Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled may have been my most nervously anticipated releases of this year. It is a game I probably sunk the most hours into as a teenager thanks to entire nights playing couch multiplayer (yea we were cool) and I have nothing but fond memories of CTR. This meant that the remake must be spot on, as it had a high bar to hit to both remind me of the good old days, and to live up to this era’s expectations.
Immediately kicking into the campaign mode, I realised this was what I needed. The button mapping threw me off at first because of general control schemes, but it didn’t take long before it felt exactly how I remembered many years ago. It was bizarre how quickly I went from fumbling to smashing out first consistently. Everything about this game felt exactly how my nostalgia goggles has told me it felt like for the last 20 years.
The main campaign is pretty much the same as the original game’s one, including the annoying to navigate hub world and the challenges that I had completely forgotten about. I may have spent over an hour trying to complete the first challenge where you need to get the gems in a stage in a limited time. Despite being pissed off with dozens being one second off, it was so sweet to finally pull that off.
The campaign also still has the CTR challenges where you need to collect all three letters in a stage and win the race. I had completely forgotten where these were so got to enjoy the balance of difficulty and frustration in these challenges. The gameplay feels so damn good, and boss races are challenging enough that the limited maps will still take a few hours.
Outside of the campaign you open even more tracks thanks to the inclusion of content from Crash Nitro Kart, which as I didn’t play it, I got a whole lot of brand-new content to enjoy. The other modes are still floating around like capture the flag, the gem collection, and far more important the battle mode. I think I had more couch multiplayer sessions in that battle mode than anything, and boy is it still fun to play.
The most notable new addition is online multiplayer. I was amped for this because a bunch of teenage nerds sitting around a small TV doesn’t fit a busy professional’s life, but battles against other humans was so exciting. Unfortunately, either there aren’t enough people playing, or there are some issues with the multiplayer because I wound up with five opponents at most in a single match, and twice it crashed my PS4 Pro. Opponents regularly dropped out so I can’t say if they were backing out or had crashes too, but it wasn’t a great experience.
Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is the best-case scenario for a remake. The game looks fantastic, plays fantastic, and feels like a perfect recreation how I remembered the game plus some features like customising characters or karts. Even without the multiplayer it is a fantastic purchase, and if those issues get ironed out it will be a must play.