On a lot of levels, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a resounding success. This Beenox recreation of the 20-year-old original looks and sounds fantastic, and it plays just like it did back in the day. For fans, it's about as good a remake as you could hope for, but we're not quite convinced that a prettified retread is enough of a jump.
What's immediately clear is that the developer has a lot of reverence for the source material, and rightly so. Back in 1999, Crash Team Racing was the PSone's answer to Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing, taking the bandicoot and his cohorts to the races with a fleshed out single player adventure and a unique boosting system. At the time, it was a brilliant alternative to Nintendo's efforts, and easily the best kart racer to grace Sony's original console. Two decades later, Nitro-Fueled sticks uncannily closely to the gameplay template laid out by the first game, and it results in a remake that's both satisfying, and a little underwhelming, to play.
As we said, the game gets a lot of stuff right. From the wonderfully animated splash screen to the painstakingly detailed tracks, a lot of effort has been poured into making this a remake on par with the likes of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy. Each race course is chock full of brand new set dressing while maintaining the layout of the track itself, and the results speak for themselves. Similarly, the redone music and effects all sound great; the presentation feels consistent with that of the N. Sane Trilogy.
The handling feels very similar to the original game, for better and worse. On the plus side, it's an extremely tight arcade racer. The controls feel responsive, and anyone who's played the game before will slip back into it like an old pair of slippers. CTR remains a fun, speedy kart racer that anyone can pick up and play. Having said that, the skill-based drift and boost system is present and correct, and you'll need to utilise it if you want to keep up with the surprisingly challenging AI drivers. However, it's a finicky part of the racing that perhaps could've benefited from being modernised.
It's not that it doesn't work, it just feels a bit too stiff. You hop in the air before you begin power sliding, and in that window of time, you'll likely turn too much in one direction to then comfortably start drifting. What's more, some of Naughty Dog's old track designs require some pretty precise manoeuvring, and the result in 2019 is a handful of tortuous turns. There's an argument that all this just takes practice, but the fact is it's very easy to mess up sharp bends and not easy enough to drift when the game wants you to be doing so 90 per cent of the time.
In fact, the level of challenge on display across the game is rather high. Again, die-hard fans will appreciate this, but the majority of players are going to struggle. Aside from Adventure mode, where you're able to choose from three difficulties, races and time trials all have pretty high expectations. Whether this is a bad thing or not depends on you, but it's another way the game feels afraid to step into the modern day.
Where it isn't scared to modernise is with vehicle and character customisation. There's a vast number of characters to play as, and all of them have a handful of skins, but the developer has gone crazy with kart cosmetics. There are dozens of kart bodies, paint jobs, wheels, stickers, and decals to mix and match. They don't affect stats, so they're purely visual, but it's fun to choose your favourite combination. You can, of course, flaunt your unlocked goodies online, where up to eight players can engage in races or battles. From our limited experience, the net code seems very solid, although that's possibly helped by the fact there's no physical collision between participants.
Another part of the game that is decidedly new school is Wumpa Coins. This is an in-game currency you earn for doing basically anything, and you spend them at the Pit Stop, a shop where cosmetics and characters are rotated on a daily basis. It's a fine enough system for unlocking things, but what's a little irksome is the heavy emphasis on online play. You'll earn several times more Wumpa Coins for playing over the wires. Good luck affording anything at the Pit Stop if you only want to play Adventure mode, or split screen with your chums.
We don't mean to sound too negative about Nitro-Fueled, as there is a lot to like here. It's a well-made kart racer that generally plays well, and it's stuffed full of content and ways to play. It's just that, despite the up to date presentation and modern features, it still feels like a game from 1999. For some, that'll be a good thing, and it's certainly entertaining for a while, but the gameplay carries with it the cons as well as the pros.
A jam-packed remake that looks and sounds brilliant, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is a lovingly crafted remake of a much beloved kart racer. Online play and customisation bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but for as fun as the zippy racing is, it sticks perhaps a little too closely to the original model. High difficulty and some unforgiving track design mean this feels slightly dated. However, it's hard not to crack a smile as you drift around familiar tracks, laying down TNT crates, and humming along to the music. Fans will love what Beenox has done, but for everyone else, just be aware of the game's retro tendencies before stepping behind the wheel.
It’s been far too long since I played this game back on PS. It’s funny cause I actually still have the original. I figured the high difficulty would be a problem for this remake, but it’s something I just gotta get used to.
I apologize for the internet world that is about to attack you.
Thank you for your review!
I never actually played this back then and have spent a lot of time playing Mario Kart after Mario Kart and Nintendo have perfected the formula. I am looking for an alternative though but this sounds like it may not be too accessible to play with the family, especially compared to such options on that other game.
Well still getting it for me though 😁
Appreciate the honest review @Quintumply. I consider 7/10 a good score, especially for an updated classic. As an already obvious fan of the original, I'm positive I'm going to enjoy it. I hope others do as well.
Virgin Megastores here decided they would stick this on the shelves a few days early so I was lucky enough to get it on Tuesday. I love it so far, still one of the greatest kart racers out there. I still have the PS1 game on my Vita. Gameplay is spot on. I absolutely love the handling. Difficulty can be changed, which is good as the AI can be very challenging at times. Visually, it’s stunning on the Pro. It seems like there is plenty of content too. I bought the Nitros Oxide edition. Anyone on the fence, if you like Kart racers, this is a must buy.
7/10 seems about right for Push Square’s scale. It roughly translates to 8.5 on other sites.
I’ll pick this up after I’m done with my backlog, I’m still playing bloodstained (man that game is so good).
@DerMeister Yeah, 7/10 from this site means it’s a good games. Shantae half-genie hero scored 7/10 in this site but it’s a 9/10 for me
I can't wait until I get to play Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled tonight, it's one of my most anticipated PS4 games of 2019, and reading Stephen's review has me even more hyped to play it.
As the review states, it plays just like the original, and it sticks closely to the PSone game's gameplay template. A job well done it is then, Beenox!
My favourite point in the review is when Stephen says, "What's immediately clear is that the developer has a lot of reverence for the source material, and rightly so", because I think that this is one of the most important things for any remaster.
I hope that gamers don’t expect Nitro-Fuelled to revolutionise the kart racing sub-genre for the modern day, though. I never wanted it to compete directly with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or even with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – for example I love the skill-based power slide and jump hang-time boost mechanics, and I'll relish its challenge — so deep down Nitro-Fuelled has the heart of a 32-bit engine purring inside of it, which is spot-on to me.
A great review, @Quintumply, nice one.
Always interesting to see different perspectives and opinions. Your review definitely shows the least amount of love and enjoyment for the game I've seen. But it's reassuring to see you still had some fun with it.
Gotta go fast! 😉
Reads a lot like Team Sonic Racing is better... not like I already own it or anything...
Therefore if a game is difficult will set it a point or two back.Next game from software will get a 6.5 then. Obviously Im joking
Sounds pretty much exactly how I hoped it'd be. Looking forward to getting on the tracks later.
If anyone has any questions, please let me know!
It's been too long since I last played a fun non-serious racing game. It sounds as good as I was expecting, so I'm eager to play it.
I don't get this whole 'It's difficult' as a con.
@SoulChimera Wait, you still have Virgin Megastores open in your area?! I thought they all closed down years ago, swiftly followed by HMV!
Basically review to me sounds like the game is too hard for the reviewer. I like you have to but some.thought and strategies while playing.
Would rather have a game that gives me some challenge than is to easy.
Still a great review.
What I thought there have been closed for years
@suikoden It's less about the difficulty and more about slightly dated gameplay and track design. It's still a very fun game, but sometimes these things can be a bit frustrating.
So let me get this straight. A game that has been improved, deserves lowers scores. In a time we live with Trump as president, I have to say... Ok
Sounds like the reviewer needs to git gut in this game, I guess that means it's an amazing game for me 10/10 day one for me
@Rash agreed how a website can post a review for the original and give it a 9 and then give a better in every way game a 7.... what?!?!?
85% metacritic probably more relevant as seems like this review score marked down for using same tracks (which is the whole point of a remaster).
@quinnyboy58 That's not what I said.
@suikoden @tomassi Virgin are still around here.
Christ that cover art is hideous!
I will probably get this though, the original was pretty fun back in the day, & it has Rippa Roo! Can't go wrong!
@SoulChimera Crazy. I wonder why they close in some places and not others? I think the Virgin Megastore nearest me, in Southampton, closed as long as 10 years ago now! I used to love that place. HMV as well but that probably closed 3-4 years ago. Don't know of any 'big' music shops around now to be honest.
Other games are highly praised for the difficulty yet this game is marked down for that very factor. I am sure there is logic there some where
its bloody hard but the sounds are great and i think this will be a lot of fun in 4 player mode or online
With regards to Stevens comments regarding handling oh boy the power sliding is hard I have played with the controls and still no joy its as precise as possible but that means when you get it right you get it right and feel a sense of accomplishment.
All in all for game to give this to me for free im well happy
@Rash and @Stocksy — I mentioned this in the Comments section for my Crash Team Racing PSone review, but it's worth repeating here that since I first started reviewing PSone games for Push Square in 2013 I have always scored each PSone title in the context of how they compare to other 32-bit and 64-bit games from the same era, which was the fifth generation of consoles.
Therefore, in comparison to Motor Toon Grand Prix 2, Speed Freaks, and Toy Story Racer on PSone – as well as other 32-bit games like Sonic R on the SEGA Saturn — I decided to score PSone Crash Team Racing as a 9/10 excellent game, which puts it alongside the best Nintendo 64 kart racers like Mario Kart 64 and Diddy Kong Racing.
The way I see it, Stephen has reviewed Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled twenty years later in the context of the current eighth generation of consoles. Since then there have been big kart racing genre advancements with user track creation tools in ModNation Racers, the ability to transform into water boats and flying planes in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and rollercoaster-esque anti-gravity race courses in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled has to compete against much more innovative kart racers today.
Therefore, even if I am personally more than happy to purchase Nitro-Fueled, because I love its classic gameplay template, and I appreciate it as a remaster of a 1999 retro game, in the context of modern kart racing gameplay innovations a 7/10 for Nitro-Fueled makes complete sense to me.
With regards to power sliding, you just need to work out the best character for your play style. Some take corners like crap, others perfectly.
@JamieO fair enough but I think it is hard to knock it for a lack innovation when it is a remaster and a very good one at that, captures the spirit of the original and enhances it big time, which is exactly what a remaster should be. Two games in one as well basically with sequels tracks included. Karts handle brilliantly in my opinion as well which was my main worry, a great alternative to Mario Kart.
@quinnyboy58 I actually think that as a retro gamer I am the ideal target audience for Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, because from everything that I have read and seen about it, I find the love that Beenox has put into remastering this game charming, and Stephen acknowledges Beenox's reverence towards the original in his review.
I agree with you, Nitro-Fueled is a great alternative to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, especially to kart racing fans like myself who own both a PS4 and a Switch.
Just like you mentioned, I am also excited to check out the revamped look of the tracks from Vicarious Visions' 2003 PS2 game, Crash Nitro Kart. I've been playing PSone Crash Team Racing non-stop recently for my review, so the Nitro Kart tracks are going to be a real bonus for me in the remaster.
Enjoy the game, mate, I have Nitro Fueled sitting in my bag right now, and I can't wait until I first boot it up on my PS4 tonight.
Aside from Adventure mode, where you're able to choose from three difficulties, races and time trials all have pretty high expectations.
You can change the difficulty in local arcade, sorry if read it wrong.
Like the challenge and going have to work on turbo as you need it, mind never seen such a cheating ai as here, everyone seems to gang up on you
Oh a 7! Didn't expect this
Wonder how long it'll be before some site says "CTR is the Dark Souls of Kart Racing"?
@JamieO haha is that why you didn't review it? too much potential bias? i'm coming from a perspective of growing up on Nintendo and only getting my first ever Playstation (PS4) a couple of months ago. Bought it for my wife who loved it as kid, not really played the original myself but really liking this one!
Great review. I've been hearing that the hard mode in the remake is pretty rough, even for seasoned veterans. I'm excited for it, but for newcomers to CTR, I can see how they would be turned off by the difficulty mixed with the tough tracks and boost mechanics. It's a lot to take in for someone that isn't used to the formula.
I'm super excited for my copy to arrive today. Now if only I wasn't so busy with work lol.
Was a poor mans Mario kart back in the day and sounds like it still is unfortunately
@JamieO Well that's still a grey area here, like you're saying you want more advancements, while I'd rather it stay within simplicity and no gravity or planes needed. Personalty, between all the Mario Karts, the original on SNES is still my favorite and you don't need all the mambo-jambo for battle mode fun. Have nothing against the review, but so far this is the best racing game I've played in ages. Maybe it's just the controls feel better than a Switch or the the animation alone I would higher score it, just for that.
It's just as fun and spectacularly beautiful. How an equivalent score or higher doesn't fit in is beyond me. CTR can just be it's own self and still be great without competing with other racers if you ask me.
Only played a few races but I'm loving it. This was always, imo, the best game featuring Crash Bandicoot and was one of only two non-Mario Kart games that could stand out in this genre. Great to have it back, this is a brilliant recreation. And, the challenge is very welcome as it makes it more rewarding when you do succeed.
Anyone able to play arcade with more than one person when I do it asks to read reconnect wireless cntroller, when I do the second controller is disconnected , and asks to reconnected when I do it disconnects the first
Never was, was highly praised in its day. Troll a little harder next time.
i watched a live stream yesterday evening and the ai looks to be extremely aggressive and unforgiving — to the point where normal difficulty plays like hard. they did not balance this game well and it surely shows. perhaps they will come to their senses and patch it at some point... sucks the fun out of this game. literally you would need to boost across the entire race non-stop if you have a prayer of winning as it stands now in some of the later tracks. i like a good challenge, but this is bordering on rage quit level
@Deljo well, every kart game that came after mario kart was perceived in this way, even if it wasn't true. the reality is, 99% of kart racers out there were poor imitations of mario kart, but if there was a single exception, it was ctr.
@Porco When I saw gameplay videos I was wondering to myself: why aren't they drifting all the time!? (I am an old veteran of this game). From memory, drifting suffers from no slow-down but rewards you with boosts, but you obviously have to manage the fact that you don't drive in a straight line whilst doing that. The only time when you could/should not be drifting is before a jump and on speed pads.
It is, playing on easy so I can get used to it and turbo efc without throwing the controller threw the tv.
@Rash We're actually agreeing with each other on most of your points, although the only part I’ve disagreed with is where you queried that, “A game that has been improved, deserves lowers scores”, and where @Stocksy commented about “how a website can post a review for the original and give it a 9 and then give a better in every way game a 7”.
In over ten years of reviewing retro games, I’ve scored each title in relation to other games from a similar genre, but I always score them in comparison to games from the exact same era. Therefore, with a PSone game scoring 9/10, I will decide the score in direct comparison to other 32-bit games, but this doesn’t guarantee the same score for a remaster in a modern context, released twenty years later.
I didn't personally want more gameplay advancements, or new innovation in Nitro-Fueled. I wanted a straight-up, stunning looking remaster from when it was announced, especially considering that Nitro-Fueled was one of my most anticipated games of 2019. It has completely delivered for me, I’ve only just played over one hour, but you're spot on, it's spectacularly beautiful and fun.
Nitro-Fueled never had to compete for a purchase from me either, I pre-ordered it straight away. However, it does have modern competition for gamers' cash with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Switch owners, against Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on Xbox One through backwards compatibility, and against Team Sonic Racing on PS4 – which admittedly is a new karting game that I’ve not played, yet.
To be fair, you have great taste in kart racers, because Super Mario Kart is one of my favourite games in all my years of gaming. I reviewed the Wii U eShop release of Super Mario Kart on Nintendo Life. Cheers.
I have to agree with the difficulty, took me about over 20 attempts to finish the 4th race. I've been playing on classic mode so maybe it's set to hard but if it's not then wow!
Geez I can't even figure out if I'm on easy normal or hard or how to change these settings 😟. How embarrassing. 😊
@Porco and @AdamNovice – I played PSone Crash Team Racing for weeks for my recent review, and I felt like I was a skilled driver, who could beat the original eight racer GP Arcade four cups pretty much every time.
I've been playing the same four Local Arcade 'Cup Race' GP mode the last few hours on PS4 Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, and I find the medium setting is noticeably more ruthless than the hard setting in the original.
It's faster for a start, but the AI is so aggressive, I've taken loads more cheap shots in one night on PS4, compared to weeks of play on PSone. I'm actually more frustrated from the medium setting of the Local Arcade 'Cup Race' on PS4, considering that I rarely felt angry playing hard difficulty in the PSone game.
My idea of a remaster is that it should keep the original gameplay intact, but add fancy new graphics on top of the original mechanics and controls, so surely by changing the difficulty balance it is not as authentic a remaster.
I'm still having tons of fun, by the way, but I prefer the PSone game's Arcade cup's difficulty curve.
@SoulChimera honest question, where are you from that still has Virgin Megastores? Australia? I mean this with all sincerity as when travelling through Oz twenty years ago they still had Electronics Boutique and Woolworths which botth hold a special place in my heart!!!
@JamieO thanks for the information! i guess i wasn't imagining things then... the game really is unbalanced and needs to be adjusted. hopefully they will put out a patch in the coming weeks.
@JamieO Fair enough, I guess it is pretty difficult with nostalgia reviewing games now days, specially with all the remasters and remakes that weren't a thing then. Who knows what 20 years down the track will bring and how we'll see them then. Haven't played any of the Sonic games myself. More of a Mario Fan I guess.
@SoulChimera God that brings back memories. Sad walking past the old Virgin Mega Stores now in Sydney and seeing they are now Prada and other fashion outlets lol
@EnragedGibbon I’m from England, but I currently live in Dubai.
Wasn't this also an issue with N Sane Trilogy? I seem to remember people complaining that it was significantly harder than the original games and that they were missing jumps they didn't remember missing in the original trilogy.
Managed to bag this bad boy on the switch today for 20 quid but I must admit the frustratin outweighs the fun for me. The rubber band effect and the fact that their is one racer dominating the race is an annoyance. It brings back the memories of playing Fast RMX.
@SoulChimera Sweet, would be cool to see the old Virgin Megastores - spent awhile on the rigs out there - interesting place...
@JamieO Give Team Sonic a go when you have a chance, some good race tracks and some amazing musical tracks!
@quinnyboy58 It's cool that you’re experiencing a remaster of this classic PSone game, especially since you grew up on Nintendo, and you only got your first PlayStation console recently. It's also really nice to hear that your wife is playing the new version after loving the original when she was young. I mentioned this in the comments for my PSone Crash Team Racing review, because I have a lovely memory of my girlfriend buying me the original PlayStation game as one of her first main gifts to me when we met in 1999. As we discussed earlier, I've also enjoyed the inclusion of 2003 GCN/PS2 tracks from Crash Nitro Kart, for example the visuals in Out of Time and Barin Ruins look beautiful in Nitro-Fueled, and Electron Avenue's graphics are similar to a neon F-Zero track.
@Onion Thanks for reminding me about Vicarious Visions' work on the N.Sane Trilogy. I should have remembered that there was even a Eurogamer news article with the heading "Dev confirms the Crash Bandicoot remaster is harder than the original: No, you weren't imagining it." Good point, perhaps Activision are requesting that developers add an extra challenge in their PSone remasters.
@Ristar24 Team Sonic Racing is still on my radar, but I prioritised buying Nitro-Fueled, because I have so much nostalgia for the PSone original game. I've been a big fan of Sumo Digital's racing games since OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast on PS2. I remember going to an interesting developer talk with Sumo Digital at Play Expo Blackpool a few years ago, plus I loved Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on PS3, Vita and Wii U. I've already heard some Team Sonic Racing music, and you're right the tunes are brilliant.
@JamieO OutRun 2 is the reason I keep a 360 about, even if the emulation is a bit off, if only SEGA could sell that on PS4...
To be honest apart from difficulty those are the same problems with Mario kart
@suikoden @suikoden never had those issues with Mario kart. I can get hit by a leader bomb and and still pull away in first place. In crash no matter what I do there is always at least 1 person on my arse even if I've just hit him with 3 missiles.
@Kidfunkadelic83 hope they manage to patch out the rubber banding!
Same problem I had back in the day. I can't see much reason to play this over Mario Kart. It's like buying store brand cola instead of Coke or Pepsi. It's close, it gets everything mostly right, but if I can buy the real thing, why bother with this?
Nothing against Crash, but he stands on his own much better in platformers than in kart racers.
Same for me, MK8 hits 60fps, kart customization, and other features CTR doesn't have. Really, the only thing CTR has over it might be the Diddy Kong Racing-style adventure mode. Now that I'm hearing about the Switch version having some launch issues and all versions having some weird AI rubber banding, I'm totally passing on this. I own the original CTR anyway.
I enjoyed it when I had it
But there were two problem:
1- AI, they don't use that blue, electricity power up in normal difficulty
2- nobody except me and my brother learn how to drift😂
Tap here to load 68 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...