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Crash Team Racing (2010) - Overview


Summary

After Mind Over Mutant was released, Radical Entertainment began working on Crash Landed, a new major platformer and a reboot of the series. To accompany this reboot, a sister game was being developed concurrently by High Impact Games, a studio composed mostly of ex-members of Naughty Dog (the creators of Crash Bandicoot) and Insomniac Games (the creators of Spyro the Dragon, Crash's buddy franchise).

This kart racing game, known only by its provisory name Crash Team Racing (not to be confused with the 1999 game of the same name), never saw the light of day, as Crash Landed was canned during development, dragging the racing game along with it. Cancelled in early 2010, it was slated for release on the PlayStation 3, the Xbox 360 and the Wii.

The game was very consistent in style and direction with Crash Landed, going as far as sharing many of its assets, such as character models, visual effects and even items like the firefly bottles. Both games featured Gabriel Mann and Rebecca Kneubuhl as the composers too (curiously, the music in this game was eventually used in Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2, a mobile spin-off). Nothing is known about the game's plot besides the fact that it was advanced by cinematics, keeping in line with true Crash Bandicoot fashion. Like in Crash Landed, the graphics were cel-shaded with a distinct, cartoony feel.

This new Crash Team Racing would have featured several playable characters as usual, but only Crash, Dingodile, Polar and a new character called Land Shark (which was going to make its debut in Crash Landed) were finished before cancellation. Each character had unique animations and abilities. The amount of characters in each race could go up to a whopping 16, so unless this number was specific to development builds, chances are the game would have contained a large playable cast.

Karts were going to be fully customizable via 12 different mods — the tires, bumper, and engine had 4 mods each, so there were 64 different combinations. These mods altered the way your kart behaved and some of them worked in tandem with the tracks' terrain or alternate routes. For example, some tracks had vertical walls you could choose to drive on (ala Crash Nitro Kart) with the help of octopus tires, others had high ledges you could double-jump up to with a frog engine, and so on. This translated into non-linear tracks where you could choose which way to go next, provided you had the necessary mods equipped. There were also plans for flight sequences with physics that involved flapping wings.

The game was going to feature the usual stuff seen in the series's previous kart racers, such as powersliding, turbos, weapons/items (most of which were borrowed from the original Crash Team Racing) and Wumpa fruits. A new way to keep you busy while racing was pulling off stunts in mid-air. Successful stunts granted speed boosts upon landing, and you could get bigger boosts by chaining stunt combos. Another addition was the inclusion of special moves unique to each character, such as Crash being able to spin into a wild tornado and Dingodile using his flamethrower.

Characters

The playable characters sported the same designs seen in Crash Landed, though it isn't known if Polar was also going to be featured in that game. Only 4 characters seem to have been finalized, each with his own stats, animations and special abilities:

  • Crash Bandicoot: The star marsupial of the cast could spin into a tornado that sucked in items and adversaries.
  • Dingodile: The nasty hybrid used his flamethrower to roast his opponents.
  • Polar: After a long break, Polar was finally going to return to the series. He could roll on a big snow ball to squish other racers.
  • Land Shark: This intimidating newcomer would be able to bite unsuspecting victims.

Tracks

The only track known to have been fully completed was named Happy Woods. Its layout was fairly simple, but due to a wider variety than the track name suggests, it had many opportunities for players to familiarize themselves with the gameplay mechanics. This track included high ledges, moving lifts, caves, water, corkscrews, and a beach with an enormous whale that could spring onto the road, flattening anyone caught under it. Happy Woods featured beachy music that incorporated bits of the main Twinsanity theme, later re-used in Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2's Bandicoot Beach.

There is concept art for two other tracks: one has a jungle/temple setting with a half-pipe and some rolling spheres. The other one featured giant gears that rotated periodically along with the track, changing its layout.

Mods

Mods had a considerable impact on a kart's performance. After being unlocked, they could be used to the racer's advantage by providing different tactical advantages and, as mentioned, enabling access to alternate routes. There were 12 different mods (in-game descriptions in italic):

  • Standard Tires: Regular tires with no special effects.
  • Crab Tires: At home on the asphalt or sand. These tires loose(sic) no traction on beaches and dunes.
  • Octopus Tires: The suctions(sic) cups on these tires allow for driving on smooth VERTICAL surfaces.
  • Blowfish Tires: These tires can be used to race on water.
  • Standard Engine: A regular engine with no special effects.
  • Pig Engine: An engine that belches out flames to boost your speed.
  • Electric Eel Engine: Surging with electricity this engine shocks enemies on contact.
  • Frog Engine: Hop to new heights with this engines(sic) powerful double jump feature.
  • Standard Bumper: A regular bumper with no special effects.
  • Crab Bumper: This greedy kart bumper snatches power-ups and wumpa fruit from other drivers.
  • Warthog Bumper: This heavy weight bumper easily rams aside all other karts with its tusks. (Also good for breaking rocks and other obstacles.)
  • Armadillo Bumper: This bumper rolls into a ball that's immune to attacks when the brakes are applied.

Power-ups

There were 10 different power-ups that could be used during races. Many of them were directly influenced or lifted from the original 1999 Crash Team Racing. Most, if not all of them, seemed to be working properly. Like in the original CTR, power-ups were picked up from crates spread around the track, and picking up 10 Wumpa fruits made them more powerful. An innovation was that you could hold up to 2 power-ups at once. Some of these were:

  • Turbo Engine: An extra speed boost.
  • Bowling Bomb: It had the same exact behavior as in the original CTR: You could roll it and press the item button again to detonate it.
  • TNT: Like in the original CTR, they could be dropped as traps around the track. They were harder to distinguish from regular crates in this game due to having the same color.
  • Firefly Bottle: Basically a homing missile that targetted the closest opponent. This power-up was also an essential tool in Crash Landed as part of a jet-pack.
  • Bee Hive: Similar to the original CTR's Warp Sphere, it sent out bees that slowed down whoever was in first place, along with any others they came in contact with.
  • Clock: It slowed everyone else down, just like in the original CTR.
  • Smoke Drum: It expelled a smoke cloud that slowed down other opponents and made them cough. Additional effects, if any, aren't clear.
  • Oil Bottle: It dropped a pool of oil that made other karts slide out of control.

Conclusion

Though the game sadly never saw the light of day, it was initially thought that it was retooled into Dreamworks Superstar Kartz after its cancellation. However, according to one of its developers (who will not be mentioned by name due to a Non-Disclosure Agreement), the Crash game was "far more ambitious/fancy", and besides a few similarities, "the two projects aren't that related".



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