Crash Team Racing (stylized as CTR: Crash Team Racing) is a kart racing video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation.
Crash Team Racing is the fourth installment in the Crash Bandicoot series. The game's story focuses on the efforts of a ragtag team of characters in the Crash Bandicoot series, who must race against the egomaniacal Nitros Oxide to save their planet from destruction. In the game, players can take control of one of fifteen Crash Bandicoot series characters, though only eight are available at first.
Crash Team Racing was praised by critics for its gameplay and graphics, though the audio was met with mixed opinions. An indirect sequel, Crash Nitro Kart, was released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and N-Gage. A remake of the game, titled Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, was announced at The Game Awards 2018 and was released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on June 21, 2019.
The inhabitants of Earth are visited by an extraterrestrial named Nitros Oxide, who claims to be the fastest racer in the galaxy. Challenging Earth to a game called "Survival of the Fastest", he beckons Earth's best driver to race him. If Earth's driver wins, he promises to leave Earth alone, but if Oxide wins, he will turn Earth into a concrete parking lot and enslave the Earthlings.
In response, the player character gathers all four Boss Keys needed to access Oxide's spaceship and races him in a one-on-one match. Upon Oxide's defeat at the hands of the player character, he temporarily leaves Earth, but promises that he will return when all of the Time Relics have been gathered. Oxide faces the player again after all the Time Relics are gathered. After losing once more, Oxide keeps his word and angrily leaves Earth forever.
An epilogue is relayed during the end credits, explaining what the characters of the game did after the events of the story. Nitros Oxide himself returns to his home planet of Gasmoxia and secludes himself from society. After undergoing years of therapy to cope with his loss, he takes up unicycle-racing, only to get into a gruesome accident.
Fifteen characters are playable in Crash Team Racing, although only eight of them are playable from the start:
- Crash Bandicoot, the main protagonist of the series, is an all-round racer with balanced acceleration, top speed and handling
- Doctor Neo Cortex, Crash's archenemy, is a mad scientist who wants to stop Nitros Oxide so that he may conquer the world himself. Like Crash, his kart is an all-round performer
- Coco Bandicoot, Crash's younger sister, is a computer genius who installed computer chips into her kart to increase its acceleration prowess
- Doctor N. Gin is a rocket scientist who, like Coco, added custom parts to his kart to improve its acceleration
- Pura and Polar pilot karts with low speed but improved handling, allowing them to navigate tight corners
- Tiny Tiger and Dingodile control karts built for top speed at the cost of turning prowess
Crash Team Racing is a racing game in which the player controls characters from the Crash Bandicoot universe, most of whom compete in karts. While racing, the player can accelerate, steer, reverse, brake, hop or use weapons and power-ups with the game controller's analog stick and buttons. Two distinct forms of crates are scattered throughout the tracks and arenas of Crash Team Racing. Crates with question marks (?) on them hold power-ups and weapons, which can be obtained by driving through and breaking apart said crates. When the player collects a weapon or power-up, it will appear in a box at the top of the screen. The player can activate the weapon or power-up to wreak havoc on the other racers or supplement the player's own performance. "Fruit Crates" carry "Wumpa Fruit" that increase the speed of the player's kart and strengthen the player's weapons and power-ups if ten of them are obtained.
Crash Team Racing features 5 racing modes: Adventure, Time Trial, Arcade, Versus and Battle. In each mode, the player selects 1 from 8 characters to control. A PlayStation multitap can be installed to allow three or four-player games. The "Adventure Mode" is a one-player game where the player must race through all of the tracks and arenas in the game and collect as many trophies, Relics, Boss Keys, CTR Tokens and Gems as possible. The objective of the Adventure Mode is to save the world from the story's antagonist, Nitros Oxide, by winning races on 16 different tracks. In the beginning of the game, the player only has access to two levels. As the player wins more races, more tracks on multiple worlds become available. In each level, the player must win a trophy by coming in first place. When the player receives all four trophies in a world, the "Boss Garage" of that world can be accessed. In the Boss Garage, the player competes in a one-on-one race against a boss character. If the boss character is defeated, the character will relinquish a Boss Key, which the player uses to access new worlds and ultimately to face Oxide inside his spaceship.
After beating levels, new modes become available, such as the Relic Race, in which the player races through the track alone and completes three laps in the fastest time possible. "Time Crates" scattered throughout the level freeze the game timer when a player drives through them. If all of the Time Crates are destroyed, the player's final time is reduced by ten seconds. The player wins a Relic by beating the time indicated on the screen. Another mode, the CTR Challenge, is played like a normal race, except that the player must also collect the letters C, T and R scattered throughout the track. If the player manages to collect all three letters and come in first place, a "CTR Token" is awarded. These tokens come in five different colors: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow and Purple. The Purple CTR tokens are awarded for beating the Crystal Bonus Round by collecting 20 Crystal under a certain time limit. If the player collects four tokens of the same color, the player will be able to access the Gem Cup of the corresponding color. Gem Cups are racing tournaments held against computer-controlled opponents and are accessible in a secret area in the "Gemstone Valley" world. A Gem Cup consists of four tracks in a row, in which the player must race for points. If one of these cups is won, a Gem is awarded. To win the game, the player must collect all trophies, Boss Keys, Relics, CTR Tokens and Gems before defeating Nitros Oxide in a one-on-one race.
The "Time Trial" mode is a single-player mode where the player attempts to set the best time on any of the tracks in the game. There are no other racers to hinder the player and no power-ups. When the Time Trial is finished, the player has the option to save a "ghost", a replay of that race; the next time that track is accessed in this mode, the player can race against the ghost. In the "Arcade" mode, the player can quickly scroll through and race on a selection of tracks. The player can choose to select a Single Race or enter a Cup, in which the player races on four tracks in a row for points. In the Single Race and the Cup Race, one or two players race with the remaining computer-controlled drivers. The difficulty of the race and number of laps can be customized. The "Versus" mode is similar to that of the Arcade mode, with the exception that two or more human players must be involved.
In the "Battle" mode, up to four players can fight customized battles, launching weapons during combat in one of seven special battle arenas. The type and length (the latter modifies how many hit points or minutes the battle will have) of the battle can be adjusted beforehand, allowing for three types of battles. In a "Point Limit Mode" battle, the first player to achieve 5, 10 or 15 points wins. In the "Time Limit Mode" battle, the player with the highest points after 3, 6 or 9 minutes wins. In the "Life Limit Mode", each player has a set number of lives (3, 6 or 9) and the battle has a time limit (3, 6 minutes or forever). The player with the most lives at the end of the time limit wins. If "forever" is chosen as the length, the battle lasts until only one player is standing. 3 and 4 players can team up for 2-vs.-1, 2-vs.-2, 3-vs.-1 or 1-vs.-1-vs.-2 battles.