CTR can be played on a variety of platforms, including the original PlayStation, the PS2, PS3, PSVita, PSP, and emulators. It is recommended to use either the PS1 or PS2 for your records. Some consoles can have more lag than others. The worst track when it comes to lag is Oxide Station, if you have trouble playing this track due to lag, you may want to change your console, but in general lag shouldn’t be a crippling issue. Emulator times are forbidden on ctr4ever. PSP, PS3, PS Vita aren’t recommended as they are either hard to play or have more input lag (the delay between pressing the button and seeing the result on screen).
CTR as a game exists in three different versions: the PAL version was sold in Europe and Australia, the NTSC-U version was sold in the Americas and the NTSC-J version was sold in Japan. PAL and NTSC-J are the most commonly used versions, as the unlockable character Penta Penguin has maxed out stats in those versions. NTSC-U, on the other hand, has a slower Penta, and being equivalent to NTSC-J except for that regard, has been largely shunned by the community.
The main difference between PAL and NTSC (J or U) comes from the different frame rate, and concerns the jump height. PAL has 23 flat jump height on the jump-o-meter, while NTSC has 26. This means certain techniques can be easier on either version, and therefore some tracks are better to play in one version or the other. It should be noted that the difference is not that big, and importantly, the max speed is the same across both versions. The best times between versions rarely differ by more than 0″50 seconds. Having both PAL and NTSC-J versions is therefore a plus, but is not entirely necessary to become a master of the game. If you don’t have either version, starting with the NTSC-J can be better as the high jump makes it slightly more forgiving and easier to control. Modding your console to accept CDs from different versions and burned CDs is fine and a good solution to avoid paying for two consoles.
A PS1 controller is the best since each button on the PS2 controller is analog, which isn’t useful and is actually bothersome for CTR. PS1 controllers should work fine with a PS2. If your PS1 controller has analog functions, it can be best to deactivate them (they are active if the analog button is red) to reduce input lag a tiny bit.
To minimise the input lag, it is recommended to play on a CRT/cathode tube TV, instead of a modern flat screen TV. If you absolutely have to play on a modern TV, look for options to reduce input lag, such as a gaming mode.
There are four categories of characters, ranked here from slowest to fastest, or from highest turning to lowest:
- The slow, high-turning characters: Polar, Pura, Ripper Roo and Penta Penguin on NTSC-U
- The all-round ‘medium’ characters: Crash, Cortex, Komodo Joe and Fake Crash
- The ‘acceleration’ characters: Coco, N. Gin and Pinstripe
- The fast, low-turning characters: Tiny, Dingodile, Papu Papu and N. Tropy
Penta Penguin on PAL and NTSC-J has both the best speed (equal to Tiny, etc.) and the best turning, and thus belongs in a 5th category of his own.
If you use PAL or NTSC-J, Penta Penguin will be the best character for most tracks except Crash Cove, Roo’s Tubes, Coco Park, Mystery Caves and Dingo Canyon, where fast characters (Tiny, etc.) are used instead, because turning too much is not wanted in those tracks. Tiger Temple can be played with a fast character if you struggle to control Penta Penguin, especially in the tunnel. Fast characters can also be used in Blizzard Bluff instead of Penta.
If you use NTSC-U, the following characters are better for each track:
- Crash Cove, Roo’s Tubes, Tiger Temple, Coco Park, Mystery Caves, Blizzard Bluff, Sewer Speedway and Dingo Canyon: fast characters are clearly better.
- Papu’s Pyramid, Dragon Mines, Polar Pass, Cortex Castle, N.Gin Labs and Slide Coliseum: fast characters are the best, but very hard to drive with, so acceleration or even medium characters are more suited for most players.
- Tiny Arena, Hot Air Skyway and Oxide Station: acceleration characters are the best, some players might find medium characters easier to play with.
- Turbo Track: slow characters are the best.
(Note: this is directly taken from MISTRRL0VE’s guide)
X = Power
Square = Break
O = Get, activate weapon (doesn’t apply in time trial)
Δ = Track Map / Speedometer (in the bottom left you can switch between those)
→ = turn to right
← = turn to left
↓ = go backwards
R1/L1 = Jump/Slide (keep pressed to slide)
R2 = Rearview
L2 = far view / close view