|Platforms||:||Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube|
|Review by||:||Ken Gagne|
Hey hey, it's Crazy Taxi — let's go make some crazy money! Choose a crazy driver and crazy cab, then drive through a crazy city, delivering crazy passengers to their crazy destinations. Imagine getting paid for being a Boston driver! It's a crazy good time in this Sega game for the Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. [DC version reviewed here]
The objective in this driving game is to pick up passengers and deliver them to places such as KFC, Fila, Pizza Hut, and Levi's. You'll get more money for the farther away the destination, the more quickly they get there, and the more crazily you drive. Adhere to no rules or laws — just beat the clock! It's rewarding in more ways than one to dart in and out of traffic, take jumps over rooftops, and race a train through a tunnel.
There are two large cities, both resembling San Francisco, through which to race. Arrows point players to the destination, not as the crow flies but by how the streets are laid out. These pointers ignore the handful of available shortcuts (both above and below street level); it would behoove a player to get to know the city if they're intent on a fat tip.
The same citizens are always at the same spots, wanting to go to the same place. This makes it easy to get stuck in a rut of always picking up the same fares. Some randomly-placed customers would've been nice.
In a game this crazy, the control has to be tight. It takes practice, practice, practice to drive both crazy and well, though. Moves such as the Crazy Dash and Crazy Drift seem impossible to pull off at first, then happen by luck, then — much later — can be pulled off with ease. There is a training mode loaded with obstacle courses, in which specific moves must be learned and executed to meet certain goals. This is somewhat helpful, but telling drivers what moves to do is not the same as showing them how it's done.
Driving crazily isn't hard when the game moves so fast. The city's buildings, hills, and sights smoothly scroll into view, then go screaming out as the taxi speeds by. There is some slowdown when traffic is thick, but for the most part, the game flies.
The soundtrack is provided by the alternative bands Offspring and Bad Religion. These cool, fast-paced tunes match the game's atmosphere perfectly. The audio is rounded out by the hems and haws of its citizens, who holler as they tumble out of the way of a crazy taxi, offer directions from the back seat, and offer congratulatory or disparaging remarks upon delivery.
Crazy Taxi seems repetitive at first, but it grows on you. Fares in the hundreds can, on a good day, rocket into the tens of thousands. With addictive, challenging gameplay, large cities, and excellent audio and visual presentation, Crazy Taxi is a great ride. With these cabbies, the meter is running, and so are the pedestrians; what are you waiting for?
This article is copyright (c) 2000, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 14-Feb-00