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Kart Racing Underdog: The History of the Crash Team Racing Series

by Mason Moreau 21 Jun 2019

Maybe you're too young to remember

how video games were in the mid 90s, so we'll sum it up for you real quick. 

It was the advent of 3d graphics. Nintendo was the king with the Nintendo 64 and games like Mario Kart, Super Smash, and Ocarina of Time. Sony went up to bat against Nintendo with the first ever Playstation; complete with its very own set of exclusives that rivaled Mario & friends. 

Naughty Dog and Activision's Crash Bandicoot series can be credited for the success of the Playstation. The crass, Nintendo targeted marketing of Crash Bandicoot solidified the platformer series as the Anti-Nintendo mascot. He was less family friendly and just slightly more edgy and offensive which made him the perfect contrast to Nintendo's colorful cast of characters. Crash became the go-to mascot platformer for an era where the status quo was to rebel against the status quo. 

After the initial success of Crash, they took another page out of Nintendo's book by introducing his signature style to the Kart racing genre. What followed was an almost perfect trilogy of games that optimized everything that makes arcade racers fun. Above all, it showed that Nintendo wasn't the only company who knew how to deliver games in this style.

What do you know? The remake came out today! 

So to honor the games that came before it, we're going to take a stroll down one of KontrolFreek's Patented (pending) memory lanes. 

Crash Team Racing (1999)

The year it all started. The original Crash Team Racing released on the PS1 to rave success. Was it a Mario Kart clone? Just a little bit. But believe it or not, CTR actually introduced some mechanics that MK would eventually pick up. Like collecting 10 fruits that increase your speed. It also had a story mode, something Mario Kart has yet to include. 

Crash Nitro Kart (2003)

The sequel to the original was just as bombastic, but it turned everything up to 11. It was the first game in this series to not be a Playstation exclusive. Instead it launched on Xbox, PS2, GameCube, and Game Boy Advance. This was the game where everybody got a taste of what they were missing. 

Now with a fully fleshed out story mode, even more racers to pick from, and brand new game modes to supply countless hours of couch multiplayer fun, Crash Nitro Kart built a house on the foundation CTR laid and became an instant classic for a whole generation of gamers. 

Crash Tag Team Racing (2005)

Remember that house metaphor? Well, Tag Team Racing is where the contractor finally decided to bite the bullet and put a giant pool in the backyard. TTR took the amazing groundwork laid by its predecessors, and added a co-op element. Hence the "Tag Team" part. 

You could now fuse your Kart with another driver's to transform into a tank-like mega kart complete with a turret and everything. It was was fast, frenetic, and spiced up the genre in a way that we haven't seen before. While it's not nearly as revered as its predecessors, we still think it's pretty damn fun. 

Well, that's it! Which game in the series is your favorite? Better yet, how are you enjoying Nitro Fueled? Let us know in the comments! Also be sure to check out all of our predictions post-e3. There are some real doozies. 

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