Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is finally available and it's a blast. If you're having difficulty, I came up with some advanced techniques in this handy walkthrough that will help you beat the campaign on hard difficulty, master the annoying Oxide ghosts, and crush the online competition. Keep in mind; this is an advanced guide so I won't cover basic stuff like how to use items or how wumpa fruit works.
You should be able to finish most courses while power slide boosting the entire time. If you can't then practice your power slides right now. You have to hold the hop button then press the other hop button when the power slide bar turns red. You get a bigger boost the further the bar is filled. You also get a boost after doing large jumps, from speed pads, and from items.
The masks (Aku Aku, Uka Uka, and Velo Mask) orbit you, making you immune to items and giving you a speed boost that stacks with all other speed boosts. Meanwhile, the turbo gives you a speed boost that can prolong the speed pads (more on that later) and shields can protect you from any attacks while potions and TNT can protect you from trailing missiles.
Most tracks have shortcuts that can give you a huge edge. For most of them, you need to have high speed so maintaining your power boost is important. If you can unlock Oxide in Time Trial, he will kindly show you all of the shortcuts that you need to know.
If you can race ahead of bosses, you don't have to worry about their item spam. It's also a good idea to be ahead of the pack in regular races because you'll get hit by items much less frequently.
Power slides and boosting after you hit the ground give you small red flames, standard turbo pads trigger large red flames (Sacred Fire) which is a cut above the small red flames, and there are super turbo pads on some tracks that grant blue flames (Ultimate Sacred Fire). This is the highest speed that you can achieve and all of the pads in Turbo Track and Deep Sea Driving give you blue flames.
It's possible to navigate tight turns without losing speed by holding left/right and brake while in mid-air and holding accelerate before hitting the ground. This technique is much easier to perform if you have a ramp. Practice this while you have a turbo pad speed boost. If you instead hold down-left/down-right while doing this technique, you'll move forward at full speed in mid-air like a pro!
The invisible fuel bar
You can actually maintain the speed from turbo pads longer than you're supposed to. There is an invisible fuel bar which depletes over time and empties when you hit a wall. You can increase it by hitting turbo pads and doing triple turbo boosts and large jumps. When the fuel runs out, you will go down to normal driving speed. However, you can keep the fuel replenished forever on most tracks and if you keep it up after hitting a turbo pad, you will never slow down. Remember the different boost types? If you maintain big red flames or blue flames as long as you can, you'll have a huge speed advantage and perhaps beat those annoying Oxide ghosts!
With these tips in mind, it's time to decide which character to use. There are 4 buckets of characters which are focused on balance (Crash, Cortex), speed (Tiny, Dingodile), turning (Polar, Pura), and acceleration (Coco, N. Gin):
- Balance: when in doubt, this is a good choice. They're my personal preference and best for most players.
- Speed: these characters are good on tracks with wide turns like Crash Cove and Coco Park. I'm not impressed with speed characters because the speed of every character while power boosting is very similar and the difference is negligible.
- Turning: these characters are good on tracks with hard turns like Oxide Station. They are also great on any track where you need to maintain blue flames from super pads like N. Gin Labs. They're a good choice if you find avoiding walls difficult, too.
- Acceleration: this is a good choice because they can quickly get in the lead versus the rest of the pack. When you're far enough in the lead, you get attacked by items much less frequently which can put you even further in the lead.
Time trial mode is your friend. Coco Park is great for practicing power boosting, Papu's Pyramid is solid for sharp turns on flat surfaces, Electron Avenue features big aerial turns, and if you want to practice keeping up blue flames, play on N. Gin Labs, Oxide Station, Cortex Castle, Hot Air Skyway, Deep Sea Driving, Tiny Temple, or Thunder Struck while using a turning character.
Finally, try to take the shortest route wherever possible while hugging corners as tightly as you can and trying not to zigzag too much. On Tiger Temple, Roo's Tubes, and Coco Park, you can cut through the grass and mud to gain a substantial advantage.