Crash Nitro Kart is a racing video game developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Vivendi Universal Games. The Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox versions were released in North America on November 11, 2003 and in Europe on November 28, 2003; The N-Gage version of the game was released in Europe on June 30, 2004 and in North America on July 28, 2004. The Mobile version was released on September 20, 2004. The PlayStation 2 version was re-released in the three-disc “Crash Bandicoot Action Pack” compilation (alongside Crash Twinsanity and Crash Tag Team Racing) in the United States on June 12, 2007 and in Europe on July 20, 2007. It was the last Crash Bandicoot game released under the Universal Interactive label, which parent company Vivendi Universal Games would scrap after the release of this game.
The game is the ninth installment in the Crash Bandicoot series. It is an indirect sequel to Crash Team Racing and the first game in the series to have full motion video. The game’s story centers on the abduction of Crash Bandicoot, along with other characters in the series, by the ruthless dictator Emperor Velo XXVII. Threatening to destroy the Earth if they refuse, he forces them to race in his gigantic coliseum for the entertainment of his subjects. Crash Nitro Kart received mixed reviews, with reviews varying from version to version. The home console version was met with generally fair reviews. 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”.
Crash Nitro Kart is a racing game in which the player controls characters from the Crash Bandicoot universe, most of whom race in karts. While racing, the player can accelerate, steer, reverse, brake, hop or use weapons and power-ups with the game controller’s analog stick and buttons. Four distinct types of crates are scattered throughout the tracks and arenas of Crash Nitro Kart. “Item Crates” are marked with a question mark (?) and usually come in sets of four. The player can obtain a weapon or power-up by driving through an Item Crate and breaking it apart. The player can only carry one weapon or power-up at a time. “Multiplier Crates” are marked with an “X” and are usually found in hard-to-reach spots on the tracks. These special crates contain three of a certain weapon or power-up. “Wumpa Crates” are unmarked and carry “Wumpa Fruit” that strengthens the player’s weapons and power-ups if ten of them are obtained. “Activation Crates” are marked with an exclamation point (!) and don’t give the player anything when they are driven through; instead, they activate either a trap that can slow down the other racers or a boost pad.
Boosting is an important part of Crash Nitro Kart’s gameplay. When the player boosts, their kart will momentarily go slightly faster than its normal top speed. Boosts are achieved by driving over boost pads scattered across the tracks, pumping the gas at the starting line, and holding the gas button at the right time when being reset on the track. Another technique used for boosting is the “power slide”. To execute a power slide, the player holds down one of the shoulder buttons to perform a hop and steer before the kart lands. While sliding, a curved “boost gauge” appears next to the player’s kart. When the gauge goes from green to red, the player presses the opposite shoulder button to obtain a boost. The higher the boost gauge goes, the more powerful the boost will be