Is Crazy Taxi really crazy or is it just a name? This was the primary question I was asking myself when I popped this game into my Dreamcast system. Up until now there has not been anything for the Dreamcast that really created a white-knuckle insanity in me. Sure there has been jaw-dropping visuals and some great gameplay on a couple of title like Soul Caliber and NFL 2K, but nothing that really made me sweat. Well I am happy to say that as I wipe the sweat from my brow I am really impressed with the speed and look of this title. It elicits the kind of jump in your seat excitement that makes you want to play video games.
The point of Crazy Taxi is similar to what you would expect. As one of four cabbies you drive a cab, pick up passengers and get them to their destination as quickly as possible. The difference is that the passengers you get are all psychos who love to get scared out of their pants. You can do this by spinning out in fabulous U-turns or by coming dangerously close to crashing into any of the surroundings including other cars. Remember when your mother was teaching you to drive and you would barely miss that parked car on that particularly narrow street at 40 MPH? Remember the gasp that you heard as a hand grabbed your wrist? Well, in Crazy Taxi you get tips for making maneuvers like that. However crashing is not an option. Customers hate that
The game is mostly just an arcade port with minimal extras. You play in one of two huge levels where all of the action takes place. In it you can take a variety of customers to places like the beach, a cable car depot, The Leviís Store, and even KFC. The faster and crazier the ride, the more cash you will get. At your disposal are a couple of special moves, a boost and a power slide both of which can get you extra tip money. If you play by the original rules you will be under a time limit that gets added to with every good drop off. If this is too difficult, there is also an option to play for a given amount of time so you do not have to worry about the time getting in the way.
To add a bit more depth to the game, there are also some mini-missions. These games are a mix of tutorials and challenges that put your driving skills to the test. They range from making a big jump to timed deliveries. If you get all of the challenges in a level then a really cool mini-gam will open up. The first level features a larger than life bowling alley where the taxi is the ball. Although the mini-games are really helpful in learning and practicing the moves in the main game, they really do not stand alone as being fun inand of themselves and most of them have a replay value of zero.
Like I said I was really psyched about this game and playing it got me really excited. The graphics are phenomenal and the speed of the game is unbeatable. The level design is also done really well providing an expansive city with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. However, my biggest concern was the lasting appeal of this game. It is really soon well but has very little depth. After an hour you probably will have seen just about everything there is and wonder why the game does not have more.
Without a doubt, Crazy Taxi provides the most exciting and outrageous gameplay seen to date on the Dreamcast. There is really nothing like it on any system. In what other game can you get in a car and get points for driving as close to death as possible. Crazy Taxi definitely gets points for originality, and points for excitement, but will all of this last. That depends on how many times you can drive aronud the same two levels. So hop in and get going dude. Your mom would be proud.
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