Today at Vivendi Universal's booth, we got our first look and hands-on experience with the GameCube version of Crash Tag Team Racing, Radical Entertainment's new addition to the Crash franchise's list of games. Here are our impressions.
As has been mentioned before, Crash Tag Team Racing is essentially a kart racer with classic platforming levels interspersed through the race segments of the game. Players familiar with Mario Kart will instantly feel at home in CTTR, as you'll have special attacks, weapons to pick up, and the ability to blow up your opponents' cars and send them to the back of the pack.
The primary unique gameplay twist here is the inclusion of crash mode, which lets you ram into opposing cars on the track and combine vehicles. For instance, when we played the game, we were controlling Crash, but we were able to press a button to change our car into a phantasmal form of itself. While we were in this mode, a sufficient impact on another car on the course combined the vehicles into one supervehicle, which allowed us to use the weapons on both vehicles. While driving a single vehicle, you don't appear to be able to use the mounted weapon on your vehicle, although you can throw power-ups that you pick up around the track. When you are a combined supervehicle, you'll be able to either drive or control your turret weapon. However, when you control the turret weapon, you'll be under the mercy of an AI driver, so you'll have to choose whether or not you want control or firepower. Fortunately, the opposite is true as well, so when you choose to control a supervehicle, your AI teammate will fire away, albeit with somewhat less precision than a human player. In multiplayer, though, two players will be able to combine their vehicles, with one driving and one firing.
The second part of the game is, again, an on-foot platforming mode, where Crash can jump around, use his trademark whirling move, and even perform a full-on belly flop to switch triggers. Apparently there's going to be something of a hub world here, where Crash can gain missions, engage in dialogue, and work through the storyline of the game, which unlocks new tracks.
Crash Tag Team Racing is supposedly going to release later this year. Keep an eye on GameSpot for more details as they emerge.