For the past decade, Crazy Taxi, that started off as a simple and fun to play arcade room game, has managed to bring itself into the homes of many by being ported to the PlayStation 3, PC and even the Xbox console.
Although Sega, the original publisher for the game, was responsible for this undertaking, this doesn’t mean that they’ve added anything new to the original gameplay. The same features have been preserved to all of the ported versions, mostly because the game was such a big hit back in its days. The Story
Technically, there are no details on the background story for each cab driver. All you need to know is that you’ll be driving a cab and that your only purpose in life is to make sure that you get the customer on time to their destination.
Granted, considering that the game feels more like a time trial by constantly having to drive insanely from one location to another, little time is actually left to get better acquainted to your driver and share hobbies and drinking stories. The Gameplay
Faithfull to the original arcade style that made it so popular, the Xbox version is every bit as dynamic and addicting as the original arcade sit-down machine. Porting the game was probably no easy task and having to take a trip down memory lane with a decade of realistic graphics and physics technology advancements that have been embedded in your subconscious, Crazy Taxi might seem unworthy of being brought back to life.
As it turns out, you couldn’t be further away from the truth. Having to drive that brick-aerodynamic car across a town where traffic resembles a lot like an average New York day, gives me a nostalgic vibe kind of like wearing my old shoulder padded jacket again (got to love the late 90’s).
Even the in-game pedestrians that frantically jump away as you try to run them over gets me back to happier times when Carmageddon was still a raging title and running over people was considered an act of good faith and worthy of extra points.
The Arcade style gameplay has the same rules as the original series, meaning that you’ll be given an amount of time when you start off and as you deliver more and more customers, you’ll be adding extra seconds (money as well). You still get to pick your customers, for instance you can choose to make short runs that will give you more money but no extra time or you can choose longer trips for less money and some extra seconds to your timer.
There are also three, five and ten minute challenges that you can try out. The end result to all of these must be to achieve the highest score by collecting as much money as you can and not losing any clients.
I know it doesn’t sound like much of a game, especially compared to modern standards where everything is about competition, challenges and fast cars, but the addiction lies in the way you get to come back to the game so that you can beat your own previous high score. The controls are simple, your goal is staring you in the face and all that’s left for you to do is drive like a maniac and try to get as many near misses in traffic as possible.
The more you avoid colliding with other cars, the more money you’ll be awarded at the end of each race (just like P. Diddy used to say: “it’s all about the Benjamins”). Don’t worry about the handling of your car, because all four in-game vehicles have the same stats and it’s all a matter of which alter ego you want to choose.
Also, the physics part is hilarious (compared to modern games) especially because everything behaves as if you’ve just hit two five ton rubber cars; they feel heavy but they bounce off each other. Thank goodness that your car doesn’t take any damage or else your runs would be really short.
As a tip, if you want to get extra points while transporting a customer, try and look for ramps or other such things that can serve as a launching platform for you to get more air time. This is a perfect way to seriously boost up your score and the more you do your “I’m like a bird” (thanks Nelly Furtado) routine, the more psyched your passengers will get. Video and Audio
The only thing worth mentioning about the video part is that it does a pretty good job supporting wide screen display so that you can get a clear, sharp and brilliant image. It’s unfair to judge the graphics engine to modern times, since this is in no way meant to be a competitive game and it only strives to give you a nostalgic kick on what old school games used to be all about.
As for the background soundtrack and environmental sounds, I can honestly say that you won’t be paying too much attention to them as you’ll be more focused on dodging cars in traffic and keeping an eye on the evil clock that’s slowly counting down. Still, it’s fun to hear people as they curse you when you’re about to run them over and the angry car horns that seem to reflect the embodiment of all curse words (if you have a driver’s license, you know what I’m talking about).
The rock soundtrack fits like a glove to the aggressive gaming style, but it’s also subjective to each individual. Some of you might want to turn the volume way up (mostly the rockers) while others will enjoy listening to their iPod. Conclusion
It’s nice to see that someone has taken the time to bring back titles from the cretaceous age of video games, especially from the racing genre that has suffered so many mutations in the past decade. Capturing the same addicting racing frenzy and time-rushed aggressive driving, Crazy Taxi is a nice breath of fresh air wrapped in an old package with an Xbox ribbon on top.
The downside is that it took too long for the Xbox to catch up, and now the new generation of gamers won’t fully appreciate the sheer fun and addictiveness that the game has to offer.