Crash is back (again), and this time he’s on wheels! Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is the racing remake that finally brings the nostalgia and classic sense of speed into the modern era of gaming. This game takes all of the content from the Crash racing games of the late 90’s and early 2000s and meshes them into the best kart racing experience you can find in 2019. While there isn’t exactly a giant amount of content now, more is on the way. Even so, you can’t go wrong with a remake that includes content from all three titles in the Crash kart racing series (including Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing) at a relatively modest price of $39.99.
The game functions just about as well as you’d expect a kart racer to function. However, what sets this apart from other titles is the response of the controls. The games sense of speed and control across wacky, fully realized tracks is more satisfying than that of a modern Mario Kart game. Crash and his ensemble all control the same, but are special in the sense that they’re good for different things. For instance Crash himself is the balanced character, having all of his stats evened out at the start. The boost feature is brilliant, using the bumpers of your controller to perfectly time your speed boosts. It’s oddly satisfying, especially in the third lap of a hot race.
With eight available at the start of the game, there’s a total of 25 playable characters from the Crash Bandicoot universe. These racers can be used across all 31 race tracks from the original Crash Racing Trilogy. The Adventure mode from previous titles has been tweaked for modern consumption. You can choose from Classic or ‘Nitro-Fueled’ Adventure modes. While Classic mode keeps the original rules from the older games, Nitro-Fueled allows you to change your character, their appearance via skins, customize your vehicle and change the difficulty level of the mode at your leisure. The Adventure mode also adds all new cinematic cutscenes that weren’t available in the original.
Anyway you slice it, Adventure mode is DIFFICULT, even on the Normal setting. The A.I characters are very well balanced in their speed and difficulty yet unforgiving in their offense. The boss characters in every race, who are generally much faster than you are will usually just beat you to the finish line with just a few seconds to spare. It really adds to the stakes of each race considering that you can only progress through Adventure Mode by placing first in every race. The attack items are very fun to use and feel relatively the same as their previous generation counterparts. My favorite among the items was the three pack of homing rockets. They can really make a difference between finishing the last lap in sixth or first place.
In addition to the challenging yet seriously fun Adventure Mode, Crash Team Racing also has multiplayer. This includes a simple yet effective online mode for the modern nostalgist. They have standard matchmaking lobbies in which you can engage in a number of races and battles. You can even show off your cosmetic unlockables, which is pretty standard for a racing game in 2019. Nonetheless, it gets the job done and functions quite well. Local play is also offered competently via split screen for up to four players.
The game’s presentation is reminiscent of what made me fall in love with the Crash series in the first place. Colorful, wacky, and filled with loud, interjective sound effects. The graphics are what you’d expect from a remake in the eighth generation of gaming. Crash and his ensemble are sleek and surprisingly realistic looking considering that they’re all so stylized. The details on Crash himself look so real, it’s almost kind of frightening. The game’s true visual feat are the stages. Every single one of the 31 tracks looks realized to the fullest, Beenox didn’t cut corners with the detail here. The game’s soundtrack was also remastered for this release, but you have the option to change to the original should you ever feel the need. A nice touch. Sound effects sound great, new dubs for Crash and the other characters really breathes life into the classic.
A remake of a 20 year old racing game in the modern day might not be the experience we’re all looking for. This can especially be said with newer racing titles hitting the market like crazy. That being said, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled proves that simplicity and nostalgia, with a few modern tweaks, works wonders. At $40, you can’t beat a fun remake that covers content from three games over the span of six years. With free seasonal content updates like tracks, characters and more, the game will last for miles.