Crash Nitro Kart (CNK) is the second racing game in the Crash Bandicoot series. It was released on the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and Gameboy Advance in 2003 and on the N-Gage and Mobiles in 2004.
In the game's story, racing fanatic Emperor Velo XXVII, ruler of a galaxy far away teleports Crash Bandicoot and his family to his citadel along with Doctor Neo Cortex and his cronies. Through word of mouth he reveals to have heard about their racing skills thanks to Nitros Oxide. The cruel emperor threatens his captors with destroying the Earth if they refuse to race in the Galactic Championship.
Crash Nitro Kart features six modes of racing gameplay. Some modes are free-for-all, while others can be played as a team.
The "Adventure Mode" is a single-player game in which the player must race through all of the tracks and arenas in the game, collecting as many Trophies, Relics, Boss Keys, CNK Tokens and Gems as possible. The main objective of the Adventure Mode is to win all the races in the five different worlds and win the freedom of the playable characters from the tyrannical Emperor Velo XXVII. The hub world of the game is Velo's Coliseum, otherwise known as Velo's Citadel, from which the player can access any of the five other worlds through special gates. Most of these gates are initially locked; the player must complete the races of one world to gain access to the next world. When inside a world, the player may access a race by driving the selected character onto a "Warp Pad". By winning a race, the player will receive a Trophy. When the player receives all three Trophies in a world, the player will be able to race against that world's champion, who acts as a boss character. If the player manages to defeat the world's champion, the champion will relinquish a World Key, which allows the player to engage in the special modes of that world and enables access to the next world.
The special modes of each race consist of the "Relic Race", the "CNK Challenge", the "Crystal Arena" and the "Gem Cups". In the Relic Race, the player must race through a track alone and complete three laps in the fastest time possible. To aid the player, "Time Crates" are spread throughout the track. When the player drives the character through a Time Crate, the clock will be frozen for the number of seconds indicated on the Crate. If all of the Time Crates on a track are destroyed, the player's final time will be reduced by ten seconds. The player wins a Relic by beating the time indicated on the screen.
The CNK Challenge is played like a normal race, except that the player must also collect the letters C, N and K scattered throughout the track. If the player manages to collect all three letters and come in first place, a "CNK Token" is awarded. These tokens come in four different colors. If the player collects four tokens of the same color, the player will be able to access the Gem Cup of the corresponding color. Gem Cups are racing tournaments held against computer-controlled opponents. The Gem Cups are accessible through a special gate at Velo's Coliseum which leads to Velo's Vault. If one of these cups is won, a Gem is awarded.
The Crystal Arena challenges require the player to collect all the crystals scattered around each battle arena in the challenge, and award the player a CNK Token. All CNK Tokens awarded this way are the same colour, meaning that the player can ignore these until they have completed the Gem Cups of the other colors before attempting any of these.
When the player collects all the Trophies and World Keys, the player will be able to race against Emperor Velo on his personal racing track. If the player manages to defeat Velo in this race, the game is won. If the player collects all of the Relics, CNK Tokens, and Gems, the player will be able to race Velo once more, the game being completed 100% upon winning a third time.
Grand Prix Racing Modes
The "Race Grand Prix" is a single-player mode where the player attempts to set the best time on any of the tracks in the game. There are no other racers to hinder the player, but no item-bearing crates to aid the player either. When the three-lap race is finished, the player can save a "ghost", a replay of that race. The next time that track is accessed in this mode, the player can load the ghost, allowing the player or others to compete with the ghost in a race. If the player finishes each of the tracks in a set time, the player will be able to compete against the ghosts of the game's boss characters. The "Lap grand prix" plays like the Race grand prix except that the player races to get the best prix for a single lap around the track. When one lap is finished, the player's "ghost" (a replay of the lap that was just completed) will appear. Whenever a better time on the lap is accomplished, the old ghost will be replaced by the faster one.
In the "Prix Race", the player simply selects a character, selects a track and races. The player can also adjust the computer's skill level and the number of laps. In the "Team Race", the player joins forces with a computer-controlled partner to win a race. When the player and the partner are in close proximity of each other, the "Team Meter" will rise. When the Team Meter is full, the player may activate the "Team Frenzy", in which the player and partner have temporary access to unlimited weapons and power-ups. In the "Special Tournament", the player competes against other racers on three different tracks. At the end of a track, the racer in first place gets nine points. The second place racer is awarded six points. Third place gets three points, and fourth place gets one point. The rest get no points. When all three tracks are completed, the racer with the most points wins.
In the battle modes, instead of racing on tracks, the player speeds around battle arenas collecting weapons and attacking opponents. There are five battle modes in Crash Nitro Kart. Each mode can be played by two to four players.
In the "Limit Battle", the objective is to attack opponents with weapons and traps while avoiding attacks unleashed by the opponents. Offensive and defensive weapons can be collected by smashing through special crates. A point and time limit can be set by the player preceding gameplay. Whoever earns enough points or has enough points when time runs out is the winner. This mode can be played free-for-all or with teams. In "Last Kart ring", the contestants compete until they run out of lives. A contestant loses a life every time they are hit by a weapon or hazard or fall into a pit. A contestant who runs out of lives will be eliminated. As the title suggests, the last kart driving wins. This mode can be played free-for-all or with teams. In "Crystal temple", the contestants must fight to collect all the Crystals in the arena. When a contestant is attacked, they will drop any Crystals they've gathered, allowing opponents to steal them. This mode can be played free-for-all or with teams. In "Capture the Flag", two teams attempt to capture each others' flag and bring it back to their respective flags. Players must race to their opponents' side of the map and drive over their flag to grab it. They must then drive over their own flag's base to score a point from the flag they have captured. A flag that has been stolen can be dropped if the thief is hit with any weapon. Stolen flags that have been dropped can be returned back to their respective bases. Due to the weight of the flags, any kart carrying one will be slowed down. The game ends when time runs out or when one of the teams has gotten enough points. This mode can only be played in teams. "Steal the bacon" is a variation of "Capture the Flag" in which three teams fight over one flag that is situated in the middle of the arena. The teams must attempt to take the flag and bring it to their team then return it to their base.
|Team Name:||Team Color:||Character:||Image:||Top Speed:||Acceleration:||Handling:||Type:||Mask:|
|Bandicoot||Blue||Crash||4 / 7||5 / 7||3 / 7||Intermediate||Aku Aku|
|Bandicoot||Blue||Coco||2 / 7||4 / 7||6 / 7||Beginner||Aku Aku|
|Bandicoot||Blue||Crunch||6 / 7||4 / 7||2 / 7||Advanced||Aku Aku|
|Bandicoot||Blue||Fake Crash||4 / 7||6 / 7||3 / 7||Intermediate||Aku Aku|
|Cortex||Red||N. Cortex||4 / 7||5 / 7||3 / 7||Intermediate||Uka Uka|
|Cortex||Red||N. Gin||2 / 7||4 / 7||6 / 7||Beginner||Uka Uka|
|Cortex||Red||Tiny||6 / 7||4 / 7||2 / 7||Advanced||Uka Uka|
|Cortex||Red||N. Tropy||7 / 7||5 / 7||3 / 7||Advanced||Uka Uka|
|Oxide||Yellow||N. Oxide||3 / 7||5 / 7||4 / 7||Intermediate||Velo Mask|
|Oxide||Yellow||Zem||6 / 7||4 / 7||2 / 7||Advanced||Velo Mask|
|Oxide||Yellow||Zam||2 / 7||4 / 7||6 / 7||Beginner||Velo Mask|
|Oxide||Yellow||Velo||7 / 7||7 / 7||7 / 7||Expert||Velo Mask|
|Trance||Green||N. Trance||3 / 7||5 / 7||4 / 7||Intermediate||Velo Mask|
|Trance||Green||Polar||2 / 7||4 / 7||6 / 7||Beginner||Velo Mask|
|Trance||Green||Dingodile||6 / 7||4 / 7||2 / 7||Advanced||Velo Mask|
|Trance||Green||Pura||3 / 7||4 / 7||7 / 7||Beginner||Velo Mask|
On Earth, Crash Bandicoot is asleep while Coco and Crunch work on Crash's car (from CTR) while their nemesis, Cortex, paces across his laboratory floor wondering how he can defeat the Bandicoots and achieve world domination. Suddenly, both groups are abducted by a mysterious white light that takes them to a large coliseum somewhere in another galaxy. This galaxy is ruled by Emperor Velo XXVII, who plans on having the group race for the entertainment of his subjects. He promises the Earthlings that winning the races will win their freedom, and threatens them with the destruction of Earth if they refuse to race. After both teams accept the challenge, Velo explains that the racers will compete on four worlds of his choosing, and promises a race against the galactic champion if the champions of those worlds are defeated.
When the champions of Terra, Barin, Fenomena and Teknee are defeated, the Earth racers go up against the galactic champion, who turns out to be Velo himself. Velo is defeated, but he refuses to send the racers back to Earth. When the Earth racers angrily demand a rematch, Velo readily accepts, on the condition that the Earth racers must first collect all his Time Relics. Velo loses once again to the Earth racers and literally explodes in a bout of fury, revealing himself to be a robot suit controlled by a small gremlin-like version of himself. The following events are determined by which of the characters the player used to win the race.
If Crash, Coco or Crunch win the race, Velo, having lost his influence over his subjects, dejectedly relinquishes his empire to the Bandicoots. Crash seriously considers becoming the next emperor of the galaxy (And having Velo's planet carved into the shape of Crash's head), gives it to Velo and everyone laughs at him, but decides otherwise and gives control back to Velo in exchange for sending the Bandicoots (with Polar) back to Earth.
If Cortex, N. Gin or Tiny win the race, Velo struggles with Cortex over the possession of his scepter, only to be stopped by Tiny. Cortex uses the scepter's power in an attempt to return to Earth, but the scepter breaks and sends Cortex, N. Gin and Tiny on Terra instead. When they are confronted by the natives, Tiny repairs the scepter and is subsequently revered as a king, much to Cortex's annoyance.
Differences between the console and the handheld version
- Zam and Zem are absent in the handheld version.
- In the handheld version, all of the champions are playable but in the console version, they are not.
- The tracks have the same names in both versions, but they are simplified in the handheld version.
- While the character selection is done with sprites in the console version, it is done with text in the handheld version.
- When playing adventure mode in the handheld version there is no racer from the player's own team. For example, playing as Crunch Bandicoot will result in no AI for Crash or Coco.
- In the handheld version, N. Tropy can appear as one of the opponents in Adventure Mode.
- In the handheld version, after a player has both the CNK token and Relic at one map, the map will become unplayable.
- Geary's obsession with cleaning is not shown in the handheld version.
- Velo's real form is not revealed in the handheld version.
- Spyro the Dragon, another playable character, replaces Pura in the handheld version.
- Velo's robotic form is playable in the handheld version while his real form is playable in the console version.
- Velo's robotic form in the handheld version uses a Team Oxide kart while in the console version he uses his champion kart.
- In the handheld version the player is able to throw power shields at enemies.
- In the handheld version the bowling bombs and power shields are able to track down enemies like the tracking missiles do.
- In the handheld version, Dingodile and Polar are available at the start but Oxide is unlockable.
- In the handheld version, to unlock Fake Crash, players have to drive out of Out of Time and search for a fire to unlock him, while in the console version, players have to boost 50 times with N. Cortex, N. Gin, or Tiny on any track.
- In the handheld version, the tracks are redone to meet the limitations of the GBA.
Differences Between Versions
Overall, Crash Nitro Kart has received mixed reviews for the console version, slightly positive reviews for the GBA version, and mixed reviews for the N-Gage version. Reviewers dismissed the game as a generic kart racer, but commented positively on its "power slide" system. The Game Boy Advance version earned slightly better reviews than the console version, while reviews for the N-Gage version were middling, with much of the criticism going to the game's "tunnel vision".
Manny LaMancha of GamePro concluded that the gameplay of Crash Nitro Kart was addictive though not innovative. Playstation: The Official Magazine said that Crash Nitro Kart was "satisfying and challenging at the same time" and "a great way to fill that need for speed." Nintendo Power praised the karts as "fast" and the power-ups as "creative". Official Playstation Magazine concluded that "Vicarious Visions did all it could to emulate the Naughty Dog classic (Crash Team Racing) and just added a PS2 coat of paint." Play magazine said that the game was "a little generic and heavily recycled, but the powerslide system from CTR pulls it together." Matt Helgeson of Game Informer dismissed the game as "probably one of the least exciting racing titles I've played recently." Demian Linn of Electronic Gaming Monthly noted that the gameplay was "nearly identical to Crash Team Racing's, even down to the speed-boosting wumpa fruits, so if you loved it before, you'll still love it, and if not... not."
The game's controls were well received. Manny LaMancha of GamePro concluded that the controls were easy to pick up, but hard to master. Official Xbox Magazine praised the game's "solid control" and "innovative boost system". Michael Laffery of GameZone said that the interface was "simple to use" and that the game requires no learning curve. Tony Guidi of TeamXbox noted that the "simplistic" controls allowed the game to be played by anyone and that due to the different boosting and sliding techniques, "mastering the control will separate the great racers from the newbs." Ryan Davis of GameSpot stated that while the powerslide system "can give you a serious advantage in the race ... [it] is also very difficult to pull off, requiring flawless timing." Steven Rodriquez of Nintendo World Report said that the karts "control pretty nicely, but can be hard to handle consistently at top speed," and added that power sliding was "easy to do".
The graphics of the game were positively received. Manny LaMancha of GamePro said that the visuals were brightly colored and smoothly animated and noted that the Xbox version's graphics were slightly cleaner than the PlayStation 2 version. Michael Lafferty of GameZone praised the environments as "lush and richly textured" and the cutscenes as "very well done". Tony Guidi of TeamXbox commended the graphics as "clean and crisp" and added that the cutscenes were "beautifully polished". Ryan Davis of GameSpot noted that "Crash Nitro Kart maintains the brightly colored, cartoony look that has been the hallmark of past Crash Bandicoot games, though with slightly upgraded graphics. Ed Lewis of IGN said that the graphics for the single-player modes were "bright and cheery and smooth", but decreased in quality in the multiplayer modes. Kristan Reed of EuroGamer concluded that "CNK stays in exactly the cutesy ballpark you'd expect from the Day-Glo series, neither straying in any way from the generic cartoon worlds of old nor providing any graphical trickery that surprises hardened gamers looking for a splash of eye candy with their cartoon frippery." Steven Rodriquez of Nintendo World Report noted that "if you've played any of the other Crash Bandicoot games out there, then you have a pretty good idea what this one looks like." Russ Fischer of GameSpy said that the game "some nice graphics, which use a solid framerate and loads of color to capture the old Crash magic."
The audio received mixed reception. Manny LaMancha of GamePro said that the in-game voice acting (provided by such stars as Debi Derryberry and Billy West) was "clear and entertaining". Tony Guidi of TeamXbox also noted that the character voices were "done well" and that the music "isn't annoying". However, Michael Lafferty of GameZone stated that the music can become "a little tiring" and "annoying" after a while. Ryan Davis of GameSpot concluded that the sound was "respectable", but added that the "attitude" of the character sounds bites seemed "forced". Ed Lewis of IGN said that the "saving grace" of the "Looney Toons-style repartee and sound effects" is that "it was done professionally and while it's pretty silly if you listen to it, it doesn't grate and get under the skin as other games can." He added that the music was "bouncy and peppy and, once again, cartoony". Steven Rodriguez of Nintendo World Report described the music and sound effects as "generic" and "plain" respectively, and noted that the best part of the game's audio was "that sexy talking mask that gives you advice between races, but even he gets rather annoying."
The Game Boy Advance version was reviewed positively. Frank Provo of GameSpot stated that "the characters aren't nearly as popular as those in Nintendo's [Mario Kart] game, but the deeper gameplay makes up for that to an extent." Craig Harris of IGN criticized the patches of slowdown in the game, but thought that otherwise it "would be a close contender for best kart racer on the handheld." Nintendo Power concluded that "although Crash Nitro Kart doesn't bring anything new to the kart-racing genre, it's a fast and amusing play that Crash Bandicoot fans will enjoy."
The N-Gage version received middling reviews. Levi Buchanan of IGN, in a positive review, praised the game's large selection of characters, tracks and gameplay modes. Ryan Davis of GameSpot commended the game for its fundamentally solid gameplay, smooth and sharp graphics and the amount of "stuff to do", but stated that "the narrow field of vision has a dramatically negative effect on the whole experience, cross-canceling many of the game's positive traits." Louis Bedigian of GameZone felt that "the variety of courses, power-ups, and the decent sense of speed are not enough to make up for a camera, which literally makes you feel sick." Justin Leeper of GameSpy criticized the chuggy framerate and tunnel vision of the screen and delivered a final message of "If the N-Gage library was a classroom, then Crash Nitro Kart would be the cross-eyed kid who eats paste and thinks the answer to every math problem is "cat".
- The game was originally going to be developed by Traveller's Tales and was intended to be called "Crash Team Racing 2".
- While Crash Nitro Kart was developed by Vicarious Visions, Naughty Dog is also credited as participating in development. The game also saw the return of the duo behind the majority of the concepts for Crash Bandicoot: Joe Pearson (who refused to work on any other games with Naughty Dog, because of not receiving proper credit for his original work) and Charles Zembillas.
- The game was the debut of Coco's new appearance (from overalls to midriff shirt and jeans) and the last console game to feature Dingodile and Tiny Tiger's old appearance (both gain weight and height through fat and muscle, respectively).
- Nitrus Brio, Ripper Roo, the Komodo Brothers and Rilla Roo were apparently considered for this game. In addition, Nina was meant to debut in this game, but was pushed back to Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage.
- Big Norm shares Zem's voice actor, Andre Sogliuzzo.
- There is evidence that Big Norm is not a mime because he says to Small Norm: "The deal was that you'd race in exchange for me wearing this dumb getup."
- Strangely, Coco's kart was pink on the box cover and in artwork in Tiny Temple. However, it was blue like the rest of the members of Team Bandicoot in the game. No explanation was ever given for this.
- Nitro Kart was seen in the background of the show "Las Vegas" in the episode "Games People Play". It was shown near the beginning on a big screen in the background.
- The menu theme resembles the music to the Crash Bandicoot level, Temple Ruins.
- Cortex, Tiny, N. Gin, and Dingodile were kidnapped in Cortex Castle, despite it being burnt down in the first game. It is possible that this version of the castle is based on its appearance in Crash Team Racing.
- When the player wins their first gem cup in adventure mode as Team Bandicoot, a glitch will cause the Hyper Spaceway track (which is Velo's Track, as well as the track with the final relic to be won) to have its vortex activated despite the player not having all four gems needed to open it. The logo showing "Gem X 4" will also be seen. Furthermore, if the player gains the relic before clearing the gem cups, Aku Aku will not declare the player as winning the relic even when the game does. This can also be achieved by Team Cortex, in which case it's Uka Uka who's absent.
- Fake Crash's in-game look was greatly modified in this game. His big teeth shortened to Crash's size and his eyebrows became slightly shorter and bolder, along with his eye pupils shortened and his back hunched. He is also wearing green shorts. This cosmetic change is also shown in his victory dance.
- Similar to CTR, if the player collects all items before facing Emperor Velo at all, the game will count it as your final race with Velo as well as the first pre-race and rematch cutscenes not being shown. However, to compensate, the player will unlock all cutscenes related to the Velo Race upon winning.
- Nitros Oxide was misspelled "Nitrous" Oxide in this game.
- This game is the first game Crunch is a playable character, besides him being playable in the atlasphere levels of Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced.
- This game was released before Crash Twinsanity, although chronologically it comes after it. Signs that point to its placement in the timeline include that the residence of the Bandicoots on Wumpa Island and Cortex being unfrozen. Chronologically, this marks N. Trance's last appearance even if he appeared in Twinsanity.
- There is an error when Nash tries to get Crash and Crunch to give back his key. The second time Coco is seen, the pedestal is gone and her legs are shown.
- In the Game Boy Advance version of the game, there is a rare game breaking glitch that causes the player to get stuck in the wall in the hub world. It is unknown why this happens and there is no known way to escape without the use of cheats or restarting the game entirely.
- Both the GBA and console versions have the same track names but the designs of the tracks have different turns and jumps.
- Artwork of Tiny Temple shows Crash with his Twinsanity design. Whether he was originally planned to have that design in the game is unknown.
- John DiMaggio and Billy West, the two voice actors who voiced Tiny, Nash and Zam, previously worked on Futurama, in which West voices Philip J. Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Doctor Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan, and the other characters and DiMaggio voices Bender and other characters in the show.
- A "Retro Option" was planned early on in the game. This option would have taken the player into driving recreations of the tracks from Crash Team Racing, with completely new and different visuals applied to the layout of the old tracks.
- An unused text in the game's data suggests that there was going to be an online mode for the PS2 version of the game. Players would have been able to create a "Virtual Lobby" where they could join a race, or join an already existing lobby hosted by someone else. The team feature would have been present, and there was also the option of joining a race as a spectator.
- Additional unused text implies tha the gamet was going to have unlockable extra content, including concept art, a making of, and some outtakes. However, how exactly all those things would have been executed is unknown.
- In the game's data, there two removed arenas. simply known as Arena 6 and 7. However, these stages don't seem to be present, suggesting they were not even worked on in the first place. Arena 6 is referenced many times, and 7 only gets mentioned towards the end of the data.
- There is a removed power-up from the game in the form of a voodoo doll. Its purpose was surrounding the players in a bright aura (complete with a heavenly choir) while giving them a short Team Frenzy-like effect, with unlimited power-ups for a limited period of time. The icon of the voodoo doll is still present in the final version of the game and it can be seen flashing among the other power-ups when the players break a crate (it's easier to see it if they pause at the right time).