STAFF REVIEW of Crash Nitro Kart (Xbox)

Monday, November 10, 2003.
by BigJosh359

Crash Nitro Kart Box art Fans of Crash Team Racing rejoice as Crash Bandicoot and friends are back for another run with Crash Nitro Kart. This time, Crash and friends along with Dr. Cortex and his goons are kidnapped by Emperor Velo for an Interstellar race. Why you may ask? The clich reason for tons of games and movies, TO SAVE EARTH from Velo's destruction. As usual Crash must save the Earth because he would be the Hero, and Dr. Cortex must race Emperor Velo to determine who will conquer Earth because they would be the villians. Fans of Crash Team Racing will have an easy time adjusting to the controls for Nitro Kart where players will have to master the art of controlled boost when racing to win. Nitro Kart brings many colorful worlds, silly characters, power-ups and more Kart Racing goodness to the increasingly crowded Genre of Kart-type racers. Crash Nitro Kart should be a good weekend rental to most and a good buy for Crash Bandicoot fans.

If you played Crash Team Racing, then you will notice that Nitro Kart is just about the same with some added goodies. There are more power ups when racing and new battle modes for multiplayer. The most irritating feature for this game would have to be the boosting ability. If you remember from CTR, you can power slide to keep your speed up, and if timed right, you can have up to 3 boosts in a slide. With that said, you can theoretically hit all the boost pads, hit your boost at the end of each jump, and power slide your boost, and use power up boost, if you are good enough, all the way around the track. Boost the whole race?

There are tons of power ups that you can set traps to foil your opponents. Just remember where you set them, or you will foil yourself. You can team up with your team mate to have a long string of power ups. Your team mate will have to remain close to you in the race in order to build up your team charge. When you use it, you will have a certain amount of unlimited power ups to set traps, get boost, or whatever your luck gives you. Having an extra team mate helps in the races as either you or your team mate has to finish first to move on to each circuit. After you win the circuits, you come up to unique characters who are the champs of their area. You alone will race against them to move on to the next area of Emperor Velo's realm. Each boss lets say, has their own way of trying to slow you down in the race. It can be quite challenging if they get out in front, which usually happens. I found that your opponents will be their weakest on the last lap of all races. They let you catch up and then the AI becomes idiotic at times.

One new feature is when the Karts automatically go into magnetic hover mode on certain parts of the tracks. This makes the tracks a little more appealing with loops and twist and being able to climb to the tops of tubes you are Karting through. Controls can be a little awkward to start with, but you can get used to them since you can customize any buttons.

Moving on to modes. Single player, you can do the typical time trials, racing with the AI, and the adventure mode. In Adventure mode, you will have to race 3 circuits and then the top karter on each area, before moving on to the next. The 3 circuit races arent very challenging, but like I said, the bosses can be challenging. You will be able to pick from 3 racers on your team, depending if you need more speed, better cornering, or an all rounded racer. Team Cortex has their own story line from Team Bandicoot, so there can be some replay value here.

Of course with these Kart games, Multiplayer Battle Mode is where this game should shine. There several battle modes to choose from but they are all based on Capture the Flag and Survival, no matter what the name of the game is called. Four players can duke it out to see who will come out on top or you can team up against each other. CNK is a pretty good party game for few hours of enjoyment. If you dont like how the developers selected what power-ups go where or how many there are, you can create your own custom track, in terms of power ups only.

Ill admit it, I have never really cared much for Crash Bandicoot. CNK is for those people that are Bandicoot fans. However, CNK did provide me with a weekends worth of enjoyment. A weekend is all anyone is going to need to play through both Adventure stories and play some multiplayer battles.

This version of Crash reminds me of all of his previous games, visually. The worlds are cartoonish, very colorful and clean. Most tracks will have activity around that may cause you to whip out. The cut scenes are a cartoon themselves, which you can watch whenever you want as you go along in the game. The only complaint I have about the graphics is when your Kart is in Magnetic mode and you are doing loops and twisting around. The camera tends to have trouble deciding what exactly to do in the situation.

That cheery type Crash music is back in full force with this game. Too bad you cant use custom tracks. The Crash tunes get mind numbing after a few races. The voice acting isnt that bad in the cut scenes. During the racing however, the taunts from your opponents and team mates gets really repetitive in the first few races alone.

Get off the saving the world story line, its old and over done! Xbox Live or System Connect needs to be added to every game like this. There is no reason this game cant have 8 people racing at once. I think that would make the multiplayer mode more enjoyable. Come up with some unique battle modes. Make this game with other Xbox characters. Custom Karts instead of each character having their own pluses and minuses when racing. Tone back the boost or have a boost meter to fill. Custom controls. Maybe do something other than Karting, maybe something in space or under water. Custom soundtracks or tone back the cartoony music.

Overall: 6.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.6 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 5.4 / 10


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