Saturday, August 18, 2012

Weekend Flashback #2 - Crash Team Racing (1999, PSOne)

Title: Crash Team Racing
Original Release Date: September 30, 1999
Platform: Playstation
ESRB Rating: E

Remember when the Crash Bandicoot series was fun? Yeah, me too, and let me guarantee you that it had everything to do with its developer, Naughty Dog. The proof for that became clear as soon as they stopped developing the games themselves and the franchise got passed around from developer to developer like a hooker at a frat party. The quality and overall playability of the games went downhill pretty steadily until finally I just gave up hope entirely.

When I bought this game, it came in a three-pack "Collector's Edition" of Crash Bandicoot titles. Those titles were Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Crash Team Racing, and Crash Bash. Out of the three games that the collector's edition box I bought, the only two I still have are CB:W and CTR.

Care to guess what the only one I still play is?

That's right, CTR. The game is so simple, yet so undeniably fun that it almost should be criminal. Dave and I spent a good year playing through the story, doing all the time trials, gathering crystals, and playing against one another for no benefit or prize other than "we can." Even now, I'm the only one out of the two of us to have a perfect 100% completion in the game. But I'm not the only one who still plays it. 

Just a couple of days ago, my friend Nicole and I sat down with nothing better to do than play a good time-wasting game. We mutually picked out CTR because we remembered how fun it was. Hoping that it wasn't just a case of rose-colored glasses, we popped it into my PSOne and away we went.

Crash Team Racing is another example of a timeless, fun game, as far as playability goes. This game is as easy to pick up and play now as it was when it came out in '99. The music is a little dated, and the graphics are much more angular than anything we'd see today outside of catching a Porygon in Pokemon. But there are no game-breaking bugs, no annoying clipping errors or awkward camera angles to speak of. There's just the ability to beat another friend in a race and some infuriatingly difficult boss races in story mode.

Verdict: Still incredibly fun after all these years, even though the music, sound effects, and visuals haven't aged very well. Worth a play for story mode alone, but it's more fun with other people.

Notes: You can purchase the game on PSN if you want to relive the experience on your PS3. The original game also plays really well on the PS2 without problem.

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