Literally No Different To The Dreamcast Version!
Acclaim's conversion of Crazy Taxi can be called as how you see it. As a direct port of Sega's famous arcade title of the same name you play as a cabbie roaming the streets of San Francisco. It was originally a Dreamcast exclusive but following the demise of the system Sega pulled out of the console race and set to developing games for its previous competitors instead.
But with the case of Crazy Taxi on Playstation 2 you'd be hard pressed to notice anything new or different compared to the original version released in 2000. So summing up the game itself, in Crazy Taxi it is your job is to obtain as many fares as possible within the set time you have. The fares vary based on colours, with red being the cheapest but having the closest destinations while green is the most expensive but furthest away.
Once you choose from four characters: Alex, B.D. Joe, Gena and Gus, who all have their own unique cars, you'll quickly find yourself in the bustling city with a range of customers in need of transportation. Crazy Taxi's destinations are mostly obvious pieces of product placement with your customers wishing to be dropped off fast food joints such as KFC and Pizza Hut as well as clothes shops like Levis and Tower Records.
Once you reach your location you're graded out of "Good" "Normal" and "Bad" based on how swift you were arriving to your location. These grades impact on how much you're eventually paid come the drop off point but tricks during the drive itself increase the amount you're paid such as close crashes, jumps and crazy drifts round corners. Despite how simple this design might sound, it's thoroughly gratifying in short bursts. What keeps the player coming back is the eventual score you get at the end of the game which gives you a total alphabetical grade based on how many fares and how much money you made in total.
Basically the intention is to improve this score further by memorising key short-cuts in the city and overall drive more productively and decisively to better times. On the home consoles you can choose between two sections of the city to complete your fares in, the arcade city in arcade mode and the new city in original mode. The new city isn't actually that different from the original aside from some major layout differences which includes a visible ocean that can act as a shortcut and the San Francisco tram ways which provide some high velocity jumps given the adequate levels of acceleration.
Rule wise, they work much the same too and you can choose between the standard arcade settings, five minute timer and ten minutes when playing and gaining fares. This time system essentially serves as a difficulty setting for the game as Crazy Taxi can be played at a substantially more casual pace with five or ten minutes of time to obtain fares rather than seconds like with arcade rules. Likewise in the Dreamcast version there is also the Crazy Box mode which sets you the player through a series of surprisingly challenging tasks such as hitting a target with the car or navigating through a tight ocean surrounded course or even bowling with the car itself. With each row you clear of Crazy Box tasks you obtain more tasks to complete and on the whole they enhance your skill and performance in the actual game itself.
Besides this you have literally the same content with Crazy Taxi on Playstation 2 as on Dreamcast which ultimately is the title's biggest failing. It has been over a year since it's Dreamcast release, two if you count the arcade edition which is practically unacceptable when no changes have been made. Visually while Crazy Taxi was an amazing release n Dreamcast back in 2000, it now looks fairly average on the far more complicated Playstation 2 hardware and the low polygon looks and simple textures give the game a dated look. But the graphics aging looks aren't palpitated by the music either as while the adrenaline and punk based rock by Offspring and Bad Religion may be enjoyed by some, it eventually grows irritating and repetitive to others.
Had it not been for Crazy Taxi's addictive gameplay and crazy box mode either, the lifespan would've almost been completely considered nonexistent. Crazy Taxi is too short to consider for a high price tag and not worth £39.99 retail when the Dreamcast version is over half that price these days. Especially as it hasn't been given much treatment otherwise, there are even the same odd collision bugs found in the original DC version which further diminishes the value of the Playstation 2 Crazy Taxi.
But, if you're running low in titles worth giving a try on Playstation 2, at least on rental terms then go search out Crazy Taxi – especially if you missed out on the Dreamcast version to begin with. It's an incredibly eye-popping arcade grounds of playability and regardless of the lack of new content, still an exhilarating experience even on the Playstation 2.