Crash Team Racing was released late in the life of the PSOne and was one of the best cart racers released in recent times. In 2002 Universal tried to capatalise on the success of CTR and released Crash Nitro Kart, which failed to get anyone excited. Obviously not deterred by the harsh criticism of CNK, we have yet another Crash Bandicoot themed cart racer, in Crash Tag Team Racing. Whilst the idea is not new, and Radical Entertainment aren't going to win any awards for originality, Crash Tag Team Racing is a surprisingly decent game that could be remembered as one of the best Crash Bandicoot games of recent times.
The storyline in the game is fairly bland, and just sets up the excuse to race on a race track. After the embarassment at the end of Crash Twinsanity Cortex challenges Crash Bandicoot to a race at a theme park, with the intention of destroying the bandicoot once and for all.
The developer (Radical Entertainment) are the team behind The Simpsons: Hit and Run and it shows from the very beginning. Crash Tag Team Racing isn't just a kart racer. Radical have added platforming stages into the game, there aren't enough platforming levels to consider the game a platformer, but the inclusion of platforming elements is a good addition that works well in making it easy to navigate around the worlds.
The main mode in the game is the adventure mode, and this is where you'll spend most of your time in. The adventure mode is broken up into five worlds and there are a variety of race modes in each world. In total there are five different game modes including race, crashinator, rolling thunder, fast lap and run and gun. There are also special tracks littered around the adventure mode that have special events. In addition to this there are also mini games scattered around the adventure mode, so there is plenty to do and a lot of variety in the game overall.
There is also a multiplayer mode that allows support for up to eight players. Whilst this is one of the major drawcards of the game after the adventure mode has been completed, it is disappointing there is no online play. We can imagine this game would be just as much fun online as offline, so it is disappointing that online play isn't included for either the Xbox or the Playstation 2.
Aside from gems and coins which are collected in the adventure mode, one of the more trivial additions to the adventure mode are the Die-A-Ramas. There over thirty five Die-A-Ramas in the game. When Crash dies creatively a small cut-scene will play showing his death; this is called a Die-A-Rama, and one of the aims for the player is to "unlock" all the Die-A-Ramas. One such example is when Crash falls into the water, and sharks begin to circle him and eat him.
The main difference to the gameplay between CTTR and CTR is the ability to "clash" with another vehicle (and there is another T in the abbreviation). At any stage during a race you're able to press a button to clash with another vehicle. When this happens both you and your opponants cars merge together into one car, when this is done you take control of weapons such as cannons, rocket launchers and shotguns to eliminate the other characters. You can also switch so you're doing the driving while your opponant shoots at the other drivers.
The clashing feature works surprisingly well, and is a great addition to the game that seperates it from its spiritual predecessor. However, sometimes the clashing can be a bit advantageous and it is often much more beneficial to clash with another opponant than to race. There is no limit to the amount of times you can clash, so sometimes it is simply a case of clashing from one vehicle to another.
Radical Entertainment have done a good job in ensuring the races are fun and the platforming segments are entertaining. If there is one complaint we'd have it is that the game is a little linear. There is only really one way to complete the game, and sometimes it can be a bit confusing where you're expected to go, even though the game tries to direct you. Make no mistakes, the gameplay isn't that challenging and it isn't deep, but it is genuinely good fun.
However, the shallow gameplay can be a disadvantage as well, because once the game is complete there isn't too much motivation to come back to it. Unlocking everything the game offers will take a fair while, but once it is done it is done. The main adventure game is over extremely quickly, which is a huge disappointment and after this there is only the multiplayer to come back to.
Graphically the game looks fairly good. Radical have done a good job in making the characters look detailed enough to suffice, but the graphics never feel amazing. The track design is clever, but not absurd like some of the tracks in Crash Nitro Kart. All of the tracks look good as well and are bright and colourful.
The sound in the game is fairly formulaic, and is all sounds we've heard before. At times the game can throw some humour at you, although it quickly becomes repetitive. The sound effects have never been memorable in Crash Bandicoot games, and the tradition has stayed alive with this game.
One of the greatest compliments we can give Crash Tag Team Racing is that it is a worthy spritual follow up to Crash Team Racing. Rather than try and mimick the success of CTR directly, Radical have tried to build upon the formula established by the game, and for the most part they have succeeded. The gameplay is a little linear and it won't last as long as you'd hope, but children (and most probably lighthearted adults) will find plenty to enjoy with this game. Mario Kart hasn't got serious competition yet, but Radical have made a step in the right direction.
Crash Twinsanity Review
Crash Nitro Kart Review
26 Oct, 2005
26 Oct, 2005
Crash Tag Team Racing Review
Xbox Review | You're It.
|Crash Tag Team Racing is one of the best Crash Bandicoot titles of recent years, it is a real shame the game doesn't last longer though.||7|
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