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Crash Team Racing
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-2
Developer:  Naughty Dog
Publisher:  Sony
Features:  Dual Shock
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://
Let's just get this out of the way right now: CTR (Crash Team Racing) is Mario Kart. It is copied from the million-selling Nintendo gem nearly track for track and cart for cart. There is very little originality in it and the play is nearly identical to Mario Kart. There are a few mini-games and special races in an adventure mode but there is nothing that we have not seen in Diddy Kong. Still is this a bad thing? Not really. These are great cart racing games that CTR is stealing from. IN the end the finished project is very polished with great controls and a nice package of options and modes.

The main one-player game is the Adventure mode in which the player picks from any of the 8 racers and heads into the first zone. Each zone has four tracks to race and a boss to beat in order to advance. However, placing first place in each race is not the end of the track. Just like in the Crash platform games you must play each stage over again in order to capture coins and gems and win everything. IN each level there are also mini-game levels where you must drive around and collect items, a nice break from the endless racing.

What cart racing game would be complete without weapons and power-ups. In this area CTR is no different than other cart racing games. There are turbos and bombs and other items to drop and fire at opponents. Each weapon is "juiced-up" when you collect 10 Wumpas, the yummy fruit of the Crash games. If the racing gets on your nerves relax and enter a battle where you and up to three others can battle it out for the title of championship of the world (or at least of that round). There is also a time-trial mode that makes for good practice. The nice thing about the game is that there is a 4 player racing mode as well as a 2 player racing with other computer opponents. I especially like the latter race since just racing against one other person can get pretty dull.

The tracks are all pretty formulaic. There is a mud level, a beach level, and a couple of dreaded ice/snow levels. There is even a castle level. It seems that the designers played Mario Kart over and over again in order to get ideas for their tracks. I wish that had played Crash 3 over and over again for their project ideas. Racing across the wall of China, or in the jungle, or any of the other places featured in that beautifully stylized game would be a refreshing change to the over-used unoriginal tracks that they eventually went with. Still there is a lot of different tracks and each one is very nicely designed with alternate routes and shortcuts.

CTR went with what has worked in the past for games of this nature. There is a variety of tracks and many options from fighting to racing to endless collecting. The control in the game is nearly identical to Mario Kart and Diddy Kong and is smooth and responsive. If you like the previously mentioned N64 games then you will probably really enjoy CTR. I have to say that it is a fun game although it lacks originality. Still a great copied game is much better than a mediocre or a crappy copied game. As long as it is fun, who cares where they got the ideas from, and fun is definitely what CTR is.

Chris Shade

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