By Video_Game_King 2 Comments
At last, I can be done with this. Never more will I have to worry about how to pull off a Limiter Cut. Never more will I have to time my Crazy Drifts ever so perfectly, lest I plunge into the ocean of nothingness. Never more will I have to reset my run because I crashed into too many cars, drunk driver that I am. And never more will I have to put up with a single mode that ruins an otherwise really fun game.
In fact, before I tell you why Crazy Box mode is not fun, allow me to set the scene with why the rest of the game is completely fun. After being greeted by a scummy "radio/strip club DJ" voice at the title screen, you pick one of four even scummier looking characters to blast through a tiny city to this "music". That's not the fun part. Actually, yea, now that I think about it, a lot of the fun is in how sleazy everything is. Don't let that bright beach setting fool you. Not only are you going to be barreling through traffic like a madman, but people are going to pay you for the pleasure. Who gives two shits about making it to Pizza Hut on time when you could risk your life in a car accident? Oh, did I forget to mention that your fares often want to go to fast food restaurants because their lives are horrible? The only reason you'd ever take a taxi to KFC is because you're too drunk to drive there yourself. What does it say about their lives that this takes place in broad daylight? Or that everybody in the city is like this?
Normally, I'd say that this is where I'd say that I'm only kidding, but I'm really not. A lot of the appeal is in how crazy this game is. Everything about the game is just so fast paced that you really don't stop to question anything. Instead, you just plow through streets like crazy, trying to get to your next goal. Wait, did I say "plow"? That's not the right word. That implies that this game is lacking in strategy, and I wouldn't want to imply that. After all, every game starts off with everything in the same place (allowing you to plan things out), and there's this hidden technical side to Crazy Taxi that I haven't even mentioned yet. If you want to succeed at this game, you're gonna have to learn all types of moves the game never tells you about. It may sound unfair, a few things: first, they'r easier to learn than you'd imagine, since they're usually just a couple of quick button presses (Limiter Cut notwithstanding). Second, they lend a lot to the frantic fun thing I've been mentioning a lot, even if that comes at the risk of being accurate. All those times when I accidentally stayed in reverse when I was pulling a Crazy Mach Speed 20 make it clear that this game is 100% meant to be played in the original arcade cabinet. Maybe that explains why I felt such a feeling of triumph when I managed to string together all those moves with perfect timing.
But what about that Crazy Box stuff I mentioned before? To be brutally honest (I think you can take it, seeing that you're not Crazy Taxi), that was more a sense of frustration than triumph. This is partly because they don't teach you what you're supposed to do to succeed. You're not getting anywhere without knowing how to Crazy Dash, and you're not getting any information on that from Crazy Taxi. At least not good information, since the most helpful stuff came from outside sources. But even knowing these things, there's still a good chance you're not gonna win. The game's still asking a lot of you. Drop off all of Progressive Field in less than a minute. Make a hairpin turn on an impossibly small corner. Navigate the Labyrinth without encountering the deadly Minotaur. With a lot of these challenges, I only very barely had enough time to get through them (the example hanging above notwithstanding, strangely enough). If you want to conquer Crazy Box, you really have to know how Crazy Taxi functions.
Too bad it doesn't function well. For something like the regular arcade mode, that's a lot easier to overlook, but for something as technical as Crazy Box? Hell no. If you're asking me to perform exact operations, you can't have Crazy Drifts glue you to walls, or crashing turn your car around 180 degrees. That simply makes the already challenging challenges more challenging in an unfair. And that's not even getting into how confusing a couple of the layouts can be. But the effort has to be worth it in the end, right? Right?........Just play the arcade version. That chaotic fun there? That's the best part of the game, unless your self loathing is so profound that you'll readily welcome a situation that will repeatedly call you a failure.
- Imagine Burnout 3 with a sleazy undertone.
- And a punishing set of extra missions.
- Where the physics were ripped straight from an arcade game, and not in a particularly good way.
Man, after the stress those Crazy Box missions put me through, I think I should relax. Will this cover it?
At last, I-wait, I've already used that intro. How about this? It was the best of times; it was....also the best of times, but a completely different type of best of times. Then somebody decided to combine these best of times together to make the bestest of times. The result? Times that were no longer best, but still kinda cool......also known as Uniracers.
Perhaps I should explain. Uniracers is a unisex racing game, which, by miraculous coincidence, also happens to have (overly animated) unicycles. And so many twists and turns that Sonic would find himself vomiting. Actually, now that I think about it, that's a very apt way to describe this game, despite it being an SNES exclusive. After all, the game relies on going really fast and simply holding right (or sometimes left) for a large portion of the course. (Ignoring what I'm going to say in the very next paragraph), the only interactivity on the tracks is changing from left to right...which turns out to be a lot. Several of the tracks are nothing but whiplash turns, creating this very muddy, chaotic feeling to Uniracers, but in a good way. Wasn't I just telling you about how chaos and insanity are really good ways to get you pumped? It still applies, even when you paradoxically add some order to the mess. You better pay attention to the track colors, because they're really good at telegraphing what's about to come. What we end up with is a sense of depth I forgot to tell you about earlier. So if I haven't made it clear yet, Uniracers is the type of game that rewards skill and swiftly punishes incompetence. Wait, didn't I say all that in my Crazy Taxi blog?
Except for the stunt part. I don't think that's in Crazy Taxi. It's in Uniracers, though, and it's....oddly simple? The hell? Turns out all there is to doing tricks is holding a button and then holding a direction until you hit the ground. The only exception is that fiddly bastard of an X button, which seems to do whatever the hell it wants to do. Other than that, though, the only skill in pulling off sweet tricks is remembering to land them. Lame. I suspect the developers knew as much, since spamming the same move over and over again gets you nowhere except the next paragraph. If you want to get a good score, you're gonna have to combine all kinds of crazy moves in a single jump. No doubt, then, that the stunt system is probably the stronger part of the game. It actively encourages variety, it looks cool, and the stunts don't suffer a bit when you combine them with the racing.
Wait, what was that? Turns out that Rockstar North (no, seriously) decided to combine the two systems. While understandable, it's not a pretty result. In fact, the two systems are completely incompatible with each other. The stunt system demands that you dream up new ways of spinning like an asshole (what a horrible image I've put in our heads); the racing system encourages the utmost efficiency on every stretch of track. Combine them, and you end up spamming the simplest moves whenever flatness greets you. This isn't fun, you guys. The stunt system now feels way too simple, and I'm now distracted from the speed because I'm a horrific rotating rectum.
And the worst part is that the racing suffers the worst. I can pull off stunts just fine without racing, but I absolutely have to pull off stunts if I want to race. This applies especially so in the more difficult races, where your opponents will cartwheel their way from boost to boost while you get left behind in the dust. This isn't a good thing when your game is called Uniracers, even if it's also called Unirally. Then again, I could be making a bigger deal of this than is warranted. After all, the combination of these two elements doesn't negate everything I said before it; it only waters it down to something that's merely OK. And on top of that, the game makes good use of the Donkey Kong Country style of plastic graphics, so it's not a complete wash. Merely a partial wash, whatever the hell that means.
- Racing: awesome!
- Stunting: awesome!
- Rasctunting: not a word! Also, not particularly awesome.