About Twenty years ago, Naughty Dog's Crash Team Racing made a name for itself as "the other good karting driver". And to this day, its dynamic courses, tasty, challenging but clear mechanics, and lack of recovery. The articles make it a game that deserves better than living in the shadow of Mario Kart. Despite some seriously frustrating single-player racing, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is an exciting journey that keeps the excellent original game intact while adding some quality of life updates, such as an improved HUD, and mandatory modern embellishments as unlockable cosmetics.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled transports me instantly to 1999 and the early 2000s with its familiar clues, bright colors and ridiculous strategy to keep Nitros oxide from turning the Earth into a parking lot. But this remaster is far from being stuck in the past: visually, it looks impressive with vivid details in every corner and animations that give each character a lot of personalities. The ability to exchange characters during Adventure mode and cosmetic options are welcome additions, and learning to master each of these 31 tracks proved to be a real challenge due to their frequent closed turns, competent (albeit sometimes cheap) competition the AI

The CTR Nitro-Fueled has an Adventure mode, local and online game, five battle modes and three challenge modes based on the original, but the most important thing is how it feels to get behind the wheel. In that sense, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a success. The incredibly fast speed, which is significantly faster than that of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, can be alarming at first, but it was a welcome once I had an idea of ​​the course. Go-karts are fast in nature, but the power-sliding mechanics take that speed to another level.

The power glide, also known as drifting, is a classic mechanic among kart runners, but the Nitro-Fueled CTR has a unique approach. The lower right corner has a HUD-equipped with a bigger and better turbo gauge than the one we've seen in previous games in the franchise. This is how it works: start a slide by holding down L1 or R1, and move the joystick according to the direction in which you intend to move. The meter will fill and, once it is red, you can touch the opposite trigger to perform a "good action". "Boost those rockets forward, but if you wait a little longer, the meter will fill up to the second section and give you a" perfect "boost that will launch you even faster. Find three of these and you'll get an even stronger boost, questioning the so-called perfection of the individual impulse.

The amount of feedback given by the turbo meter makes the slippage of the power easy to understand and yet difficult to master. You know exactly when and why you fail. And when you are successful, you can feel proud as you slide towards victory.

Tracking Well

There are 31 individual race tracks in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, both in Crash Team Racing and in the sequel to Vicarious Visions' 2003, Crash Nitro Kart. Given the above, it is a disappointment that the Adventure mode only sends us through only 17, (minus some optional challenges), all of which come from the original CTR.

He worshiped each of them, from the sewers that encourage the greatest slip of energy to the tunnels completely aligned with turbo boosters. And although they have predictable patterns, environmental obstacles turn out to be a real challenge. Is it going for momentum even when the next barrel fall makes it a close decision? Can you try to avoid the beakers without the plant-eating them? The tracks were designed to make the power slide shine and the result is something quick, fun and memorable.

It is not a go-kart racer without elements, and the 11 favorite CTRs are back (two of which are exclusive to battle modes). Most of these elements work in a predictable way given the gender: one provides invincibility and greater speed, the turbos increase, the glasses work as traps on the track, etc. But I've always loved what the Crash racing series draws from the history and world of Crash Bandicoot platform games. The Aku Aku mask generally provides invincibility, but when Dr. Neo Cotex picks it up, it is the Uka Uka mask. TnT The boxes of boxes take a few seconds to explode once they touch, as in the platform game. But once you enter it, the box is placed on your head, allowing you to jump again and again hoping to take it off before it explodes. Similarly, wumpa fruits may seem "basically coins in Mario Kart" but, in addition to increasing the maximum speed, once you have collected 10, you will get "Juiced Up!" Power-ups. For example, TnT boxes are converted into nitro boxes. that explodes as soon as you touch them and the green glasses turn red and not only make you spin. Instead, these glasses also add a cloud of rain on your opponent's head to slow down for several seconds after they recover.

Casually Difficult

The compulsory pace of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled and the lack of recovery elements make it the most exciting karting driver I've ever played, but this is not the kart racer you want on TV during Thanksgiving Day. or a friendly meeting.

If you are bad at CTR Nitro-Fueled, the elements will not save you, and that is not an insignificant cost to climb. The multiplayer was fun when my competitors quickly realized the power, but other times I just found myself explaining how to play rather than play. The CTR Nitro-Fueled has some elements that can equal a race, like the Warp Orb that tracks the main driver while hitting other pilots along the way, similar to the blue shell of Mario Kart. But these do not appear often enough to prevent someone from creating a gigantic advantage.

The casual nature of the kart runners and the skill that is needed to master the CTR sometimes feel at odds. While rigor seems unique and refreshing, it makes it difficult to pass control to those who have less experience. Mario Kart also has the skill, but items like Bullet Bill make it easy to get a decent finish, even if you drive badly.

Even with all my experience, getting on the podium was not an easy task. The point system during Cup mode is particularly old and relentless, with 0 points awarded to anyone who finishes in fifth place or less.

While some may be dedicated exclusively to local or online play, CTR Nitro-Fueled has a fully developed player campaign in five central worlds that can be played in Nitro-Fueled or Classic mode.

The Nitro-Fueled mode allows you to change the characters and karts to your liking. Being able to exchange characters at will, unlike the original game, can be useful if you ever find it difficult to win the coveted first place trophy because statistics vary on the list.

I spent most of the CTR driving with one of my favorite characters, Coco, whom I fondly remember as one of the first female characters with whom I played. But Dr. Cortex's balanced statistics finally helped me get first on Hot Air Skyway. And the beginner class driver, Polar, was excellent for precision challenges at the end of the campaign. It is also adorable.

Those who crave that old school feel can play in Classic mode with a character from start to finish and just a basic kart. Even the cast will be identical to the original and the difficulty options will be non-existent. Personally, I prefer the modern version because the character exchange options are convenient and it is fun to be entertained with cosmetics. But the classic mode is a good way for the remaster to stay true to the original while making the improvements that modern players can choose.

Apart from some of the previous tracks and cups, getting the first place in CTR is a challenge. You must be able to slide like no other tomorrow as you deal with the randomness of your opponents' arsenals. But getting first on each track to unlock the boss and then beating the boss to advance to the next area can be exhausting.

At the end of the campaign, you will probably be excellent at the CTR, but you can also hate the CTR. In addition to some difficult tracks, all bosses have rubber bands, which means that it is essentially impossible to be in front of them during the three laps. No matter how much distance you put between yourself, they will eventually come back. Your goal really is to move towards the end of the track, when it really counts.

At first, this was a bit annoying with some particularly painful and cheap losses. But towards the end of the campaign, it became somewhat ridiculous, to the point that one of the final bosses throwing bowling pumps without stopping on a track without bumpers and with several blind spots. A good boss should challenge him to put all his knowledge and skills to the test, but this design is only part of the 90s that we should leave in the trash to which he belongs.

There are twelve specific battle courses available, all of which are extracted from the configuration of the main tracks. The battle mode also features the Super Motor and Invisibility elements, which feel useless in this more combat-focused challenge. The Super Motor sends you flying through the field and Invisibility would be good if your wheels were not 100% visible to everyone. Being less visible is not invisible.

The problem is that all these modes are based on points and involve hitting opponents with weapons, carrying a flag to your base or collecting crystals while avoiding and attacking enemies. So, despite having five modes, there really is not much variety in the game. The battle is useful, but it's nothing special. I may start it just to do something other than a career, but that's it.

Challenge Modes With Mixed Success

The time trials are simple and, ultimately, lack inspiration: get the best possible time and compete against the ghost versions of yourself as you try to beat the highest CPU score. The Crystal Challenge is equally mundane: grab all the crystals (in the circular arenas exclusive to battle modes) before the time runs out. It's a challenge, of course, but not especially interesting.

On the other hand, the Relic Race and CTR challenge are two of the best modes in CTR Nitro-Fueled. Relic races involve beating the track for a set period of time, just like in the Time trial, here you are running alone, but with an additional touch in which the numbered boxes stop the timer for 1, 2 or 3 seconds, respectively. This adds a new layer of emotion and strategy to clues that would otherwise be familiar.

The CTR Challenge mode requires you to pick up the letters C, T, and R while finishing first to beat the track. The combination of having to locate the letters, grab them successfully and also achieve a clean career adds a fun dimension to the race. And unlike other challenge modes, this one is populated with CPU players, so it feels much closer to the main game.

Catching a Drift on Switch

The Nintendo Switch version of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is not as sharp as the PS4 version on which I reviewed it. In the coupled mode, the difference is remarkable but does not detract from the overall experience. The Nintendo Switch version is a bit more irregular. Especially, you can see it when you look at the lap counter in the upper right corner. The Switch numbers look a bit pixelated compared to the soft PS4 numbers. But in the hand mode, the difference feels negligible with no more irregular numbers or slightly more pixelated character models. On the handheld, the switch is 720p, so it is not as refined as the PS4, which is 1080p, but the screen of the switch is small enough to make it look good. While many of the Switch game versions have a noticeable drop in performance compared to their Xbox One and PS4 counterparts, this fast kart racer still works well.

Looking Bandicute

Personalization is available for both karts and characters, but these objects have no effect on racing, so the playing field will remain uniform. Some of these are unlocked during adventure mode, although constant pop-ups that say "you have a new paint job!" They interrupt the flow between the races and the central world in which the clues exist. Other cosmetics can be purchased with the game currency. It is called Wumpa Coins in The Pit Stop, which is won with the races. The skins of the characters are quite elegant, but the work of painting and most of the wheels leave much to be desired.

When taking into account the characters, the skins of the characters, the bodies of the karts, the wheels, the painting works and the stickers, only one-third of these cosmetics can be unlocked simply at the end of the Adventure mode. Some require completing additional challenges and the rest must be purchased with the game currency.

This game store features daily offers for masks, paint jobs, and decals that are labeled as basic, exotic or legendary. This feels uncomfortably out of place because while cosmetics are a welcome addition, the rotating facade seems to be working too hard to make this a continuous game in a genre that is usually contained on the couch or in a few games in the line. The store screens and CTR, in general, look like something from 2008. They stand out, in a bad way, against art direction that would otherwise be beautiful.

In general, there are some excellent cosmetics in CTR Nitro-Fueled but some of the cutest and freshest items, such as the Polar fisherman suit and Robo-Cortex, are stuck in The Pit Stop. In addition, some of the cosmetics do not deserve their challenges. For example, achieving a 100% progression in Adventure mode allows you to get the green paint job of the hovercraft. That's! But for a 101% progression, you get nitrous oxide skin, so at least that's something.

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