|An awesome action game in short spurts. The madcap taxi deliveries in the hilly San Francisco-like city really get the blood pumping, and the lively Offspring (or whoever) soundtrack will certainly wake you up, if nothing else.|
The various taxis control pretty well, very crisply anyway, yet with a control scheme, taken from the arcade, that takes some getting used to, particularly these days where an E-brake for drifting is nearly standard in driving games. In Crazy Taxi, on the other hand, you execute a drift--excuse me, "Crazy Drift," by flicking to Reverse, then back to drive as you crank the wheel. Similarly, you can get a "Crazy" speed burst by flicking to Reverse, then quickly flooring the analog gas trigger as you shift back to Forward gear. This shifting thing probably worked better with the gear shifter in the arcade than it does on a D-pad or with a wheel that doesn't have a separate shifter stick; on my compact little wheel it quickly leads to button-pressing soreness.
You can play the game without resorting to the advanced techniques, but you won't get far. Actually unless you are some kind of Crazy Taxi guru you won't get far in the normal modes anyway, since you have to deliver passengers in insanely quick succession to keep your timer going in Arcade mode, and outside of arcade mode, the longest time limit you can give yourself is 10 minutes. Ten minutes of insane hills, traffic, music and yelling passengers and pedestrians pretty near exhausts me, though, so I suppose it's just as well.
For the console port, Sega added in a new city, but it isn't quite as tight and polished as the default arcade city, and has pretty obvious pop-up in the distance. They also created an extensive challenge mode, "Crazy Box," in which you have to drive different obstacle courses under viciously strict time limits. You definitely have to get into the "Crazy" driving techniques to pass all these challenges, and they can be downright infuriating at times. Probably my favorite would be one where you race a course through the whole city. Getting through all of them, I think, unlocks the bicycle cart taxi.
Having finished Crazy Box mode, and not being inclined to subject myself to its nasty time limits again, I'm left with playing the regular passenger-delivery modes in short bursts. It's fun, and entirely engrossing while you're in the midst of a delivery, but it's so crazy that I can't keep it in the DC for very long.
|This being an arcade game, it is meant to be played for score. Delivering a passenger quickly gives you a time bonus, so if you're good, in theory you can play forever, or at least until you run out of passengers (do they ever respawn? I don't know).|
And this is where it gets addictive. Traffic and some customer destinations are semi-random, so you can never be sure just what to expect as you rip around the city fighting the time limit, and you can always execute your driving just a little better.
In particular, I need to work on my Crazy Dashes from being stopped, and on my Limit Cuts (a Crazy Dash within a Crazy Dash, where you get a whole lot of speed). Both of these moves take timing to execute, and then you have to be able to control yourself as you careen through traffic at ridiculous speeds.
You want to do this particularly because, as you drive around with a passenger, they add to their fare with tips for doing Crazy tricks, and these tips get bigger and bigger--until you hit something, and then the tip amount resets.