Review: Crazy Taxi (Sega Dreamcast)

In this review, we make some crazy money playing the open world racing game Crazy Taxi.

This game was released in 2000 and would be a highlighted release for the Dreamcast.

The game is focused on you as a taxi driver making money picking up and dropping off passengers in an open world concept city in a short amount of time.

How much money you make per drop off depends on who you pick up. The people who have the green dollar sign typically has the most fare money. However, they typically have the longest distance to travel in order to complete the trip. The people with red dollar signs, on the other hand, have the shortest trip distance. The problem is that they give the smallest fares. So while you can make short work of those trips, you won’t be making anywhere near as much money on a per trip basis. So, strategy does come into play. All the other colors are somewhere in the middle of the two extremes with yellow having average fares and average distances.

A major factor in your gameplay is the timer. How much time you get depends on which mode of play you choose. If you play by arcade rules, you get a short amount of time from the start, but if you drop off passengers quickly, you get time bonuses with a maximum of 5 seconds added to your timer. The three other modes are of a fixed time. You can work for 3, 5, or even 10 whole minutes. The downside is that time bonuses are non-existent. So, once that time expires, that’s it.

Along the way, you can make small bonus tips for performing crazy stunts. This can include drifting, jumps, and making “crazy passes” where you pass by other vehicles closely without hitting them. These bonuses can play a role in how well you do.

At the end of each round you play, you have your fare money tallied. The more money you make, the better the license. A class D license is considered poor while a class A or even a class S license is pretty good.

There is one other mode in this game and these are sort of challenges you can try and complete. This can range from simply performing particular moves to picking up and dropping off passengers.

The main modes of play are split between Arcade and normal. The difference between these game types is the city you drive through. There doesn’t appear to be any other major differences between them.

When I was researching this game, every indicator suggested that I was going to have a blast playing this game. The concept of racing through an open world city picking up and dropping off passengers actually sounds interesting. Racking up fare money sounds like it adds a lot of excitement. When I got into the game itself, I quickly discovered that my initial expectations wouldn’t be met.

The game does replicate the arcade experience quite well. It is really easy to see arcade mode (and even normal mode for that matter) working quite well in the arcade setting. Unfortunately, this game does previous little to go beyond replicating the arcade experience. The challenging mode is the only addition to this and the rounds don’t last more than a few minutes. In fact, some modes don’t even go beyond a minute before it’s all over.

There are so many different directions I can see this game going. One way is to incorporate a story mode similar to that of Driver where you pick up and drop off a chain of passengers in increasingly difficult circumstances. Another way this game could work is being able to accumulate fare money so you can access both new areas and upgrade your car. I thought that would have made things interesting. In a completely separate way, I can see you competing against the computer player to compete for fare money. Winner takes all. Any one of these ideas, in my view, would have made this an excellent game. Unfortunately, all you get is a general arcade style game where the most you can do is put your name on a high score and have everything reset to zero after. This, in my view, made this game extremely short lived. If I want to play this game every so often, the most I can get out of it is an hour or so before the game gets boring. A very disappointing element if you ask me.

Another think I never really liked was the driving physics. I don’t recall very many games where, in a racer, there is only drive and reverse. At the very least, there is some sense of shifting gears, but this game features only 2. Additionally, I thought it was weird that you can spin your tires so much in this game. You can park your car just off the road, drop off a passenger, and pick another one up only to realize that you aren’t going anywhere any time soon. So, you spend a good 7 seconds hitting the accelerator, tapping left and right, tapping the break, and, well doing anything to get out of the makeshift parking lot. Sometimes, that means the difference between making it to your destination on time and your passenger bailing on you before you make it. This, I found, more irritating than anything else.

That is not to say that there is no area where this game shines. One area was the graphics. I thought the city layout and textures worked very well. I also thought that the cars and people were well designed. The menu system was well realized and designed. The cartoonish style fit the game very nicely overall. I thought the effects were decently put together. The breakables added a fair bit of excitement to the overall gameplay. The small animations how your passenger interacts with your driver was very well realized. So, I thought the graphics were great overall.

The audio was another big highlight for me. The complaints and compliments from passengers works very well. The sound effects you get when earning bonuses worked very well. I thought it was a little odd that there was no motor sound, but since the audio atmosphere in this game is already so full, it wasn’t that big of a deal here. The vocal fry announcer was also a good choice here. The music did a very good job at fitting with the theme of the game. There’s music from Bad Religion and the Offspring featured throughout the soundtrack. Music choices were great. Only reason I’m not giving this game a perfect score in this are was because the music was so badly cut off. It just chops off almost arbitrarily and going on to the next track. I get that each round is generally short, but the fact that the music was so short only adds to the overall feeling that rounds are very short lived.

Overall, this game did do a fair bit to let me down. This is largely in the area of gameplay. The driving physics left a lot to be desired and the fact that there are so few modes of play made the game shallow. It never really breaks out of the arcade shell. The graphics, on the other hand, was great overall between driver/customer interactions to the overall look and feel of the cities you driver through. The sound effects worked quite well and the music was very well chosen – though the music was chopped down severely. So, generally speaking, this game may be good for a few hours of play, but little more than that.

Furthest point in game: Earned a few class S licenses in the 10 minute modes.

General gameplay: 12/25
Replay value: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Audio: 4/5

Overall rating: 62%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top