Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled preview: Driving the outback

After remastering the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy, Activision is looking for an encore by remastering Crash Team Racing with the upgraded Nitro-Fueled. Shacknews tries out this old-school classic.

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It wasn't that long ago that Crash Bandicoot went on a tornado tour of nostalgia, thanks to Activision and Vicarious Visions' 2017 collection of remasters, Crash N. Sane Trilogy. But while Crash's three platforming efforts have been covered, that wasn't the only impression the manic furball left on the gaming world. And now Beenox is ready to join in on the nostalgia craze by taking a different classic Crash game and giving it the remaster treatment.

Back at The Game Awards, Activision and Beenox unveiled Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled. While the trailer left an impression that this was a new entry in the series, old-school Crash players will be pleased to hear that this is another return to the character's past, with the original game fully intact and upgraded for HD and 4K consoles. Shacknews recently had a chance to hit the track with the new-look Crash Team Racing, as we challenged ourselves to see how much of the original game we could remember.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled preview

For the unfamiliar, Crash Team Racing is just what it sounds like. It's the cast of Crash Bandicoot jumping on go-karts and racing around familiar settings from across the three main Crash Bandicoot games. The playable characters include Crash, Coco, Doctor Neo Cortex, N. Gin, Pura, Polar, and more. Each of these racers have their own distinct qualities, with Crash and Cortex providing the well-balanced machines for newcomers.

Three tracks were available for play: Crash Cove, Dingo Canyon, and Polar Pass. The first thing to note is that the visuals have indeed been fully upgraded from the polygonal, boxy textures of the original PlayStation. Environments are much more pleasing to the eye and are much more detailed than before.

As for the actual gameplay, it's mainly intact from the old-school CTR experience. Crates are scattered across the track, with question block crates providing power-ups and fruit crates offering up fruit that can be used to power up the player's cart. The more fruit a player gets, the faster their kart will run and the better their weapons will be. Just as in the original, power sliding is a key component to victory. It takes a moment to master the power slide, since it's very easy to just hop and accidentally stop. But those who manage to hop and steer successfully can slide until the Turbo Boost meter turns red to give them a greater boost.

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled preview

Most tracks provide ample opportunities to pull off power slides. Though a few tracks will offer some challenges. Polar Pass, in particular, gets a little tricky thanks to a hairpin turn near the end. The turn shows up right after a ramp that practically dares players to try and jump over the wall ahead of them. More often than not, though, those players will slam into that wall head-first and lose a lot of time.

Weaponry is the other key to victory, with all of the classic CTR power-ups making their return. This includes tracking missiles, bowling bombs, explosive crates, and the pesky warp orb. Racers who get hit with these blunt instruments will either spin out or tumble around until they can recover, giving other racers a chance to pass them.

The competitive CTR racing experience is back, with up to four players able to race locally. Beenox has also added online multiplayer to help bring the game into the 21st century. The other base game modes are also set to return, including the Adventure and Battle modes. The latter, like the base versus mode, can also be played online.

Those looking for the classic Crash Team Racing experience can pick up Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled as is for $39.99. Activision will also be offering a Nitros Oxide Edition that will include a playable Nitro Oxide, along with skins for Crash and the other characters, for an extra $20, bringing the package to a normal $59.99 price point. Look for Crash to burn rubber again in a few short months, as Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on June 21.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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