Review by Maxx
"This is one crazy port"
I used to play this game a lot in the arcades, since it was one of the only games I was decent at. I never had the DreamCast version so for me, this GameCube version was the only way to play Crazy Taxi at home. But it should be said that this version doesn't really improve on the DreamCast port. They could have added a new city, had better music, and randomized the people's destinations, but on the other hand they could have done a lot of different things. I would have liked it if this were more than just a port. Maybe a new installment in the series? Or maybe just any noticeable improvement...but at the end of the day, this one is still just a port.
You have your choice of four different cab drivers. Your decision doesn't really affect anything. As far as I know they don't have different stats or anything like that. They have different cabs but they all handle the same, so it's really a cosmetic thing. I usually played as Axel because he looked the most normal. I'm not sure if it was always this way. I think in the arcade version the cars actually drove differently (i.e. Axel was well-rounded where as B.D. Joe had the highest speed but low traction). I think this was one of the features they took out of the ported home versions, though.
So you pick a character and are let loose in a half-hearted recreation of San Fransisco. The first thing you'll notice is the graphics. I'm guessing they went for a cell-shaded look. What they came up with is a colorful block look. The four cabs are the only objects in the game that any attention was paid too. So while your car will look nice, every other vehicle you see will resemble a flat, brightly colored brick. The people aren't much better although I have seen worse. One thing that was a little odd were those people at the beach with the big ears and how the old lady flips in and out of the car. Overall, the graphics were slightly below mediocre.
Once you take control of your cab the point of the game is to pick up passengers and take them to their destinations. This is where the game starts to fall apart. First off, there are only two main modes in the game: Arcade and Original (the Original one was added for the home versions). Now both of those have a full city, and the layouts are different and they are both giant cities, but when you get right down to it all this means is that there's two levels to choose from. Because of the tight time limits the first customer you pick up will probably be the closest. You can only pick up one person at a time and every customer you pick up will have the same destination every time they get in your car. So you'll be driving the same people to the same spots over and over again. It will get to the point where after playing for a few hours you'll have mesmerized every route you could possibly take.
The faster you get your customers to their locations the more money they'll give you. You can also hit jumps and do other Crazy Tricks along the way to get more money out of them. Once your fare jumps out you better find another one right away. The point of the game is to repeat this process until you can get a good license rating. You'll stop having fun about a half hour in. To help keep you occupied there's some music to listen to while you race around. If you're anything like me you'll hate it very quickly. I was expecting a little wider selection of music but this was not the case. It's okay if you want to listen to the same three or four Offspring and Bad Religion songs over and over and over again, otherwise prepare to get pissed off. It was twice as bad for me because I don't even like the Offspring. Imagine how much I don't like them now.
There is an additional mode called Crazy Box. In this your goal is to pull off a number of increasingly difficult Crazy Tricks. Some are easy and some are insanely hard. I don't think I ever got halfway through this because some of them were just so damn hard. But it's a good distraction from the annoyingly repetitive main game.
If you're looking to play this game I would recommend you try to track down an arcade that still has one of the machines. At least then you get to sit in a rumbling chair and have a real wheel and pedals. If there aren't any arcades near you, you can get this game on DreamCast, PS2, GameCube, and PC. The PC version was pretty bad and featured a terrible frame rate. Might not want to even bother with that one.
On a side note, back in 2001 it was announced that Richard Donner would be making a live-action Crazy Taxi movie. Then it was handed over to Mindfire Entertainment, the same people who produced the terrible House of the Dead movie. They're also behind the upcoming DOA movie (which also might turn out to be terrible). It's now been five years since it was first announced and I have heard nothing about it. Is it still coming out? I have no idea. But if it ever does I wonder if it'll entertain me for longer than this port did.
Replay Value: 5/10
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/09/02, Updated 10/18/06
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