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December 10, 2003
Crash Nitro Kart - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
4/12/2003VivendiVicarious Visions1-4GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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Some of the very bright graphics.
There is little doubt about the brilliance of Nintendo's Super Mario Kart on Super Nintendo. The game was an engrossing and enjoyable racing game that captured millions of fans around the world. As seems to be the case these days Sony's mascot from the 1990's (although the character is now owned by Vivendi-Universal after Naughty Dog put it up for sale a couple of years ago) has jumpd ship from the platform genre to the kart racing genre. The previous game in this series, Crash Team Racing on PSOne was an admirable attempt at making the Crash Bandicoot Character cross game genres. The Playstation 2, however, has given the developers the power to create a fast, vibrant world in which to race, and the results are fairly impressive.

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The game is full of twists!
Beleive it or not the developers have managed to work a storyline into Crash Nitro Kart. Kidnapped by the ruthless Emperor Velo and forced to race in his galactic coliseum, Crash must race his way to victory in order to save the Earth from destruction; but it won’t be easy, as he must compete against foes both old and new before a final showdown with Velo himself! All right, forget about the story - it's not needed a game like this and the developers need not pretend to need it either.

Single player modes are fairly standard and include Adventure, Arcade and Time Trial. The developers, Vicarious Visions, have included 17 different courses to master (many of which start off being unlocked) set accross 4 different worlds. During the races you will pick up wide range of power-ups and weapons including homing missiles, mines and tornados among others. These weapons add considerably to the gameplay and it's terrific to knock your opponent off course meters from victory. It's also possible to find some short cuts to give yourself a much needed advantage in a tight race.

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Look, boxes!
As you would expect the real fun in this game occurs in the multi-player gaming. The 2-player mode is tremendous fun, but it was the 4-player split screen mode that was going to generate the most interest. Unfotunately it's is a disappointing experience as the game engine struggles to keep up with the pace. It does distract from the gameplay.

Crash Nitro Kart is quite a nice game to look at. It's obvious, even with a casual glance, that this game belongs in the Crash Bandicoot universe. The colours are bright and vibrant while the texturing is faithful to the series. The karts themselves are varied, with the characters looking particularly impressive. The single player frame rate is fairly solid and while the 2-player is a little slower is still very playable. The 4-player split-screen mode does struggle more then expected, and it does put a bit of a dampner on the entire package.

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Using a power-up.
Sound is also directly out of the crash universe with lively music and solid effects. The best part, however, is the lively 'chatter' which occurs between the characters during the races.

Overall, Crash Nitro Kart is a solid game that kids will certainly love, and parents won't mind spending a bit of time with the kids to race against them. For the hardcore game though the limited AI, average physics engine and lack of options may be disappointing. One for the kids.

Review By: David Warner

GRAPHICSFast, vibrant graphics that do the Crash Bandicoot world justice.
SOUNDCrash Bandicoot styled music and effects. Adequate for this game.
GAMEPLAYPlenty of weapons to collect, and some fun tracks to race on.
VALUEThis is no Gran Turismo, but there's enough to keep kids entertained.
OVERALLNot a bad game by any means, but Crash Nitro Kart is certainly aimed at the younger audience - and they'll love it. It's a shame the 4-player split screen wasn't better as it detracts from the package.

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