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Crash Team Racing

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Released: 1999

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Sony

Developer: Naughty Dog

Submitted by: Daniel Hinchcliffe

As I went down the road of Spectrum – Master System – Mega Drive – PlayStation in my fledgling gaming career, I never got to sample the delights of Super Mario Kart very much. I was never really that bothered, though, as I had plenty of other stuff to keep me occupied. Then came late 1999, and a certain kart racing game that proved to me that missing SMK really didn’t matter…because now I had Crash Team Racing.

It seems that, like no other sub-genre, there is a stigma attached to kart racing games that is basically along the lines of “If it isn’t Super Mario Kart, it’s rubbish”. This statement in itself is rubbish. You see, Crash Team Racing was amazing. It had superb tracks and weapons – the staple of any kart game – and oodles of character. I spent countless hours in Time Trial mode learning every track and power sliding/boosting at every possible place in order to get those elusive Platinum relics (and getting Gold ones wasn’t exactly easy!). I was generally a lone gamer in my youth, so I don’t recall playing the multiplayer too much, but I remember the Battle mode being lots of fun. Perfecting the game took months, but spending several months having loads of fun isn’t exactly a chore.

I haven’t revisited it since it came out, so I can’t say how well it holds up today, but playing it at the time, you could see why it was received so well, with both critics and customers alike. Interestingly enough, another PS1-exclusive kart racer was released just weeks before CTR – Speed Freaks. Whilst not a bad game, it certainly wasn’t a patch on CTR. Much like, in my opinion, a certain Italian plumber’s vehicular ventures…

Crash Team Racing

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Released: 2000

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Sony

Developer: Naughty Dog

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

C.T.R is an undeniable Mario Kart clone, but unlike many others of the type, this differs in that it is as good as, if not better than Nintendo’s offerings. All the essential elements are present, including various weapons to be picked up along the courses, power-slides and different characters to choose from, each with slightly different racing characteristics.  Although it’s not as cool as the Mario Kart series, it’s easily as good in its playability, visuals and sheer fun.

The game has eight characters from the Crash Bandicoot world to choose from, with as many again to be unlocked through the adventure mode of the game. As well as adventure mode there is an arcade mode with a split screen two player option (up to four players with the multi-tap), a time trial mode and a battle mode which is great fun with the multi-tap. There are sixteen tracks to choose from, all of which are excellently designed, with lots of little short cuts which become apparent after a few hours of play. 

The adventure mode is the main part of the single player game, with four different worlds to race through, with a race against each world’s boss to be won before advancement to the next world which opens up further tracks and a higher level of difficulty.

Presentation is very nice and everything hangs together very well, but what makes this effort stand out from all others is the perfect playability and handling of the game. All the courses are beautifully designed, the opponent A.I. is spot on, and the controls are some of the best in any carting game, with the power-slide control system in particular being much easer to pull off, and more intuitive than in the Mario Kart games.

The best carting game on the Playstation, and only bettered since by Mario Kart on the Nintendo DS.