11 tips to win more races in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled
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June 2019 saw the release of Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled (affiliate link). This is the highly anticipated recreation of the original PlayStation 1 game that filled gamers with joy. Following the very successful release of the N’sane Trilogy in 2017, it’s no surprise that this gem was brought back to life.
New racers or even those who played the original game will likely be looking for the best tips and tricks in order to finish on the podium after each race. I have been playing this game pretty consistently so I have amassed a useful collection of the best tips to win more races in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled.
1 Know your characters’ strengths and weaknesses
There are a number of characters you can play as in Crash Team Racing, more of which you unlock as you progress through the game. One of which even requires a cheat code to unlock. If your interested in learning more about unlocking this character (Penta Penguin), I wrote an informative post which you can check out here.
Each character has a set of stats that includes speed, acceleration and turning that will affect how they race and how they can be controlled.
Characters fall under one of 4 classes: balanced, speed, acceleration and turning. Knowing how each of these classes work and using them to your advantage is a great way of winning more races.
Use the character classes to your advantage
Here’s a quick example. Certain tracks, like Polar Pass for instance, will be chocked full of tight hairpin turns. These tracks would be well suited to a character that falls under the Turning class like my favorites Polar and Pura.
Additionally, speed class characters like Tiny Tiger or Penta Penguin are the best recommendation for players looking to beat all of the time trials.
Being able to race well as each character class is important to winning more races in addition to just knowing which character to pick. Be sure to practice your turning and power sliding as each character class will be subtly different to control. You could find yourself wiping out a lot more at first which is why practice is important.
2 Learn to start with a speed boost
This topic would likely deserve a post in itself for the volume of conversations that happen related to speed boosting. Essentially, it is possible to start the race with a boost if you time things right.
To trick to starting a race with a speed boost is that you need to ensure your rev meter is just about full by the time the green light flashes. This might sound tricky in practice but once you have mastered it you can start off ahead of the other racers earning you a slight advantage.
To do this, press and hold x just a fraction of a second after the second red light flashes. If you have timed things right, you will start with a speed boost.
Once you have mastered this technique and are pretty consistently starting each race with a speed most, it’s time to move on to the next tip, power sliding.
3 Learn to power slide & boost
Learning to power slide and boost effectively is one of the top ways to improve racing. This is a pretty in depth mechanic which can take some time to master. With that said, you can get the basics down pretty easily which will give you the confidence to keep practicing and in turn win you more races.
Power sliding and boosting basics
To power slide, press the R1 or L1 button while driving and steer in the direction you wish to turn.
Once you start power sliding you will see the boost meter in the bottom right of the screen start to fill up. Once this is just about full to the top, press the opposite button i.e. if you pressed R1 to power slide press L1 to boost. You can do this boost up to 3 times per power slide for maximum speed.
Power sliding for too long or mistiming your boosts will result in a fail and you will either loose your boost or slide out of control. That’s why it is important to keep an eye on the boost meter, at least initially, and learn the optimal timings.
On the other hand, performing perfect boosts on each attempt will result in a super powered boost which you will see will last a considerable amount longer than a good boost.
Improving your boosts
To get a clearer idea of how effectively you are boosting it is possible to change the boost meter in the bottom right of the screen. To change the power slide dialog, press the Triangle button and this will cycle through the 3 different options. The newly introduced dialog will tell you the quality of your boosts as you perform them. For instance fail, good or perfect. This is a great indication of how your timing is during boosts.
Another way to judge the optimal time to boost is done by keeping an eye on the kart’s wheels and exhaust. This is a new mode that has been enabled by default in Nitro Fueled and is super useful. As you power slide you will see the wheels start to change color and the exhaust’s smoke will start to turn black at the precise moment you need to boost (give or take). Obviously this visual indication isn’t as precise as the gauge but if you learn the timing you probably won’t even need the visual aids.
Getting the hang of power sliding of boosts can be challenging at first but as you practice you will find yourself boosting almost every time without even thinking about it.
4 Use power ups to defend yourself from attacks
Power ups are the bread and butter of Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled. They can often be the difference between sweet victory and bitter defeat. That is why it is important to understand what they do and how to effectively use them in a defensive way.
Basic Power Ups
|Power Up Name||Description|
|TNT Crate||Will land on a character’s head and explode after 3 seconds.|
|Bowling Bomb||Will roll in the direction fired and explode on impact or when triggered.|
|Tracking Missiles||Targeted missiles which will seek out a character to knock them out.|
|Green Beakers||When rolled over will cause the character to spin out of control.|
|Aku Aku or Uka Uka Mask||Will cause Aku Aku or Uka Uka to spin around you for a short time increasing speed and making you invincible from attacks.|
|Clock||Will slow all characters down except you for a limited period of time.|
|Green Shield||Will form a protective shield around you for a limited period of time protecting you from an attack.|
|Turbo||Will give you a speed boost when activated.|
|Warp Orb||When launched this will head towards the player in first place and knock them out wherever they are on the track.|
A slightly more advanced tip for racers is to use certain power ups to defend yourself from attacks. You may already know that you can defend yourself using a shield but there are other methods you can use.
Power ups that are relevant here are TNT crates (juiced up Nitro crates), bowling bombs and beakers. These items can be deployed in the moments before a tracking missile or bowling bomb is due to hit you.
5 Collect 10 wumpa fruit – get juiced up
As you race through a track you may notice wumpa fruits (these look like apples) floating or inside of crates. Collecting 10 of these wumpa fruits during a race will juice you up.
This has the effect of making you race faster. Additionally, you will unlock juiced power ups. For example, instead of a TNT crate you will pick up a Nitro box. Instead of 1 bowling bomb you will pick up 3 that have a wider area of effect.
Juiced Power Ups
|Power Up Name||Description|
|Nitro Crate||Will explode immediately upon impact.|
|Bowling Bomb x3||Instead of one you will receive 3 of these and they will have an increased area of effect.|
|Tracking Missiles x3||Instead of one you will receive 3 of these and they will be slightly more accurate in targeting other characters.|
|Red Beakers||When rolled over will cause the character to spin out of control and slow down for a short period. A rain cloud will appear over their head.|
|Aku Aku or Uka Uka Mask||Will cause Aku Aku or Uka Uka to last longer.|
|Clock||Will slow all characters down for longer.|
|Blue Shield||Will form a protective shield around you for an indefinite of time protecting you from an attack.|
|Turbo||Will give you a longer speed boost when activated.|
|Warp Orb||When launched this will launch towards the player in first place and knock out all other players along the way.|
Take care though, even if you manage to collect 10 wumpa fruit, being hit by a power up or falling off the track will cause you to lose some wumpa fruit each time. This means you will have to build back up to 10 fruit before you can get juiced up again.
With all of that in mind, I would highly recommend getting juiced up give you the best chance possible at winning your race. This is a pretty straightforward tactic that you can take on board easily to win more races.
6 Use power ups in optimal places
Here is where you can be really sneaky and use power up timing to your advantage. We have already talked about what power ups can do to assist you defensively, now let’s look at other sneaky ways to use them to eliminate the competition.
Place beakers and crates at the top of jumps, in power up slides or around tight bends. This way players will have no choice but to drive into them. Be sure to remember where you placed them to avoid running into them yourself. I have done this on more than one occasion.
Place these items immediately after you break through a power up or wumpa crate. This will hide the power up for the next unsuspecting character that comes along.
If you can see a character approaching a jump or gap that is the time to launch a tracking missile or bowling bomb. If you have timed it right, this will cause the player to loose momentum and likely fall into the gap and off the track.
7 Learn each track’s layout
Knowing each race track’s layout is an important way to win more races. Playing a race track multiple times will lead to you learning more about each tracks intricacies. This will happen over time naturally as you continually play through each track.
I would also recommend looking if you can at how the various characters race in Time Trial mode. In particular N’Trophy and Oxide as these characters have the fastest lap times on each track. Turn on these characters’ ghosts and watch how they navigate through each track to get an insight into the optimal route for each track.
8 Use shortcuts
Along with learning the track’s layout very well, learning where the shortcuts are is highly important. Learning where the shortcuts are and how to consistently get to them will lead to a dramatic shortening of your lap times.
As I mentioned previously, if you notice Oxide’s ghost in particular when you are doing the time trials, he hits all of the shortcuts pretty much all of the time. This is something you will need to emulate if you hope to beat any of his times.
9 Jump at the top of ramps
Being able to maintain a fast speed is a crucial factor to winning more races. That’s why its important to jump at the top of ramps.
When you are approaching a ramp, pressing R1 or L1 at the top of a jump will cause you to hop and to land with an extra boost. This will carry you a bit further depending on the height you jump from so it’s highly important to do this when you can.
This can also apply to hills or other bumps in the track; make sure to jump to get a speed boost.
10 hop to remove TNT crates
Getting hit by those infernal TNT crates can make or break a race. Once they explode they can send you all the way back to last place if you are not careful.
Being able to get rid of them is something you might not even know you can do. It’s actually relatively simple: repeatedly hop (R1 or L1) the second one pops onto your head. If you have hopped enough times, the TNT crate will fall off behind you leaving you free to continue your race unharmed.
Bonus Tip: If you are near another player and it looks inevitable that the crate will explode, it might be worth considering taking them out with you when the crate explodes by driving along side them. This will at least level the playing field if you are both taken out rather than just you.
11 Use the handbrake
A little known fact is that you can use a handbrake to give you a more precise and tight turn. Many people forget you can do this in favor of power sliding, believe me I was one of them. Making use of this mechanic when necessary has resulted in much more successful races for me without a doubt.
Pressing Square while turning will make use of the handbrake. This will have the effect of slowing you down but might be the difference between making a turn or not.
If it looks like your power slide was timed too far out and you are going off track, deploy the handbrake just for a second to correct your course and keep racing.
Practice using the handbrake when necessary and just watch as you speed past your competition to win more races.
That just about sums up this pretty comprehensive guide to win more races in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled (affiliate link). Making use of these tips will see your lap times drastically reduce and see you on the podium a lot more frequently.
Do you have any additional tips to share? Let me know in the comments below.
If you enjoyed this post and want to read more about the best things you can do in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled, you might enjoy another related post I wrote called The 9 best things you can do in Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled.