Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Vault: Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi
Format: Dreamcast
Genre: Arcade
Expect to pay: £2 - £10

"Alright! Let's go make some crrrrrrrazy money!"

This was the phrase that greeted players as they fired up a game of this Sega classic, which was expertly ported over to the Dreamcast completely intact by Hitmaker. In it, you take control of the titular Crazy Taxi and head out into the fictionalised version of San Francisco to earn fares by taking people where they want to go within an increasingly tight time limit. Only, this is Sega's version of SF, so everything is ultra bright and colourful and over exaggerated.

There are various ways to play the main mode, from a time limit that is topped up based on how much money you bring in, to fixed length modes which vary from 3 to 10 minutes, which are great if you can only play for a little while and just want to try and beat your (or your friends/siblings) score. Then you choose from one of the four characters who each have their own car - all rounder Axel, speedy BD Joe, nippy Gena, and built-like-a-tank Gus. Each car has its own characteristics but it doesn't make a major difference to the gameplay.

As well as the city that was ported across from the arcade cabinet, Sega wisely decided that some extras were needed for the home version, so we get a second Original city to drive around and the Crazy Box mode. Crazy Box is a series of challenges that are quite addictive when you get into them, and without these extras the game would have been really short. The main game is so well done though and the many different ranks you can earn will keep you coming back in an attempt to better yourself.

Certain Offspring songs will always be associated with this game whenever I hear them for the rest of time, as they contributed a total of three songs to the game. Bad Religion also provided four of their own but for some reason these aren't nearly as memorable to me. There's another type of licence prevalent in Crazy Taxi in addition to the music though, in the form of Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants as well as other real word franchises that you have to ferry your customers between.

Crazy Taxi 2 came out a few years later and was basically more of the same but with cites based around New York instead of San Francisco. I'd say both games are about equal in terms of gameplay but you can probably find the original slightly cheaper as more copies were made. There was a Crazy Taxi 3 released for the Xbox but unfortunately I never got around to play it so I can't honestly say whether it was any good or not.

Crazy Taxi is full of that special magic that made Sega games so good back in the day.

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