Flashback Zone – Crash Team Racing

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This right here, this is one of my all time favourite games. It’s definitely my favourite racing game, hands down. But what is so interesting about this game is that it was made by people who, up until this game, had never made a racing game before.

Crash Bandicoot had always been a platformer, so you can imagine people’s surprise when they released this racing game. But what surprised people even more was that this racing game, made by platform game designers, was incredible!

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Now it is true that the story isn’t exactly the best. Nitrous Oxide has arrived on Earth and plans to turn it into a parking lot, so  it is up to whoever you choose to stop him and his henchmen before he can do it but to do that you must beat every racer on the planet to prove that you are the best, and therefore are worthy of facing him. OK… a little odd. But the thing about this game is that the story’s relative weakness is made up for hugely by its incredible level designs, challenges, and overall entertainment.

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While you can unlock almost every character from the Crash Bandicoot universe (usually by defeating them), you begin the game with eight choices for characters; Crash, Cortex, Tiny Tiger, Coco, N.Gin, Dingodile, Polar, and Puma. Each character has their own stats, with two characters having the same stats, making four different play types overall. For example, Crash and Cortex have equal stats and are your all rounders with even stats in speed, acceleration and turning, whereas Coco and N.Gin both outperform everyone else at turning but their other stats might be weaker than others.

As you progress through the game you are accompanied by either Aku Aku or Uka Uka who will give you advice and training. This only really helps at the beginning and your first playthrough though. The bosses return in this game too, in case you were worried that they were gone. You will face off against Ripper Roo, Papu Papu, Pinstripe, Komodo Joe, and Nitrous Oxide himself. What makes these bosses unique from one another is their unique forms of attack, Ripper Roo for example constantly drops TNTs behind him, and their track which is geared around making sure that their unique weapons cause you as much trouble as possible. Then to top the campaign off there’s the return of the time trials from Crash 3 just to annoy the completionist in you!

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To top it all off, there are modes outside of the campaign for you to messed around in, and even play with your friends. That’s right, multiplayer finally arrived in a Crash game! The modes are:

Time Trial

A single player mode where the player races against the clock to get the best time. If the player gets a fast enough time, he/she can challenge N. Tropy’s ghosts. Then, after defeating all of his ghosts, N. Tropy is unlocked as a playable character in modes other than adventure mode. THEN, after beating N. Tropy, the player can challenge N. Oxide by beating a new set of times. When the player beats all of Oxide’s ghosts, the player will unlock the Naughty Dog scrapbook in the main menu.

Arcade

In this mode you can race on a single track or a cup where players race over four tracks for the highest total score. Two players can compete in this mode against four computer controlled opponents and the difficulty can be set to Easy, Medium, or Hard.

Vs.

Up to four players compete on a chosen track or across four tracks for points.

Battle

Up to four players compete in a battle arena against each other, armed with the weapons found within the game. Players can compete in teams or have a “free-for-all”.

Quite a lot of choice right? As a kid, this game provided me with easily hundreds of hours of fun both by myself and with friends. It’s very hard to find a problem with it because anything that I do say, other than the already mentioned story line, would just be nit-picking at an extremely well crafted game. Oh and its available on the Playstation store (not for PS4, yet!) so you know… there’s that…


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