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REVIEW: Retrospective – Crazy Taxi (PS2)

Now here’s a new section for you! Reviews from about 3 years ago, of games older than that, today! It’s so crazy it might just work. Or at least it might make you go hunt these old games down at your local Gamestation/eBay. The reviews are by me, DrDoomsday, lazygamer’s brother. So, onwards with the first review: Crazy Taxi.

When Crazy Taxi was released on PS2 in May 2001, it was somewhat a milestone. The game was the first Sega title to be released on a Sony console, a prospect that had been deemed an impossibility only until four months prior to the game’s release when Sega announced it was throwing in the towel as far as console manufacturing went. My brother originally had Crazy Taxi for the Dreamcast, but sold it on Ebay some months ago. Although I really enjoyed the game, I must admit I did very little to prevent him from doing so for numerous reasons. Recently though, I decided to pick up the PS2 version for the ridiculously low price of £6.99, and luckily it’s still as fun as I remember.

Crazy taxi is a simply frantic arcade game that gives you the role of a reckless American cab driver, where you must transport customers to where they wish to be in a time limit to earn your wages. As you have strict time constraints and need to do dangerous and daring stunts and tricks to earn bonus dollars, there is no emphasis on being a safe lawful driver. Basically, you can be as insane on the road as you like.

The player is given the choice between ‘Arcade’ and ‘Original’ modes, which in effect gives the player a choice of two cities to run amok in. Also, you can play both modes by arcade rules where the time you can play for is determined by how successful your moneymaking escapades are and how quick you can achieve them, or you can play for a set time of either 3, 5 or 10 minutes. Once over, you are graded according to the number of dollars you accumulated by taking passengers from A to B. The game offers one a bit of choice in how the player wishes to make as much cash as possible. Passengers with long trips earn you more cash and give more opportunities for fare-hiking stunts to be carried out, but take up a lot of time. Shorter journeys take less time but ultimately don’t pay out as lucratively as long ones. Therefore it is up to you to devise a plan to reach the coveted goal of $5000 to receive the rather lovely Class S license. Of course, the tactics needed aren’t as deep as say an RPG or RTS game, but it does pay to have a rough plan of how you are going to play.

In addition, there is a challenge mode consisting of many mini games. These involve tasks such as making huge jumps off massive ramps to more complex tasks where you have get from point A to point B by clearing an almost maze like series of ramps in a short period of time. These games are harder than the standard game, and can be an utter bitch to get through. They do help you improve your driving skills though and aid your learning of special tricks and manoeuvres such as the speed burst that can be made to excellent use in the arcade/original modes. It’s all fast, frenzied, and extremely wild fun.

However, there are some shortcomings. Like many arcade games, it lacks diversity, which means that once the initial thrills die down, you can find yourself not wanting to play for extended periods. On the other hand though, the pick up and play nature of the game does mean you’ll revisit regularly as it will still remain entertainment in small doses. Much like absinthe then!
Graphically, while the game generally looks decent and beautifully colourful, the game does suffer from the pop up and slowdown that were present in the Dreamcast version that preceded it by a year. Acclaim’s inability to rectify these problems does convey that this port was done as quickly as possible to act as a cash cow for Acclaim. Even though it is an early PS2 game, it is a shame such aesthetic deficiencies exist, although luckily they do not spoil the game in any major way.

Conclusion:The game nowadays is very cheap, and the prices it now commands it is worth picking up despite its flaws. If it was first released tomorrow at £40, it would be totally out-of-date and a rip off for a new game, but this isn’t the case. As an early release at a dirt-cheap price, it’s still a great game in its own right. Crazy Taxi is far from essential, but it is a worthwhile and pleasurable game that many will find satisfaction from.
Price: £3-5, maybe cheaper.
Score: 4 out of 5.

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