Crash Team Racing
|Crash Team Racing|
North American cover art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Distributor(s)||Universal Interactive Studios|
Crash Team Racing (known as Crash Bandicoot Racing in Japan) is a racing video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. The game was released in North America on September 30, 1999 and in Europe and Australia later the same year. It was re-released for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up in 2000 and for the Platinum Range on January 12, 2001. It was later added to the European PlayStation Store on October 18, 2007, then on the Japanese store on June 11, 2008 and then finally to the North American store on August 10, 2010.
Crash Team Racing is the fourth installment in the Crash Bandicoot series. It is the first Crash Bandicoot game in the racing genre and the last Crash Bandicoot game to be developed by Naughty Dog. The game's story focuses on the efforts of a ragtag team of characters in the Crash Bandicoot series, who must race against the egomaniacal Nitros Oxide to save their planet from destruction. In the game, players can take control of one of fifteen Crash Bandicoot series characters, though only eight are available at first. During the races, offensive and speed boosting power ups can be used to gain an advantage.
Crash Team Racing was praised by critics for its gameplay and graphics, though the audio was met with mixed opinions. An indirect sequel, Crash Nitro Kart, was released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance and N-Gage.
Crash Team Racing is a racing game in which the player controls characters from the Crash Bandicoot universe, most of whom compete in karts. While racing, the player can accelerate, steer, reverse, brake, hop or use weapons and power-ups with the game controller's analog stick and buttons. Two distinct forms of crates are scattered throughout the tracks and arenas of Crash Team Racing. Crates with question marks (?) on them hold power-ups and weapons, which can be obtained by driving through and breaking apart the said crates. When the player collects a weapon or power-up, it will appear in a box at the top of the screen. The player can activate the weapon or power-up to wreak havoc on the other racers or supplement the player's own performance. "Fruit Crates" carry "Wumpa Fruit" that increase the speed of the player's kart and strengthen the player's weapons and power-ups if ten of them are obtained.
A crucial maneuver in Crash Team Racing is the power slide; the player executes the slide by holding down one of the shoulder buttons to perform a hop, and steering before the kart lands. While sliding, the "Turbo Boost Meter" on the lower-right corner of the screen fills up and goes from green to red. At the same time, the exhaust gas from the player's kart turns black. To get a speed boost, the player quickly presses the opposite shoulder button while the Turbo Boost Meter is red. The player can execute three speed boosts in a row during a power slide, with the third speed boost being more powerful than the previous two. If the player waits too long into the power slide for a boost, the kart back-fires and the chance for a speed boost is lost; power sliding for too long causes a spin-out. Aside from power slides, speed boosts can be obtained by gathering hang time when leaping over gaps in the track. The longer the player is in the air, the bigger the speed boost will be when the kart lands.
Crash Team Racing features five racing modes: Adventure, Time Trial, Arcade, Versus and Battle. In each mode, the player selects one from eight characters to control. A PlayStation multitap can be installed to allow three or four-player games. The "Adventure Mode" is a one-player game where the player must race through all of the tracks and arenas in the game and collect as many trophies, Relics, Boss Keys, CTR Tokens and Gems as possible. The objective of the Adventure Mode is to save the world from the story's antagonist, Nitros Oxide, by winning races on 16 different tracks. In the beginning of the game, the player only has access to two levels. As the player wins more races, more tracks on multiple worlds become available. In each level, the player must win a trophy by coming in first place. When the player receives all four trophies in a world, the "Boss Garage" of that world can be accessed. In the Boss Garage, the player competes in a one-on-one race against a boss character. If the boss character is defeated, the character will relinquish a Boss Key, which the player uses to access new worlds and ultimately to face Oxide inside his spaceship.
After beating levels, new modes become available, such as the Relic Race, in which the player races through the track alone and completes three laps in the fastest time possible. "Time Crates" scattered throughout the level freeze the game timer when a player drives through them. If all of the Time Crates are destroyed, the player's final time is reduced by ten seconds. The player wins a Relic by beating the time indicated on the screen. Another mode, the CTR Challenge, is played like a normal race, except that the player must also collect the letters C, T and R scattered throughout the track. If the player manages to collect all three letters and come in first place, a "CTR Token" is awarded. These tokens come in five different colors. If the player collects four tokens of the same color, the player will be able to access the Gem Cup of the corresponding color. Gem Cups are racing tournaments held against computer-controlled opponents and are accessible in a secret area in the "Gemstone Valley" world. A Gem Cup consists of four tracks in a row, in which the player must race for points. If one of these cups is won, a Gem is awarded. To win the game, the player must collect all trophies, Boss Keys, Relics, CTR Tokens and Gems before defeating Nitros Oxide in a one-on-one race.
The "Time Trial" mode is a single-player mode where the player attempts to set the best time on any of the tracks in the game. There are no other racers to hinder the player and no power-ups. When the Time Trial is finished, the player has the option to save a "ghost", a replay of that race; the next time that track is accessed in this mode, the player can race against the ghost. In the "Arcade" mode, the player can quickly scroll through and race on a selection of tracks. The player can choose to select a Single Race or enter a Cup, in which the player races on four tracks in a row for points. In the Single Race and the Cup Race, one or two players race with the remaining computer-controlled drivers. The difficulty of the race and number of laps can be customized. The "Versus" mode is similar to that of the Arcade mode, with the exception that two or more human players must be involved.
In the "Battle" mode, up to four players can fight customized battles, launching weapons during combat in one of seven special battle arenas. The type and length (the latter modifies how many hit points or minutes the battle will have) of the battle can be adjusted beforehand, allowing for three types of battles. In a "Point Limit Mode" battle, the first player to achieve 5, 10 or 15 points wins. In the "Time Limit Mode" battle, the player with the highest points after 3, 6 or 9 minutes wins. In the "Life Limit Mode", each player has a set number of lives (3, 6 or 9) and the battle has a time limit (3, 6 minutes or forever). The player with the most lives at the end of the time limit wins. If "forever" is chosen as the length, the battle lasts until only one player is standing. Three and four players can team up for two-against-one, two-against-two, three-against-one or one-against-one-against-two battles.
A hidden "Scrapbook" option can be unlocked after beating Nitros Oxide's records in the Time Trial Mode, enabling the player to see a compilation of promotional images, sketches and unveiling photos of Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped and Crash Team Racing, along with photographs of the series' popularity in Japan and the Naughty Dog staff. In the PAL versions, the "Crash in Japan" segment is omitted.
Fifteen characters are playable in Crash Team Racing, although only eight of them are playable from the start. Crash Bandicoot, the main protagonist of the series, is an all-round racer with balanced acceleration, top speed and handling. Doctor Neo Cortex, Crash's archenemy, is a mad scientist who wants to stop Nitros Oxide so that he may conquer the world himself. Like Crash, his kart is an all-round performer. Coco Bandicoot, Crash's younger sister, is a computer genius who installed computer chips into her kart to increase its acceleration prowess. Doctor N. Gin is a rocket scientist who, like Coco, added custom parts to his kart to improve its acceleration. Pura and Polar pilot karts with low speed but improved handling, allowing them to navigate tight corners. Tiny Tiger and Dingodile control karts built for top speed at the cost of turning prowess.
The main antagonist of the story, Nitros Oxide, is the self-proclaimed fastest racer in the galaxy who threatens to turn Earth into a concrete parking lot. Preceding Oxide are four boss characters: Ripper Roo, a deranged straitjacket-wearing kangaroo; Papu Papu, the morbidly obese leader of the island's native tribe; Komodo Joe, a Komodo dragon with a speech sound disorder; and Pinstripe Potoroo, a greedy pinstripe-clad potoroo. The four boss characters, along with an imperfect and morally ambiguous clone of Crash Bandicoot named Fake Crash, become accessible as playable characters if the Adventure Mode is fully completed. Also appearing as secret characters are Doctor Nefarious Tropy, the self-proclaimed Master of Time and who is unlocked by beating his records in the Time Trial Mode; and Penta Penguin, a neutral penguin who can only be unlocked via a cheat code at the main menu. Contrary to popular belief, Nitros Oxide is not a playable character in the game.
Appearing as the player's tutors in the game are the sentient twin witch doctor masks Aku Aku and Uka Uka, both of whom give hints that help the player develop their racing skills. They double as obtainable power-ups during the races, temporarily protecting the player from all attacks and obstacles while increasing the kart's speed. However, their power does not protect the player from chasms or deep water.
The inhabitants of Earth are visited by an extraterrestrial named Nitros Oxide, who claims to be the fastest racer in the galaxy. Challenging Earth to a game called "Survival of the Fastest", he beckons Earth's best driver to race him. If Earth's driver wins, he promises to leave Earth alone, but if Oxide wins, he will turn Earth into a concrete parking lot and enslave the Earthlings. In response, the player character gathers all four Boss Keys needed to access Oxide's spaceship and races him in a one-on-one match. Upon Oxide's defeat at the hands of the player character, he temporarily leaves Earth, but promises that he will return when all of the Time Relics have been gathered. Oxide faces the player again after all the Time Relics are gathered. After losing once more, Oxide keeps his word and angrily leaves Earth forever. An epilogue is relayed during the end credits, explaining what the characters of the game did after the events of the story. Nitros Oxide himself returns to his home planet of Gasmoxia and secludes himself from society. After undergoing years of therapy to cope with his loss, he takes up unicycle-racing, only to get into a gruesome accident.
Naughty Dog began production on Crash Team Racing after the completion of Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back; the game engine for Crash Team Racing was created at the same time Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped was produced. During the game's prototypical stage, the team built a replica of the "Crescent Island" course from Diddy Kong Racing to test whether a racetrack of the same scope and scale was possible on the PlayStation. The turbo system that gives the player boosts of speed during power slides and by gathering hang time was added to make Crash Team Racing feel more interactive and involving than older kart-racing games. The characters of the game were designed by Charles Zembillas and Joe Pearson, who designed the characters of the last three installments of the series. Nitros Oxide was originally a mad scientist obsessed with speed who plotted to speed up the entire world until the end of time. However, having exhausted human, animal, machine, and various combinations for Crash Bandicoot bosses in the past, it was decided to have Nitros Oxide be an otherworldly character. The original "speed up the world" plot is referenced in a promotional comic (written by Glenn Herdling and drawn by Neal Sternecky) featured in the Winter 2000 issue of Disney Adventures. Crash Team Racing went into the alpha stage of development on August 1999, and the beta stage on September. In an interview with GameTrailers, Naughty Dog's co-president Evan Wells, who was a designer on the game, revealed that Oxide was never intended to be a playable character in the game due to the memory limitations of the PlayStation. The said limitations further affected the game's roster of playable characters; Polar and Pura were originally to ride in the same kart and be played as a single character, but were ultimately split into separate characters, and both Komodo Brothers were to appear in the game before Komodo Moe was omitted.
David Baggett and Mark Mothersbaugh produced the game's soundtrack, with Josh Mancell of Mutato Muzika composing the music. Sound effects were created by Mike Gollum, Ron Horwitz and Kevin Spears of Universal Sound Studios. The voices of Doctor Neo Cortex and Uka Uka were provided by Clancy Brown, while the voices of Doctor N. Gin, Tiny Tiger and Pinstripe Potoroo were provided by voice actor Brendan O'Brien. Additional voices were provided by David A. Pizzuto, Mel Winkler, Michael Ensign, Hynden Walch, Billy Pope, sound effects artist Mike Gollom, Michael Connor and Chip Chinery.
Crash Team Racing received critical acclaim. Official PlayStation Magazine described Crash Team Racing as "the game that made kart racing cool" and proclaimed that "nothing has ever matched its quality." Electronic Gaming Monthly noted that the game was "heavily inspired by Mario Kart, but still an amazing multiplayer racer." Doug Perry of IGN stated that the game was "rock solid" in playability and graphics, but was critical of "the insanely capitalistic smile of Crash." Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot called the game "a great Mario Kart clone", and that it succeeded where similar games like Mega Man Battle & Chase, Bomberman Fantasy Race, Diddy Kong Racing, Chocobo Racing and Mario Kart had failed. Johnny Liu of Game Revolution concluded that despite the fact that the game "doesn't add much to the tired genre, it manages to do everything well."
The game's controls were well received. The D-Pad Destroyer of GamePro praised the controls as "nearly-perfect" and explained that "the transparent controls allow you to concentrate on racing and blasting your opponents, and so the races are faster, more fluid and more fun." Johnny Liu of Game Revolution concluded that the controls "feel very natural, with an emphasis on maintaining speed rather than fighting lousy controls." However, Joe Ottoson of Allgame ("All Game Guide" at the time) said that the inability to reconfigure the controls was "the only real drawback to Crash's presentation."
The graphics of the game were positively received. The D-Pad Destroyer of GamePro, while noting that the graphics were not too complex, cited the "cartoony look and the ingenious use of textures and colors" as high points in the graphics department. Doug Perry of IGN commended the "sharp looking" environments as "clean and fully formed" and the characters are "full of funny animations and cleanly designed". Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot said that the environments "are reasonably large, and they convey the cartoon-like attitude of the game very nicely." Johnny Liu of Game Revolution stated that the graphics were "smooth and seem to push the Playstation's limits."
Critics expressed mixed opinions of the game's audio. The D-Pad Destroyer of GamePro said that the "whimsical" background music is "quite enjoyable" and the character sound bites are "varied enough to avoid becoming annoying." Doug Perry of IGN had a more mixed take, saying that the "classic bouncy, xylophone-heavy beat" is "not necessarily great", and that after a few courses, "you either stop hearing it, or the incessant simplicity of it makes you want to cry or pull your hair out". On the subject of the voice acting, he concluded that there is "nothing really that cute, clever or memorable" in the game, and noted that Crash's voice in the game is extremely similar to that of Luigi from the Mario Kart series. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot wrote that while the music and sound effects "push the game's cartoon theme," the themes were not too "over the top" or incessant. Johnny Liu of Game Revolution passed the music off as "standard kitschy fare" and added that while the sound effects "add to the cartoon quality of the game", some of the character voices were unsatisfactory. Joe Ottoson of Allgame noted that the characters "are all quite vocal", and the music "sets off the whimsical mood nicely".
Crash Team Racing has sold over 1.71 million units in Europe, 2.64 million units in the United States and just under 500,000 units in Japan. As a result of its success, the game was re-released for the Sony Greatest Hits line-up in 2000 and for the Platinum Range on January 12, 2001. An indirect sequel titled Crash Nitro Kart was released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and N-Gage and was the first game in the Crash Bandicoot series to feature full motion video.
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- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Ripper Roo's Challenge. "Ripper Roo: Are you crazy enough to race me? I'll show you wild driving! Last one across the finish line is a rotten brain!"
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Ripper Roo's Challenge. "Ripper Roo: You are crazier than me! Have a key. Good luck! You'll need it!"
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Papu Papu's Challenge. "Papu Papu: Papu much tired of watching puny slugs race so slow. Papu want in action, to lay boom down big and prove Papu is world's best driver. Papu move so fast, you munch tracks."
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Papu Papu's Challenge. "Papu Papu: Ugh... Papu not himself today. Maybe Papu not eat enough big breakfast. You are fast for be so small. Here is key to help. Oxide much bigger problem for you. Him not as big, but he is much more grumpy..."
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Komodo Joe's Challenge. "Komodo Joe: Ssssso, you've beaten all the other racersssss on these tracks. Well, now you'll sssssee why I'm the most feared driver on the cccccircuit. I'll earn the right to face Oxide by crushhhhhing you into brickdussst. Let'sssss raccccce."
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Komodo Joe's Challenge. "Komodo Joe: You're not so slow after all. Surprisssed me, you did. Here'sss a key for the win. Ssstill, I think you're not fassst enough to outrace Oxide. We're going to lossssse our planet, and it will be all your fault."
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Pinstripe's Challenge. "Pinstripe Potoroo: Whah, you... you call that racin'? Forget about it. If you's gonna face Oxide, you's gonna have to get past me foist! I'm the speed champeen here, and I'm gonna save the woild... for a sizable fee, o' course! (laughs hoarsely)"
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Pinstripe's Challenge. "Pinstripe Potoroo: So, you's beaten me fair and square. I doubt you'll be this lucky with Oxide. Here's a key for your troubles... Oh, brother..."
- The D-Pad Destroyer (November 24, 2000). "Review : Crash Team Racing [ PlayStation ] - from GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. Retrieved September 25, 2009.
- Instruction Booklet, p. 22.
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Universal Interactive Studios. Level/area: Opening cutscene. "Nitros Oxide: So, you pesky Earth slugs like to race, eh? (chuckles) Well I, Nitros Oxide, am the fastest racer in the galaxy! I travel the stars looking for creatures to test my skill. It's a little game I call "Survival of the Fastest". Here's the way we play. I challenge the best driver of your worlds will race for the planet. If your driver wins, I'll leave your miserable little rock alone. But if I win, I'll turn your entire globe into a concrete parking lot and make you my slaves. (laughs) Get ready to race for the fate of your planet."
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Level/area: Ending cutscene. "Nitros Oxide: Aaaaargh! I can't believe you beat me! I never lose! How embarrassing. I'll be the laughingstock of all Gasmoxia. Fine! Your miserable planet stays gushy and green. At least you still haven't gathered all my Time Relics. Until you've collected all of those and raced me again, you'll never be able to claim you are the fastest. This won't be the last time you'll face Nitros Oxide. We will meet again!"
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Level/area: Ending cutscene. "Nitros Oxide: Aaaaargh! You beat me once again! Now I have to go back to the planet Gasmoxia a complete loser! I must be getting slow in my old age. That's it! I'm finished racing in these mushy backward worlds. Keep your miserable planet! I'm outta here for good!"
- Naughty Dog (September 30, 1999). "Crash Team Racing". PlayStation. Sony Computer Entertainment America. Level/area: Epilogue. "Text: Nitros Oxide went back to the planet Gasmoxia a broken alien. After years of therapy, Oxide emerged from seclusion to begin racing again. Unfortunately, the unicycle was a poor vehicle choice, and his resulting accident was too gruesome to detail here"
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- Sam Kennedy (May 6, 1999). "First Look at Crash Team Racing – PlayStation News at GameSpot". GameSpot. Retrieved September 30, 2009. "Here's how the story goes... There's a new mad scientist in town named Nitros Oxide and he's about to wreak his own havoc on this little island paradise. He's absolutely obsessed with speed, so he concocts a crazy idea to speed the whole world up forever!"
- Douglass Perry (October 5, 1999). "IGN: Crash Team Racing Preview". IGN. Retrieved September 30, 2009. "Starring a new evil force of polygonal madness, a scientist named Nitrous Oxide, Crash Team Racing finds Crash immediately placed in dire straits. Obsessed with speed, Nitrous claims that "fast just isn't fast enough," and plots a strategy to tear down the little island paradise in which Crash and his friends live. Nitrous cooks up an experiment to "speed up" the entire world until the end of time, a rather edgy theory that physicists would certainly counter. In a classic case of videogame (read: cartoon) logic, Crash and his friends must race to save the planet from a premature death."
- "[ Crash Gallery – Character Sketches – Crash Team Racing ]". Naughty Dog. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
- Herdling, Glenn; Sternecky, Neal (2000). "Crash Team Racing: Turbo Time!". Disney Adventures (Winter 2000): 61–64. "Doctor Neo Cortex: Of all the indignities! Having to "befriend" Crash so he'll help me steal the X Device from Nitros! But it will be worth it—for with the X Device I shall finally speed up the entire world! No more waiting—for anything!"
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- "Crash Team Racing review". Official PlayStation Magazine (U.S.): 34. March 2002. "The game that made kart racing cool. Nothing has ever matched its quality."
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- Crash Team Racing Instruction Booklet. Sony Computer Entertainment. 1999.