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Crash Team Racing: No red capped plumber here

When you're a kid, similarities in game design from one game to another might go right over your head from its fun factor. Bubsy had the speedy gameplay of Sonic the hedgehog as an example but nobody really talks about that game, and for good reason, it was terrible. But during the Fall season of '99, Naughty Dog released their last developed Crash Bandicoot game on the Playstation, a kart racer not just to compete with Mario Kart, but a game inspired by it as well, and it became one of the most fun and remembered games on the system.

 
 
 
 
A majority of the game's development went in the process of studying levels from both the Mario Kart games as well as Diddy Kong Racing on the N64 for the developers to get a good idea of how the tracks should work, creative track designs and shortcuts were aplenty and even having its own "adventure" mode to add gameplay hours was also taken from Diddy Kong Racing.
 
Which is one detail that sets the game apart from Mario Kart games, a storyline giving a motive to the characters racing. We're introduced to Nitrous Oxide, an alien who's grown bored of racing slowpoke lifeforms around space, challenging Crash and the others to a race of survival, but to do that four areas full of racetracks must be cleared.
 
 
 
Fun fact: The game's villain, Nitrous Oxide was thought up by Naughty Dog to try and get fans upset that the previous villain, Dr. Neo Cortex was being replaced. It didn't necessarily go to their plan, as Oxide ended up becoming a pretty memorable character to the series.
 
As far as the character selection goes, plenty of familiar faces return with a few others absent. Four of the classic bosses from the first Crash game are challenge bosses for each area in the Adventure, and are unlocked after progressing in the game. The mode itself isn't just your standard point A to point B though, going back to comparing Diddy Kong Racing there are specific objectives on each track such as time trials and finding tokens hidden in each one to finish the game to completion, and even more to keep you busy for hours.
 
This was also one of those rare Playstation 1 titles that used the four player "multi-tap" accessory for multiplayer, another nod to Mario Kart including the same amount of friendly chaos in both racing and a battle mode. By finishing the time trials outside of Adventure mode, you'll unlock the Oxide ghosts, and good luck with those because the Oxide times are near to impossible to beat.
 
 
 
Upon completing story mode, the Naughty Dog 1994-1999 scrapbook video is unlocked, showing a visual history of the Naughty Dog offices as well as Crash Bandicoot related concept art, merchandise, and some Crash themed stuff that was hitting Japan at the time.
 
Is Crash Team Racing still worth playing today? undeniably. Its fun and frantic gameplay continues to make for a worthwhile experience even with friends, and with so much content packed in you'll find yourself coming back to it.
 
Do you have memories playing or hearing about Crash Team Racing? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!
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Benjanime Posted on Oct 24, 2019 at 01:13 AM

thanks for the comments, guys! :) i would easily place this upon a top 20 ps1 games list!

Julie Posted on Oct 23, 2019 at 10:20 PM

As always, carefully written article.
I even liked Bubsy and finished it once, despite the not very inviting physics. Crash Team Racing I met through a colleague who played it a lot, so I decided to give it a try because since then I've only played the Mario Kart franchise. CTR brought me a new environment and a harder difficulty, and the short and strategically well designed tracks caught my attention. This has become one of the top PlayStation games for me ever since.

echidna64 Posted on Oct 23, 2019 at 04:28 PM

I really enjoy CTR! The drifting mechanics were really good, it's an overall tight racing game!

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