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Crash Team Racing

video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Crash Team Racing Publisher: Sony
Category: Racing
Platform: PS1
ESRB Rating: Everyone    Release Date: May 1999

Overall Rating: 3 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
3 Stars out of 4

Shigeru Miyamoto needs to watch his back. Sony's Crash Team Racing is a lot more fun than Mario Kart 64. The graphics are colorful and engrossing - an important feature for racing games.

The game is compatible with the Multi-Tap accessory, which accomodates up to four players. The battle arenas are not particularly exciting, but the one-player game is loads of fun.

Crash is more challenging than you might expect. In order to advance to the next track, you must finish in 1st place. That's no easy task when racing the bosses. Those little devils toss weapon after weapon, and they're very good at catching up if you manage to get ahead. I don't mind the hard bosses… except for Nitros Oxide, the final boss. He is impossible. As of November 14, 1999, Game Shark codes were not available. (At least not any codes that actually worked.)

One of the best levels in the game is the pipe level. Your go-kart will stick to the side of the pipe as you dodge rolling barrels and other perils. Hey, that rhymes.

Hey, who cares?

The game includes over 20 tracks, a minimum for racing games. Supposedly, you can upgrade the tires, exhaust system, and engine of your vehicle, but we couldn't find anything in the instruction booklet about the gold wrench that makes this possible.

I like the various power-ups in the game. They're all a rip-off of Mario Kart or Diddy Kong, but it doesn't feel like old hat. The concept of busting ten regular (non-power-up) crates to get a speed boost is a nice touch. The hop-and-turn aspect of the R1 button is equally handy and is essential to success.

While Crash doesn't sport the shortcuts of Beetle Adventure Racing, the highly competitive nature of all races forces you to drive exceptionally well. You have to maximize your time with bee-line accuracy as you zip around the game's 90-degree turns and take advantage of the green speed zippers littering the ground in the most inconvenient places. Hey, that's good game design.

Crash Team Racing is a lot of fun, and the gifted developers at Naughty Dog obviously know the importance of graphics, control, and challenge - although it only takes a few hours to reach the final boss. To really see the end of the game, you must collect tokens, gems, and more. Revisiting tracks at least twice can be tiring and repetitive. More tracks would have added a bit more bang for your buck.

Naughty Dog makes no sacrifices in its quest for quality. Its track record is impeccable, despite the lack of game play innovation throughout the Crash series. Crash Team Racing definitely lives up to the Naughty Dog legacy.

Other information:

Light-weight racers like Coco and N. Gin excel in handling. Pura the Tiger and the lovable polar bear are great accelerators, but the momentum of the fat-ass Dingodile and Tiny characters provides great top speeds. Crash and N. Cortex are balanced racers with well-rounded attributes.

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