Review by PickHut
"Fighting more than just the time limit..."
I still remember when this game first appeared at the arcade I used to go to, and just watch people play it. They understood the concept, where they had to pick up customers and drop them off at their destinations before time ran out, which, considering the game's title had the word Taxi in it, wasn't hard to grasp. However, when the game finally started, I would watch in amazement as they just drove causally while picking up customers and dropping them off. Obviously, they didn't last long, but they looked like they enjoyed themselves, probably because of how silly they thought the game played, thanks to their own ignorance.
Having played Crazy Taxi myself, I wish I can be ignorant about it too, because after understanding how to play it properly, it's an irritating experience. It's not a bad game at first, when you're still trying to get a feel for things, though, interestingly, the better you get at Crazy Taxi, the more its flaws become apparent. The most glaring problem you'll have to deal with is how magnetic the collision detection can get at times. Since the entire point of the game is to get from one point to another as fast as possible, you're bound to hit a bunch of stuff. Fine. Unfortunately, there will be times when you are going to be stuck on an object, be it a wall or vehicle, for a few seconds, eventually sliding off of it. Now add traffic AI that's programmed to obnoxiously get in your way as much as possible, then include the fact that your ride has really sensitive movements, making it really hard to dodge something when you're going really fast, and this becomes a constant annoyance.
The next issue is sadly something that has carried over into its sequel: one of the two cities suck. Specifically, the original arcade city. I can talk about its San Francisco influence, with the steep hills, or how it's neat that you're dropping people off at real life stores like Tower Records (are they still around?) or Kentucky Fried Chicken, but when all is said and done, the city is just one big circle. That would have been fine if it was cleverly designed, but it wasn't, and instead follows a simple pattern of moving you forward a little bit every time you pick someone up. You could go for the customers that want to travel long distances, but that usually screws you over; with those customers, you're likely to travel through the highway that stretches out way too much for its own good, or the area that clogs up every available space with traffic and parked cars.
All that's left is the city that was made for the Dreamcast port, and thankfully, it's designed quite well. It's basically a maze, filled with many alternative routes to various locations. The developers could have easily screwed this up, making it a confusing mess, but it's not (they saved that for the sequel). With different structures like the car shop by the ocean, or the Ferris wheel placed at the top of a steep hill, it's easy to navigate through the city once you memorize most of the layout. Now, you can still have fun in this one city, even with all the flaws present, but in order to do so, you'll have to make a conscious effort to go against what Crazy Taxi wants you to achieve: being real good at the game.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 09/09/09
Game Release: Crazy Taxi (US, 01/24/00)
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