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Nitros Oxide (alternately spelled Nitrous Oxide or N. Oxide) is a villain character and alien from the planet Gasmoxia. Obsessed with speed, he debuted in Crash Team Racing to challenge the Earth to a race that would determine its fate. He has since returned in multiple Crash Bandicoot series titles, typically as an antagonist in racing games and spin-offs. Nitros Oxide is named after nitrous oxide gas, which is used in race car engines to provide short bursts of speed.

Appearances[]

Games[]

Crash Team Racing[]

Crash Team Racing Nitros Oxide Taunting Cutscene Screenshot

Nitros Oxide speaks to the player character in Crash Team Racing.

Nitros Oxide made his series debut as the main villain and final boss of Crash Team Racing. Searching through outer space for creatures to race against, he arrives on Earth and challenges its best driver to a game he calls "survival of the fastest". If he wins, Oxide plans to turn the planet into a concrete parking lot and enslave its inhabitants. The rest of the characters in Crash Team Racing all compete for the right to race Oxide and save their planet.

Oxide's boss garage is located in Gem Stone Valley. His race takes place on the track Oxide Station once Pinstripe Potoroo is defeated. Unlike any other boss, Oxide begins driving before the green light. He throws a combination of TNT and Nitro Crates, Bowling Bombs, and N. Brio's Beakers to slow the player character down. His hovercraft is visually unique to the other racers' karts.

Upon defeat, Oxide agrees not to destroy the planet, but challenges the player character to collect his Time Relics from every track. He can be raced a second time to unlock an alternate ending where he flies back to his home planet, Gasmoxia, leaving Earth alone for good. In the epilogue, Oxide returned to Gasmoxia emotionally broken by his defeat. Though he returned to racing after many years of therapy, his choice of a unicycle as a vehicle led to a gruesome accident.[1]

Oxide also appears in the game's Time Trial mode. Each track has an Oxide ghost that can be challenged after beating its N. Tropy ghost. Beating the Oxide ghost's time marks the track with a platinum star on the track select screen. Beating his ghost on all 18 tracks unlocks the ability to view the Naughty Dog scrapbook, containing concept art and other images, from the main menu at any time.

Nitros Oxide would return in later Crash Bandicoot racing series entries, including Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, a remake of Crash Team Racing: see § Other Crash Bandicoot racing games.

Crash Bandicoot: On the Run![]

Nitros Oxide made multiple appearances in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!. Though the final Beta Season, "The Return of Nitros Oxide!", was named after him, his true in-game debut was in Season 1, also named "The Return of Nitros Oxide!". The season lasted from March 29 to May 3rd, 2021. In it, Oxide challenged Crash and Coco Bandicoot to missions involving collecting items and building Portal Weapons, implying that the fate of Earth depended on it. At the season's end, he revealed that he was stranded on Earth and needed the materials to repair his ship and leave. Oxide-themed skins for Crash and Coco were also added during this season, obtained by placing high on the team leaderboard.

Oxide artwork full imagem event

Promotional art depicting the many Oxides in Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!'s fourth season, "Survival of the Fastest".

Oxide returned in Season 4, "Survival of the Fastest", from July 15 to August 16, 2021. Here, he teamed up with all iterations of himself from across the multiverse to challenge Earth. His Nitro, Frosty, Inferno, and Oxide variations were all able to be fought as bosses. Their attacks included driving their hovercrafts down one lane, causing lanes to become rocky, and throwing bouncing projectiles along the track. Like all bosses, they were defeated by chasing them and depleting their health with Boom Berries, then using the Portal Weapons crafted beforehand to send them back to their own dimensions. At the end of the season, Oxide told Crash and Coco that they were merely testing the bandicoots to see if they were worthy to compete against them.

Other Crash Bandicoot racing games[]

Oxide

Promotional art of Nitros Oxide for Crash Nitro Kart.

Nitros Oxide returns in Crash Nitro Kart, participating in the galactic racing tournament hosted by Emperor Velo XXVII. Bitter from his defeat in Crash Team Racing, Oxide is motivated to make sure Crash and his friends lose, as their freedom and the fate of the Earth are again at stake.[2] He is a member of Team Oxide along with Zem, Zam, and Velo. Like all members of Team Oxide, he rides in the Team Oxide kart, uses the Velo Mask as his Invincibility Mask power up, and is playable in every mode except Adventure mode. In the console version of the game, Oxide has balanced stats. In the GameBoy Advance and N-Gage versions, he has high acceleration and low speed.

In Crash Nitro Kart 2, Nitros Oxide works with Neo Cortex to turn Earth into a parking lot. He appears in the missions "Save Yaya!", "Wumpas galore!", "Underwater oil", "Carbon monOxide", and "The ultimate challenge." During the story, he attacks Earth's environment, attempting to destroy Yaya Panda's bamboo forest and creating a machine to turn the oceans into nitro fuel. Near the end of the game, Oxide attempts to trap Crash using a dimensional portal, but is stopped by Coco. Crash and Oxide then race each other for the fate of the Earth. Nitros Oxide can be unlocked as a playable character by completing the game's Sudden Death mode, and is playable in every mode except the Challenges mode. According to his in-game description, he has high speed and low acceleration.[3]

Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D shares many of the same story events as Crash Nitro Kart 2. Oxide is an enemy racer in Missions 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8. He chases Yaya Panda out of her grassland home, then builds a machine to turn grass into petroleum and hides it in Adventure Land. Eventually, he flees to his home planet through a mystical gate hidden in the Egyptian ruins, but is slowed down enough by Coco that Crash can follow him. Crash and Oxide then race each other, with the winner earning eternal glory, and the loser being banned from N. Sanity Island forever. Oxide is also a playable character in the game's Cup and Time Trial modes. He is unlocked by collecting all of the C.R.A.S.H. letters in the Fairy 3 track of Aku-Aku Cup during Cup mode.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Nitros Oxide Intro Screenshot

Nitros Oxide in the introductory cutscene of Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled.

In Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, a remake of the original Crash Team Racing, Oxide reprises his role as the main villain. He is also a playable character unlocked by winning his boss race. In the Nitros Oxide Edition of the game, he is instead unlocked by default.[4] His default Driving Style is Acceleration, and he has the Velo Mask as his Invincibility Mask. Oxide's Hovercraft and the Team Oxide kart, originally unique to specific characters, were added as cosmetic karts usable by any character. Oxide's Adventure Mode epilogue was edited, specifying that his accident ended his ambitions of conquest, and that the details could not be shared in-game as "the rating boards are watching us".[5] Beating Oxide's Time Trial ghost on every track unlocks the Champion kart set, its Oxide's Decal, and the Digital skin for N. Tropy. During the Gasmoxia Grand Prix event, spanning from February 20 to March 22, 2020,[6] Oxide would replace Crash on the title screen if the game was left idle. Also for that event, in the CTR TV segment, Oxide took over the broadcast to explain that he invited Emperor Velo XXVII to race with the rest of the cast.

Other game appearances[]

Oxideride

Oxide's boss appearance in Crash Bash.

Nitros Oxide is the final boss of Crash Bash, faced in the level Oxide Ride. The first half Oxide Ride is a chase sequence. With the player character following behind, Oxide flies his spacecraft through a field of meteors, metal walls, and floating mines. He also occasionally fires missiles and throws Nitro Crates to try and damage the player character. In the second half of the level, Oxide and the player character arrive on another planet to play a one-on-one round of Ballistix. Missiles will fire from Oxide's side of the arena that damage the player character when they are hit.

Nitros Oxide makes a cameo in Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex. On the game's title screen, he can be seen flying through space in his hovercraft.

In Crash Twinsanity, Oxide appears briefly in a scene just before the Mecha-Bandicoot boss fight, attending the "birthday party" ambush organized by Cortex to witness Crash's defeat.

Crash Bandicoot 4 It's About Time Nitros Oxide and N Tropys Screenshot

Oxide's cameo in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.

Oxide plays a minor role in the story of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. N. Tropy and his alternate-dimension counterpart hijack Oxide's spaceship, forcing him to travel to the planet Bermugula so that he can guard their Rift Generator device from enemies. Oxide communicates with his crew over speakers during the level Stowing Away. He abandons ship after it sustains critical damage from flying into an asteroid field. In the game's epilogue, Nitros Oxide became addicted to caffeine. He went on to sponsor a popular sports drink, but was later sent to rehab and divorced by his wife. The accompanying artwork shows him racing during this time.

In Crash Team Rumble, the Relic Station "Oxide's UFO" can be activated in Calamity Canyon for 30 Relics. Upon activation, Oxide appears and flies around in his hovercraft, following a random member of the opposing team while firing a laser beam down after them.

Other media[]

Nitros Oxide is referenced, though does not appear, in Crash Team Racing: Turbo Time!, a promotional comic for Crash Team Racing published in Disney Adventures magazine. Crash, Coco, Cortex and Tiny Tiger grudgingly plan an alliance to stop Oxide's evil plans and steal his X Device, which allows the owner to speed up the entire world.

Nitro fueled comic hovercraft

Nitros Oxide in the Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Digital Comic.

Nitros Oxide is also the central character of the Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled digital comic, which depicts the events leading to and following his challenge for the fate of Earth. Oxide, in order to prove his superiority, sets out to challenge various planets in the Milky Way to races. When he wins, he turns them into parking lots so that his minions can park there and easily create more parking lots. After destroying Mars, he finds a flier from Earth announcing a driving contest for the best drivers in the world. Furious that anyone remains to contest his skill, he flies to Earth and issues his challenge. He orders a team of Surveillance Robots to hide Area Keys across the islands, so that only the most skilled racers can face him. He also has the racetracks tweaked to his advantage in preparation for the races.

Characteristics[]

Physical description[]

Crash Team Racing Nitros Oxide Podium

Nitros Oxide as he appears in Crash Team Racing.

Beginning with Crash Team Racing, Nitros Oxide is depicted as a green alien character with two arms and four legs. His mouth is at the end of a long proboscis on his face. The top of his head has a broad yellow-striped carapace covering two exhaust pipes in his skull. He also has dark eyebrows, red eyelids, and two pairs of yellow sacs at his temples. His hands have three fingers each, while his legs are segmented and have two toes per foot. He also has two pairs of short exhaust pipes protruding from his upper back. He wears a purple jumpsuit with a wide collar and flared cuffs around his wrists. At various points in-game, he is depicted with either a rhombus-shaped blue emblem, a round gray emblem, or no emblem at all on his chest. Also in-game, his right eye's iris and pupil are cartoonishly larger than the one in his left eye.

OxideIAT

Nitros Oxide's most recent design, seen in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time and Crash Team Rumble.

Most later depictions of Oxide vary in minor ways from this design. In Crash Bash and Crash Nitro Kart, his head crest is not as broad as in other games. In Nitro Kart only, he has just one pipe in the back of his head instead of two. In Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, the stripes on his head are not as bright, and his overall appearance was made to match the game's art style. The emblem on Oxide's chest has also changed throughout the series. In Bash, it is a gray rhombus. In Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!, it is round and gray. In Crash Twinsanity and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, it is round and purple. In It's About Time and Crash Team Rumble, he has two round gray emblems on either side of his chest. Also overall, both his eyes' iris and pupils now match each other in size.

Oxide's in-game appearance in Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D is quite different from any of his other designs. His skin is a darker green, he has no proboscis or pipes on his body, and he wears no clothing. His character icon resembles his appearance from the original Crash Team Racing, however.

Personality[]

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Digital Comic Nitros Oxide Trophy Room

Oxide collects trophies from the planets he's destroyed in the Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled digital comic.

Oxide is often characterized as cruel, competitive, and boastful. In Crash Team Racing, he challenges Earth's racers for the fate of the planet, threatening to destroy it and enslave its people if they lose. He suggests he's done this with multiple planets before, simply to test his skills. He issues similar challenges against the Earth throughout the series, such as in Crash Nitro Kart 2, Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D and On the Run!. In the Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled digital comic, he keeps a room full of trophies from the planets he's competed on and destroyed. He thinks of his non-Gasmoxian opponents as inferior, calling Earth a "mushy backwater world" in Crash Team Racing[7] and karts "primitive technology" in Nitro Kart.[8]

On the other hand, Oxide can be underhanded and a sore loser. In Crash Team Racing, he cheats by taking off before the green light in his boss race. He also refuses to admit defeat until the player character collects all of his Time Relics and wins a second race against him. In his epilogue, he was so affected by his defeat that he lived in seclusion, emerging to race again only after years of therapy.[1] In Crash Nitro Kart, the manual states that he is personally motivated to defeat Crash Bandicoot and friends due to his bitterness at losing to them previously.[2] In the Nitro-Fueled digital comic, he has his Surveillance Robot tweak every race track to his advantage. Oxide's promotional character description for Crash Bandicoot: On the Run! describes him as "a sore loser and a cheat".[9]

Oxide has a tendency to lose his vehicles in one way or another. In Nitro Kart, his ship was shown to have crash-landed on Terra in Tiny Temple. In Nitro-Fueled, which includes content from Nitro Kart, an identical crashed ship presumably belonging to Oxide was added to Inferno Island. In It's About Time, Oxide is forced to abandon ship after driving it through an asteroid field. He also remarks in Stowing Away that six karts of his had been stolen that year.[10] In Season 1 of On the Run!, "The Return of Nitros Oxide!", he had visibly wrecked his hovercraft on Wumpa Island.

Adding to his boastful personality in the Japanese scripts, his self-referring Japanese pronoun is usually either "ore" or "ore-sama". In the Japanese script of Crash Team Racing only, Oxide has a vocal tic, adding a "bleh" to the ends of some sentences, with some of them occasionally being akin to an elongated "hocking a loogie" tic.

Behind-the-scenes information[]

Creation and early development[]

From the beginning, Nitros Oxide was conceptualized by Naughty Dog as the main villain of Crash Team Racing. However, he was not always an alien. A press CD from the Sony PlayStation Autumn Winter Collection 99 contained information on the game's early plot.[11] The character, then called Dr. Nitros Oxide, was a human and mad scientist archetype who experienced life at hyper-speed. In one description, this resulted from a terrible accident in childhood; in another, he was simply born fast. Bored and restless, and unable to find a worthy racing opponent on the islands for ten years, Dr. Oxide began to plot world domination. To accomplish this, he developed a device called the Hyper Activator to make the entire world faster. This would finally make life comfortable for Oxide, but leave the rest of Earth's inhabitants behind in a blur. Eventually, it would destroy all life on the planet. The cast of Crash Team Racing would band together to learn how to race, defeat Dr. Oxide, and take his Hyper Activator — Crash and friends in order to destroy it, and the other characters for their own nefarious aims.

Besides his affinity for speed and role as the main villain, most elements of this backstory did not make it into final game. However, a highly similar device to the Hyper Activator called the X Device, belonging to "the evil alien Nitros Oxide", would be mentioned in Crash Team Racing: Turbo Time!, a promotional comic for Crash Team Racing.

Noxide1a
Human oxide 2
Oxide concept 3
Oxide concept 6

Some of many concept sketches of Nitros Oxide, from human to alien.

Initial sketches produced by artist Bob Rafei depicted Oxide as human.[12] Notably, iterations of the character wearing a gas mask have a facial structure resembling that of his final design. Oxide was reimagined as an alien at some later point in development. According to the Naughty Dog website, this was because the team had already exhausted ideas for human, animal and machine characters, and wanted something otherworldly instead.[13] Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin felt the decision would be unpopular with fans, and this was by design. Crash Team Racing was to be Naughty Dog's last Crash Bandicoot series project. Wanting to work on a new series, and feeling that the Crash series wouldn't belong on newer-generation consoles, they hoped to "[jump] the shark" and "kill Crash" by introducing an alien character.[14] For these reasons, more concept sketches of Oxide as an alien were produced, eventually being refined to the design seen in the final game.

Crash Team Racing Nitros Oxide at the starting line Cropped Screenshot

Oxide's larger character model compared to the other racers caused problems during development.

Oxide was always intended to be the final boss of Crash Team Racing. However, there were plans to make him a playable character as well. Voice lines and unique character models pertaining to a playable version of Oxide exist in the game's code, but are unused.[11] Due to the way polygons are loaded and displayed in Crash Team Racing, the amount of available memory was more limited compared to previous Crash Bandicoot games. Oxide's larger character model caused him to use up more memory than the other racers. His home track, Oxide Station, was built with these limitations in mind, but he was unable to be successfully implemented on other tracks with multiple racers or the multiplayer mode.[15][16] Naughty Dog also believed that implementing "cute" characters instead, such as Polar, would better appeal to Japanese players.[17] Thus, Oxide was was not made playable for the final game. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, a remake of the original Crash Team Racing, does include him as playable.

Trivia[]

  • Many unused voice lines exist in the files of the September 3rd, 1999 prototype build of Crash Team Racing. In one of them, Oxide reveals that he is the reason there is no life on Mars — he challenged their civilization to a race, won, and destroyed it.[11] Though the line was cut from the final release, it was referenced in the Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled digital comic.

Additional information[]

Gallery[]

Main article: Nitros Oxide/Gallery

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Crash Team Racing. Nitros Oxide's epilogue. "Nitros Oxide went back to the planet Gasmoxia a broken alien." / "After years of therapy, Oxide emerged from seclusion to begin racing again." / "Unfortunately, the unicycle was a poor vehicle choice, and his resulting accident was too gruesome to detail here."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Crash Nitro Kart manual. "Still bitter over previous losses to Crash and friends, Oxide is going to do everything he can to make sure that Crash loses this time."
  3. Crash Nitro Kart 2. Nitros Oxide's in-game description. "This alien moves at the speed of light, but he's slow on acceleration."
  4. Announcement: Details of Crash™ Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Adventure Mode Revealed!. Activision Blog. Archived from the original on November 04, 2022 "Finally, purchase the Nitros Oxide Edition of the game to play as Nitros Oxide, Crunch, Zem or Zam from day one ..."
  5. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. Nitros Oxide's epilogue. "... Unfortunately, the unicycle was a poor choice, and his resulting accident put an end to his ambitions of conquest. The details of the event were too gruesome to print here ( the rating boards are watching us )."
  6. Nitros Oxide Takes His Final Swing in the Gasmoxia Grand Prix. Activision Blog. Archived from the original on April 4, 2022 "The Gasmoxia Grand Prix transports players to this toxic planet going through a galactic-sized fast food war on February 20 at 7 AM PT (3PM UTC)."
  7. Crash Team Racing. N. Oxide's Final Challenge victory cutscene. Nitros Oxide: "That's it! I'm finished racing in these mushy backwater worlds."
  8. Crash Nitro Kart. In-race quote. Nitrous Oxide: "Not bad for primitive technology!"
  9. Nitros Oxide's promotional character profile for Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!. "While he might be a sore loser and a cheat, he's definitely not a quitter!"
  10. Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time. Voiceover line in Stowing Away. N. Oxide: "My 6th kart stolen this year. My wife's gonna kill me."
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Crash Team Racing article on The Cutting Room Floor.
  12. Crash Team Racing - Characters. Bob Rafei Concept Art & Illustration. Archived from the original on May 18, 2022
  13. Crash Gallery - CTR (Crash Team Racing) Character Sketches. Naughty Dog. Archived from the original on August 6, 2004 "After exhausting human, animal, machine, and various combinations thereof for Crash game bosses, we decided to go with something otherworldly for CTR's main boss."
  14. E3 Coliseum: Crash Bandicoot Reunion. YouTube. Archived from the original on June 23, 2023
    Jason Rubin: "Crash was made for the PlayStation ... Everything about Crash was made to work on the PlayStation One. ... We just made the decision, for that and the business reasons, to try something new with Jak [and Daxter].
    Andy Gavin: "Plus, after you work for six years, seven days a week, fourteen hours a day on the same thing, it seems creatively more exciting to try a new character."
    Jason Rubin: "And we actually tried to kill Crash. Like, in CTR, we said 'What won't anybody believe, cause this is our last game. Let's put aliens in. We'll bring an alien, no one will like Crash after that ... This'll be the end, we've jumped the shark, the alien came in to CTR.' Everybody loved it."
  15. AMA thread with Rob Titus on Reddit. Archived from the original. "Nitrous just couldn't fit into memory for multiplayer, plus he was too big, so he got cut as a playable. We ran out of memory all the time because the game is not streamed like the Crash games."
  16. Pop Fiction: Season 3: Episode 27: Crash Course. GameTrailers. Archived from the original on September 24, 2012 "Nitros Oxide was never designed to be anything but the boss character he was with the shipped game. ... It was a technical issue. We considered making him playable at one point, but we were under such extreme memory limitations on the PlayStation One ... Everything was just stripped down, and we actually had to design his boss level specifically to keep in mind that his character model is going to be a little bigger than average. And so we just couldn't make it work across the whole game."
  17. Crash Bandicoot — Interviews "R" us. All Things Andy Gavin. Archived from the original on January 31, 2023 Q: "Why Nitros Oxide wasn't brought to playable characters in CTR?" / A (Andy Gavin): "We only had room for so many, and the consensus (particularly of the Japanese) was that the cute characters were better choices (like the polar bear cub)."
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