"The box is cute, the ads were plentiful, and Sony would like to know why you're not playing this already. "
Title: Crash Team Racing (CTR to his friends)
Reviewing Monkey: The Goodyear Chimp
The Hype: What we got here is your basic go-carts with Gattling guns, race 'em around and shoot 'em up type of game. All your favorite characters from the Crash Bandicoot series are here including heroes, villains, and side characters you didn't even know existed. There's a one-player quest mode, some time trials, head-to-head racing, and even a battle mode that seems awfully familiar.... The box is cute, the ads were plentiful, and Sony would like to know why you're not playing this already.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: 3 of 5--The only complaint I have is that I can't always tell where the track ends and the vividly painted walls begin. Then again, that could be a good thing. The characters are polygonal but cartoonish and adorable. Everything that's approaching you from far on down the line scales nicely and the ride is seamlessly smooth. All right, so the "cheerleader chick" at the winner's podium has poorly rendered hands. Relax, she's a bandicoot not Laura Croft.
Game Play: 4 of 5--Must...not...compare...to...Mario Kart. The learning curve on this game is so steep that Picabo Street is scared to ski down it. Unlike other cart games I could mention, it is not impossible to master the basic handling in an hour and be on to advanced turbo techniques in hour two (after the five-minute break I'm sure every player takes for eye strain--ha!). The ability to use either the pad or analog sticks is a great option. Play is not interrupted by long periods of video or other annoyance and it's often neck and neck to the finish line. One of the best improvements over...no game in particular at all...is the addition of Wumpa Fruit. By picking up some of these Crash-related crate contents, you can improve your overall miles per hour AND the duration, speed, and violent impact of your weapons. Double your pleasure - Double youíre fun.
Multiplayer & Replayability: 5 of 5--Here's the game's real strength: a long adventure mode and massive multiplayer options. We begin by beating all the tracks and bosses in Trophy racing. The fastest bandit plays against Oxide to win the game the FIRST time. You may also play "collect the dots" on a battle zone to unlock other arenas for later use. Finally, if you're intent on beating every secret from this disc, you need to master the Relic race (time trial), CTR race (collect the letters AND get first place), as well as win a series on every set of tracks against all the bosses at once. It will take some time (especially the Relic races which leave me sore) but it's worth it for the satisfaction and rewards. When playing with friends you can race, which is entertaining, but you'll probably spend the bulk of your time in the battle arenas. Once into the setup, you can pick teams, set the type of battle (points, lives, time, or a combination of the three), the length, and finally turn on or off whatever weapons you like. Did you say you wanted to play a battle with only heat seeking missiles? Awe, yeah.
Story/Dramatics: 3 of 5--This is not important. Even RPG fans know that when it comes time to race, talking is a moot point. One bonus to this game is your partner, Aku Aku (or Uka Uka if you're an evil character), who guides you toward victory. His hints spell out all the tricks the manual would have told you if you'd read it. This makes him invaluable to "I'll Figure It Out" guys like me.
Instructions, Installation, and Real System Requirements: 5 out of 5. This is my favorite part of the review for PlayStation games--you put the disc in the drive, you pick your buttons, and it works every time.
Iím sure that this game will appeal to a wide audience with its crossover appeal from the Crash-loving adventure game crowd. The real strength of it though is the ease of play and multiplayer madness. Anyone can get in to this except people who hate racing games and they're not welcome in my house.
The Good: Length! Difficulty! Options! Multiplayer!
The Bad: Umm, it's not original?
The Overall Ugly: Get the game, get some tracks, get some friends, get hooked.
What it's Worth: $40 (unless you're a college student, then you can get it for $20 used)