Acclaim brings Sega's arcade hit to the GameCube. Check out this review by Mike S, a certified Crazy Taxi freak.
If you haven’t heard of Crazy Taxi by now, you’ve probably been in a cave since the year 2000. Sega released the game years ago in the arcades and then on the Dreamcast. The premise is simple. You are a taxi cab driver and you have to get your customers to their destinations as fast as possible. Also, giving them a wild ride will give you a bigger tip. You start the game with 50 seconds on your “game clock”. When you pick a customer up, they add time to your game clock and to your “trip clock.” You have to get the customer to their destination before their trip clock runs out. If you get them there fast enough, you are given a nice +5 or +2 second bonus to your game clock, plus whatever left over time they added to your game clock. The final goal of the game is to make as much money as you possibly can.
Crazy Taxi is a dated game, and its graphics certainly show it. Acclaim has made this quite a quick port to the GameCube. There are no improvements to the graphics at all from the Dreamcast version. The only difference between the two is that the frame rate on the GameCube version is a solid 60fps. The Dreamcast version was quite prone to slowdown. That’s not to say that the graphics are bad. They’re pretty good in fact, but they are nowhere near as good as something like Rogue Leader or Luigi’s Mansion.
One of the things that made Crazy Taxi such a good title was the music. The game is full of songs by both The Offspring and Bad Religion. In my opinion, both of these bands kick ass and play some harsh punk-rock. Also, the original Crazy Taxi had some quite good voice acting. The cabbies all had real personalities to them. They yell at customers and all that good stuff. Now, here’s the kicker. Acclaim, in their infinite wisdom, must have decided that these voices weren’t good. So, they replaced the voices with new voices. All of the lines from the original game are in there; they are just being spoken by different voice actors. These new actors aren’t near as good as the old ones. They are dull and downright unemotional at times. Other than that, again, everything is identical to the Dreamcast version of the game.
The number one thing I can say I like about Crazy Taxi more on the GameCube is the controls. Thanks to the wonderful GameCube controller, this game handles like a dream. Newcomers might think that the controls are a little loose, but they’re supposed to be. Crazy Taxi is not by any stretch of the imagination a game about racing or even driving a real car. This is a 100% arcade game. The controls are pretty simple. The left analog stick moves your cab, the R button is your gas and L is your brake. The A and B buttons are used to switch gears to forward and reverse, respectively. You can check where your final destination is by hitting the Y button and the X button will honk your horn (which is totally useless). There is also an alternate control scheme that switches the R and L buttons with the A and B buttons.
There are only 2 real maneuvers that you need to know to play this game. There’s the Crazy Dash and the Crazy Drift. To Dash, you have to let go of the gas and hit both the gas and the forward gear button at the same time. To Drift you simply roll you finger over the reverse gear and then on to the forward gear. Then you turn and you make an extremely sharp turn. Both of these maneuvers are easy on the GameCube controller but the Dash is a bit tricky because of the large amount of travel the L and R buttons have.
Why is Crazy Taxi still being released today? It’s quite simple actually. This game is fun. It’s fun to a point where it downright may not be healthy. Its fast, it’s furious, and it’s got attitude. This game is a total blast and if you get into it you can find yourself playing for hours and hours on end. Granted, I am a total freak for this game and it ranks as one of my favorite games of all time, but it’s still great fun of anyone. It’s an excellent pick up and play title. It’s easy to learn, but hard to master. You’ll be working your skills up for some time if you want to get an “Awesome” or “Crazy” class license. Plus, the game isn’t impossible. If you really want to master it, you can. It just takes practice.
Back when it was first released for the home market, Hitmaker (the developer) added a bunch of stuff to the game. In the arcade, the game was simply just one city where you drove your Crazy Taxi. But for the home version, Hitmaker added a second new city and the “Crazy Box.” The original city is ok, but it’s not as good as the arcade city. The Crazy Box is awesome. The Box is a collection of stunt challenge. Some of them involve jumping your cab and others involve popping a bunch of balloons. There are a whole slew of these mini games in the Box. It’s certainly the best addition to the home version of the game.
Crazy Taxi is, in my opinion, one of the best games ever. But honestly, this game has been out since 2000 and most people who want it already have it. Acclaim didn’t add anything new to this game, except their crappy new voice actors. This game is dated by every standard. If it had some additions it would be an excellent must have title. But as it stands, it’s just a very good game. There are those that don’t have the title yet and for them this game will be excellent. But for the rest of you, well you already have it or have had your fill of it.