a little suspicious of kart racers
I'm very suspicious of kart racer. Let me rephrase
that. I hate kart racers. There. That's more
to the point. But let me rephrase that too.
I hate crappy kart racers. Thankfully, Crash
Tag Team Racing isn't one.
reason for my distaste of the genre is the advantage
taken by the videogame companies to lump all
their mascots, both popular and once-popular,
into a generic style of gameplay with very little
imagination or production values. It's a cheap
way to generate revenue and is of questionable
business ethics since it tricks kids into buying
games with their favorite characters on the
box, assuming it's a continuation of their favored
series. Instead, what the kids get is an insert-your-character-here
program that has facilitated every known group
of characters with the possible exception of
Hitler, Eichmann and Goering.
it be known that this game is not for hardcore
Crash fans. It's too easy and doesn't further
the challenge from where the platforming series
left off. Consider this a big, long side quest.
Although it does feature racing, it has enough
platform elements to keep even myself interested.
If driving were the only gameplay element I
would be justified in throwing a verbal tantrum
but with platforming, combat, exploration and
collecting this game goes way beyond the generic.
racing is relegated to combat racing. The action
takes place in an amusement park. You pick up
power-ups such as exploding chickens and attempt
to eliminate all competition through means both
fair and foul. Please excuse the puns, I couldn't
Clutch's amusement park is the scene of the
action. Unfortunately the power crystals that
power the rides have been stolen. By racing
and exploring the amusement park you will find
smaller crystals that you can use to feed a
large machine that will help you find bigger
crystals. You will also collect coins, fight
enemies and use your platform skills to navigate
the various obstacles that you will encounter
in the park.
is an original concept that keeps the kart racing
interesting. It's the ability to assimilate
your vehicle with another to create a more powerful
tandem hybrid. By activating your clash button
all you have to do is slam into another kart
and you will have a two-person vehicle in which
the AI will drive allowing you to more accurately
aim your weaponry which ranges from machineguns
to grenade launchers. The weapon icons that
you pick up when in this mode will allow you
to launch incredibly ludicrous items such as
grand pianos and submarines at your adversaries.
You can instantly exit the clash mode when you
have to and return to your own kart.
on enjoying the single-player modes. There is
no online component so you'll have to play LAN
(up to 8 players) or suffer with the split screen.
Neither one is particularly compelling especially
if you're a skilled gamer but younger kids will
certainly love it since it's very straightforward.
and his fellowship of wacky characters are all
very colorful and well animated if not a little
too cute for my liking. The voiceovers straddle
the fence between funny and annoying. It's great
to watch the vehicles explode into numerous
particles and would be so much more of a joy
if the characters also exploded. With deep explosion
sounds and zany cartoon sound effects you can
expect a top notch performance from your surround
fact that there's a lot more to do than racing
a kart makes me want to recommend this as a
rental to all gamers but it just might be a
case of this game exceeding my original lowered
been waiting for a long time for some development
team somewhere to infuse the kart racing genre
with innovation and it appears that Radical
(definitely on roll these days) has stepped
up to the challenge.
interest in Crash Tag Team Racing was picqued
while I wrote the preview (below) for the game.
It appeared that Radical really was attempting
something new in the genre and thinking "outside
the box"...or perhaps "outside the
crate" would be more appropriate.
Crash Tag Team Racing is not targetted towards
the same demographic that is shooting up the
streets of Liberty City or blowing away demons
with their BFG in Doom 3; this is one aimed
squarely at younger gamers and it succeeds with
flying colors on all fronts.
isn't your average kart racer as it features
a plot, platforming elements, exploration on
foot and a healthy collection of entertaining
mini-games...oh yeah and racing too. The game
is littered with colorful characters and color
commentary provided by a Howard Cossel sound-a-like
chicken and his hip partner. Not only do they
provide some entertaining dialogue but they
also explain how to play the game which is often
overlooked in many of todays kids games. Most
young children can't read, which means having
someone explain how to play the game is extremely
helpful. As a parent that's definitely appreciated
as I don't have to hear "Dad! What does
this say now?" Unfortunately spoken instructions
of the mini-games was overlooked, but that's
a minor issue.
game takes place in an amusement park hub "overworld"
area where Crash can interact with the people,
get instructions from other racers and locate
numerous cool objects (which activate the "Die-O-Rama"
machines which feature humorous death sequences
of Crash biting the big one for the heck of
it). Characters in the world can be talked to
by walking up and pressing the talk button (triangle
on the PS2). If anything I had a good laugh
at the Andrew Dice Clay sound-a-like selling
platforming and mini-games provide a few hours
of entertainment which generally won't frustrate
young gamers because "dying" doesn't
mean being sent back to the beginning as you
just pick up where you left off. Primarly you'll
be send on numerous missions to locate Power
Crystals and other items which will have you
traipsing all over the game in search of them
which results in unlocking new characters, mini-games,
races and worlds.
a racing game, the platforming elements are
extremely well done and capture the Crash Bandicoot
school of platforming to a tee. Aside from the
usual camera issues inherent in every 3D game
ever created, the control is pretty much dead
on. Tell yourself or your kids (or other game
journalists for that matter) if you're having
trouble lining up jumps to floating platforms
simply look for the circular shadow. That'll
do the trick.
you get down to the racing elements of CTTR
- there are 5 categories of races to choose
from: Race. Crashinator, Rolling Thunder, Run
and Gun and Fast Lap - you'll soon realize that
vehicular combat is what it's all about. Familiar
trappings of the kart genre are in full representation
with floating powerups to be obtained, however
CTTR adds one particularly interesting new element
called Clashing. Clashing involves fusing your
vehicle together with an opponents to become
a mutant-hybrid of the two, granting you temporary
incredible firepower. At this point you can
either be the tailgunner or the driver (switch
at the touch of a button). Since it's more fun
to take aim and shoot things and your AI driver
is more than competent enough to steer, you'll
almost always find yourself attempting to blow
up stuff. Since this raw power allows to you
knock everyone out of the running, winning isn't
usually all that hard to accomplish.
the game can be played on a LAN with up to 8
players, most likely you'll settle for splitscreen.
I've never been a fan of splitscreen, but my
kids don't know any better and they enjoy it
without complaints, so who am I to knock it?
is a step in the right direction for the kart
racing genre as it's eclectic and unique and
manages to teach an old dog new tricks. The
colorful characters and environments will thrill
young eye candy junkies while the ease of difficulty
will give younger gamers a confidence boost
because they'll be able to see a lot of what
this game has to offer. It's definitely a rental
for older gamers who are curious but youngsters
might want this in their collection permanently.