Crash Team Racing opens with a cutscene showing each of the characters in the world of Crash Bandicoot enjoying what they are up to when suddenly they are teleported away. They are all shocked to see themselves gathered in one area, friend and foe alike. Before they have a chance to start attacking each other, a giant screen lights up in front of them, an alien by the name of Nitros Oxide declares that he wants to race the best driver in this world and that if he, Nitros Oxide, wins he will turn the world into a giant parking lot. He says that he doesn't know who the best racer in the land is so he wants everyone to race against each other and he will challenge the winner. Once the player collects of all the Time Relics, CTR Tokens and Crystals, Oxide admits defeat and returns to his home planet.
Adventure mode is the single player story mode of the game. At the beginning you choose one character from the roster and find yourself in an open world environment. From here the player can access races through warp zones similar to those seen in Crash Bandicoot 3. After the player has finished first they can either go and play unlocked levels or complete Time Trial races or CTR races. Time Trial has the player attempt 3 laps round the track in a short specific time, the only way to achieve these is to master the quickest paths and smash time crates which stop the counter. In CTR races the player has to collect CTR tokens scattered around the level whilst still coming first place. Finally the other way to get CTR tokens in through challenges in adventure, the player must speed around the battle levels and collect crystals under a certain time limit. Completing races continues the plot of the game and unlocks more races and enviroments. After a set amount of races have been completed Boss Races become availiable from famous bosses in the Crash franchise. Once beaten the Bosses open new enviroments for the player with new warp zones and challenges. While the player does not need to complete Time Trials and CTR token races they are used to unlock additional characters later in the game.
The following are the boss racers you will encounter in the Adventure Mode;
The game is spilt up into different five different areas where races are unlocked and played:
Crash Cove, Roo's Tubes, Mystery Caves and Sewer Speedway.
Coco Park, Tiger Temple, Papu's Pyramid and Dingo Canyon.
Blizzard Bluff, Dragon Mines, Polar Pass and Tiny Arena.
N. Gin Labs, Cortex Castle, Hot Air Skyway and Oxide Station.
Slide Coliseum, Turbo Track and bonus races.
As well as racing tracks, battle tracks are also available. These tracks are unlocked by completing cup races. They are utilised in multiplayer where up to 4 people can fight each other in a battle mode.
Skull Rock, Rocky Road, Nitro Court, Rampage Ruins, Basement Level, Parking Lot and The North bowl are the battle tracks available.
Crash Team Racing features 15 characters, 8 of which are unlocked from the start and are availiable in Adventure mode. These are:
The following are unlockable characters:
- Ripper Roo - Unlocked by winning the Red Gem Cup in Adventure
- Papu Papu - Unlocked by winning the Green Gem Cup in Adventure
- Komodo Joe - Unlocked by winning the Blue Gem Cup in Adventure
- Pinstripe - Unlocked by winning the Yellow Gem Cup in Adventure
- Dr. Nefarious Tropy - Unlocked by beating all his ghosts in Time Trial
- Penta Penguin - Unlocked by secret code, at the main menu hold L1 and R1 then press: Down, Right, Triangle, Down, Left, Triangle, Up,
- Fake Crash - Unlocked by winning the Purple Gem Cup in Adventure
Power ups can be collected by smashing into crates. Crates marked with a question mark will give you a random power up and spring box crates will give you wumpa fruit.
Wumpa Fruit - When you collect 10 wumpa fruit 2 things will happen. You will get an increase in your top speed and it will modify any power ups that you get to make them stronger e.g. A TNT crate will become a Nitro crate. You can collect wumpa fruit by smashing spring box crates and you can also pick up loose wumpa fruit scattered around the track. If you have wumpa fruit and you are hit by an enemy racer or if you fall off the track the number of wumpa fruit you have will decrease.
Uka Uka/Aku Aku - The Voodoo mask provides 3 different effects to the player for a limited time. A mask will spin around the player and they will recieve a noticable increase in speed, invunerability to other racer's power ups and the player can also hit other racers to cause them to spin out. When upgraded by wumpa fruit the power up lasts longer. Good characters will receive the Aku Aku mask and bad characters will get the Uka Uka mask, there is no gameplay difference between the masks.
Green and Red Bottles - Green bottles can be dropped behind the player or can be fired foward. If a racer hits a green bottle they will spin out. When upgraded by wumpa fruit a red bottle is obtained instead. The red bottle has a similar effect to the green bottle but it also forms a raincloud over the player that hits it. The player is slowed down and also loses the ability to hop. Red and green bottles can also be used to deflect incoming attacks.
Homing Missiles - Homing missiles will lock on to the nearest racer in front of you when fired. They will follow racers until they hit their target but can be avoided by obstucting their path with track terrain or using a TNT/Nitro crate to destroy them. When upgraded by wumpa fruit they cause racers to spin out for longer. A triple version of this power up is also available where the racer gets 3 rockets instead of 1 from a single pick up.
TNT and Nitro Crates - A TNT crate can be dropped behind you to obstruct other racers. If a racer hits a TNT crate it will land on their head and countdown. The racer has 3 seconds to shake the TNT off before it explodes by hopping up and down. If caught in the TNT blast radius racers will spin out. When upgraded by wumpa fruit a TNT crate becomes a Nitro crate. Nitro crates have the same effect except they lack the delay and explode on contact. TNT/Nitro crates can be used to block incoming attacks.
Bowling Balls - Bowling balls can be fired fowards or backwards. They travel in a straight line and explode on contact with either racers or terrain. They cause racers to spin out when hit and they can also be detonated by pressing circle again after they have been released. When upgraded by wumpa fruit they cause the racer to spin out for longer. A triple power up is also available where the racer gets 3 bowling balls instead of 1.
Warp Orb - Once it has been fired, a warp orb will travel the course ahead of you and make anyone in the vicinity spin out. When upgraded by wumpa fruit, it lasts longer.
Green and Blue Shields - Green shields when activated will protect you from a single attack or will eventually fade away if you are not hit. You can also fire the shield ahead of you like a bowling ball. When upgraded by wumpa fruit the shield turns blue and will protect you from more damage.
Timer - When activated it will slow down all other racers to crawling speed for a short time. When upgraded by wumpa fruit the power up lasts longer.
Turbo - A turbo will give you a prolonged burst of speed like the boost gained from power sliding. When upgraded by wumpa fruit the boost lasts for longer.
As well as the turbo gained from the power up turbo, boost can also be gained from a few different techniques:
Turbo Start - At the begining of each race it is possible to gain a boost right from the go by timing your acceleration with the lights. If you time your acceleration to the half-way point between the last red light and the green you will get an instant boost.
Power-sliding Turbos - Pressing and holding the R1 button around a corner will make you perform a powerslide. When the smoke from the exhaust turns black you can give yourself a small turbo by pressing the L1 button. You can do 3 boosts in one powerslide at a time. This technique is essential to getting the best times on tracks.
Jump Turbos - Jump turbos are performed by hopping off the top of a ramp, hump or ridge and then landing. Once you land the boost kicks in. The longer you are in the air the more boost you get when you land. Jumping and landing on flat ground is not enough to inact the jump boost.
Spyro 2 Demo
On the main menu screen, if the player types in the cheat code, "Hold L1 R1 and press Down, Circle, Triangle, Triangle, Right" they will unlock a Spyro the Dragon 2: Gateway to Glimmer demo. Both CTR and Spyro 2 were published by Sony Computer Entertainment. This would be continued in other Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games, where demos where offered for cheat codes. This was stopped when Sony dropped both games.