Sunday, September 6, 2020

Juiced Up - Crash Team Racing - Part 1

Start your engines, ladies and gentlemen. We're getting started with a new adventure starring the orange blunder from down under: Crash Bandicoot. Only this time, rather that scaling walls and leaping over bottomless pits, we're dodging missiles and bombs as we out-drive and outwit our competition on the race track.

I know I said we were done with PS1 nostalgia when we completed Crash Bandicoot: Warped, but I lied. Fortunately, I'm (mostly) not alone. Once he was finished watching Netflix, my good pal Acharky deigned to join us for these little go-karting escapades.

When it comes to cart racers, there's usually three names heard in talks over which is the best. Mario Kart obviously has the hearts and minds of many, not just for it's appeal to Nintendo fans, but also for it's mechanics. Likewise, Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed has the favor of a loyal fanbase it terms of both cast favor and depth of gameplay.

I didn't grow up with the same fondness for Nintendo that most people my age had. Not to say that I dislike Nintendo games, nor that I don't respect their place as pioneers in the industry. I was just more of a PlayStation kid, so that's where my nostalgia drifts. Naturally, that also means that Crash Team Racing was the game of choice when my neighborhood friends got together to play.

And while, as furry, I'm obvious game for this game's eye candy, the truth is that as both a Crash fan and a player, this game is doing everything right to gain and keep my attention. Seeing Crash and the rest of the cast, especially now that Spyro is a playable character (which is a childhood dream come true for me), immediately makes me smile. More than that though, there's a high skill ceiling with the game, that even I haven't managed to hit yet despite all the many times I've played it. With perfect power sliding and turning, players can achieve and maintain breakneck speeds without sacrificing mobility. You see a little of it in the gameplay for this episode, but I would hardly call myself a pro compared to the sharks that populate the online modes.

Naturally, the weapons are also a big aspect of the game, because they allow us to interact with the other racers on the track. By laying traps and lobbing projectiles, we can slow down the competition in the aim of catching up to and eventually passing them, or maintaining our lead if we've already done so. I have some complaints about the weapon drops and how they feel different compared to the previous game, but we can talk about that in the next episode.

Until then, take care and drive fast!

PS: You can check out the video Chris mentioned, of the guy that played this game with hitting the gas, here.

PPS: And I looked up the Golden Eggs, and it turns out they are the key to unlock a new racer in the Nitro-Fueled version.

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