Review by CBFan
"Better than CTR, even if no one else agrees."
Crash Team Racing, better known as CTR, was the very last Crash game to be developed by Naughty Dog, the original creators of the series, and the guys who got me hooked into the series in the first place. They didn't make the first Crash game I owned though, that was Vicarious Visions (XS). That same company also made Crash Nitro Kart (CNK for short). I loved the GBA version, and longed to play the PS2 version, as well as some of the other games in the series.
Amazingly enough, I managed to find a Playstation 2 that came with two Crash Bandicoot games...CNK and The Wrath Of Cortex. What are the odds? Anyway, I played CNK first...and quite simply loved it. Even today, I find this much superior to CTR in many ways.
What I hated about CTR was the lack of a story. Having played this game first, I expected that the original would have a great story. How wrong I was. But I'll not continue on with that.
The story starts at the Bandicoot household, where Crash, Coco, Crunch and Aku Aku are busy relaxing. As Crunch and Aku Aku dicuss diets, a bright white light engulfs the house, and sends it into the sky. The scene then cuts to Cortex's Castle, where Neo Cortex is busy planning a way to defeat Crash. He sends Tiny to see if N Gin requires assistance...only for another light to appear, engulf them and take them away.
When Crash, Coco, Crunch, Cortex, N Gin and Tiny realise what is going on, they find themselves in a large collesium on a small planet. The ruler is Emperor Velo the 27th, and he has captured our friends for his subject's entertainment. He has challenged them to a racing tournament known as the Galactic Circuit, where they will compete against some of his speed champions, including some familiar faces such as N Oxide, Polar, Dingodile and N Trance. If our friends win, they will earn their freedom. There is one rule though...if they refuse to race, Earth will be destroyed.
Personally, I find it more realistic than CTR.
Mind you, the gameplay is pretty similar to CTR's storyline. If you want to learn more, you can head over to my CTR review and check it out. No, don't worry, I'll tell you more here. I'm not that mean.
Like CTR, Adventure Mode is the main part of the game. Here, you can race the Galactic Circuit to save the world from Velo. Unlike CTR, where you pick an individual character, you choose one of two teams. One team consists of Crash, Coco and Crunch, the other of Cortex, N Gin and Tiny. No one team has an advantage over the other, but you do earn different awards with each team. Crash and Cortex are good all-rounders, Coco and N Gin concentrate on tight-turning and Crunch and Tiny have a need for speed.
Once you've picked your team, you'll be warped to the first main world. Once again, there are many different race tracks to choose. Drive into any active warp vortex, and you're away.
I don't really like the racing of CNK, if I'm totally honest. The only thing I actually like is the fact that the line-up changes each time. The racing idea is basically the same though; you race around three laps of the track and try to come in first place. Once again, there are Wumpa Fruit and Weapons. Wumpa Fruit "juice" your kart and make it go faster. Collecting ten wumpa fruit makes your weapons stronger. The weapons in question help you or hinder your oppodents. You'll get things much like you did in CTR, so the bombs, missiles and TNT crates are still there. There are three new items though...the static orb (not like the CTR one), the ice mine and the tornado top.
What throws away from the actual racing is the controlling. The karts are slippery and slide everywhere. Also, the weapons are difficult to control, and don't always act the way you want them to. However, there is a new feature...the Team Play. There are four teams and you will compete alongside a member of your team (Crash and Coco, or Cortex and Tiny). If you are alongside your teammate for a large enough length of time, you will activate "Team Mode" and gain an unlimited amount of weapons for a short period of time. Also, the team play mode allows you to win without you being first...as long as your team-mate crosses the line first, you will win the trophy. Don't expect this to make the game easier...your teammate will often hang around in a similar position to you, so if you are 8th, your team-mate will probably be 7th. Also, it can be annoying when you really want to win, especially as you cannot actually hit your oppodent with any direct weapon.
Anyway, win first place, win the trophy. Once again, you can also win CNK tokens (just like CTR tokens) and relics, just like in CTR. The difference being that you can swap team members at any time during the course of the game, which is handy if you need to grab a relic (using Crunch and Tiny is best here).
If you win three trophies, Velo will introduce the champion of the planet you are racing on with a couple of stunning (and I mean stunning) cutscenes. These cutscenes are special because they are the first proper FMV (Full Motion Videos) to be made in a Crash game. I congratulate RedEye Studios for this, and I was glad that they carried these into Twinsanity and Tag Team Racing. Anyway, I'm getting behind myself...if you beat the boss, you will win a key and access to a new planet. Oonce again, you need all four keys to challenge Velo and win the circuit.
You can also try Arcade mode. This is pretty much the same as Adventure Mode, except you can also play as other characters, such as the pre-mentioned Oxide, Dingodile, Polar and more. Be warned, some of them need unlocking before you can race as them. At least the line-up is not the same as CTR's is. There is also Time Trial mode which is pretty much the same as in CTR's.
Well, obviously, the graphics look better. But that's only really because it is a PS2 game. BTW, each character has recieved his or her own "make-over", and most of them look very good. The main exception is Dingodile, he looks very cheesy.
Although the music is almost unnoticable and the sounds are a little degrading, but the character quotes have much more enthusiasm than in CTR. You may find them a bit annoying, but I didn't.
This is more like it. It was pretty difficult to get through the main game, and it took me 10 goes to defeat Velo for the first time. But it is good to play again to see all of the stunning cutscenes.
In my personal opinion, the superior racing game. Even with Crash Tag Team Racing, it is still the game I come back to. If you enjoyed CTR, you may enjoy this. If you're a racing fan, you should also try this. Enjoy.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/31/06
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