Review: Crazy Taxi (~30 hours)

This is a blast from the past. Although you can spend hours on end playing Crazy Taxi you can just as easily spend half an hour with the game and get the idea. You drive an incredibly fast taxi, and pick up customers to drop off at their destinations. Music is a big part of this game, and comes from the bands The Offspring and Bad Religion. The game got a sequel, and I’d be really curious to try it. Though the game is dated, there’s still fun to be had offering rides in Crazy Taxi.  

Let’s go back to music. I thought the Offspring were good in their day. I like the vocals. This game is part of what influenced me, but I also owned a CD. I also enjoyed Bad Religion, but noticed they went through a pretty drastic change. I had two albums. They went from “The Voice of God is Government” to “None of Us Are Ready for a World Without Melody.”  Still, the songs in this game are fitting. Perhaps the song “Ten in 2010” was prophetic, but the year has passed. All told, the songs are earworms, sticking with you after you play.

As far as driving the cab goes, there are customers with circles around them and dollar signs over them. I think a green sign is a nearby destination, orange is a moderate distance, and red is the farthest, but also the most money. Hitting other vehicles really upsets your customers, but the cars aren’t damaged, and no one gets hurt. If you drive past a car in close proximity but don’t hit it, you get a little extra cash. A trick is, while stopped, put the car in Reverse, and when you’re ready to drive, switch back to Drive and hit the accelerator at the same time. You get a big speed boost.

The game has not aged gracefully. The graphics are poor, though the cabs look OK. It’s more the buildings and roads that look bad. On Dreamcast, sometimes I drove too fast and the textures hadn’t loaded in time (in other words, I was driving on top of nothing and surrounded by nothing. Glitches aside, the driving area opens up after a few rides, and includes things like a church, a mall, a helipad, and a highway. The setting looks as if it’s modeled after San Francisco (there are trolley cars), but it’s not an exact match. Oh, there’s in-game advertising, as was common in the day. KFC, Pizza Hut, and FILA included.

Crazy Taxi was a big part of the Dreamcast. It was Sega taking a risk on game design. The speed of the taxi really was crazy, especially compared to the speed of other cars. The game finishes with a short list of credits, which is still something I look for. It excites me to see a small team make something great. I’d still like to play the sequel, though graphically it looks similar. Let’s thank Sega for their creativity. The game is still on Steam for a little more than $1.



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