Crash Team Racing : Nitro Fueled
Nintendo Switch

Developed By : Beenox
Published By : Activision
Category : Arcade, Racing
Release Date : June 21, 2019

Bringing it Back

In a hype-filled throwback that is completely lost on me, Crash Team Racing : Nitro Fueled on the Nintendo Switch boosted it’s way into stores and the eShop a couple of weeks ago. Now, I say it’s lost on me because until now I had never played one of these Crash racing games. I’ve watched them, and I even own a couple, but this one right here is my absolute first instance of getting behind the wheel.

The game has got a few different modes to choose from. Naturally there is your single race mode where you can set all the rules and just pick and choose your races. You can dive into the Adventure Mode where you’ll experience the game’s simple offering of a story. Earth has been invaded by the evil Nitrous Oxide because he loves to race, and he hears Earth’s inhabitants love to race as well. He presents a small challenge. Oxide would like to race the best of the best, and if they win he will leave forever. However, if Oxide wins he vows to invade the planet and turn it into a massive parking lot.

Ridin’ Solo

In Adventure Mode, you’ll be able to make one of two choices right off the bat, to play in either Classic mode or Nitro Fueled. The latter is a new addition to this remake of the game, that lets you pick and choose your characters at will as you play, while Classic makes you stick with one character throughout. If you decide to go with the new option, you’ll have tons of different character skins, vehicles, wheels and decals to choose as you progress through and unlock the customizations.

Racing in Adventure Mode will have you travelling around a small hub, filled with different portals for the races you need to complete. Each hub contains four different tracks, as well as a Boss challenge and a time-attack arena. Initially, the tracks are only going to be open for basic races, and you will need to win these to collect a trophy as there are no points systems. Collect enough trophies to face off against the bosses, who in turn will give you a key.

The Boss Battles end up being one-on-one races where you’ll duke it out on one of the courses from that hub world. Each boss defeated gives you a key, and all the keys together will gain you access to the ultimate and final race against Oxide.

After you defeat a boss, you’ll unlock two additional race formats for all the tracks in that boss’s hub. These are CTR Challenge and Relic Race. CTR is kind of reminiscent of the coin races in Diddy Kong Racing. You’ll be performing in another race, but this time the letters C, T, and R. Occasionally you’ll find these letters on the track, but you’ll just as often have to go a little off the beaten path just to get them. Collect all three while still winning the race and you’ll collect a colored gem. Get enough gems of each color and you can participate in gem cups which will eventually gain you access to an area that can only be unlocked this way, allowing you to get a relic for 100% completion.

Relic Races are your last form of single player competition. Here, you won’t have any competition while you’re racing on the track. Instead there are a collection of boxes scattered around. As the race starts, so does a timer counting up. The boxes contain a number, which equates to the number of seconds you’ll be able to freeze the timer for. You’ll have a goal timer, and if you can collect enough boxes to freeze enough time, you’ll beat this timer and earn yourself a relic.

No matter what type of race you’re in, there are plenty of power-ups scattered around to help get an edge on your enemies. There are bowling bombs which you can roll out forwards or backwards, manually detonating them or letting them hit a car/surface. Missiles which will lock-on to the next racer in line. You can pick up TNT and Nitro boxes to drop, speed boosts for yourself, shields that can double as projectiles, and big electric orbs that will follow the track for a while and electrify anybody in it’s path. There’s even an Aku Aku which gives you a temporary speed-boost and immunity from anything that would cause you damage.

Battle Your Friends

The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Crash Team Racing allows you to race and battle against your friends both on and offline. Races can be played on any of the tracks featured in the game, with the same field of eight racers you’ll have in Adventure Mode as AI opponents fill in the gaps that other actual players don’t. You can change the race laps from three to either five or seven, as well as adjust the difficulty of your opponents from Easy, Normal, and Hard.

There’s also Battle Mode which has enough variants to keep you plenty busy. These are played with up to four players, but you can also substitute AI opponents here as well. You’ll face off against each other in a free-for-all, or two-team battles. All of the items available in single player are here as well, and they can be turned on and off if you’d like to mix up your own item-playlist.

The modes you can choose between are : Limit Mode where you can set a limit on points, time, or lives. The player who wins is the one who meets the designated number of kills, has the most kills at the end of the time limit, or is the last one standing among all other racers. Capture the Flag is just as you’d think, each team has a flag, and your job is to steal it from your opponent and return it to your home portal. There’s an alternate version of this too called Steal the Bacon, where there is only one Bacon Flag in the middle of the arena, and both teams will be battling to get it.

Lastly there’s a mode called Crystal Grab. All around, there will be a ton of crystals scattered. Pick up as many as you can but don’t get hit by your opponents, this will cause you to drop some of your crystals for the others to steal. When the time runs out, whoever has the most crystals will be the winner.

Expect to be Tested

While playing this game has been, and continues to be, a ton of fun, it is nowhere near easy. Well, that is if you are aiming for any success and completion of Adventure Mode. The tracks themselves can be tough to learn at first, especially if your only real experience with a cart racer is Mario Kart. Believe me, I went in trying to drive like it was MK and didn’t fare so well.

With the lack of a point system, and needing to win every race, you may find yourself repeating tracks a handful of times just to get that trophy. There are the difficulty options but the imbalance between Easy and Normal made me honestly a little frightened to even check out a single race with this cranked up to Hard.

Visually, every single track is absolutely stunning. Again, I never played the original so I can’t directly compare anything. During the launch campaign though I did come across a few side-by-side comparison images of how some of the tracks looked in this game next to the originals and it’s absolutely incredible. The music for the races is fun to listen to as well, easily bringing you back to the old school Crash Bandicoot days. No matter what angle you look at it from, this remake is an absolute perfect recreation and does more than enough honor to the original.

My one and only complaint about the game, is that the load times can be absolutely atrocious. Whether you’re loading from the world-hub into a track, or back from the race to the hub, you’ll be staring at a load screen for quite a tick. If the game as a whole wasn’t so absolutely sound and perfect, these load times would actually be a deal breaker. But with everything being so crisp and smooth, they are more than worth the wait.

So don’t wait any longer, go to your local retailer, or the eShop and grab your copy of Crash Team Racing : Nitro Fueled today. And feel free to snag my Switch code from the image below and add me, perhaps I’ll see you on the battlefield.

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