Quick Thoughts: CTR Remake

We first heard about the Crash Team Racing remake back at E3 last year. Having already played a bit of the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy remake, I had a feeling this would be just as good, and knowing that this was my favorite game to feature Crash I went ahead and preordered it a few days before its release. When it became playable, I checked it out for a bit and was not disappointed, though I had to head to bed for work so I didn’t get a proper session in until the next couple of days. Since, I’ve completed the first zone, a few of the side events along with parts of the second zone. This game is what I remember it being from my early adulthood — it’s a great kart racer, and it still has a nice difficulty curve that keeps it from being something you’ll finish in a day or two. If you’re a completionist, there are trophies for completing both the “new” Nitro-Fueled version of the game, along with the original version. The differences between the two are that you can’t customize your character and you can’t change characters in the original, and the new campaign mode introduces a bunch of new characters. A “Pit Stop” feature works like a shop but is completely micro-transaction free, all currency is earned by playing the game. Many of the skins, carts and characters are also unlockable by playing, so it’s a win-win.

The campaign has a small zone that you can explore and the races are found on little teleportation pads. You’ll have to complete all of the races in a zone to open up the boss, and after completing the boss you’ll get access to new zones. Our goal is to complete four boss battles to have enough keys to unlock N. Oxide, who is the final boss (and rather difficult from what I remember). Normal Trophy races are just that, you’ll vie against 8 computer controlled racers and you’ll want to finish first in order to earn the trophy. The AI is pretty good even on medium difficulty (there’s also a trophy for beating the game on hard), they’ll wait for you to line up before they use powerups, and they’ll piss you off when they always manage to hit you right before the finish line when you’re in first place. If you can race fast enough though, you’ll get far enough ahead to avoid most retribution.

Bosses are unlocked once the zone is cleared, and they amount to a slightly more difficult race, because they have special moves and tend to be pretty fast. Once they’re bested, you’ll move onto new zones and this play pattern repeats until you complete the campaign. There is more, though.

After a boss is completed, Relic Races and CTR Challenges appear. These will take place on the same levels you’ve just completed, but they require different win conditions. Relic Races are essentially time trials, but there are crates scattered about the levels that stop the clock for 1, 2 or 3 seconds. You’ll likely need them in order to complete the race in the given time, so try to grab as many as possible! For CTR Challenges, you’ll race against AI again, but there are a C, T and R hidden around the level and you’ll have to collect those before the race is over. I’m not sure that you have to finish in first place too, but I did just to be safe. After racing a bunch, you’ll want to visit the pit stop where you can unlock new cosmetics for your kart, unlock those characters and also get skins for them, along with accessories and paint jobs.

I spent what I had earned on unlocking a sweet shark that shoots laser beams out of his helmet. Turns out he’s a better fit for my playstyle than the default characters as well.  One thing that is present with this title as opposed to the original is online play, where you can have races with friends (or strangers) along with playing sweet battle mini games. These can also be played locally, split-screen, and with AI bots if desired. There’s really a ton to do here and I really only wanted the new campaign, so it was well worth the $40 spent! I highly recommend this one if you like kart racers, Crash Bandicoot, and especially if you played the original — you’ll love it.