|Title||:||Crazy Taxi 2|
|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
You've driven to Logan Airport and encountered the insanity present on our roads. What's their flippin' excuse, you wonder? If you're a gamer, that thought is likely fed not by anger, but by envy.
You want to be a crazy driver, too? Sega makes it happen on your Dreamcast with Crazi Taxi 2.
In CT2, players choose from several stylin' taxis and their hip cabbies. The gameplay is as simple as picking up and dropping off passengers, but with the clock ticking, you'll have to drive fast and loose to satisfy your customer and earn a fat tip.
There are two cities in which to ply your crazy driving. Just as the original Crazy Taxi mimicked San Francisco, the sequel's settings are based on New York. Hence, the layouts are primarily metropolitan in nature, with ample traffic and flat land. The soaring hills, beaches, and amazing airtime of 'frisco are sadly absent.
Constant practice is necessary to memorize the locations of the department stores, museums, and Burger Kings your passengers need to go to. Some passengers can be picked up in groups, with multiple destinations. The fare is paid by the last customer, so the heat is on to make many fast deliveries in a row.
To aid in these deliveries is a new function: the Crazy Hop. A single button launches the taxi into the air, over obstacles and onto overpasses. (Don't ask me to explain the physics behind this one.) Though weaving through traffic is still easier, the Hop makes available shortcuts over rooftops, though they are unfortunately rare.
There are two default control schemes. In one layout — the one I prefer – it is difficult to reach the Hop button without accidentally pressing Brake as well, which is contrary to the momentum of Hop. It is not possible to design a custom layout which overcomes this flaw.
Reprising their role as provider of the Crazy Taxi soundtrack is the band Offspring. Unlike the original Crazy Taxi, which also featured Bad Religion, CT2's tunes are almost exclusively Offspring's. Compared with CT2, I appreciated more the variety in CT1, and the lack of lyrical vulgarities. The comments of the drivers and passengers also seems less inspired this time around; upon late delivery, there are no irritated priests who will kick your tires, proclaiming, "You suck!"
There was supposedly a time in development when CT2 was going to feature a two-player mode and online play. Whether this was ever actually true, I don't know, but had Sega included such modes, CT2 would have been ten times the game it is. Instead we get an Internet menu option which sends us to the official Crazy Taxi web page. Yay.
The Crazy Taxi series expands with some interesting features in this sequel. The Crazy Hop takes awhile to put to full use, and even then seems an under-utilized maneuver — but carrying groups of passengers is a fun alternative to the solo customer. CT2 removes some of the fun elements from the original while adding new ones. Why didn't they just combine the best of both worlds? Now there's a crazy thought!
This article is copyright (c) 2001, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 25-Jun-01