Simple Blog Get! 5: Taxi Blogger.

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I've spent a lot of time playing good video games this week, but I haven't forgotten about the pile of bad PS2 games sitting on my shelf. It is October after all... What better time is there to play the most nightmarish games in existance.

Taxi Rider / Simple Series Vol 48: The Taxi: Untenshu ha Kimida

I've gotten pretty good at spotting what certain developers of Simple games bring to the table at this point. So I know exactly what I'm getting into with a Tamsoft game. To be fair, this does seem to stray a little farther from their comfort zone by having a distinct lack of boobs, but their trademark lack of quality is fully on display here.

I can totally see Riho Futaba in this picture!
I can totally see Riho Futaba in this picture!

Taxi Rider seems to be a budget attempt at a CrazyTaxi-like game. I've never played Crazy Taxi, but it's pretty apparent from watching videos of that game online that it was the main inspiration here. Taxi Rider has you attempting to make at least 1000,000 Yen for a Creepy dude named Ogawara Gengorou. You know what kind of a guy he is by his facial hair and gold tooth.

Ogawara makes it pretty clear what kind of a person he is by telling me I need to go around the city picking up people and then driving them to various destinations. The rule being that I need to make enough money between 8am and 1am... And I quote. " If you don't make enough money I will fire you right away!" which seems a little harsh for a new guy to the job. Ogawara follows this up with a sinister " I think you get the message!". Not content with overly strict money requirements and possible threats, Ogawara rubs it in further by saying "IT WON'T BE EASY TO MAKE 1000,000 YEN HAHAHAHAHHAHA." I should probably just quit right here, right now.

Now I am slightly fearful for my life, I start the game. Taxi Rider 's only controls are accelerate, reverse and steer. It baffles me that they had a ton of button options available, but still went with triangle for reverse. I get used to it pretty quickly, and start my journey towards becoming the greatest taxi driver Japan has ever known. The driving is OK (Also, like Zombie Virus this has better handling than Watch Dogs.) but the problem seems to be the awkwardly designed city and the incredibly aggressive, toy car traffic.

We need to get to the police station... RIGHT NOW!
We need to get to the police station... RIGHT NOW!

Every single vehicle that isn't my cab would seemingly be unable to fit the odd chibi people that inhabit Nijiro city. Which probably makes sense why I'm being asked to ferry children to police stations, "fat middle-aged men" to the bank and chase/crash into cars with their grandfathers in them. The game has a map, but doesn't mark anything on it so you spend a large portion of your time driving around in circles looking for people to pick up. It doesn't help that there are people everywhere trapped behind invisible walls and the occasional pedestrian just going for a walk that you can attempt to run over, but they just spring off the car comically. The ones you can pick up are usually waving.

Ogawara is constantly telling you that there are many people at the shopping centre or the town hall, but the game just expects me to know where these places are. This isn't helped by the awful pop in and blurry textures. I assume it just wants me to figure it out by the way places look, but the shopping centre just looks like a cinema having a big hollywood premiere. Oddly, tons of children need to get to the police station though so I figure pretty early on that the place with the giant shield is where I need to go when they ask... And a lot of kids NEED to get to the police station.

Tamsoft entering the next generation with style. (The thumbnail for the first video I linked here was too much for even me.)

When the day is over you'll return back to Ogawara and give him the money you have made. On "DAY FIRST!" I made 10,425 Yen which is I assume is pretty respectable because my taxi gets installed with a speed upgrade that makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. There are limited options here, but I save my game and continue onto DAY SECOND!

I hate you so much.
I hate you so much.

DAY SECOND! is when things get a little weird. I mean, the gameplay continues to suck my soul dry, but the odd ET-like inhabitants of this world really want to go to some odd places. I picked up a school girl that wanted to go to the police station followed by a car exhibition, a small boy desperately needed to go to the bank followed by a hotel and a creepy dude at the shopping centre is all like INEEDTOGETTOTHESCHOOLRIGHTNOWDON'TSTOPFORANYTHING!!!! What he means by this is that I have to do a continuous drive without any kind of reversing or sharp turning. The objective arrow which often lies to you made me take a wrong turn resulting in the creepy dude jumping out of my taxi and telling me I suck.

Thankfully most people are pretty appreciative, telling me that I "drive so quiet" and that my "fast drive helped so much." On DAY THIRD! I really started to feel the strain when the passengers all became a lot more demanding. Most of them wanting me to reach my destination without bumping into any traffic and driving places really, really fast. An old dude with a school girl got really pissed when I nudged the scenery, telling me I drove like a senior citizen. Whatever, dude. I'm calling the cops. The next person I pick up tells me I'm really fast, but that praise doesn't last for long when a lady jumps out of my car in the middle of the road yelling "I'M INJURED!" I'm starting to think that this job isn't for me or the people of this city have unreasonable demands.

This is the box art for the never released outside of Japan sequel. And quite possibly one of the most questionable images I have ever made.
This is the box art for the never released outside of Japan sequel. And quite possibly one of the most questionable images I have ever made.

DAY FOURTH! came around. Ogawara tells me I have unlocked Dragon Hills which means I can now travel to an area with even more cramped streets and even more traffic to deal with, along with the increased demands of my passengers. Ogawara warns me that if I am bad at my job less people will want to get into my cab. As I'm driving around the new, twisty-turny area Ogawara keeps popping up on the radio to tell me that I'm getting worse and worse at my job and that I am not to make my customers hate me. Thanks for the advice, but THERE ARE NO CUSTOMERS HERE! After endless searching followed by a warning that my rep is both slightly bad and I have about thirty seconds to make enough money, I come across a passenger that wants me to drive back to three places in the old part of the city five minutes away. Fuck this, I quit.

End bit

This one was a pretty painful experience, like the last Tamsoft game I played (Paparazzi) there isn't really anything to keep you playing beyond the first couple of hours. It's very light on ideas with no real upgrade system or even anything to do other than drive and drop off passengers. The map is useless, the world is lifeless and bafflingly this is one of the few games that actually got a sequel, (Vol 109) although even 505 games didn't want to touch that one. What next? Bikes? Boobs? or is it time for the splatter?


Thanks for reading and be excellent to each other.