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- Retro Gaymer: Crash Team Racing
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Back in the days when Mario Kart came to town, any and all franchises tried to have their own racing game, but the only one to do a proper job of turning cute and cuddly platform characters into hard-arsed racers was CTR: Crash Team Racing.
The plot is simple. Once again, a big ‘ol bad guy, this time in the form or Nitros Oxide, wants to take over the planet and so challenges the Earth to a race to see who is fastest. If Earth wins, Nitros leaves town, but if Nitros wins then the Earth becomes a car park. Literally. In order to get to the fight with Nitros, you need to beat the four bosses, Ripper Roo, Papu Papu, Komodo Joe and Pinstripe Potoroo.
Why is this such a great game if it is so retro (original Playstation for the win) and so unoriginal? Reason being that Mario Kart started a revolution in the late 90s, early 00s, by ensuring that a game franchise could not call itself successful until it had a racing game commissioned, and as a result all high-earning series ended up with racing games. Sonic, the Biker Mice from Mars, and even Cartoon Network released racing games, but none were done with the level of precision and skill that Crash Team Racing was. Not only did you have a playable story mode, which made sense and had a level of progression which made things more difficult, but you also had Gems and Relics to collect just like in the original game series. Plus the original characters of Crash Bandicoot had put aside their differences in Crash Team Racing so you could play as Crash his sister Coco or her pet Pura, as easily as you could Dr Neo Cortex and Dr N. Gin or Tiny. It was simply a work of art.
You also had a stream of unlockable content, so after you had defeated Ripper Roo and Pinstripe you could play as them against your friends if you wanted. There is even a glitch to give you a percent completion of over 100%!
Of course, Crash Team Racing will seem old and archaic compared to racing games being released on the current and next generation of consoles, but they will never have the same charm or connection with its audience as a result. Because games like Assassin’s Creed take their art too seriously, you can bet that Ezio will never be seen behind the wheel. Crash Team Racing helps remind you about what computer games were originally intended for – big fun, not to be taken too seriously, and just a way of proving to your mates who is really the best at life.
You can buy CTR: Crash Team Racing on Playstation from Amazon now