Power slide and lap your opponents like a maniac with these handy tips and tricks.
For many, 1999’s Crash Team Racing is among the best kart racers ever created, and now, thanks to Beenox and Activision, the bandicoot is back behind the wheel. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled remakes and expands upon the original, and does so in excellent fashion. But while there are millions who’ll be slipping back into its tracks with their hearts full of nostalgia, there’s also going to be many, many players who’ll be experience Crash’s kart racing antics for the first time ever. In this feature, we’ll be covering fifteen basic tips and tricks that’ll help you get settled in if this is your first foray into Crash Team Racing.
Power Sliding is the bread and butter of Nitro-Fueled, just as it is the case with drifting in any other kart racer. But drifting here works a little differently. You hop with any one of the shoulder buttons and steer into the jump, and while you’re doing so, a meter will quickly fill up on the bottom right corner of your screen. At the right moment, hit the opposite shoulder button, and you’ll receive a short boost. It’s a risk-reward mechanic, though. Wait too long before hitting the second shoulder button and you’ll overheat, losing the opportunity for a boost, but time it just right and get the meter to the highest possible level in a short window, and you’ll receive a pretty big boost.
This is something every kart racing player will be familiar with, and something CTR employs in pretty typical fashion. Power Sliding and items aren’t the only way to get a boost- you can also get one by jumping. More specifically, by jumping at the right moment. As you’re driving off ramps or rises in the ground, hit the hop button just before you lift off, at the apex of the rise, and you’ll receive a burst of speed.
Airtime is very important in CTR, and not just because of the aforementioned hopping mechanic. Essentially, here, more air time equals higher speed. If you can stay in the air after a jump for more than a second and a half, you’ll receive a bigger boost when you land, so make sure to use the hop with perfect timing to get the maximum amount of airtime possible.
Like any other kart racer, Crash Team Racing allows you to start a race with a speed boost. So how exactly do you do it? You need to rev, and as is the case with so much else in this game, you need to time it perfectly. Essentially, you need to start accelerating half a second before the light turns green, because that’s the perfect window to do it- do it before that and you’ll rev too much, do it after that and you won’t rev enough. In both cases, you lose your chance to start the race with a boost.
Several tracks in CTR are designed dangerously, with tight corners and no railings to keep you on track (literally), which means that you could be falling off a lot, especially if you’re going to fast or haven’t got the hang of Power Sliding just yet. When you’re being dropped back onto the track, you loose all your speed and start from scratch- but there’s a way to start with a boost here as well. It functions pretty much exactly like getting boosts before a race starts- all you have to do is start accelerating half a second before your wheels hit the track. If you time it perfectly, you’ll immediately receive a boost.
We’ve spoken a great deal about boosts here, but Nitro-Fueled has another hidden, secret boost mechanic that encompasses all of the stuff we’ve spoken of. If you keep chaining boosts, the reserve system will essentially stack them all, accumulating your total top speed time, which means you get to keep going at the highest speed possible for a little longer. So, you know, keep boosting.
Collecting Wumpa Fruit in Crash Team Racing is something you’re going to want to keep doing, because it directly affects your performance in a race. When you have the highest number of Wumpa Fruit possible (which is 10), you become “Juiced Up”. Not only does this increase your top speed, it also lets you use more powerful versions of items. So beakers become red beakers, TNT crates become Nitro crates and explode immediately upon impact, and so on and so forth.
Speaking of TNT- you might be wondering why the box sticks to your head for a few seconds before exploding. Well, those couple of seconds are actually a window for you to get the crate off your head. As soon as your hit a TNT crate, start hopping, and keep hopping. If you hop enough times in that window, you’ll successfully get the box off your head, and avoid a deadly explosion.
Crash Team Racing’s tracks are full of shortcuts, and more so here than in most other racers, it’s extremely important to know where and what these shortcuts are, and how best to make use of them. AI in CTR can be pretty tough, so you need to take every advantage you can get. Boosting is pretty important, as we’ve discussed already, but also keep an eye out for shortcuts. Maybe hop into time trials where the track is devoid of items or other opponents, to get a chance at learning the tracks and how their shortcuts, and practice using them.
Items in Crash Team Racing, or in any other kart racer, aren’t just meant to be offensively used- and we mean that for offensive items as well. In fact, often it’s a good idea to hold on to items like beakers and TNT crates when you’re in first place rather than using them. Hold on to these and drop them right before an offensive item – like, say, a rocket – is about to hit you, and that item will hit whatever item you dropped instead of you.
Another trip about items that can come in handy for newcomers- you can throw them in whatever direction you want. So you don’t necessarily have to drop beakers behind you, for instance. You can use the item button and push the analog stick forward to get your racer to throw that item forward. Similarly, you can also throw bombs backward instead of forward.
EXTRA USES FOR ITEMS
Once you’ve dispatched an item, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve done all they can for you- often, a second tap of the item button makes them do some other stuff. So if you have a shield around you, you can press than item button once again to send it zipping forward to use as an offensive item. Similarly, after you’ve sent out a bomb, you can choose when to make it explode by hitting the item button a second time.
GETTING ITEMS QUICKLY
Every time you hit an item box, the game does that thing that every kart racer does, and goes into a slot machine roulette routine that takes a couple of seconds before you get your item. You can skip those few seconds as you want. As soon as you hit a box, just press the item button once, and you’ll get whatever item you were going to get immediately.
It wouldn’t be an Activision game without in-game currency. You can use any Wumpa Coin you get from finishing races in Nitro-Fueled to purchase new stuff from the Pit Stop- but you actually get different amounts of coin from different races. Tracks, their difficulty, and whether you’re playing online or off are all variables that decide how many coins you’ll get, so if you’re looking to save up to splash the cash later in the store, keep this in mind.
CTR’s Adventure Mode sees you going up against bosses every now and then in what are one versus one races between you and the boss character. But keep in mind that bosses have one very unfair advantage- they can keep using items infinitely, which means you might get bombarded with beakers constantly if you’re trailing behind them. So make sure you’re constantly boosting and using shortcuts to stay ahead of the boss at all times.