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Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast) artwork

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast) review


"I still remember when this game first appeared at the arcade I used to go to, and just watch people play it. They understood the concept, where they had to pick up customers and drop them off at their destinations before time ran out, which, considering the game's title had the word Taxi in it, wasn't hard to grasp. However, when the game finally started, I would watch in amazement as they just drove causally while picking up customers and dropping them off. Obviously, they didn't last long, but..."



I still remember when this game first appeared at the arcade I used to go to, and just watch people play it. They understood the concept, where they had to pick up customers and drop them off at their destinations before time ran out, which, considering the game's title had the word Taxi in it, wasn't hard to grasp. However, when the game finally started, I would watch in amazement as they just drove causally while picking up customers and dropping them off. Obviously, they didn't last long, but they looked like they enjoyed themselves, probably because of how silly they thought the game played, thanks to their own ignorance.

Having played Crazy Taxi myself, I wish I can be ignorant about it, too, because after understanding how to play it properly, it's an irritating experience. It's not a bad game at first, when you're still trying to get a feel for things, though, interestingly, the better you get at Crazy Taxi, the more its flaws become apparent. The most glaring problem is how magnetic the collision detection can get at times. Since the entire point of the game is to get from one point to another as fast as possible, you're bound to hit a bunch of stuff. Fine. Unfortunately, there will be times when you are going to be stuck on an object, be it a wall or vehicle, for a few seconds, eventually sliding off. Now add traffic AI that's programmed obnoxiously to get in your way as much as possible, then include the fact that your ride has really sensitive movements, making it really hard to dodge something when you're going really fast, and this becomes a constant annoyance.

The next issue is sadly something that has carried over into its sequel: you get one good city and one bad city. Specifically, the original arcade city is the one that sucks. I can talk about its San Francisco influence, with the steep hills, or how it's neat that you're dropping people off at real life stores like Tower Records (are they still around?) or Kentucky Fried Chicken, but when all is said and done, the city is just one big circle. That would have been fine if it was cleverly designed, but it wasn't, and instead follows a simple pattern of moving you forward a little bit every time you pick someone up. You could go for the customers that want to travel long distances, but that usually screws you over; with those customers, you're likely to travel through the highway that stretches out way too much for its own good, or the area that clogs up every available space with traffic and parked cars.

All that's left is the city that was made for the Dreamcast port, and thankfully, it's designed very well. It's basically a maze, filled with many alternative routes to various locations. The developers could have easily screwed this up, making it a confusing mess, but it's not (they saved that for the sequel). With different structures like the car shop by the ocean, or the Ferris wheel placed at the top of a steep hill, it's easy to navigate through the city once you memorize most of the layout. Now, you can still have fun in this one city, even with all the flaws present, but to do so, you'll have to make a conscious effort to go against what Crazy Taxi wants you to achieve: being real good at the game.

Seriously... what?

Rating: 6/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (September 09, 2009)

After reviews about Gradius, Salamander, Parodius, and Otomedius games, PickHut attempted a Scramble review. The idea never materialized into writing...

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bigcj34 posted September 10, 2009:

I enjoyed Crazy Taxi on the PS2 and occasionally play CT3 on my computer. I preferred the arcade city, the original was decent but hard to navigate around, the arrow was useless. The only level I play on CT3 is the original arcade one though, the others are hard and rubbish.

That an interesting take on the game, many still look back through orange-swirled glasses. I don't get how you have to not be good at the game to enjoy Crazy Taxi though, practise makes permanent like others. Cars are there for dodging, and at least you don't get horribly stuck for too long with its werid physics.
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pickhut posted September 10, 2009:

I don't get how you have to not be good at the game to enjoy Crazy Taxi though,

I explained that part earlier in the review: it's easier to enjoy the game when you're playing through it for the first time or relearning, since its flaws are easier to overlook, because you're not yet playing at the level the developers want you to play. I find it very ironic that the game is more enjoyable when one is not playing at their best.
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bigcj34 posted September 10, 2009:

Meh. I can sort of see what you mean, it is actually HARD to get proficient at this game, which probably explains why it does feel repetitive. I prefer CT3 from its Crazy Jump feature. Instant combo points!
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zippdementia posted September 11, 2009:

I'm with Pickhut. Crazy Taxi is really fun when you don't know how to play because you just go for it and have a fun time trying to show off to your friends how insane you can be while driving. But once you take it to the console market and start trying to actually spend enough time to be GOOD at it, you realize that there is NO WAY to actually be good at the game baring hours of tedious practice. There's too many poor design choices to make being good fun and so you end up hating the game instead.
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honestgamer posted September 11, 2009:

Wow. That wasn't my experience at all. I spent hours and enjoyed nearly every minute of it, becoming rather good in the process (imagine that!). It does tend to taper off after around 30 or 40 hours, but that's true of most games so it's hard to fault it. I will admit to not particularly caring for some of the side challenges, though.

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