Looking for a ride? Strap in for the taxi ride of your life.
Years after its first fare was collected, Crazy Taxi is still the best service in town. In 1999 arcades installed the open world racing game to the public. Originally developed by Hitmaker and published by Sega. Due to overwhelming popularity it was soon ported to the Dreamcast. Then the PS2 and GameCube. The basic premise is to transport as many lazy people to their desired destination in the shortest time possible.
Oh it seems as if I’m forgetting that Crazy Taxi isn’t that simple. Before you get to the moneymaking endeavours of quite possibly the most reckless taxi service known to man, you meet the drivers. There are four to choose from. Axel, B.D Joe, Gina and Gus are the four drivers you can select. Each driver has an individual cab and personalities that present themselves throughout gameplay. Something odd about the information given about each driver – you get the basics like; age, height and weight. But the driver’s blood type is also given.
Why? Why not? This seems to be the only reason.
The game modes are timed and arcade. In timed games you have a set time limit in which to play and make money. In the arcade mode you are given a short amount of time and have to proceed to gain more time by transporting customers as quickly as possible. The round finishes once you run out of time. As fun as running a well-oiled and effective taxi service is, that isn’t half the fun. You have to blast through a vast city area, finding and picking up a selection of oddball customers in a bid to get as much money as possible. Along with this, you have to drift round corners, jumps off of objects and slam into inanimate objects and others vehicles in order to get around.
Oh, and you can also drive underwater and pick people up, underwater! Apparently the laws of physics don’t apply in the Crazy Taxi world. And how do you get around, a map maybe? Hell no! To know the way to the next destination you follow a giant green arrow that floats above the cab at all times, as if it’s watching you. The customers request you take them on short drives that take 10 seconds, to mass city tours that take up to a minute. Every character encourages and mocks you depending on how the taxi is being driven. This makes the experience more immersive and allows the player to respond to what is being said to them.
Levels within the game are based upon California and San Francisco. Both are very different and offer unique challenges to players. For instance in one of the levels you can rack up some serious hang-time when descending because of the angle of road. If you were to drive a car fast enough in San Francisco, you could probably create daylight between the car and the road. Before I go any further I must say that; Crazy Taxi is incredibly addictive. It constantly changes; no one round is the same as the last.
It is important to remember that Crazy Taxi has zero depth. There is no progression, no upgrades or modifications. Just the basic taxi and the controls you’re taught. It is this lack of depth that makes this game so appealing and incredible. One of the major attractions of the original release was the music. It was famed for securing the musical talents of Bad Religion and The Offspring to play during gameplay, along with other bands. The soundtrack was modified for the release to the PlayStation Network and XBLA, this meant they no longer featured on the game.
With the release of Crazy Taxi on current generation consoles came some disappointing realisations. The game mechanics, sound and visuals had not been improved at all in order to fit the capabilities of the PlayStation and Xbox. The box-based artwork, the grainy colours may have looked great in the early 2000’s but for today’s standards they aren’t great. As for the mechanics, they are still massively responsive and work as well as ever.
Overall, the game hasn’t changed at all. Which in my opinion is the best thing that could have happened. The only real thing that has changed is the controller you play the game with and that it is no longer in a disk.
After all this time, Crazy Taxi is still awesome.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.