Sony

Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled (PS4)

ctr

Crash Bandicoot’s mix of island themes and sci-fi kookiness works to the advantage of this lushly animated kart racer. Three key players fill this genre now – Mario Kart, Sonic Racing, and now a rebooted CTR. Each finds a distinctive rhythm and pace. CTR is the wild child of the trio.

It’s a bit old. Tracks run short and there’s an overworld of no real purpose anymore. There’s an embarrassing Samoan islander stereotype left untouched. He would feel insensitive in King KongKing Kong of 1933. Same goes for the Italian mobster hoisting a Tommy gun. Even in the Saturday morning-like antics of Crash, these don’t add personality so much as outmoded archetypes to the roster.

On the track, CTR is lush enough. There’s an energy and vibrancy to everything. Backgrounds seen for a fleeting second offer small touches of activity. Seeing Crash’s tongue fall out on a tight turn gives the erratic personality a charge. Taking corners is satisfying, and with a roster of animal characters battling a mad scientist and ooze-spitting alien, there’s a small save-the-world/climate change theme happening in the underside without drawing attention to itself.

When anti-science goons get called out by kart racers, there’s clearly only one side of right to be on.

4/5

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