I love a good arcade racer! Back when I first got my Dreamcast, I played a lot of Crazy Taxi! It’s fast and fun, and is simple enough to pick up and play a game in under 5 minutes! More recently I popped the game into my Gamecube, and it was just as fun (and as simple) as I remember.
In terms of gameplay – this is an arcade driving game with an emphasis on high scores. You begin by selecting a taxi driver, and then hit the roads and try to make as much money as possible! You do this by picking up passengers and taking them to their drop-off location and by doing jumps and drifts with your taxi! To find where you drop your passengers off, you simply follow the green arrow! The quicker you drop them off, the more money you get! To add some tension to the game, there is a timer that is constantly decreasing to zero. Once the timer hits zero, the game ends. To extend the timer, you need to successfully drop your passengers off quickly! If you take too long, not only will you not make money, but you will also fail to get more time and loose! Once the game is over, you can select to play again, but you start from the start – just like any old school arcade game!
I really liked the gameplay of the game because it’s so simple and can be quickly played without a huge time investment. As the same time, don’t expect to invest a lot of time into this game as its fun in short bursts – but can get a bit repetitive over long periods of time.
One important key to any successful arcade game are the controls. Thank goodness they are good! The buttons are simple – one to accelerate, one to brake, one to go into forwards gear and one to go in reverse gear. The handling of the taxi is very tight and responsive with fits well with the crazy speed of the game.
In terms of maps of where you can drive – there are two cities to explore. The original map from the arcade game, and a San Francisco themed map unique to the console versions. Before each game, you select which you want to to dive in. While both maps are fun, the extra map is much larger than the original map, which I actually didn’t like because it was a lot more confusion to navigate. Because the gameplay is so repetitive, I think I would have preferred three cities roughly the same size but each with a unique setting, instead of one normal map and one large map.
The console version of the game also included an extra mode called Crazy Box, which is a game mode formed by a bunch of mini games. There are challenges like drop off a number of passengers within a time limit, bowl with your taxi as the ball, taking HUGE jumps, and running into balloons. The mode is helpful for honing your skills, but overall I didn’t really like the mode that much as it seems pretty superficial. I would rather just play the regular arcade mode.
In terms of graphics, the game has a fun cartoony look and still holds up well. The cities are nice and bright, and everything is easy to see on-screen. The game also appears to run at a smooth 60 frames per second, which really helps to support the sense of speed in the game! The music (primary provided by The Offspring) provide a fun punk rock vibe that pair well with the frantic gameplay. The sound effects do a decent job as well, and the voice acting is fun and adds a fun layer of your passengers letting you know how good of a driver you are!
In summary, Crazy Taxi is an arcade racer with frantic and fun gameplay, good music, and a nice pick-up-and-play setup that doesn’t require a big time investment. While the game is fun in small doses, it can become redundant with longer play sessions because of limited cities and simple gameplay. There isn’t a ton of content in this game, but what is here is worth playing occasionally. Overall, I give this game a final score of 7/10.
Final Score: 7/10