Long before the cinematic journeys of The Last of Us and Uncharted, Naughty Dog brought us a cult classic game filled with peril, death-defying stunts, and epic battles against the forces of evil.
We’re talking, of course, about Crash Team Racing, the Crash Bandicoot-themed kart racing game released in 1999 for PlayStation which turned out to be completely amazing.
For the uninitiated, Crash Team Racing sees Crash Bandicoot and the gang engaging in a high-speed battle against the evil Nitros Oxide, racing karts to save the world from being turned into a gigantic concrete parking lot (no, really, that actually is the reason).
With such a momentous fate hanging in the balance, it’s no wonder we spent so many hours snatching Wumpa Fruit, mastering every turn on every course, and hopping and powersliding around obstacles.
Crash Team Racing has all the zany environments, cartoony humour, and plain old silliness that you’d expect from a Crash Bandicoot game. The controls are intuitive too, which means you can focus your attention on the important things (like blasting your opponents into oblivion with Bowling Bombs, or holding out on that power-up so you can turn invisible right as your opponent uses their Tracking Missile). And who else remembers spending hours mastering the perfect power slide to get that final Turbo Boost right at the finish line? Wars have been fought over less.
That’s why Crash Team Racing should be regarded as one of the most important karting titles of all time. Naughty Dog’s slick presentation, attention to detail and silly humour combine to great effect, crafting a karting game that nails both the irreverent tone and moreish racing.
Whether in single-player or multiplayer mode, one of the best things about Crash Team Racing is its surprising breadth of modes to race in. As well as the main racing modes (Adventure, Arcade, Versus, Time Trial, and Battle), there are a ton of customisable challenges and hidden tournaments to unlock as well (be honest — how long did you spend gathering four of all the different coloured CTR tokens for the Gem Cups?).
While it wasn’t the first game to offer kart-based chaos on consoles, Crash Team Racing is a finely-tuned racing game, and more importantly, it’s just plain fun. And really, what more can you ask for?
So with the shiny new remake set to appear in June next year, you’ve got plenty of time to dust off your Crash Team Racing skills in preparation for getting back in the race.
You can pre-order Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled at GAME here!