Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Game of the Month - Crash Team Racing - Sony Playstation

Developer(s)Naughty Dog
Publisher(s)Sony Computer Entertainment
Distributor(s)Universal Interactive Studios
Director(s)Jason Rubin
Producer(s)Grady Hunt
Artist(s)Charles Zembillas
Joe Pearson
Bruce Straley
Bob Rafei
Composer(s)Josh Mancell
SeriesCrash Bandicoot
Release date(s)1999
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Super Mario Kart might be the father of kart racing, but CTR - Crash Team Racing took the kart racing genre to a whole new level and is still one of the greatest arcade style racers you will ever find on a home console.

The mighty Nintendo gave us the Goliath Mario Kart 64, Sega gave us Sonic R for the Saturn and Sony gave us the near-perfect CTR for the PlayStation.  What is it about platformers and turning them in to arcade style racers?  Well, whatever the reason may be I for one do not care as I have lost days of my youth playing those three games and without a doubt CTR being the clear winner for me.

With over a dozen playable characters to choose from, there is no shortage of variety and no doubt all of your beloved Crash Bandicoot characters will be there to choose with more to unlock along the way.  

The frame rate might take a bit of a hit but if you have a Multi-Tap this is definitely one of the best games to play with three of your mates.

You will eventually have the choice to play through 25 tracks, with 5 different race modes: Adventure, Vs., Time Trial, Arcade and Battle Mode.  If you enjoy the variety of modes to choose from in the Mario Kart series then CTR won't disappoint you at all.  The Battle Modes do feel very similar to those found in Mario Kart 64 but 'Hey.  If it 'aint broke don't fix it!

With more power-ups than you would ever need (ok, so you can never have enough power ups), CTR gives you total control to inflict total annihilation on your opponents.  But those power ups mean nothing if you can't control your racer so the good news is that CTR has some of the best kart racing controls you will ever come across.  It's solid but forgiving, tight but loose enough to let you adjust to the corner and use your drift mechanic.

CTR displays some of the brightest and most detailed visuals on any of the 32/64 bit consoles and even to this day still remain aesthetically pleasing to look at.  The color palette might not change too drastically between each race but it remains crisp and vibrant through every track.  During single player you will get a steady 30fps which is by no means fantastic but with the sense of speed you get and the smoothness of your cornering and not to mention everything else going on around you, the frame rate will be the last thing on your mind.  

There is really only one pitfall to this otherwise fantastic game, the sound.  It feels like the developers put all of their resources in to everything except the quality of the audio.  But, you can't win 'em all.  I don't mean to say the audio is down right awful but it's just not as good as the rest of the game.  The music is very fitting for a Crash Bandicoot platformer, but not for a kart racer.

So apart from a minor setback to an otherwise top notch game that needs to be played by anyone with apposing thumbs, I ask you this....  "What are you still doing here?  Go play CTR now!"

Until next time...  Stay Retro.

Clint 'ThoRn' Thornton


  1. Nice article Clint. I do love CTR - it's definitely my favourite kart racer as well. I love all the little details in the controls, the shortcuts in most levels (all perhaps?), and the wacky feel of the whole thing :)

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