Tuesday, 9 July 2013

RETROspect - Crash Team Racing


Let’s face it, Crash Bandicoot was a childhood hero.  Not only in his local country of Australia, but in the entirety of the gaming world.  His crazy “Whoa!” when he got hurt was spine chilling and filled people who heard it with a feeling of failure.  Crash’s more recent entries have been questionable at best, but I want to go back to the early days; back when Crash, Coco, Cortex, Tiny, and the rest of the crew, were all at the top of their game.

While the Crash games predominantly stuck to the rear view platformer there were two spin offs, Crash Bash and Crash Team Racing.  Although Crash Bash did not do so well in the public eye, it was still a fantastic party game and kept the child in me alive; CTR on the other hand was simply astonishing.  While it was a Mario Kart clone, it had enough of its own touches and quirks to make it stand out as a worthy “kiddy” racing game.

Being able to play through multiple worlds with several tracks themed to a variety of new and classic levels was nothing short of pleasing.  The simple combination of overpowered weapons, annoying traps, dynamic levels and nearly a score of playable characters was more than enough to ruin my social life as a child.  The sheer thrill of unlocking another boss and working to defeat him was unmatched by any racing game available on the PlayStation.  Just about everything in this game was addictive; whether it was the lengthy story mode with an abundance of collectables, the grand prix mode, or even the simple split screen battle mode; it was near impossible to walk away from the next race.

While there has been a “redo” of CTR in the form of the PS2’s Crash: Nitro Cart, I would strongly recommend you skip that title and just purchase CTR off of the PSN store, and because it is a PSone classic it will work on your Vita as well.  In the end there are some very decent current gen racing games that deliver the same sense of carelessness and childish behaviour, but if you are feeling nostalgic, then I would strongly recommend giving CTR another play through.

- Frank van der Merwe

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