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Crazy Taxi (PC) artwork

Crazy Taxi (PC) review

"Though the game isnít messed up and the underlying premise shines through, this port is a missed opportunity that could have been done better. The game is fun and addictive in short bursts, but it does get repetitive and the Crazy Box challenges donít prolong the lifespan much. "

The commercial failure of the Sega Dreamcast may have ended Segaís tenure in the console business, though not for a lack of trying. The two years it had on the market left a games library comparable to its more successful competitors, and Segaís arcade back catalogue meant innovative hits like Crazy Taxi could be ported with ease. The simple premise of picking up and dropping off passengers within a time limit makes this title instantly accessible, in what is probably the most therapeutic game on the planet. Drive like a maniac to get the fastest possible time and execute daft stunts; there are no repercussions for dangerous driving in the eternally sunny cities.

Everything about the game is highly jovial, the visuals are bright and breezy, the passengers enjoy a thrilling ride and the announcer has a goofy voice. Punters range amongst cool elderly ladies, baseball fans, punk rockers and hopeless romantics, all who will generously tip sequences of stunts, such as accelerating over a ramp, skimming through traffic and a sharp drift turn. Driving on the wrong side of the road even leads to double tips, but customer attitudes will quickly change if theyíre journey takes too long, even if it falls within the allocated time limit. Take longer than that and theyíll abandon the cab en-route.

There are four available four drivers who sport their own taxis with differing attributes. Punk musician Axel drives a nippy vehicle but gets pushed aside in most collisions, but happy-go-lucky rapper BD Joe and adrenaline-junkie Gina have better rounded vehicles. Veteran poker player Gus has sluggish acceleration in his larger cab, but it can easily charge through a pile-up. There are two courses to choose from that drastically differ in nature. The arcade track is largely a circuit around a West Coast themed city, and itís easy to navigate thanks to an overlaid directional arrow. However the home-version exclusive Ďoriginalí trackís compact and sprawling layout renders the arrow useless.

The two courses may present little variety, but there are also the timed Crazy Box mini-games. Each challenge focuses on negotiating obstacles by executing jumps, skimming cars and drifts in some very peculiar courses. Some of the courses involve executing a series of combos, or carrying a passenger to a destination without falling into the sea. Others require a series of passenger journeys in a tight time limit, with tiny destination markers and awkward turns to add extra spice. The toughest challenges even require a party of passengers to travel at once. The cab probably hasnít got enough seatbelts, and messing up is a guaranteed way to have seven angry passengers yelling choice words to the driver.

Though Crazy Taxiís is a timeless arcade classic, it has little long-term value. The Crazy Box challenges are mildly addictive, but they donít provide much longevity. Furthermore this Steam conversion adds little to the Dreamcast original, and takes a step backwards. None of the courses, gameplay and graphical features from subsequent titles are here, awful pub outfits have replaced the thumping punk rock soundtrack by Bad Religion and The Offspring, and (though less tragically) the iconic real-life destinations have been replaced with generic alternatives. Though there is now support for widescreen displays and modern controllers, the maximum resolution of 720p is woefully pathetic.

Nonetheless the game is sure to satisfy seekers of Dreamcast nostalgia. The direct conversion does reveal the age of the game with noticeable pop-up, cardboard box texturing and some poor collision detection. Though the game isnít messed up and the underlying premise shines through, this port is a missed opportunity that could have been done better. The game is fun and addictive in short bursts, but it does get repetitive and the Crazy Box challenges donít prolong the lifespan much. An entertaining title, but anyone clamoring for a definitive high definition reinvention of Crazy Taxi will have to stick to Grand Theft Autoís taxi missions.


bigcj34's avatar
Community review by bigcj34 (October 31, 2014)

Cormac Murray is a freelance contributor for HG and is a fanboy of Sega and older Sony consoles. For modern games though he pledges allegiance to the PC Master Race, by virtue of a MacBook running Windows.

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Germ posted October 31, 2014:

A flood destroyed my Dreamcast years ago.

Just bought the PS3 version of this when it went on sale last month. Thanks for the review! It reminded me to actually download it!

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