Crash Tag Team Racing!
Hello, Internet readers! And if you've read the first blog, welcome back! If not, welcome! Here' we'll be digging into games both old and new. We're going to get our hands, and paws, dirty uncovering the many fun and interesting gems within said video games, one game at a time. And today, we're going back to a series that sold off during a transition of consoles, and unfortunately, felt the scorn of going in the wrong direction.
Crash Bandicoot had a wonderful beginning on the Sony Playstation, and has had several successful games in the care of Naughty Dog, but somewhere along the line, Naughty Dog sold the rights to our nutty orange friend. This gave way to the Wrath of Cortex, which began a slew of other games with mixed reviews. Some criticized the changes in direction, while some were more angry about getting too many similarities to the previous games (you can never please everyone, huh?) Crash Tag Team Racing (we'll be calling it CTTR throughout this review) Is one of those games to have received those mixed reviews. It's interesting idea of clashing cars to temporarily team up with rivals on the racetrack probably wasn't as well received as the developers wanted it to be. But, in hindsight, the new concept wasn't really the games downfall, if you ask me. The game felt too easy to be a crash game, and had too much small content, and not enough big juicy stones to dig out of it. It also felt limited. Despite the huge, free roam worlds that made up the levels, There wasn't much that you could really explore in them
In CTTR, you play a single role of the usual zany, mostly mute bandicoot. The game begins with the showing of a racing theme park that is soon to be closed down after the current owner, Von Clutch, loses the power sources to the park, as well as the power source to his body, making his time limited. We then see Cortex, N. Gin, and Nina chasing after the bandicoot trio, Crash, Coco, and Crunch, in an attempt to destroy them. They then find themselves crashing into the theme park, and agree to help after hearing about the story of the theme park under misfortune, and Von Clutch offers both groups a deal: whoever finds the gems, including the black gem that powers Von Clutch, gets complete ownership of the park. Naturally, Cortex hatches up a plan to use the park for evil, but this time he's opposed by the Bandicoots, as well as a new character in the Crash Bandicoot roster. Pasadena, an opossum (I feel like I should say it as the dictionary says) with a very southern accent joins the race to own the park, but she's racing for the current owner, and plans to thwart those of cortex, and the Bandicoots, assuming they have one other than “stop Cortex”
However, the problem when comparing story to gameplay is that the only character available to play as outside of the races is Crash, so there's not really much fun to be had finding different story sequences. You start by wandering around the park, collecting coins(seriously?) and crystals (okay, that's common ^^) to spend and unlock cars, costumes, and some other things along the way. You also participate in different kinds of race challenges, and even get to battle it out in clashed cars and turrets. The races and vehicular challenges can reward you with coins and crystals, but aren't really necessary unless you plan to complete the game, and, like the on-foot adventure, don't offer much in a dynamic sense. But, even after that, it's still fun in the cars, and you can unlock a nice variety of them, each looking more unique than the last. The steering controls are simple, yet flawed. Drifting on the tracks is more of an effort, and seems to slow you down rather than give you a boost. You don't see much fun on foot either. The platforming segments get repetitive, and the only enemy in the entire game are ninja penguins. The only real challenge rests in the mini games scattered amongst the park. And they do well here, the bowling mini game is interesting, and the shooting games can be addicting at times. Sometimes it's more challenging than it's worth, but it's a nice way to kill time.
If there's any saving grace for this game, it's the "Die-o-Ramas." When you kill crash in certain places, or certain ways, you see a short, yet funny way for crash to die. You can also interact with the park workers in different places with certain actions. These are funny to watch, and unlocking them makes you feel good for a while. There's also the multiplayer. It's not much more than a miniature version of the normal game, but it does well here, you can pay coins to unlock any vehicles, and win coins to use during races, arena challenges, or the drift arena. When these little quirks are unlocked, it feels good because you actually think you did something. Also, the environments are designed very well, and keep the crazy yet fantastical feel of Crash Bandicoot running throughout the entire game. Even if it's a cheap gimmick in your opinion, it still feels like a Crash game, and this is what kept me interested in the game. It had the genuine feel of a Crash Bandicoot game.
All in all, this isn't Crash Bandicoot in his prime, nor is it him at his lowest point. What it lacks in gameplay, it makes up for in graphics, feel, and overall playability. No, it's not a game you'll find yourself keeping in your top ten, but not by much. It's a good time-killer, and easy to put down when you need to, or want to. It's most easily described as an honorable mention. Not the best, but very far from the worst, and probably worth a decent ten bucks, but nothing more. It's a great nostalgia trip for Crash fans, and it's a good idea to have this game if you're waiting for the iconic character to make a come back. And if you, like me, are waiting for Crash to return, then you might want to pop this game in, because I doubt it's going to happen for a while, that, or until a new company buys him the way Spyro was bought.
Well, that's enough digging for today, don't you guys think? This poor gem has been all but forgotten, as well as Crash himself. But don't worry, guys! As a die-hard Crash fan, I'll keep digging through all of his games, finding the best gems I can get for us! In the meantime, we need to find gems from everywhere, even his rival, or other protagonists. But, for now, this is the T.N.T. Husky. See you guys soon ^^