Crazy Taxi was an arcade hit in 1999 and the 2000 Dreamcast port became one of the most universally popular titles on the system. The outrageous driving action now comes to the PC with this release, complete with all the quirky drivers, caricatured customers, twisting city streets, challenging traffic patterns, cartoon-styled physics, and shameless product placement that brought success to earlier versions of the title.
The player takes the role of one of four San Francisco cabbies, each with different skills and abilities. Potential customers are distinguished on the crowded city sidewalks by colored dollar signs that appear above their heads. The player has complete freedom in choosing which fares to pick up and the quickest route to the destinations they desire.
By confronting the player with realistic traffic patterns, the game presents a challenge that is familiar to nearly anyone who has driven a car down an actual city street, yet the comic environment and exaggerated physics allow a sense freedom and excitement that is only possible in the virtual reality of a next-generation video game. Players are continuously challenged to gain higher and higher scores as they learn shortcuts to popular destinations and develop driving tricks to push their vehicles to the limit. Three gameplay modes - Arcade, Original, and Crazy Box - feature tunes from Offspring, Bad Religion, and other groups.
Considering the financial position of Sega, I applaud them for milking their good franchises. There must have been a certain point in time though when they realized that the cow was empty. The empty cow in this case is Crazy Taxi, which was licensed out to Activision and published in their budget software line for PC gamers to finally experience the thrills of Crazy Taxi. Yeah, I experienced the thrills, when the game was in the arcade, and then when I bought it for Dreamcast, which was nearly 5 years ago.
Gameplay is exactly the same as it was in the original Crazy Taxi. You chose a cabbie out of 4, and then you roam the streets looking for fares. You can play in either Arcade Mode or Original Mode, which makes me curious as the game was originally in the arcade. You race through the streets risking life and limb in order to get your passenger to whatever they want to go, including Pizza Hut and KFC, both disgusting places to eat. A clock ticks like a time bomb, and in the end your total money earned is calculated and you are awarded a license based on that, which has no impact really on things to come.
Getting around the cities (all two of them) can be frustrating. There are lots of tight turns, traffic, and buildings to navigate around. Fortunately, you're given a wide-variety of moves that you can do with your car, such as the Crazy Drift to make turns a bit easier. All it takes are a few simple button combinations. With a controller, that's not a problem. With a keyboard, it proves to be the ultimate pain in the ass. This is a definite problem when you consider that the games main replay value comes from the Crazy Box mode, a mode in which you must perform the special maneuvers in a certain time limit. I was able to clear most of the Crazy Box mode on the Dreamcast, yet in half an hour I beat just 3 of the tasks.
One thing I really loved about Crazy Taxi however was that I could finally adjust the resolution. The games graphics are a port of the Dreamcast version, but I tell you, the game looks great in 1280×1024 resolutions. The cars are crisp looking and the NPC's look good, complete with a solid frame rate to boot. The soundtrack from the original DC game has been removed and a crappy rock soundtrack has replaced it, so you'll be quickly turning the volume sliders down.
People who downloaded Crazy Taxi have also downloaded:
Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller, Daytona USA: Deluxe, Driver (a.k.a. Driver: You Are the Wheelman), Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle for Europe, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Daytona USA, Need for Speed Underground 2, SimCity 4
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