Game Review: Crazy Taxi
Release: 17th Nov PSN, 24th Nov XBLA
Developer: SEGA Studios Shanghai
Available Platforms: PSN, XBLA
ESRB Rating: T
Originally released back in 1999 in arcades, Crazy Taxi and its various offshoots has since been featured on every console that’s mattered in the past decade except for the Xbox. Well this has now been rectified with the release of Crazy Taxi on Xbox Live Arcade. Crazy Taxi is a taxi game, obviously, where the goal is to pick up as many fares in a set time limit as possible whilst driving the sunny streets of a location filled with sunny beaches and steep hills. The crazy part comes in with your driving, the more insane you drive and the more cars you near miss, the more money you will be given by your equally insane customers. This encourages you to explore more and attempt more jumps and faster shortcuts in hopes of shaving a few seconds off your time and getting some extra cash.
There are 3 modes available to test your driving skills. Arcade and Original both have 3, 5 and 10 minute time slots and boast a different map each, there is also a Crazy Box mode which gives the player a variety of challenges from jumps to popping balloons to picking up fares quickly. Some of these are infuriating due to the awkward control system.
It’s difficult to judge Crazy Taxi HD because while it has its flaws, which I will come to soon, it is a fun and rather addictive game to waste away 10 minutes on an evening. Getting a group of friends together to play this is great fun despite the lack of Co-op or multiplayer, and results in quite a heated competition of who can do better; and bringing people together is surely the point of gaming, but unfortunately that is where my appreciation for this game ends.
Mostly this is just me being picky but I want to say it anyway: as previously mentioned the control system is awkward if you haven’t played it before, and the alternate configurations are just as clunky. Add to this the fact that the controls are also massively oversensitive (although this can be adjusted), and I often found myself veering out of the way of an oncoming bus just to find myself bonnet first in the nearest set of cafe tables. The graphics are in 720p as the blurb promises but it is 720p of decade old flat textured cars and buildings; the new smoothness of the HD conversion is nice but simply serves to highlight the fact that you are driving around a cardboard city.
All in all Crazy Taxi is still the same game a lot of people played in the arcades and on the Dreamcast and for this it is excellent, but it lacks the oomph needed to grab the much younger gamers of today. SEGA has dragged it out of retirement like an old pet who, whilst loved by many, is getting closer and closer to needing to be put to sleep. What a sad occasion that will be, but perhaps this classic does need to rest now or risk losing its charm forever.