Crazy Taxi (PlayStation 2) review
"Ever Wonder Why 'Taxi' Has An I But 'Candy' Has A Y, Unless It's An Exotic Dancer? Me neither, so luckily I'm reviewing Crazy Taxi and not our country's exotic dancing scene!"
Crazy Taxi is a port of the Dreamcast and Arcade game of the same name. This definitely shows in all aspects of the game, as it feels almost like a direct port of the Dreamcast version. However, when providing a port of a game from an older console, it’s generally a good idea to include *some* new features...
In Crazy Taxi, you play one of four “crazy” taxi drivers hell-bent on getting your customers to their stops on time. You do this by driving at hair-raising speeds through downtown traffic. It doesn't matter how many times you hit other cars, or walls, or anything else, as long as you drop off your customers at their stop in record time.
For each customer that you drop off, you receive a cold, hard cash. The fare paid varies by the distance traveled; the longer the trip, the more money you make. In addition, the fares go up with each crazy maneuver you make. Cutting off cars in traffic or making crazy jumps off of highway ramps will drive your fare up. However, you can't dawdle; a timer is running, both on the current customer and the taxi session. If you don't drop off your fares in a timely matter, they'll just jump out of the car, leaving you holding the bag.
Luckily, your car is simple to control. No Gran Turismo-like physic models here; your car makes unbelievable turns and jumps that defy gravity. It can also crash into anything without significantly slowing down, or even being dented. There are only four controls to worry about - gas, brake, forward, and reverse. This makes Crazy Taxi a good game to introduce to casual racing game fans. They won’t get bogged down with shifting and car customization and can instead focus upon crazy leaps and making money.
Unfortunately, for all of its outstanding gameplay, Crazy Taxi quickly loses appeal. You're always going around the same city, picking up the same people, using the same four drivers who having nothing but cosmetic differences. There's some variety in terms of who you can pick up, and the routes you can travel to maximize your fare, but this is exhausted within an afternoon. Worst of all, there's no two player option in the game at all. A split screen option would have been a godsend, although the action would get a bit crunched on a standard sized television screen. As a result, once you thoroughly play Crazy Taxi, most of the appeal is lost.
Crazy Taxi has no major flaws or strengths graphically. It's a noticeable step down from most Playstation 2 games, due to the fact that it's an almost exact port of a Dreamcast game. It would have been nice to see a few more different character types of terms of fares; there are only stereotypes, such as a minister, a boozing sports fan, and a young coed. There are some noticeable fill-in effects, which distract a bit from the gameplay. Thankfully, there is absolutely no slowdown in the frantic driving action due to the simple porting job done.
I really hope you like The Offspring, because that's all there is on the Crazy Taxi soundtrack. It's old Offspring, meaning a heavy, noisy, pop-punk sound, and continually loops. Over and over and over and over and over again. If this isn't your cup of tea, then you better turn off the music entirely. The sound effects are excellent though, as your driver makes comments to your passengers. They also offer droll encouragement such as, “YOU’RE AN EXCELLENT DRIVER!!!” when you do crazy stuff.
Crazy Taxi is a straight port of the free-wheeling Dreamcast game. If you don’t go into it expecting a suitable alternative to Gran Turismo 3, then you shouldn’t be disappointed. It’s deep into the bargain bin by now, so you can’t go wrong by giving it a shot at least. It’s appeal is the strongest among the non-car fanatical racing game fans; think Super Mario Kart fans.
Staff review by Stephen Greenwell (December 21, 2003)
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