Review: Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

Re-makes, re-visits, ports, it's a big thing these days to give a new lease of life to older games. But, not every game gets old nicely, what about this Crash game?

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is a visit to the past for developers Naughty Dog, for Activision and for fans. The classic kart racer came out in 1999 and already made a fine line between CTR and Mario Kart fans. Still, Crash went fairly under the radar and the Playstation 1 classic was seen in the early years as a shadow of what Mario Kart was. Still, there are plenty of people who thought the game was a true racing game, people who couldn't get enough of Crash's difficulty, even at a young age. This review is for people like me, people like you, yes I see you! Controllers were broken, but hearts were put together!


It all began…

Crash Team Racing stands out first in the storytelling part. When you start the game you get a number of options, including Adventure Mode. This is where the game's story begins. Crash and his friends/villains are engaged in some friendly races, which are disrupted by the main villain for the game:  Nitros Oxide . This villain wants to challenge the best racer on the planet. Because, if the planet loses, it will be completely destroyed. Then, just like before, you end up in a large hub from where you start all races.
You have to complete the normal race tracks to then be allowed to do a boss race. This boss race isn't so much about racing and the items, but more about dodging the items. You get a boss key after each boss, which unlocks the next area of the story hub. Ultimately, there are many more challenges waiting for you with which you can earn Artifacts.

Difficulty?

Something that many players are currently complaining about is how difficult the game is. Gamers who have played the game in the past know that this used to be the case. The advantage now is that the game responds a little more easily to your controller input. But, what makes Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled so much harder than the competition. Well, this is due to three big factors anyway. The controls have a more difficult learning curve. Drifting and cornering has always been more difficult in this game.
You have to jump to get into a drift and then press the opposite button in time to get a certain boost in your drift. Do you do this 3 times 'perfectly'? Then you've already pocketed the turns. The second is timing and items. Timing is important, as there are shortcuts and opportunities to get through corners faster, purely by timing the corner correctly. Items will help you up to a certain limit. Yes, you can knock down other racers, but you also have to place this well and time it better.

Other than that, there aren't many catch-up items, so once you're way behind, you'd better restart your race! This is one of the fun things about the game for me. The game does not just want to be played out, unlike other titles in 2019. The third point is the AI that you mainly race against in Adventure Mode. These opponents are far, far from stupid. They know exactly when to use items against you or where is the best place to turn. More often it feels like you're playing online, when the story is just on 'medium' difficulty.

Graphically abnormal

If you compare the 2019 Crash Team Racing version with the 1999 version, you will see a clear difference. Sure, playing Crash in 4K HD is a thing in its own right, but the full map re-designs have really become a piece of art. In previous interviews with developers, certain choices, hints and easter eggs they have placed in the re-creation of the tracks have been extensively discussed. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the game, my eyes popping out at the sight of this graphic feat. The developers have also had a perfect approach to mixing the nostalgic feeling with the graphical capabilities of today.
But, the characters and their facial expressions are also fantastic to see. The sounds have been kept as close to the old concept as possible, while still having the futuristic touch. Voices have also stayed as close to the past as possible! On this front it becomes difficult to find even one criticism. You can buy different skins in the pit-stop, all of these skins are all wonderfully animated, and best of all: no microtransactions!

verdict

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled isn't a game for everyone, but those who loved the game will love it even more now. The game retains its self-esteem from 1999, while a lot has changed graphically. The addition of skins and making the controls just a bit faster makes for nice changes. Surely the under-the-radar kart game has now placed itself on the radar. With a difficulty level that is almost unmatchable, CTR is vastly different from games like Sonic and Mario Kart. With a price tag of 40 Euros, this is a triple recommendation! Malvin Approves ;).


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