Review by BigCj34

"Great fun to play, picking up customers in a taxi and pulling stunts too."

Crazy Taxi was a game released on Sega Dreamcast in 1999. When the Dreamcast was starting to fail, Acclaim converted it to PlayStation 2 in 2001. It's exactly the same, just with a PS2 layout. What you do is that you drive around in a taxi picking up and dropping off customers from place to the other and seeing how much money you can earn by pulling stunts.

The driving taxi bit sounds boring but it isn't. You drive in a taxi, you can choose from a selection of four drivers, with their own attributes and cabs. They are Axel, Gena, B. D. Joe, and Gus. You have to pick up certain customers; some give you lots of money where some are stingy buggers. You have to park in their area and drop them off in the destination they would like. Their destination is in a green area, and you are guided by an arrow on the top of the screen.

There is a time limit, so if you faff around in your cab and get stuck, they won't give you as much money, and if you don't make it in the time limit, they will jump out! If you can keep the time counter in green when you get to the destination, you earn the well earned 'speedy'. If it drops down to yellow, you obtain a fair 'normal'. Being sloppy and fires to red, you get the shameful 'slow'. But if you don't make it bacause you kept getting stuck in a gridlock or something, you have 'bad' and you get no money for that. If you are playing by arcade rules, then your rank goes up depending on how well you dropped off a customer. Also depending on how much money you earned, you get a license. From Class E- Class S, the more money you earned the higher the license. Can you get a high score, Class S and Rank 1 simultaneously?

Customers themselves are all different; they have different appearances and voices. Some are dying to get to the baseball stadium; some just want to go to KFC. Some want to observe the lighthouse, while the punk rockers go to Tower Records. Punters have different time limits, and amounts to pay. Even some of the customers wait in the most stupid places, like on the roof of a shop or even underwater. They have '$' signs on top of them to tell you how far they go and how much they pay. Green's want to cruise the city and go far away, and pay you lots, yellows are a bit in between and reds just want to go down the street and pay you stingily.

Sound boring? It's not. Not too forget, to earn lots of money, you have to pull stunts. To get a boost of speed, you can do the crazy boost. Fancy some sharp turns and drifts on the ground then you do the crazy drift. Jumping in the air means you have executed the crazy jump, and if you can skim past traffic without crashing, then you have pulled the crazy rush. There are a few other tricks as well to learn too. If you can pull more than one trick without crashing, you activate a combo. If you can get to the destination with a high combo rate, then you have earned lots of money, but it is credited to your earnings. The streets are jam packed with cars, so you have to avoid them, or you get stuck. Don’t worry; your cab takes no damage.

There are two large, expansive courses, the original course and the arcade course. The original course was the one made exclusively for this game, and the arcade course is the course made exclusively for the arcade version. The arcade one is just basically a circuit, with side roads and the like, but the original course is a lot harder, with a more ‘grid’ road layout. The courses are jam packed with traffic and just make sure you don’t knock the cars over. The cities themselves are well presented, and nice and colourful to make it more exciting. There is a lot of variety and places to go, there is very little repetition in the cities. Another good point is that they have used licensed shops, like KFC, Pizza Hut, Tower Records and others. Like I said there are several different customers to pick up.

If that’s not enough check out the Crazy Box option. There are 9 challenges to start off with. You have to do certain tasks to pass. There are several tasks including Crazy Jump, exceed a certain jumping distance to pass the challenge, Crazy Balloon, burst all the balloons in a time limit to pass, Crazy Drift where you have to pull off a certain number of crazy drifts in a time limit to pass, and Crazy Jam, where you have to go through very busy streets and drop off all the customers to pass. There are others too, but (spoiler alert) passing certain challenges may unlock some new challenges. It’s very addictive fun, but very challenging too. Can you complete all the challenges?

The graphics they give you here are very bright, colourful and attractive, and does give the atmosphere to this game quite a bit. It’s very fast, and the movement is sound. The car does do some good effects, like it sparks when it skims on the walls and the animations are well done. The texturing is good like for the roads, but I wouldn’t say it’s very realistic (This game would be terrible if it was).There are quite a few problems too. For some of the shops they are just pasted on images, looking blurry and low resolution causing the so-called cardboard effect. The other cars windows are just coloured in rather than it being see through, making them look like solid blocks, and got a bit of pop-up, for cars and buildings. But again it does a set a very good atmosphere for the game, and be fair, it’s Dreamcast graphics.

The music is provided by The Offspring and Bad Religion. The background music is well selected and definitely the right music. OK, it can be the same songs you can listen to but that doesn’t make you get really annoyed. The voices are these wacky style voices for the menus and the in game advice, like: “Follow the arrow”. The customers voices are good and they all say different things and have different voices.

The gameplay itself does give a lot of originality to the driving genre and pulling stunts is a lot of good fun, and rack up a high score. It gives the arcade score competition, and see if you can get a higher score than your mates or siblings. The crazy box is indeed a very challenging ‘training’ feature with each one focusing on different parts of the game. Despite there being only two courses they are very large and plenty to go around. It could have done with a 2 player mode though. Daft as a brush this is, great fun but just don’t do it in real life!

There is quite limited replayability to this game. It is very addictive and to keep trying again, and the crazy box is another task to do, but with only 2 courses, it’s not really enough. I do like to play on this for short bursts, but not going to keep you glued for months on end. It is fun to play with all your mates around, but limited otherwise. Very short compared to the likes of lengthy games like Final Fantasy (100 hours to complete), Grand Theft Auto (massive) ,and a lot of other games.

There have been a few attempts to clone this game, like The Simpsons Road Rage, which people say unsuccessful, and there is a taxi mini game in GTAIII and GTA: Vice City, but it’s just for extra cash. Pulling stunts on it trashes your car and scares away your customers! There is also Crazy Taxi 2 on Dreamcast and Crazy Taxi 3 on X-Box

GRAPHICS

+Bright and colourful graphics and atmospheric
-Collision problems, pop-ups and cardboard effects

Score: 8/10

SOUND

+Good music and wacky voices
-Maybe a wee repetitive?

Score: 8/10

GAMEPLAY

+Original concept and great fun pulling stunts and earning money
-Can get frustrating

Score: 8/10

LIFE SPAN

+Addictive to play and a challenging Crazy Box mode
-Limited with just 2 courses

BUY OR RENT?

This is definitely worth buying for a bargain price of £20, but you can just rent it and say you’ve played it though. Lets say BUY.

OVERALL

+Good graphics with daft gameplay, and entertaining
-Short length lets it down, no 2 player mode.

A game worth buying on PS2. Great fun to play.

Score: 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/03


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