Crash Tag Team Racing Review

PlayStation 2

October 26, 2005 by

Crash Tag Team Racing Image

The Crash Bandicoot franchise has offered a mixed assortment of titles throughout the franchises history that began on the original Playstation console. While the game has spurted a number of adventure titles from out of the developers chute throughout Sonys two-console history, the franchise has also expanded into the crazy karting genre, which was clearly inspired by Nintendos highly successful Mario Kart series. Despite the basis of the game being far from original, a variety of quirky differences sets the game apart from similar games, with the classic Crash Bandicoot charm and simplistic humor managing to capture the interest of fans of the series, although, the troublesome gameplay prevents any non-fans from enjoying the title for a decent period of time.

Crash Tag Team Racing is the third title in Crashs karting outings. While the game introduces a number of small gameplay enhancements, the core elements of the game borrow heavily from its predecessors. Basically, you are offered the option of playing a collection of eight characters from the Crash Bandicoot world during racing events. Such game stars as Cortex, Coco, Von Clutch, Pasadena and N-Gin, in addition to the games star, make a spectacular debut into the franchises latest experience. The game begins with a short and somewhat humorous cinematic that introduces the games characters. From here, you are thrown into the game with little explanation as to what you are required to from get go, although, the game does guide you bit by bit as you gradually explore the wide and unique theme park that is filled with a variety of unique people, creative surroundings and a variety of different side shows that allow for a quick mini game escape from the havoc-filled races that fill Crash Tag Team Racing.

The games central single player mode, appropriately referred to as The Park, is the central location for unlocking new vehicles and characters, in addition to various other bits and pieces such as videos and a track secrets. This mode is divided into several different free-roam areas, all of which can be explored by controlling Crash in classic platforming elements, which offer a collection of stadiums that offer specific track styles according to the area in which they are located. To complete each individual section, you are required to participate in racing-based events in order to obtain money and crystals, which eventually allow you to obtain a large gem that unlocks the next section for play. Its a solid method of introducing new tracks, as each section offers a completely different world to previous sections before it, which aids in adding slight variation to the otherwise tiring gameplay.

Apart from the usual standard racing fare that requires you to be one of the first three characters across the finishing line, there are also a number of other modes that attempt to inject depth into the somewhat shallow gameplay. The Crashinator mode, for example, requires you to simply race around the track within a specified time limit driving through large flower-like objects that disappear upon impact. The number of objects that you manage to hit determines your ending score. The Rolling Thunder mode is possibly the most interesting of game modes available, as it involves destroying as many competitors as possible while you race around the track. This mode utilizes the games dual-character ability, which allows two different characters to join karts to form one large kart, equipped with a powerful weapon on the back that is capable of decimating its competitors. The Run and Gun mode is similar to the Rolling Thunder mode, as it involves racing around the track shooting as many airborne targets as possible. Finally, there is the Fastest Lap mode, which essentially involves attempting to achieve the fastest lap possible.

Outside of the single player experience is the Multiplayer Mode, which allows you and up to three mates to go head-to-head in several different modes. There is the Battle Arena, which is basically a destruction derby within a confined arena, the Stunt Arena, which simply involves performing tricks with your kart and character and the Grand Prix mode, which allows you to race through all of the levels within a selected single player area. For those who simply wish to participate in a single race event, the aptly named Race mode, which allows you to select a single race and compete in it, is also available.

Visually, Crash Tag Team Racing is a solid visual affair that offers simple yet attractive course and character design that effectively portrays the games simple younger-crowd targeting. Each of the characters offer unique and appropriate detail that is further complemented with solid voice acting that certainly brings each character to life in a cartoon-type way. While the voice acting is pleasing, the music appears to have taken backstage, as a limited collection of tracks result in repetitive sounds that can become annoying.

While the game does inspire to be a solid and effectively addictive experience, the game fails to incorporate gameplay that will appeal to the more mature gamers. As a result, Crash Tag Team Racing appears to be a game that has been designed specifically for the younger crowd, as it leaves the mature audience desiring more from the basic and occasionally lifeless gameplay. The addition of simple humor does aid in attracting a wider audience, however, it doesnt fail to overshadow a number of gameplay issues. Nevertheless, hardcore fans of the Crash Bandicoot franchise will likely find Crash Tag Team Racing an enjoyable experience, as will the younger gaming crowd.

Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.