The pilot episode of From Joshy delivers the most original Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled review of all time. No Mario Kart comparisons. No random Team Sonic Racing mention. No feeling like a Bandicoot. Just a British dude being mad because bad and Uka Uka giving advice every time you breathe.
Note: the writing with a strikethrough is cut content.
In 1999, Crash Team Racing… hold up. There’s already a ton of reviews of Nitro-Fueled, so to stand out to my six subscribers I need to do something unique. As such, I’ll get all of the cliché review points out of the way now.
It’s better than Mario Kart
It’s worse than Mario Kart
It’s the same as Mario Kart
Something something something Team Sonic Racing
This aspect feels outdated
This aspect has held up well
No mention of Jak X
Nitros Oxide playable!!?? WOW
Random criticism of Nitro Kart and/or Tag Team Racing
I was always more of a Diddy Kong Racing person but…
It’s the Dark Souls of kart racers
It makes you FEEL like a kart
Upon jumping into a race, the thing that immediately stands out is the graphics. The environments are vibrant, the colours pop and the character models and karts look fantastic. Even the retro models look amazing I mean look at this sexy piece of ass. No not you, mmfffh fuck yeah
They also recreated the cutscenes with these gorgeous graphics, such as this scene where Ripper Roo threatens this act of terrorism and… succeeds wait what. Like he just straight up bombed that waterfall, why is no one freaking out about this? We were all so focused on Nitros Oxide that we forgot about Ripper Roo and… he did it. Ripper Roo pulled off his masterplan. He won. T-that’s it, game over
Generally though, the gameplay is fantastic. The levels are perfectly recreated and the amount of extra content they stuffed into this remake is incredible. I mean they even included all of Nitro Kart’s tracks, racers and karts, no one, absolutely no one expected them to do this and if they only included Team Racing it still would have done as well, so for them to go all out in these areas is awesome, and showing of how much effort went into this. They’ll even be adding Tag Team Racing content in the future which, as the only man in the known universe who liked that game, is something I’m very appreciative of.
All of the level design and mechanics hold up to perfection, and Nitro Fueled’s remake of the game’s physics is… [clip of “somehow still surviving”] … well, kind of off, actually. See, the fundamental issue with this remake is that it gets a lot of the fancy additional details right, but doesn’t quite nail the basics. Drifting in this game feels slightly off compared to the original, and I’ve already seen many people who played the original complain about issues with previously easy to nail shortcuts like Sewer Speedway. I’d include gameplay here but I’m too shit to do it, so here’s N. Gin as a ballerina. I’ve seen this complaint from multiple sources so I’m willing to bet it’s accurate. Moreover, I keep bumping into invisible walls that kill my momentum, and even lightly grazing walls abruptly slows my kart down for no logical reason. As I said they’re small things, but they add up to create an experience that feels drastically different and, honestly, less smooth than the original. Of course, it’s still better than most racing games out there in my opinion but, the bottom line is it’s different to the game it’s supposed to be a 1 to 1 remake of, which to me is a major problem. It’s especially a problem because, well, I think the original is better as a consequence, which is worrying because Nitro-Fueled should have easily been the definitive way to experience it.
This is exemplified by the difficulty. The original game was challenging but felt fair, and if I lost I just had to practice and then I’d… well, still lose.
Shit. But it felt fair. Here, on medium difficulty, I feel I need to have a flawless run every time to even stand a chance. This was confirmed to me in a race I had in Cortex’s Castle where I only made one mistake the entire race, yet still came second because of it. The only way I could improve was to boost even more than I already was or to not make that singular mistake. I’d say that’s a fair expectation on hard difficulty, but it feels way too strict for medium. “So why don’t you play on easy, you tool”, you may say. Well, easy is too easy. As such, all of this means that the game is great for diehard pros and new players, but frustrating for those in between. I either breeze through the game or have to play like a professional tournament player on crack, in which case why would I play it casually when I can do the same as an eSport and get money for it? Give me money Beenox I beat your adventure mode
What’s weird though is that it’s only ever one racer beating me. I can beat six of the racers most of the time, but then there’s always, and I mean ALWAYS one specific racer that is insanely faster than everyone else. As such, I think an easy way to fix the difficulty would be to just slow that one racer down a little bit, because the rest of them honestly feel much more in line with what a medium difficulty should be. They could then add a new difficulty in between medium and hard which is what medium is right now. Again, I know some think it should be this hard, afterall it is tHe DaRk SoUlS oF kArT RaCeRs, but my fundamental issue is that it’s so different to the original and this, I think, would make it much more faithful.
Unlike my ex girlfriend, haha… please come back
One final nitpick I have is that coins currently take too long to earn. You earn way more playing online than you do in single player, and forcing the player to go online to get more coins is something I’m not huge on. Change please.
Overall though, I do like Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Ultimate Tag Team All-Stars Deluxe 8 & Knuckles. While it isn’t quite perfect yet, everything I’ve complained about here are things that can easily be patched and, with how much care Beenox have shown for the game in every other department, I have no doubt that, a few months and maybe even weeks from now, this game will be the definitive Crash Team Racing experience, and better than Mario Ka-, uh, no wait,
I mean… noooo. We were this close to a completely original Crash Team Racing review. It’s ruined. It’s all ruined…