Crash Nitro Kart
Crash Nitro Kart is a racing game from the Crash Bandicoot saga developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Vivendi Universal Games in 2003. The game continues the story of Crash Team Racing (1999) and was released for Playstation 2, GBA, Xbox, GameCube and Zeebo.
The plot of the game is very similar to the one of its predecessor, both the heroes and the villains are contacted by the Emperor Velo XXVII, the self-proclaimed fastest driver in the universe. The new evildoer demands a competition in which, if he proves to be the swiftest runner, he will seize the earth and destroy it.
First of all, the adventure has all the things that made Crash Team Racing such a great game in the heart of the fans. To begin with, the format of winning 3 races before facing the boss with the possibility of earning relics or gems in between was maintained. Also, gameplay elements such as gun boxes, drifts and shortcuts made a return to this new game, so it was possible to guarantee that the essence of the franchise would not be lost.
There is no Crash in a team
On the other hand, no sequel to Crash was exactly identical to the previous installment, and this is no exception. One of the great gameplay additions to this title is the teams. In a similar way to the gameplay of Crash bash (2000), the character we choose is part of a group and doesn't have to venture alone in the races, instead he will have partners that in case of winning, will give him the victory. In addition, the mechanics of the skid were improved and a system of collecting fruits in the race was added. In this case, far from granting a speed boost as in the previous game, they provide special effects on the weapons that are collected in the boxes.
The Bandicoot meets the new millennium
Regarding the graphic part, the effort made by the developers to bring Crash to the 21st century can be noticed. The characters feel more alive than ever, their models are updated and even have more marked expressions and characteristics to the personality we know of them. Also, the palette is still brightly colored, but now it changes slightly according to the race schedule. This gives the game a much greater degree of realism. For example, even though some levels maintain the original colors, with sunset themes, the shadows and warm tones take over the screen and give the course its own identity.
In the sound part, this new delivery continues with the classic style used in the saga, but with some creative changes. The new tracks are loaded with faster rhythms that separate themselves from the warm and friendly nature they are used to. The sound effects play with this mix and vary from innocent and childish to mechanical and more violent, inherent to the more classic career titles.
The reviews for Crash Nitro Kart were varied. Many of them claimed that although they could capture the essence created by Naughty Dog in the traditional releases, the innovations they presented were not up to the task or felt risky. However, the most positive reviews came from the image side, where they impressed journalists with the cutscenes and in-game graphics.
Whether or not it lives up to its predecessor, Crash Nitro Kart is a very entertaining game that has a lot of replay value. Either to relax or to continue the canon of the original adventure, this game is a good excuse to return to the world of one of the biggest mascots in the world of video games.
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Crash is an interesting beast. Not in a bandicoot sense, but in regard to his new karting gig. For everything Nitro Kart does right, it does something frustratingly wrong--not the least of which is being released alongside the new Mario Kart. CNKs Adventure mode delivers harmless single-player action, with interesting stuff such as boss challenges and team aspects, but it becomes annoying when you're forced to replay tracks with nonsensical requirements. For example, trying to finish in first while picking up arbitrarily placed letters or smashing clock-stopping boxes doesn't make for a good time. The boost system--in which you link boosts by catching air, hitting pads, and powersliding--is another failed attempt at innovation. Having to press two buttons for the powersliding boost is just clunky. And then there's the multiplayer. Two-player cup races are enjoyable, but three-and four-player bouts lack intensity, thanks to bigger-than-necessary maps, ineffective weapons, and slower-than-normal game-play. Nitro Kart doesn't offer the fast-paced, fluid fun I expect from a kart racer.
Poor Crash. The little guy keeps pumping those stumpy marsupial legs, but he's still miles behind Mario--or in this case, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GC). Crash Nitro Kart is a fairly limp effort; aside from a whole bunch of new tracks and better graphics, not much has been done to update the series. The gameplay feels nearly identical to Crash Team Racing's (PS1), even down to the speed-boosting wumpa fruits, so if you loved it before, you'll still love it, and if not...not.
The unflavored yogurt of the kart-racing set, Crash Nitro Kart has its heart in the right place. Sadly, said heart is stillborn. Powered by the charismatic Crash Bandicoot and featuring a solid multiplayer mode, CNKtakes few chances; it's as generic in look as it is in feel. CNK offers standard weapons, predictably themed tracks with lots of jumps but few hairpin curves to challenge drivers, and a toned-down difficulty level to keep frustrating losses to a minimum. Oh, and what's with the lamest unlockable ever: the ability to rewatch cut-scenes?