'Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled' Hands-On Preview: Beautifully Remastered With Engines Revved

Last week, Newsweek had the opportunity to get our hands on Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled long before it's scheduled release on June 21, 2019 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The devs at Beenox have fully remastered this classic game from the ground up by building on the foundation Naughty Dog created for the original Playstation Console. They've successfully included everything from the original game, including characters, tracks, power-ups and more. Part of bringing this classic '90s game into the modern era means you can now take it online and compete with your friends to see who can top the online leaderboards.

CTR: Nitro-Fueled is jam packed with all the classic Crash Bandicoot characters you loved from the original. Activision

Part of the appeal of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is the colorful cast of characters. You will get to choose from eight characters to start but can unlock more as you progress. Characters are broken up into three categories: Beginner (Pura, Polar), Intermediate (Crash Bandicoot, Neo Cortex, N. Gin, Coco Bandicoot) and Expert (Dingodile, Tiny Tiger).

Judging from this cast, it seems that the Beginners are on the lighter side and as you move up to Expert, the characters become heavier in stature. If picking your character solely on appearance isn't enough for you, you can check their stats to further help you decide. Choose between speed, acceleration, and turn to help you decide which kart rider is to your liking. If you want to play it safe from the start and jump right in, you know you'd better just pick Crash or Coco.

All the classic modes are back from the original including Adventure, Single Race, Cup Race, Time Trial and Battle Modes. Our demo, however, only allowed us the opportunity to try out single race and versus mode. Immediately you notice the difference in graphics from the original as the 4K graphics look stunning. The colors are bright and bold, and the textures of the maps look amazing. There's so many additions to each of the tracks that you are sure to discover something new on each lap. Lots of extra little characters fill the scenery, really bringing these worlds to life with their own personalities.

CTR: Nitro Fueled is a beautifully remastered 4K version in comparison to it's 90's counterpart. Activision

Three levels were unlocked for us to test drive (but there will be a total of 18 in the full game). Crash Cove from N. Sanity Beach was a great one to start with, followed by Dingo Canyon from the Lost Ruins Area, and the hardest of the three, Polar Press from the Glacier Park Area. I found this track the most challenging as it was filled with obstacles, twists, multiple paths to take, and of course a slippery, icy surface. It's probably best to pick a heavier character with a good turn stat to tackle this one. Watch out for the sliding penguins as I rarely made it past them without spinning out of control.

As with most kart racing games, you can expect to have a boost that you will need to master to get ahead of the pack. The secret to Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is mastering the art of chaining your boosts. Be sure to keep an eye on the boost gauge in the lower right hand corner, as you will need to press the Power Slide button whenever the gauge turns red. If you can master this and hit it three times in a row, you will get the strongest boost possible, hurling you past your competition. There is definitely a little learning curve that comes with getting to the third boost, but once you nail it it feels very rewarding.

You also can't have a proper kart racer without power-ups! Once again all the classics from the original have returned, including a Turbo, Tracking Missiles, N. Brio's Beakers, Bowling Bombs and more. Each has their own learning curve to master when it comes to finding the proper and most effective time to use them. But if you really want to knock your opponents out of the league, be sure to snag up to 10 Wumpa Fruit that randomly appear on the different tracks. Your attack strength is tied to the fruit, so the more you have the stronger you are on the track.

CTR: Nitro Fueled Racers come in three skill levels. Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert. Activision

Overall, this game was a blast to play from the very start. We enjoyed the simple mechanics system that let anyone have fun no matter their skill level. I'm excited to see how the rest of the tracks will be reimagined and what surprises will lurk within. Online play will be exciting, and will let us see what the competition brings to the leaderboards as well as which characters are the best to use. It's also great that this time around, it won't be limited to play on only one system so that no matter which console you own, you will be able to enjoy this mayhem. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is sure to be a contender to take the place of that "other" kart racer you're probably sick of playing by now.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled will release June 21 and you can reserve your copy now here. Are you excited to relive this classic game on a new 4K generation of consoles? Which character are you most excited to cross the finish line with? Let us know in the comments below.