Crash Bandicoot returns with Team Racing
(IDG) -- Naughty Dogs of the world, unite! From the team that brought you Crash Bandicoots 1-4 comes Crash Team Racing, a kart racing game that aims a Bowling Bomb at Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing and blasts them off the track!
Crash Team Racing stars all your favorite Crash Bandicoot characters, including Crash, Coco, Cortex, Dingodile, Tiny, Polar and Pura, with more characters unlocked by solving the game.
At its essence, it is just like Mario Kart -- cute, large-headed mascots race on tiny cars and blast each other with comical weapons as they race for the finish line.
It's in execution that CTR passes its nearest competitor. CTR controls better, plays faster and, in many instances, looks better than its N64 counterparts.
There is a story, which sets you up for CTR's thorough Adventure Mode, in which you race tracks and defeat bosses in hopes of shutting down the evil Nitros Oxide and ending his plans to turn Earth into a concrete parking lot.
You'll race each track, then reenter them to collect crystals and solve other puzzles, opening up more and more secrets as you go. If you can get 100% in the Adventure Mode, you'll unlock the four bosses and Fake Crash.
But there's more! Arcade, Versus, Time Trial and the awesome multiplayer Battle Mode round out the package. Crash fans will never run out of stuff to do.
You make that PlayStation talk, baby
Crash Team Racing forces the PlayStation to outdo itself in the graphics department. There's nothing too complex here, but the cartoony look and the ingenious use of textures and colors really make the PlayStation look good.
Water and explosive effects look quite impressive, and there's very little of the infamous texture-warping and polygon seaming that you'll see in other PSX titles. Even the loading screen's nice to look at.
Soundwise, the Crash team brings you whimsical background music that really is quite enjoyable. You'll hear sound bites as the various characters pass you, shoot at you or blow up, and they're varied enough to avoid becoming annoying. Explosions, splashes and other ambient effects sound just as they should. There's really nothing to annoy you in CTR's sound department.
Control is also nearly perfect. It's simple and easy to learn, but there are little tricks that you'll pick up as you play to make your kart go faster, take curves better or jump farther. The transparent controls allow you to concentrate on racing and blasting your opponents, and so the races are faster, more fluid and more fun.
Crash's last stand
Naughty Dog has announced that CTR will be their final Crash Bandicoot game, and thankfully they made it a very good one. By taking an already fun concept and making it better, they have made a game worth of Crash's last stand.
Naughty Dog really knows how to make the PlayStation sweat. Bright colors, simple characters and ingenius use of textures and lighting make the Crash Team a winner.
The sound fits the cartoony feel of this title perfectly. Character voices sound great, and there are enough of them that they don't repeat too often. The only complaint is that the music could be better, but you can always crank your own tunes if CTR's don't suffice.
Controlling your kart is simple and easy to learn, yet there are tricks that masters can use to keep ahead of button-mashing newbies. Just don't expect realistic physics, and you'll be fine.
Fun Factor: 5.0
Racing fans and Crash fans alike will line up for this one. It helps at first if you recognize the characters, but even Crash newbies will enjoy the fast gameplay. A hint: Grab a friend or three. The Battle Mode is awesome.
Sony's playing no games with PlayStation2
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Preview: Crash Team Racing
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