Crazy Taxi Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Nov 24, 2010 07:07

It would seem Sega is doing well enough at porting their Dreamcast library to modern systems, as not long after Sonic Adventure’s release we now have Crazy Taxi, an arcade-style ’stunt cab driving’ game. You roll through the city as fast as you can, picking up passengers and taking them to their destination before time runs out... and things like ’traffic rules’, ’safety’, and ’the laws of physics’ are suggestions at best. Purely a score attack game, each session of Crazy Taxi will only last a few minutes so the emphasis is on getting better each time.

Crazy Taxi’s core is intact; the controls will feel familiar, the city layout is mostly the same as before, and the game is still very fast and fun. Given Crazy Taxi was originally an arcade game, defeat is inevitable; the question is how much money you’ll rack up before time runs out, and this will depend on both your driving skills and ability to plan a good route. It’s easy to learn, so the real depth lies in getting just a tiny bit better at each part of the game every time you play. There are even roughly a dozen or so ’Crazy Box’ mini-stages meant to teach you the skills you need, and they’re a fun if brief diversion from the main game in any case.

Speed and wild driving are definitely Crazy Taxi’s strongest aspect. The city is full of all sorts of hills, ramps, and inclines meant to send you sailing through the air in all sorts of directions, and your car turns with incredible agility. It will take a minute or two to get used to this, but once you’ve done that the frantic pace of vaulting across the road and skidding to a stop to pick up a passenger, then lurching back onto the road and zipping through traffic to get to their destination in time is a lot of fun. And while that may sound incredibly violent, it’s really not; pedestrians always manage to scatter from the worst of your antics while other cars can’t really take much damage, so there isn’t too much of a worry in letting younger players have a go at Crazy Taxi.

Unfortunately, this port of Crazy Taxi has a significant problem in that most of its old atmosphere has been gutted. Fans of the original release will recall that the game’s music, including Offspring’s "All I Want", played a big part in conveying Crazy Taxi’s sense of wild speed and unrestrained driving. These tracks are gone, replaced by ones that are decent but nowhere near as fitting as the old music was. Brand-name stores have been made generic as well, such as what was previously a Pizza Hut now being an simple red building the game only calls a "pizza parlor." The only other issue worth commenting on is the graphics. They have been reworked to fit modern displays better, but this really just brings out how very old they are; it’s playable but certainly not pretty by any means.

Yet none of these flaws destroy Crazy Taxi. The heart of the game is still there, driving like a maniac is fun, and its arcade-style score attack mechanics are still addicting today. $10 USD/800 Microsoft Points is a decent price for what you get, and if you absolutely must have the old music back then you can probably set up a custom soundtrack for that. New players should at least give Crazy Taxi’s a try, and if you’re a veteran player who doesn’t have convenient access to the older versions then this is still a decent port to pick up.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Crazy Taxi Review (XBLA)
8.0 Replay
Very much the point of the game, as each session only lasts a few minutes and you’re ranked by how much money (points) you rack up; there is a huge emphasis on making incremental improvements each time you play.
4.0 Graphics
It has been modified to fit modern displays, but this really just brings out how old Dreamcast games look in 2010.
5.0 Sound
Iconic music has been replaced by passable but far less distinct tracks, robbing the game of some of its essence. Custom soundtracks could solve this for some users, though.
7.5 Gameplay
Wild driving and score attack play are still a lot of fun today, and will keep you coming back for more.
3.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
There are leaderboards, but not much else. This is to be expected however, as Crazy Taxi games have generally not featured multiplayer modes.
7.5 Overall
An arcade classic that is worth buying, held back only by the loss of some of its more memorable music and presentation.

Rating: 3.0, votes: 1

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