Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled Review

Richard Walker

Not all video game remasters and remakes are born equal. Some are happy to hike up the resolution a bit, revamp the textures, then call it a day. Then there's the likes of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, which goes above and beyond, essentially rebuilding the game from scratch. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is more full-blown remake than mere remaster (despite press releases for the game stating as much), and a perfect companion piece to the N. Sane Trilogy. It's every bit as wonderful.

Considered by some to be a better kart racer than kart racing grandaddy Mario Kart (stop saying 'kart' so much – ed), 1999 PSone classic Crash Team Racing is ripe for the remake treatment, and as such, Nitro-Fueled doesn't disappoint. Developer Beenox has pulled out all of the stops to not only ensure the game plays just like you remember, but looks like a million dollars too. It's the best of both worlds. But in case you didn't feel like that's quite enough, there's a stack of bonus content to sweeten the deal.


The inclusion of characters from Crash Nitro Kart and karts from Crash Tag Team Racing mean that Nitro-Fueled is pretty much the definitive Crash Team Racing experience, a glut of mix-and-match customisation options enabling you to tailor your race setup. You can stick Crash in Neo Cortex's ride, with Trance Team tyres if you like, then plaster the thing in stickers and decals; or play as Komodo Joe in Dr. N. Gin's kart painted fluorescent green. The combinations of kart bodies, wheels, and paint jobs are nigh-on endless.

Adventure mode provides the single-player backbone of Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, and after the awfulness of Team Sonic Racing's story, this is practically Shakespeare by comparison. All you really need to know is that alien big bad Nitros Oxide is making Crash and his pals race for the fate of Earth, and should you fail to defeat him, he'll turn the planet into the solar system's very own parking lot (even though we're kind of already doing that on our own). What follows is a series of fast and frantic races, many of which are bastard hard. That's really the only issue with CTR – it's not all that accessible for casual players.

Key to achieving victory in CTR is mastering the game's tricky turbo boost mechanic and the art of the power slide, knowing when to hit the bumper/shoulder button at the right time to gain an injection of speed. This involves keeping an eye on the turbo bar and boosting out of a power slide at exactly the right moment, which is somewhat tougher than it sounds. Later races in Adventure mode pretty much hinge upon it completely, so if you don't manage to get your head around hopping from ramps and performing a hang time boost upon landing, and charging the turbo meter with power slides, you're screwed.

It's this wrinkle to Crash Team Racing that sets it apart from other kart racers; it's not simply a case of holding down the accelerator and pointing your kart in the right direction. Then there's the power-ups, of course, ranging from homing missiles to TNT crates, Nitro boxes, beakers, shields, speed boosts, bowling bombs, and other weapons that guarantee rampant bedlam from start to finish. CTR: Nitro-Fueled is truly riotous fun, ideal for roping in a bunch of friends for some competitive couch chaos.

In the Local Arcade portion of the game, you'll find all of the usual suspects when it comes to modes, from one-shot Single Races, to Cup Races, Battles, Time Trials, Relic Races, CTR Challenges, and Crystal Challenges, ensuring there's plenty to delve into outside of Adventure. Not that you're likely to dispense with Adventure mode in a hurry, what with all the trophies, relics, and CTR tokens to be earned. Finishing races also grants Wumpa Coins that can be spent on purchasing new character skins (of which there are many), new kart decals, paint jobs, wheels, and themed bundles featuring multiple items, providing ample impetus to keep on playing.


These rewards could quite easily have been presented as microtransactions, but every item is available to unlock via the Pit Stop in exchange for Wumpa Coins accumulated in-game. It's a nice touch that feeds into CTR's nostalgia factor, having content that can be unlocked by simply playing the game. Indeed, any remake/remaster like this is going to prod nostalgia glands regardless, and to that end, Nitro-Fueled delivers on that remit in spades.

While CTR's handling is spot-on, the visual overhaul too is exemplary. Nitro-Fueled more than matches the N. Sane Trilogy in delivering an exuberant, animated and colourful rebirth of a 20-year old classic. The presentation too is stellar, the quality shining through in every facet of the game, from the Adventure mode to the selection of online modes. When playing online, the experience is polished, with no sign of lag or any other kind of issues when matchmaking. The only downside is the lengthy loading screens.

A great arcade-style kart racer two decades ago, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled demonstrates that CTR is still one of the best of its kind. Is it better than Mario Kart? It just might be, and with Nitro-Fueled breathing new life into an already brilliant game, there's really no reason not to snap this up sharpish. Clear your weekend schedule, get some buddies around, and prepare to indulge in pure kart racing nirvana.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

If you already hold the original CTR in high regard, then you'll see Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled for what it is – a gorgeous and lovingly made update that serves as a welcome reminder of when Crash was the kart racing king.

Form widget
88%
Audio
80%

The remixed soundtrack is energetic and catchy, but can grate a bit after a while. For the most part, however, the audio is enjoyable enough to listen to and will worm its way into your head.

Visuals
90%

Yet another gorgeous Crash remake, CTR: Nitro-Fueled looks utterly gorgeous. Every square inch of the game has been lavished in bold colour and incidental detail. Jaw-dropping.

Playability
90%

Deceptively difficult, CTR might look easy enough, but mastering the turbo boost system is surprisingly tricky. Still, Nitro-Fueled handles like a dream and is a joy to play.

Delivery
85%

All of the original modes, online, and more offer endless multiplayer potential, while the Adventure mode is a challenging, but fun solo experience. Long loading times aren't great though.

Achievements
80%

A very good achievement list with most dedicated to beating bosses in Adventure mode and soaking up everything it has to offer. Achievements for attaining certain on-track feats are good too.

Game navigation