Crash Team Racing (CTR) was originally released back in 1999 and was considered the only game comparable to Mario Kart. Bring things forward 20 years and not much has come of the CTR franchise apart from the lesser known sequel Nitro Kart and the even lesser known threequel Tag Team Racing. Playing the remaster you can’t help but feel there were many missed opportunities back in the day to turn this franchise into Mario Karts real rival but we’ll get into that later.
CTR is effectively a full remake of the original akin to what Vicarious Visions did with the N Sane Trilogy but does feature a few elements such as Karts and characters from the later games. It is just as good as you remember. The racing is slick and fun, there is a small variety of weapons at your disposal that each perform similar tasks to that of Mario Kart but the drifting/turbo combination is what make CTR unique and it’s nice to see it return in all its glory here. It’s nice when you’re falling behind to drift and boost and suddenly get ahead.
There is a good variety of tracks and characters but I would have liked to have seen more remastered tracks from the sequel so that this really felt like the quintessential CTR game. The majority of the characters themselves are unlockable in various ways such as completing certain tasks or buying them in the pit stop. The pit stop is something I didn’t really enjoy, it is basically an in game shop where you can spend coins earned through all races (story and otherwise) to purchase stickers, characters and pack which included a variety of things. Although this is a good idea the amount of coins needed to purchase characters and costumes meant that I could only get 2 or 3 of these items after completing story mode with a few extra races thrown in.
The costumes are a welcome addition, each character includes 4 or more costumes which vary from a simple palette swap to making Pura look like a cat or Polar look like a grizzly bear. These were generally obtained through winning up to 10 races with said character which encouraged me to use different characters regularly.
The story mode is exactly how you remember with it being identical to the original. With it being so short, it was a shame that the story mode from the later games weren’t also included. I did however like the fact that you could play the original way, with one character and a set difficulty or with the ability to customise your character and difficulty on the fly.
CTR features a lot of other modes too, such as battle that provides a huge variety if you get a bit burnt out racing all the time. The graphics are also beautiful, just as nice as N Sane Trilogy, with an abundance of colours and cartoony style that will appeal to both young and old.
Overall CTR is the only cartoony kart racer that can rival the juggernaught that is Mario Kart, the fact that it has been away for so many years is crazy. PlayStation should have capitalised in the 90s and brought in other mascots to race with Crash and is clan. It’s never too late.
CTR is a fun, colourful and wacky kart racer that comfortably fills the void not only until another Mario Kart but hopefully more CTR sequels in the future.
+ Stunning visuals
+ Slick gameplay
+ Variety of characters
+ Abundance of modes
– Short story mode