Crash Team Racing was a British childhood staple, along with Sunny D, Dairylea Lunchables and being beaten senseless if you ever dared to utter the C word around the house (Chips).
Never was there a more high pressure situation than calling over to a friend’s and cracking out Crash Team Racing on the PS One. Who was going to get Crash Bandicoot? Who was going to have to settle for one of the other reject characters? It was war.
If you didn’t secure Crash as your character, you immediately got berated over whatever choice you made. There was no right decision, they were all equally garbage.
So what exactly does your Crash Team Racing character choice say about you both as a child and in the present day? Let’s find out.
Obviously everyone’s first choice was Crash. His name is in the title of the game, ffs. Picking Crash was the first hurdle in any game of Crash Team Racing, then winning the actual game came next. There’s nothing special about choosing Crash as your driver because in many ways, he chose you. Right from the moment you saw an advert for the game, you begged your softest parent to bring you to Gamestop to splurge out on this precious but necessary expenditure. The moment you got home to play it, you were hardly going to do Crash a disservice by picking Dingodile as your character. Nobody would have the gall. That’s like bringing leftover and slightly mouldy KFC into McDonalds and eating it right in front of the staff. Stop wasting my time here. Everyone picked crash. For the benefit of this piece, you need to think back and remember your second choice, the character you’d pick after your dickhead brother nabbed Crash before you’d even untangled the controller. Thank you. Please proceed.
Doctor Neo Cortex
You were a bit of a lazy prick as a child. Once player one had nabbed Crash, your work-shy thumbs just landed on the next character in the list. It’s likely that you kicked up a fuss at hardly ever getting to be Crash because you’re always beaten to the post, but nobody cared. “Just pick someone and get on with it you sack of shit”, you’d be told in a hushed but furious whisper so as not to alert Mum in the other room. Crash Team Racing brought out your inner Mr Hyde, mostly because you hadn’t a lot else going on in your life aside from school and stressing over whether there’d be something decent for tea each night. You were a decent CTR player, but your mood always depended entirely on the outcome of the game. If you were ever beaten in a race, something was getting flung across the room. Now that you’re older, you’ve learned to control your temper in public, but that fire still rages within. It’s entirely likely that you will have either punched or kicked in a wall at some point in your life because you are secretly a brute.
Well aren’t you a clever clogs? Step aside, folks, we’ve got A Smart Person among us and they are here to verify their superiority. Picking Coco Bandicoot was a genius move. If you couldn’t have Crash, you may as well go for his sister. Racing has to run through their family’s blood, blonde gravity-defying ponytail or not. Even as a child, you were subconsciously very woke because in selecting Coco, you were promoting gender equality. There was only one female racer to choose from and you made a beeline for her. Sure, it wasn’t a conscious decision made against discrimination, but you still made it. Your racing style was clean, or at least that was the aim until you found yourself in last place with a stash of weapons to unleash on those computer-generated fellow racers. You’d hang onto a few until you reached first place, because we all know that you get nothing but potions from those mystery boxes when you’re winning, but your stash ensured a safe passage to the finish line, ready to drop a bomb at anyone who dared overtake you during the final stretch. You’re a calculated and manipulative psychopath now, mostly due to living in the shadows of your over-achieving siblings, so that’s good.
Doctor N. Gin
Pipe down pal, just because you’ve picked a character whose name is a wordplay on ‘engine’, that doesn’t mean you’re going to have any advantage over anyone here. The guy has a missile lodged in the right side of his head and you’ve somehow decided that he is the one to lead you to victory? Respectfully, you were a dumb as dog shit child. You had to be stopped from consuming mud pies on several occasions and your parents have lost count of the amount of times they had to take you down to A&E with a variety of items lodged in your nasal passage. Did you ever win a game with Doctor N. Gin? No, you absolutely didn’t. But did you try your hardest to at least come away with a podium placement? Again, no. Crash Team Racing wasn’t important to you. You had other things going on, like sticking your fingers in plug sockets and licking the cake mixer whisks clean while your finger hovered daringly over the power button. Nowadays, you’re perfectly content in your job as a Senior Creative. The last thing you gave creative input into was a prank pen that doesn’t have any ink inside it. Reach for the stars, champ!
Britain’s funniest undiscovered comedian, welcome to the game. The concept of a giant tiger being called ‘Tiny’ was simply too hilarious for you to pass up the opportunity to be involved in. “He was a very large tiger – the name made no sense!”, you exclaim to anyone within earshot as you recall your favourite childhood video game. At least you had fun, that’s all that matters. What you didn’t take into account was the fact that Tiny’s disproportionately sized body would impact his skills as a racer, meaning he’d never achieve a win in this game. No, you were too busy being the class clown and sacrificing your reputation to get a laugh at any cost. You only played Crash Team Racing because your friends were always talking about it. You didn’t even have a Playstation, you had a microscope. Nobody could know about it though, that’s why you kept it packed away under your bed until the coast was clear. “Those idiots from school wouldn’t know how to use it properly, they’d put their grubby hands all over the lens”, you’d tell Mum as she caressed your hair before bed each night. Now you’re an accomplished scientist with an rake of achievements to your name, but you still struggle to retain close friendships, so every cloud.
Half dingo, half crocodile. A genetically impossible creature and you’re going to use him to beat the unbeatable Crash Bandicoot? Mate, you’ve lost it. You’re not stupid, you’re just reckless. This illogical creature was Australian as well, which complicates matters even further when you consider that the rest of his competitors are American citizens. Do they even drive on the same side of the road? You didn’t care, you just wanted to be different. Sometimes Dingodile wore a cork hat, isn’t that fun? No. This is a driving competition. There’s no time for fun, this is life or death. Dingodile also had a flamethrower, but did he know how to use it? Nope. He just spurted out quick blasts of fire at random intervals because he was insane. You liked it because you’re a lunatic, always have been. As a child you jumped off the bike shed and broke your ankle. You got a week of school and a lifetime of respect from your peers, or so you thought. Nowadays you work in a very sensible job and wear a suit most days. You’ve changed, man. Heading back home for a beer with the boys once a month isn’t enough to retain that spark you once had. You’re boring now, everyone agrees.
Terrific, you picked a CTR character that matches yourself in the sense that you are both terrifyingly slow. The only thing Pura ever won was the affection of all those who came in contact with him. He was adorable, but incredulously shit at racing. If the Crash Team Racing characters were an album track list, Pura would be the filler track that comes directly before the #1 smash hit. The fact of the matter is that Pura has never won a damn race in his life. He’s not in it to win it and neither were you. Like Pura, you would’ve preferred a nice Sunday drive around the tracks, taking in the scenery and stopping every so often to get out and stretch your legs. “Slow and steady”, you’d joke as every other racer lapped you for the second time. You even bought the accompanying steering wheel rig for the game because you wanted to enjoy it at a leisurely pace. These days you’re still the same, you have a car that you rarely use and it is absolutely 100% a Nissan Micra. You also have a cat that looks suspiciously like Pura. You’re too soft for CTR, always were. Maybe try Spyro or something?
Right, we’re done here because you’re wasting both your time and mine. In a racing game, against two bandicoots, a half dingo half crocodile, a tiger and some kind of doctor thing, you’re going to go for a polar bear. Does this seem like a good decision now that I’ve laid it out for you in plain English? If you’ve answered no, please pick from the aforementioned characters listed above. If you’ve answered ‘yes’, we need to have a quick chat. There is literally no circumstance on earth or video game land where a polar bear is going to be the best driver in a race. Not even in his hometown of the Arctic. You could put a butternut squash behind that wheel and still see better results than with a polar bear. Polar is a novelty character, put there as a social experiment to see how dumb people actually are. Congratulations, you are a certified moron! Now get out of my sight. You make me sick.