Review by Moochthemonkey

Reviewed: 03/06/04

Naughty Dog Has A Racing Game?!

Nintendo first created an innovative genre that is known as “combat racing”. They started out with the games Diddy Kong Racing and Mario Kart. The basic idea of the games was to win races, but you would have to collect special power-ups and weapons to use against your opponents. Therefore, you would have melee battles while racing your vehicles to the end. This was a very creative idea, and the games attracted many fans as well as hours of fun for friends and family.

Later on, Naughty Dog created the first “combat racing” game for the Playstation. They of course included many famous Crash characters, thus magnetizing several Playstation fans. Naughty Dog’s leap from adventure type games to this genre lead to a very successful idea.

Once again, Naughty Dog has been triumphant in creating another humorous story. A grotesque alien has come to Crash’s planet and yearns to race some of the best drivers there. If the best racer wins, then he will just grumble and leave the planet alone. If Nitrous Oxide becomes victorious in this exciting competition, he will turn the entire planet into a concrete parking lot! In this amazing game, you get to play as eight different renowned characters from previous Crash titles, as you blaze across dozens of vivacious levels in this marvelous escapade!

The one player adventure mode is the best section that you will want to check out in the game. You will first be introduced with several characters to choose from, all having their separate stats. You will seem many classic characters, like Cortez, the Polar Bear, and of course the wacky Crash Bandicoot himself. Now you will enter your first world which is a beach area. As Aku Aku gives you hints, you can travel to different levels and play them in any order you want. You will have three different items to race for, crash coins, relics, and of course shiny trophies. These will be awesome objects to add to your collection. There even is challenging levels where you have to collect crystals! Once you are done earning your well deserved trophies, it is now time to go up against a thrilling boss. You will encounter bosses like the traditional Pinstripe from the first Crash Bandicoot game, as well the psychedelic Ripper Roo. Watch your character dash through dozens of levels in this thrilling adventure! Of course, there will be plenty of new levels and kart racers that you can unlock….

You may think that this game is alike to the acclaimed series “Twisted Metal”. Yeah, I guess you could say that the games are Combat Racing too, but Crash Team Racing and Twisted metal have a different gist. In Twisted Metal, you go around shooting rockets and other varieties of weapons at your opponents, while in Crash Team Racing you do the same thing, but are actually in a real competitive race too! There are also more objectives in Crash Team Racing; this game will keep you busy for hours. So, if you don’t have a Nintendo 64, but you like Twisted Metal but there seems to just be a little element missing, Crash Team Racing is the game for you! In this game, the characters will manage to dash across the screen to get access to any power-ups, speed bumps, ramps, wumpa fruits, and any necessary articles that will help them be victorious in the race! If you are furious at Tiny Tiger or another contender, feel free to roll a nasty bomb or shoot a home-seeking, blistering missile at them! Are you lugging in last place and need to rise to a hire ranking? There will also be several other gadgets that you can collect, whether you are in the adventure mode or the multiplayer VS. and battle mode. However, you will obtain these gadgets at random, so I wish you good luck!

Of course, you will have to be skilled in using your gadgets and power-ups to be successful in your races and especially battles, but there will be other techniques that you will have to master. You need to learn how to cut corners, powerslide, and learn how to drive on the different conditions and tractions of the levels. You would think that a racing game involving weapons would be so hard to learn and difficult to control. Crash Team Racing definitely isn’t. Within a few minutes, you will be a challenging contender to your veteran video game friends.

With the mentioning of friends, you can not only race but also have battles with up to four people. The Battle and VS. Mode is guaranteed to provide enjoyment for hours. Play with up to four people, as you afflict total obliteration upon your friends in the specially designed battle arenas. Naughty Dog cunningly created this mode so that you can play in teams or just one for all! Make use of the powerups in the level, especially the derivative super engines and invisibility, which were not available in other modes. Make sure to play the arcade modes, so you unlock certain levels that are distinctively made for battle and VS. mode.

Furthermore, you can sharpen your skills in the arcade mode and time trial. In arcade, go head to head with your Naughty Dog contenders in your race to obtain trophies. Don’t worry about your skill level, try out the cinchy “Crash Cup” if you are a beginner, and for experts at the game you can break a leg or two at the “Nitride Cup”. If you just like the basic idea of racing, the time trial mode is the one for you. This is a great way to master the course and see how quick you can zoom through the wild stages. These modes are essential if you want to unlock characters and levels.

Crash Bandicoot Team Racing does take a bit of a fall in the graphics and sound department. I personally like the originality of the stages, as well as the fresh backgrounds and lively character sprites. However, the game does get somewhat glitchy at times, and the tracks make you wonder whether you are going the right direction or not. The wacky sound flows in accordingly as you race. The sound effects are real vehicle sounds, from the engine to brake noises. In most Crash Bandicoot games there is some loopy music, not saying that this an disturbing effect, but peculiarity and monotony makes me scurry to the mute button. Though this area definitely isn’t “state-of-the-art”, the graphics and audio isn’t all that bad, and I consider the fact to be a trivial matter.

Aside from the graphics and sound, CTR does have a couple more defects. The game does repeat itself; like I said, the repetitiveness makes it boring. Just a little variation as you progress through in Adventure mode would make it perfect. Also, the game does get very simple once you have mastered it. However the annoying crystals stages makes up for that flaw. Likewise, this game still remains very amusing and will keep me playing for a few more minutes or so. There are so many extra things that you can complete in this game, that if I was to write them all out there wouldn’t be any room left in the library to do so. (Just a slight exaggeration!) What I am trying to say is that Naughty Dog has clearly outdone themselves. I rate this game 9/10, so make sure to pick up a copy today.

Thanks Naughty Dog. You did it again.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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