Crash Nitro Kart N-Gage Review

I was at Nokia's pre-E3 party a few months ago and was moderately enjoying myself, despite a press showing gone wrong and me being the only staffer who attended. Hey, the free beer was good, and I liked a couple of the Nokia girls, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. I found myself playing a few games on the floor, trying to figure out Ashen and sinking in to Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf. Then I ran across Crash Nitro Kart, a shrink-sized version of the cart console racing game that Vivendi Universal unleashed last year. That game didn't really appeal to me, as it lacked the certain elements that Crash Team Racing, Naughty Dog's PlayStation effort from long ago, possessed. So I'm playing the game for a few and notice that it's just chugging along, and I stop this guy to ask him how far the game's in development. He assures me that it's still in production and the final game will be, quote, "a ton of fun".

A ton of fun? More like a ton of irritation. Here it is, a few months later, and I managed to get my hands on a retail version of Crash Nitro Kart. Bad news, folks; little has changed. The game still feels like the flawed, choked-on slo-mo ride that it was months ago, and despite some graphical improvements and some decent mode offerings, it's about as fun as riding a horse with broken legs.

I think the main element that cramps Crash Nitro Kart from really succeeding would be the game's lack of competent gameplay. The N-Gage QD does have a better control set-up than the original system, I admit that, but it doesn't help here. Even when you're doing something like initiating a power drift or trying to perform a jump function, it feels like it's harder to do than it should be. Also, turning itself, just following the road and trying to run into some kind of speed-up icon is a bit of a chore, because the cart doesn't handle as finely as it should. Throw in the camera problems where you can barely see the road half of the time.