature of the beast. You don’t expect them to happen in every single lap of every race.
I’m exaggerating but that’s what it felt like.
If and when I did manage to get out in front, the atrocious rubber banding of the AI meant that I was always struggling to stay ahead. I don’t mind a challenge, in fact I relish it, but in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled, I felt cheated.
Especially when it came to boss races. One, in particular, proved so difficult to stay ahead of that it took me well over 50 attempts to beat him. On MEDIUM DIFFICULTY!
What I took away from playing solo is that Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is not a game you should play by yourself. Instead, it’s a game that should be played with friends. When you do, nearly all of the issues I have with the racing vanish.
The weapons are still ridiculous and it’s never going to be fun to be pummelled with five missiles in a row. At least if it’s your friends doing it you can get some revenge.
Most of the tracks in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled have held up fairly well and the fresh coat of paint certainly helps. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that they feel a bit dated. None of the tracks are as interesting or immediately fun as anything in Mario Kart 8 or even Team Sonic Racing.
And that’s basically Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled in a nutshell. It looks fresh but under the hood, it’s using old parts. Kart racers as a genre have grown and changed in the past 20 years but Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled is the same as it was.
It’s definitely a lot of fun with a group of friends but it can’t compete with modern games like Mario Kart and Team Sonic Racing.
If you’re a fan of the original then you’ll probably love it. If you’re looking for a simple game to bash around in with your kids or friends then it’s also a great choice. However, if you’ve already got other kart racers in your collection, Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled isn’t a necessity.
Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided by Activision.
Game Title: Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled
- Great visuals and audio - 8.6/108.6/10
- Boost Mechanic sets it apart - 9.1/109.1/10
- Heaps of tracks - 8.1/108.1/10
- Dated Gameplay - 5/105/10
- AWFUL Rubber Banding AI - 2/102/10
- Still lots of fun with friends - 9.5/109.5/10