Crazy Taxi
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2001-12-09 Dreamcast Racing T (Teen) SEGA

No traffic signals, no red lights, no one way streets, no cameras to snap a picture of your license plate, no speeding limits, no cops to chase you around and absolutely no tickets.... could this be a driver's paradise?

The first time I made contact with Crazy Taxi was in an arcade at the mall, a coin-op set up to drive just as if in a real car: gear shifting, steering wheel, breaks and gas pedals.... "Pffft! Yet another racing game...." I thought, and I didn't pay much attention to it while my better-half let out little oohs and aahs and a wow in the end as he got up and convinced his dad to play.

He bought the game as soon as it was released for the Dreamcast, and it was thanks to his apparent enthusiasm that I decided to give it a try. Little did I know this was to become one of my favorite games ever. I found myself playing the arcade mode over and over, trying to beat my previous score. My heart would beat faster and my mind would race as I hummed the soundtrack tunes by Offspring and Bad Religion, and I don't particularly like these bands! I would only stop playing only when my finger was too sore from using the turbo boost and my wrist too tense to keep holding the controller.

Crazy Taxi is not a racing game; it's all about driving. Picking up passengers and dropping them off in a time limit over and over sounds boring to you? Trust me, it isn't. There are tons of people to pick up, all going to different places, some far (green fares) others relatively close (red fares). In fact, some of them are so close that you can't help wondering why do those people need a taxi when they could easily walk. I suppose they're just in the mood for a wild cab ride and some contact with a crazy cabby - you.

You can choose any out of the four available drivers and their respective cabs. Try and experiment different stunts with different cabs, you will find some are easier to perform Crazy Drifts with, a few will jump longer distances than others, another will break faster than the rest, and one will be balanced in every way. Then get ready to make pedestrians roll out of your way while you play a game of beat the clock!

It takes a little practice to stop right near the customer. You don't want to park too far, or you will lose precious time and get a "Hey! Can't you park any closer?" from your always-in-a-hurry customers. Here's a little hint to stop faster: use Reverse and Breaks at the same time.

You will also want to explore the layout of the city (highly detailed houses and buildings, well known brand stores, it resembles downtown San Francisco) and find the best suitable road or shortcut; anything goes to get your passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible. Even if that means leaving a path of destruction behind you!

You will have to find the best way to go around (or most of the time, right through!) fruit stands, phone booths, people and vehicles, while performing a few stunts to get extra money, such as Crazy Jumps, Crazy Drifts, Crazy Dashes, Crazy Throughs, and of course, Crazy Combos. Oh, and don't follow the arrow that floats above your cab, it always points to the direction of your destination as in a straight line from you, not to the easiest course to take. That is entirely up to you to discover, and since there are no rules, you can drive pretty much wherever you want!

You can choose between the Arcade and Original Modes, two completely different cities to practice your crazy driving style: the Arcade Mode offers the same course featured in the arcade version, while the Original Mode presents a brand new course especially designed for the Dreamcast version. You can also try the challenging 16 mini-games in Crazy Box, they give you several tasks of different difficulty levels to complete. Pop balloons, play bowling with your cab (using your car as a bowling ball, doesn't that sound cool?), perform a series of jumps without falling in the water, complete a funky circuit, pick up people in weird places, or jump as far as you can, always in a time limit of course!

Even though the gameplay is amazingly simple (drive, stop at the right spot, drive off), it's extremely addictive and fun to play. Although it is easy to play, it takes lots of skill to master those Crazy moves, especially drifts. The freedom of movement and explorative driving keep the game 'fresh' making every new fare unpredictable. Beating your own score or a friend's score and trying to get the highest license class (Crazy License) makes up for the replay value.

Crazy Taxi is one of the best conversions ever made of a game from the arcade to a console, the graphics are very well done, and they are faithful to the arcade version, clear and detailed. The sound is brilliant, from the music's frenzied tone, to the clear sound effects and the high-quality vocals. You can distinguish your passenger's comments and exclamations of joy, as well as your replies in the middle of all the traffic noise. This is a funny and addictive game that makes me proud to own a Dreamcast. Additionally, all the lucky Playstation 2 owners (and soon even the Game Cube owners) can experience the goodness of this game!

So if you don't have it yet, get a copy of Crazy Taxi, grab your wheels, and prepare for the craziest cab ride of your life!