theuselessgod's Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast) review

CRAAAAAAZY!

The Short

Pros

- Faithful recreation of the breakneck arcade driving game

- Fantastic graphics for the Dreamcast

- Lots of settings let you tweak your experience to best suit you

- Challenge modes are a nice break from the regular game

- Very addicting, and also a lot of fun to just boot up and play a couple games

- Music by The Offspring and Bad Religion really bring the late 90s vibe home

- Seriously, this game is such a great time capsule

Cons

- Only has like four songs, and if you play a mode longer than 4-5 minutes you'll get them repeated

- XBLA/PSN version has NO licensed songs, just generic guitar stuff. Lame.

- Branding is also gone in the XBLA version, and this is the only time I'll say I liked in-game advertising

- The whole "CRAAAAZZZYYYY!!" aspect of the game can be really obnoxious

- Stuff your driver/passengers say is obnoxious

- Have to press a button to switch from drive to reverse. I know you jerks did that to take up time.

- At it's core, this game is very simple, and only has one real map

Time to make some CRAZY MONEY!

The LongCrazy Taxi is yet another arcade game I saw frequently as a child and only got to play like three times. And the times I did play it I was so incredibly awful it wasn't a very enjoyable experience, mostly because I knew I could do better. I've always been oddly drawn to this game for some reason (maybe because I like both The Offspring and Bad Religion, thus proving I have awful taste in music) so when I finally picked up a Dreamcast this last week, I was stoked to find it was included in the bundle.

But now I'm old and jaded! Does the "rad," "crazy," "awesome" attitude of this late 90s arcade game still work today? Or is its repetitive arcade antics just too stupid and from a different time?

I'm gonna say this: I have played this game daily since getting my Dreamcast. So I'm gonna say it holds up.

And thus your adventure starts. Your CRAZY adventure!

Crazy Taxi is, at its core, an extremely simple game. Your goal is to pick up customers and deliver them to their desired locations as fast as possible, earning money and competing against the clock. Once you run out of time the game is over, and you are ranked and scored.What Crazy Taxi does well is the little things that add to your score and time. Picking up customers gives a time boost based on how far away you have to travel, and delivering them quicker earns a bigger post-delivery time boost (usually just 2-5 seconds). You are given a standard fare based on distance, but doing CRAZY stuff in between can ramp up the fare. Driving recklessly between cars but not getting hit, doing sick jumps, or performing power slides will earn you extra change, comboing up as long as you can keep the CRAZINESS going. On one run I earned something like $200 extra between jumps, weaving through traffic, and just driving like a manic. It's a great risk/reward system, and you have to use it to get any high scores.

This cannot possibly be safe.

And that, in a nutshell, is the idea behind Crazy Taxi. It's an extremely addicting high score chase, and the game is great at popping up your current "rank" while you are playing so that you know if you smoked your old scores. While extended play can get a bit tiresome, it's absolutely addicting in short bursts.

There are a few other features that are worth nothign. You are given four drivers to choose from, each with their own car and stats (and a fifth "secret" car which is just a bike with a cab attached). In the Dreamcast (and XBLA/PSN/PS2 versions) they have a variety of "challenge" missions included as well, that task you to do specific things in a time limit. These are hardly deep or anything, but are a nice diversion.

The home versions also let you customize your time, difficulty, traffic density, and more. You can play where you don't get time added and just have 10 minutes to play, but let me tell you: removing the challenge of the timer makes this game boring. Just play Arcade. Trust me.

And now I have CRAAAZZZYYY insurance rates!

Is there anything negative about this bananas arcade action? Well...a few things. There's only one map, and while it's pretty large you can easily get stuck looping around the same areas each time. Sometimes the controls can come off as annoying (especially having to press one button to be in drive and another to switch to reverse; clearly this was because they wanted to suck up your quarters as you wasted seconds changing gears) and the car peels out randomly which is also obnoxious.Perhaps the biggest point of issue for a lot of people is the sound. Now, with the "witty" banter between your driver and the customer is pretty much a no brainer for everybody: it's repetitive, lame, and sucks. The main point people bring up is the soundtrack. It consists of about four-five tracks from The Offspring and Bad Religion, two major punk bands the time Crazy Taxi was hitting arcades. Now, for me I like both these bands, and feel their hateful punk music blends will with the over-the-top rebellious attitude of Crazy Taxi. But some people straight up hate it, so if you do you can always turn the volume down.

A big downer, however, is that both the XBLA and PSN re-releases axed the licenses songs (as well as the product placement buildings like Pizza Hut or Tower Records). While you could argue that's an improvement, I'll still rather listen to The Offspring than bland generic guitar riffs. Just doesn't have the same 'tude, man.

Brake, you fool, brake!

As it stands, Crazy Taxi is a fantastic game, that is better on the PS2 and the Dreamcast if only because of its closer authenticity to the arcade original. While the "HD" re-release is fine (it isn't really very HD, to be completely honest) it loses a bit of the original flavor which, for a game like this, is like half of the game.Regardless, Crazy Taxi still stands up as a fast, furious, and (dare I say it...) CRAZY arcade game even to this day. If you downloaded the demo off XBLA and dug it, by all means snatch it up either online or in a Sega compilation disc. Just be sure and blast some Offspring from your iPod for the full effect.

Four out of five stars for the original, three out of five for the rerelease.

But this guy will forever be creepy.

More at http://nathanvsvideogames.blogspot.com

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Other reviews for Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

    Crazier Than A New York Cabbie 0

    Remember the days when arcade racers were just as common as having to sell a kidney to be able to afford a taxi? If we're on the same page, you probably remember games like San Francisco Rush and Crazy Taxi. Both of these titles were novel driving games, but Crazy Taxi was arguably more innovative with its high-speed passenger unloading. In Crazy Taxi, your goal was to pick up as many passengers as you could within the time limit, and make sure they arrived at their destinations in a timely mann...

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