Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is a ridiculously fun ride down memory lane

Crash Team Racing first sped onto the PlayStation in 1999, giving Crash Bandicoot fans the chance to experience the zaniness of Naughty Dog’s characters on the racetrack. Now 20 years later, and following the success of the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, Activision has decided it’s time for Crash and friends to rev up their engines once more in the remastered Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. 

But Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled doesn’t simply include the original CTR racetracks, instead encompassing the neon-clad courses of Crash Nitro Kart and perilous tracks of Crash Tag Team Racing. So whichever Crash racing game sparks the nostalgia in you, it’s been catered for.

Nitro nostalgia

Nostalgia is definitely at the heart of CTR. While the games have been remastered into glorious 4K, with the modern additions of online competition and leaderboards, CTR still manages to feel right. 

Having played Crash Team Racing religiously as a child, there was definitely hesitation in whether Activision would be able to recapture that ‘cereal in front of the TV on a Saturday morning feeling’, as it were. Was it ever going to feel as good as it did? The answer is yes, it most certainly did. 

“Jump up and down to get the TNT box off your head – it’s muscle memory.”

Rip-roaring through the fluorescent twists and turns of Electron Avenue while a techno beat blares, firing rockets at every Ripper Roo and Coco that dares cross our path, is the epitome of nitro-fueled fun. Somehow we managed to remember the tricks and shortcuts from the original games. Jump up and down to get the TNT box off your head – it’s muscle memory. 

It didn’t make us any better but losing continually to others partaking in the online mode wasn’t infuriating, we just wanted to go again. Let’s do Sewer Speedway next, then Papu’s Pyramid, if we’re feeling spicy then Clockwork Wumpa… We’re a glutton for punishment.

However with modern technology comes the issue of collision detection or, more correctly, that it’s actually improved. So actually targeted (and hitting) an opponent or ramming your way through a Nitro crate means you need to be pretty spot on – similar to the issues players encountered with the N.Sane Trilogy, but livable once you get to grips with it. We’ve grown up and so have games, so it’s time we stop trying to cheat the system. 

Competitive crash

We only got hands on with the online competition mode of CTR Nitro-Fueled, which seemed to allow up to eight players to take part at a time. But who are your options? There were 12 at our time of playing including Crash, Coco, Pinstripe, Pura, Polar and more, each with their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to attributes such as acceleration and handling. You can then choose which car you want to throw dust in the face of your competitors. 

“CTR is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is so often plagued with hot takes and toxicity.”

This is where customizations are due to come into play, but we didn’t get a look at any of those during our playtime. However, Activision revealed the cosmetic customizations (for your character and cars) will be earned through Adventure mode and challenges, with the player collecting in-game currency to spend in the pitstop. Although, there was no elaboration on whether players can pay real-life money for this in-game currency.

At launch the game will include modes such as Adventure, Time Trial, Battle, Versus and Arcade. So if you’re more of a fan of couch co-op or single-player then don’t worry, there’s a mode for you.

Rip-roaring remaster

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is everything we hoped it would be. It takes the original games and turns them into how we remember them in our mind’s eye – although they most certainly did not look 4K. Driven by personality, chaos and a touch of Nitro, CTR Nitro-Fueled cements its place as a party game for the whole family. There’s nothing we want more than to grab a copy, head to a friend’s and try out some split-screen action over a couple of drinks. 

Perhaps more importantly, CTR is a breath of fresh air in an industry that is so often plagued with hot takes and toxicity. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is just good ol’ fashioned fun and never pretends to be more than that. 

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled releases on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch on June 21.

(Image credits: Beenox/Activision)

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