Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled: Beenox Reveals How It's Reworking a Classic

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled: Beenox Reveals How It's Reworking a Classic

After the success of Crash Bandicoot's N. Sane Trilogy, there's more classic Crash coming.

It's been a long time since the halcyon days of the kart racing genre. Mario Kart has been a long-time staple, but for a brief era every vaguely kid-friendly character had a kart racer. Mega Man: Battle & Chase, Sonic Drift, and Diddy Kong Racing were just a few of the games that tried to challenge Mario Kart for dominance. Probably the most successful was the Crash Team Racing trilogy: Crash Team Racing, Crash Nitro Kart, and Crash Tag Team Racing. Now the series is getting a new lease of life with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, a remaster of the first game.

After a few rounds with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, I can say it's largely the same game that occupies the hazy space in your childhood memories. The kart racing DNA is strong, with power slide boosting, weapon pick-ups, and weird, colorful tracks. If you're a veteran of the genre, you'll power slide right into CTR; I didn't fully get the timing of slide boosting until my demo was finished, but I'd like to think I didn't embarrass USG too much. And while the Nintendo Switch already plays host to the excellent Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Crash Team Racing also spreads the love to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Where the new Nitro-Fueled really excels, though, is the additional work Beenox has put into remastering and remaking all of the original tracks. Giant slimes hide in pipes. Massive gears turn in the background. And as you race through each course, if you pay attention you'll notice tiny stories playing out across each lap.

"We spent a great deal of time finding the story of every track. In every track, we add a lot of life. Everywhere we could inject personality, that's one thing we did. Little details here and there to make every track unique," said Beenox creative director Thomas Wilson.

The all-new Polar Pass. | Beenox/Activision

Polar Pass was a simple ice track based around a massive glacier. In Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, it's now a fishing village for polar bears. Beenox has filled out the originally sparse background with huts, polar bear families, and campfires. There's even a rave going on, with a polar bear DJ and penguin dancers: as you pass by, the soundtrack for the course is remixed to be more dance-themed briefly. Clockwork Wumpa was previously a basic clock tower, but with Nitro-Fueled, it's now an entire wumpa juice factory. If you pay attention, you'll see barrels of wumpa juice being crushed with the clock tower's gears.

Not only do you get all the Crash Team Racing courses, with whole new looks and remastered soundtracks, you also get redone courses from Crash Nitro Kart. And developer Beenox has put in the work to make every one shine.

"The biggest challenge was for [Crash Nitro Kart]. We readapted the length of some of the tracks. A typical lap for [Crash Team Racing] could be 30-40 seconds, and some of the tracks on CNK were all the way to six minutes. We wanted to complement the original CTR material by readapting the CNK tracks a little bit more," said Wilson.

Where we're going, we won't need anti-gravity. | Beenox/Activision

This meant cuts to some tracks and the removal of anti-gravity sections—Crash Nitro Kart had anti-grav racing long before Mario Kart 8. The size and width of each track were also adjusted. For Beenox, it was about making the Nitro Kart levels work within the confines of Crash Team Racing's mechanics. With the new additions, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled offers a total of 31 tracks in a single package. (All 15 characters are available, and players can unlock the original game's boss Nitros Oxide.)

There's also a few new options to ease players into the Crash Team Racing experience. There's a new series of videos showing players how to power slide and use weapons. Beenox also added a new boost meter and Training Wheels, both of which are aimed at showing players the timing of power slide boosts. The meter fills as you slide, letting you know how big a boost you'll see when you hit the button. With boosting, the longer you waited, the larger you boost; the meter lets you see that visually, rather than guessing. Training Wheels add another visual signifier with your wheels heating up, to teach you the specific slide timing.

"Authenticity was our first pillar. We wanted to make sure the driving experience felt the same. At the same time, [boosting] was quite a unique mechanic to learn. We looked at ways of teaching players how to master the technique. The Training Wheels, combined with the new HUD elements, will help players understand how that mechanic works. It definitely helps in understanding the timing," said Wilson.

While I don't have the same familiarity with Crash Team Racing as some other kart racers, it's clear that Beenox is working hard to make the details of the game's world sing. "Animated" is the best way to put the remastered CTR, with so many little details I only noticed when looking over my recorded footage. Watch out though, as some of those details can trip you up, like the vicious venus fly traps that took me from 3rd to 8th in one race.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One on June 21, 2019 for $39.99. For more on Crash's kart racing journey, check out our Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled everything we know guide for more coverage.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

Read this next

Crash Team Racing Online: Private Matches, Battle Mode, Friends Menu

Crash Team Racing Nitro Fuelled brings online to the Crash universe for the first time. Here’s everything you need to know.

Crash Team Racing Nitro Fuelled: Mystery Caves CTR Locations

If you want to 100 percent Crash Team Racing Nitro Fuelled you’ll need to find all of the CTR collectables for each stage. Here’s where to find them in Mystery Caves.

How Crash Team Racing Challenged Mario Kart and Made Naughty Dog What It Is Today

We look back on the kart racing hit with Naughty Dog's co-founders and Crash Team Racing's lead artist.

Crash Team Racing Remastered Release Date, Trailer, Characters - Everything We Know

Dreams do come true people, Crash Team Racing is back. Here’s everything you need to know.

Disco Elysium Review: The Voices in Your Head Are Real, and They'll Get You in Trouble

This unique RPG highlights everything that goes on inside our heads.

Little Town Hero Review: I Can't Be Your Hero Baby

Game Freak's bite-sized RPG carries a lot of charm, but also a lot of frustration and boredom.

Manifold Garden Launches This Friday After Seven Years of Development

The mind-warping puzzler is finally finished.

More Opinions

I Love to Hate Luigi Mansion 3's Toilet Rats

When Luigi's Mansion 3 invites you to sit down, you might want to refuse.

Why The Division 2 Is Still Hard to Jump Back Into

With the new Title Update and Episode, The Division 2 should be easier to get into, but it's not.

Starting Screen | Blizzard's Troubled 2019 Finds the Once Invincible Studio at a Crossroads

This past year has found Blizzard embroiled in one controversy after another. What does it say about its future?

"It's Hypocritical for Blizzard to Punish Blitzchung but Not Us"

THIS WEEK IN BUSINESS | Activision Blizzard has always been a vigorous advocate for freedom of expression.

More on PlayStation 4

PUBG's Next Season Will Have Players Flinging Blades and Pans in a Refreshed Miramar

Season 5 will focus on improving PUBG's second map and adds a number of new features, including the ability to toss items and melee weapons.

Bloodlines 2 Delayed to Avoid the Issues That Plagued the Original

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is still targeted for 2020, but it'll come out later than Hardsuit Labs had initially hoped.

Fortnite XP Guide - How to Earn XP and Increase Your Level

This is our guide to the new Fortnite XP system, and how you can earn XP to increase your overall level.

Fortnite Medals List - How to Earn New Medals and Refresh the Punchcard

This is our full guide to the new Fortnite Medals system, including how to earn them, and times for the Punchcard refresh.

Fortnite 2 Map - All Named Locations and Landmarks on the New Fortnite Map

This is your overview to the Fortnite 2 map, including all the new landmarks and named locations on the Chapter 2 map.

Why The Division 2 Is Still Hard to Jump Back Into

With the new Title Update and Episode, The Division 2 should be easier to get into, but it's not.

G2A Representative: "Do You Really Think You Could Illegally Obtain 100,000 Keys?"

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, G2A's head of communication Maciej Kuc fires back at critics of the key selling marketplace.

More Driving Games

Mario Kart Tour Characters - How to Unlock All Characters

Here's our guide to all the Mario Kart Tour characters, and how to unlock each one.

Mario Kart Tour Friends - Can You Play Multiplayer Against Your Friends?

Here's our page on Mario Kart Tour friends, including any online multiplayer aspects.