Crash Team Racing
After Crash: WARPED, Naughty Dog wanted to do something different with Crash Bandicoot. Possibly a free-roaming action adventure like Spyro, possibly something else. In the end "something else" won--and so far, we don't see any reason to complain. Even in its early stages, it's clear just how fun this character-based racer is going to be...especially from a multiplayer angle.
Crash Team Racing's overall feel is inspired by Mario Kart on the Super NES (considered by many to be superior to the N64 version). On the multiplayer side of things. Golden Eye 007 and Bomberman act as inspiration. Hence the game has all kinds of options in the multiplayer mode, making it totally customizable. Choose the kind of items you can pick up, who's against whom, the type of match, etc. For the record, there are 16 standard tracks for the Gran Prix, Time Trial, Vs. and Adventure Mode, seven battle mode tracks for the Battle Mode and two secret tracks. All of CTR's levels are modeled after stages from previous (and future?) Crash Bandicoot games.
Since CTR is a Crash game, there's a fairly easy way to beat the game, and a much harder way. For hardcore gamers who want to beat every last percent of CTR, they can master its mildly complex turbo system to ensure first place, take on the bosses, win gold wrenches to upgrade your kart's performance, beat N. Tropy in the Time Trial Mode for relics, and finally, find the secret levels and race through them. Luckily for novice players, they can still beat the game without doing all of this stuff, but they won't quite get that 100 percent.
The turbo system in CTR works like this: You get turbo boosts by power sliding and catching air. The more successful you are doing at both, the longer your turbo lasts. In addition, let's say you're power sliding through a corner, and then catch some air off of a ramp. Well, the two turbos in succession act as a combo of sorts, hence an even longer turbo.
In addition to power-ups by way of the turbo system, your kart can get decked out with a variety of offensive and defensive items. TNT crates, Wumpa fruit, bombs, shields and missiles are available via crates scattered throughout levels.
You're also awarded Gold Wrenches when you beat a level or boss. These wrenches can be used toward five engine, exhaust and tire upgrades. There are around 30 wrenches in the entire game. Collect all of the wrenches, save your souped-up kart and then cream your friends.
Graphically, CTR is the most impressive Naughty Dog game to date. They claim the game has no popup, fog, polygon dropout or any of the other things you'd expect when a game pushes the PlayStation to its apparent limits. And from what we've seen and played thus far, they're right. As a side note, CTR supports the Namco JoGcon and NeGcon in addition to the standard Sony Dual Shock controller.
- MANUFACTURER - Naughty Dog
- THEME - Racing
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
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It's obvious CTR was inspired by the Super NES Mario Kart. But how could a game developer not be inspired by that game? And if CTR was crap, it'd be easy to laugh at Naughty Dog for making an inferior product. Of course, CTR isn't crap. It's an Incredible game--better than Mario Kart in some respects. The adventure portion of the game plays out like Diddy Kong Racing on the N64...except better. There are a variety of impeccably designed courses within a number of hub areas. As you win races and beat bosses, you're awarded stuff and access to new races. And true to past Crash games, you have to collect a bunch of extra goodies to truly finish the game (like CTR coins, relics and gems). It'll take you a long time to beat the game--even longer if you don't master the game's complex turbo system. Powersliding, jumping and using the layout of each track to your advantage is a must (the control and car physics are amazing by the way). And as if we needed any extra features, CTR has a kick-ass multiplayer mode. This mode is where the game gets its high replayability, with a good number of multiplayer courses and options. Then of course, there are the other things: Graphics, sound, etc. CTR is one of the best-looking and best feeling games on the PlayStation ever. You'd be foolish not to get this game.
As far as mascot-Mario-Kart-knockoff racing games go. CTR is the best I've played on the PlayStation. Strong words yes, but considering the amazing amount of depth, the competent control and the bet-ter-than-average graphics, it's not out of place. What really does it for me is the extensive multiplayer capabilities. Heck, it even has four-player (dust off the 'ol multi-tap). The music is tolerable, although just barely. Fans of this genre must buy CTR.
Is Crash Team Racing an unabashed Mario Kart copycat? Yes. Is that a bad thing? Heck no. Actually, CTR swipes the best tricks of the original Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing. Where else are you gonna find that kind of fun on the PlayStation? Control is perfect, allowing lots of finesse. Most tracks are superbly designed (good luck finding every shortcut). You'll get the best CTR has to offer if you gather three pals and a multi-tap.
I honestly didn't think anyone could top the standards set by Mario Kart, but Naughty Dog has. Levels are challenging and have surprises around every corner, but aren't too hard to navigate. There's a lot of variety in the courses and technique that go into navigating them successfully. At the same time, a novice can pick up and play and have a lot of fun just the same. If you spent hours with friends playin' Mario Kart, this is your new addiction.
Where do you go when you're one of the most popular video game characters of all time? If you're Crash Bandicoot, you head for the track--the go-kart track, that is.
Look out. Mario Kart, Crash has his drivers license for a wild and crazy racing game, a total switcheroo from the original Crash games. Crash, with both his friends and enemies, will drive through 16 tracks (shhh. there are also 2 secret tracks) and 7 bumper-busting batde areas. Plus, you can choose your favorite Bandicoot buddies (like CoCo) or baddies (such as Dr. Neo Cortex) for head-to-head racing in split-screen mode, or you can participate in four-player races with the multitap.
CTRs coolest racing feature will be the ability to bust vicious powerslides through turns, creating temporary turbo power for your go-kart. If you fire turbos at just the right time, you'll zoom by the competition. Graphically, the new heavy-duty game engine can run eight racers onscreen at any time--and in the preview version, they looked gorgeous. Crash Team Racing is just waiting for the starters flag to deliver kart-crashing action.
Mario did it. Donkey Kong did it. Even Final Fantasy did it. Now Crash Bandicoot is doing it too. What is it that they are all doing? Why, Kart racing, that is what. Not to be outdone by the evil that is Nintendo, Sony has pulled off the best Kart racing game to date with Crash Team Racing (CTR). Both fans of the Crash Bandicoot series of games and just racing fans alike are in for a great time playing this game.
CTR is a four-player racing game that has more depth, challenges and fun going for it than you can shake a stick at. There are 12 playable characters, 25 tracks, five modes, power-ups and great controls. If you have never played a Kart racing game or if you have played others and did not enjoy it much, this game will change the way you look at Kart racing. So what are you waiting for?
I have already thrown the words Kart racing around but I guess I should explain what it is. Kart racing is similar to racing a go-cart. The racing usually takes place on shorter tracks and the emphasis is heavy on action and less on simulation. Kart racing should not be taken seriously as a racer but should be taken seriously for fun. Actually, that sounds bad. Kart racing should be taken seriously as a racer but it is a different type of racer. It is also common for a Kart racer to pick up projectile weapons and turbo boosts to help make it to the finish line ahead of the competition. That pretty much sums it up.
Let's start off talking about the size of this game. You will be able to play as a different racer every day for two weeks and race on a different track every day for about a month. The most impressive thing about this is that all 25 of the tracks are a blast to race on. They are well designed and I just found myself excited to see what the next available track would look like. The adventure mode (more on this later) will keep you playing for weeks.
CTR has a number of different racing modes. The two that really stand out as impressive to me are the four-player split screen mode and the adventure. First, the four-player split screen mode is great -- it is amazing to me that they were able to squeeze the juice out of the PSX to pull off something like this. There is only a bit of frame drop but it never interferes with the gameplay. So if you enjoy getting a few buddies huddled around the PSX with the multi-tap, you will have quite a few late nights with this game.
The second mode that I found to be outstanding was the adventure mode. The adventure mode is made up of 16 different tracks and takes place across a world map. You will drive your Kart around the world map jumping into different races. If you win a race, you receive a trophy and other races or areas of the map will open up. Sounds pretty generic so far, right? Well, to spice things up a little, each race has three different prizes that can be collected. The first is the trophy, which is won by coming in first place during a race. After winning the trophy, you can go back to the same track and try winning a Relic race. This has you trying to win a relic (obviously). You are thrown out on the track by yourself and you have to try to complete three laps under a predetermined time limit. But that is not all. If you just drove from start to finish, you would never stand a chance. To give you a chance, the track is scattered with boxes that have the number 1, 2 or 3 on them. If you hit one of these boxes, the clock will stop for the number of seconds on the box. So not only do you have to worry about finishing the race as quickly as possible, you also have to steer your way around the track, trying to hit these boxes to stop the clock. The third type of race is the CTR Challenge. This has you racing against a full field of eight racers. Hidden across the tracks are the letters C-T-R. You have to collect all three of these letters AND come in first place to win a CTR coin. Oh, and I almost forgot, there is actually a fourth type of race. Occasionally, other racers will challenge you to a one on one race against them. If you come in first, you win a key.
So what is the point of winning relics, coins, and keys? A lot of the areas are closed off and you can't access them without the specified number of these items. So in order to finish the adventure, you will need to get good at all types of racing, not just beat the guy to the finish line racing. All I can say is that I was determined to get every coin, relic, and key in the game. That is how much fun it was.
It is obvious that I really liked the game and I am sure it could go without mentioning but I will mention it anyway. The Karts controlled well and were very easy to steer, slide, and use power-ups. Don't get me wrong though. It was not too easy. I guess the correct way to say it was that the controls and feel of the carts were well done. You will never lose a race because the controls are not fair.
The developers of the Crash games have always seemed to get the best of the system and this is no exception. Everything from the four-play split screen to the detailed track designs is a real testament to the team. With that being said, the rough edges are really starting to show on the system and I mean that literally. Lines look jagged up close and textures are not as detailed as they look from a distance but the game still looks great. I really need to stop saying this in every review but I can't wait to see what they are going to pull off on the PSX2.
I really enjoyed this game. It is one of the best PSX games out there. The deep and challenging gameplay will have you playing this game for weeks. You will definitely walk away feeling you got your money's worth. Kart racing may not appeal to everyone but I think that this game has the potential to turn non-fans into fans. I guess I have said enough so I will wrap it up like this; good game -- go buy it now.