Review by LastStand

"A whole thirty minutes of fun!"

Crazy Taxi was a very popular game that came out originally for the Dreamcast. Personally, I have never played the Dreamcast version of the game, so I can’t exactly describe how good of a port it is. However, all I can tell you is that the GameCube is basically dull, short, and repetitive. The game maybe could capture your interest for about thirty minutes or so, but then after that, you’ll probably rarely play it again. I’ve tried several times to play it again, thinking, “I haven’t played that Crazy Taxi game in a long time. I think I’ll play it.” However, I’ll play one round or maybe two, then not play again for another year or so. Don’t let the huge number of corporate sponsorships (Pizza Hut, KFC, FILA, Levi’s, etc.) fool you, Crazy Taxi is by far the most disappointing GameCube game I own.

Graphics: 8/10
Actually, the graphics in this game are pretty good. The buildings look somewhat realistic, as do the people. Nothing looks pixelized. The actual taxicabs look pretty cool sometimes. The only problems I have with the graphics are the lack of textures on some of the surfaces and the badly animated people.

Story: N/A
Uh…four people got together and said, “Hey, let’s go out there with some cabs and take random people to Pizza Hut and stuff for outrageous fares!” Well, that sounds like that might be it, but basically there is no story. Duh.

Sound/Music: 4/10
The background music is actually pretty cool, if you hear it. As with many racing games, the sound effects of the game are much louder than the background music, and oftentimes you will not even realize it is there. However, the game certainly got quite a bit of support from well-known groups, as you will not hear many unknown artists.
Although the music is good, what really brings down this score is the sound effects. The drone of the taxi’s engine is not really that bad, but the PEOPLE ARE SOOOO ANNOYING! Every single person in the game says something that is a lame attempt to sound cool. You will certainly raise an eyebrow the first time you hear an old grandma approach your car, say “Yo, dude, take me to Kentucky Fried Chicken!” and spring energetically into your cab. That is not where it stops, however. Seemingly EVERY SINGLE TIME you touch an obstacle that impedes you, the person will say something like “Whoa, dude!” or “Yahoo!” Then, when the you arrive at your destination, the person will say something like “Whoa, man that was some extreme speed!” or “Man, look at the time! You suck!” I swear, the people in this game sound like a computer geek trying to fit in with the cool kids. The sound quality (as in the recordings) is pretty good, but the people are just unbearably annoying.

Gameplay: 5/10
Of course, the gameplay was very innovative for its time when it came out on Dremcast. It hasn’t exactly gotten stale, but the game has one fatal flaw: repetition. And when I say repetition, I mean the quintessence of repetition. The game has—hold on to your hat, folks—two whole levels. Yesiree, two levels: original and arcade. The levels are very big, yes, but the problem is if you want at all to try to earn a good license you must start picking up customers ASAP, which means usually picking up one of the first few you see. This means that you will probably end up taking the same route every time. This leads to a game that gets boring very fast.
You first pick one of four available cabbies, all of whom have their own geeky-cool personality, then move on to the level you chose. Picking cabbies depends almost singly on how much you like their personality (or which one you dislike most), as the cabs have virtually no differences other than looks. You start off at the same place in each level, then go about picking up customers. The objective is to bring the customer to their destination, gaining more fare money the longer the customer is in the cab. However, the longer the customer is in the cab, the more time you waste. If you are playing arcade mode (the only mode I suggest, as opposed to 3, 5 or 10 minute sessions), you will earn bonus time and money depending on how fast you were. If you fail to get the customer to their destination in the time limit they designate, they hop out of the car while it’s moving (isn’t that a little dangerous?) and you get no bonus time. The customers get much more demanding the longer you go into the game. The idea is to last as long as possible, then when time runs out you get a license that classifies how well you did (how much money you made): No license (which only happens when you fail to even pick up a single customer, so that’s completely asinine), E, D, C, B, A, or S. You may be ending up getting D and C for your first ten minutes of playing or so, but it won’t take too long before you get your S license, then the credits roll, meaning you beat the game. The game does not last long enough to constitute buying the game (shame on me for doing so).
There is also a “Crazy Box” mode, which is a waste of time that does nothing more than teach you game techniques, then set up a bunch of asinine scenarios, many of which are incredibly difficult. For example, there is a scenario where you bowl down pins with your cab using the crazy drift technique, but you can’t miss a single pin, and time is very limited anyways. Hard and pointless! Just what I look for in a game!

Challenge: Below Average
The single-player experience is not very difficult. As I said before, you will have an S-class license within an hour easily. The only difficulty comes from the Crazy Box scenarios.

Buy or Rent?
I suggest renting if you really like these kinds of games. However, the game won’t hold your attention for that long, so I suggest playing it at a friend’s house if possible. A much better game that has pretty much the same premise and much more personality is The Simpsons: Road Rage, but even that’s just worth only a rental.

Overall, Crazy Taxi might be worth half an hour of your time, but not much more. At least you can get another five seconds of fun out of it as a skeet-shooting target. I haven’t tried that yet, probably because it’s already a pretty good cup coaster, but wouldn’t that be fun? :)

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 02/27/04

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