reviews\ Dec 13, 2001 at 7:00 pm

Crazy Taxi - GC - Review

Crazy Taxi is a taxi driving game (now there's a revelation!), one that has entertained hundreds of thousands of hardcore gamers, casual gamers and even non-gamers. Real-life taxi driving isn't overly appealing and most people aren't too thrilled with making it their profession. People want cool jobs. They want to be doctors, actors, police officers, fire fighters, etc. So what is the huge attraction to Crazy Taxi? That is the question asked by those who haven't played it, because anyone who has played it knows that the reason why this game is so good does not matter. It's fun and that's all that we care about.

But saying that isn't enough for some gamers. You're not going to buy a $50 game (that's the MSRP -- it may be cheaper at some electronic stores) just because I said it was good, unless I give you several reasons as to why it is as good as I claim it is. So I'm here to tell you what makes Crazy Taxi so great.

Start a game and select one of four taxi drivers, each with their own unique cab. Press the A button and the game will begin. Hit the gas and cruise around a little, getting a feel for the tight controls. Sorry kids, but you can't run over the pedestrians walking around, this isn't Grand Theft Auto 3. You can try, but they'll just run out of the way. If you're too close to them, the pedestrians won't have time to run away and the car will go right through them. Once you've taken in all of the sights and sounds, look for a pedestrian with a green, yellow, red or orange dollar sign hanging over his/her head. The person will tell you where they want to go, but if you're new to the game, that little tidbit of information is not going to help you find the location. Crazy Taxi's city is enormous. The kind of enormous that makes people get that Keanu Reeves "Whoa..." look on their face. That is why Sega decided to include the now-famous green arrow. The green arrow points you in the direction of your destination. You'll still need to memorize as much of the city's layout as you can if you expect to master the game, but until then, the arrow is a really big help.

Now drop off your customer and say goodbye. What next? Look for another customer, of course. This is the base of the game -- you drive around, pick up customers and drop 'em off at their destinations. The goal of the game is to score as many points as possible. Earning taxi fares isn't the only way to get a high score. You can obtain a high score by performing various special maneuvers with a passenger in the back seat. The best (and hardest) maneuver to perform is the Crazy Through. To perform a Crazy Through, you must drive past a car as closely as possible. The closer you are to the vehicle, the more points you'll earn. If you Crazy Through more than one vehicle in a row, the amount of points earned will rise continually for every additional Crazy Through. But if you touch one of the vehicles or bump the side of a building, tree or any other object in the game, you'll break the chain and have to start all over again. Extra points can also be gained by performing a Crazy Drift (which spins your cab in circles). Every spin gives you more points, but if you incorporate the Crazy Drift into your customer's destination and slide the side of your cab into the building, you can gain a ton of points without having to worry about finding an empty spot to avoid running into traffic. However, doing so will waste more time and could take away from your regular earnings, which should be your primary concern.

Crazy Taxi sounds simple, and it is, but it is also very deep and more addictive than most of the exclusive GameCube titles. Replay value is key when it comes to buying a new console, because if you spend $200 on something that only has games worth playing through once, you're going to feel like you made a mistake. Rogue Leader offers an impressive amount of replay value and the demo I played of Pikmin was more addictive than most of the games I've played all year on any console! In its day, Crazy Taxi was just as addictive. For those of you who haven't played it before, I see no reason why it wouldn't just as addictive right now. If you don't love Crazy Taxi, you should go to the doctor and have your brain checked. When I say that this game rules, it's not just my personal opinion. Gamers from all around the world love Crazy Taxi. No one loves it as much as I do, but that's okay because I think it would be unhealthy for anyone to love this game as much as me.

Between games of Star Wars: Rogue Leader, Super Smash Bros., Pikmin, Super Monkey Ball and Luigi's Mansion, most GameCube owners don't have the time to play a port of a nearly two-year-old Dreamcast game. But if you missed out on Crazy Taxi before, make the time to play it now. If you'd rather buy the cheaper Dreamcast version ($20) or the cheaper PlayStation 2 version ($30), then go right ahead and save the cash. Then you can put that extra twenty-buck towards the purchase of Extreme G3 or any other great game you have yet to pickup. It really doesn't matter what system you play Crazy Taxi on because all of the versions are excellent.

#Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 9
Crazy Taxi stood the test of time and has proven itself as a true classic. I played the arcade and Dreamcast versions to death when they first came out. You would think that I would be sick of the game by now, and normally I would. But there is something really special about Crazy Taxi, something that prevents the game from getting tiresome. Crazy Taxi is just a Dreamcast port, which really sucks, because they could have really taken advantage of the system's true power and expanded the city even further. But if you don't own the DC version, get this game ASAP. There's a lot more fun to be had with Crazy Taxi than you could ever imagine, and is definitely one of the top five GameCube games of the year.

Graphics: 5.5 
Two years ago, Crazy Taxi's graphics were great. On the GameCube, they're barely above average. Technically they're below average, because every other GameCube game out there looks a whole lot better.

Sound: 8
If you like the Offspring and have never played Crazy Taxi before, then your ears are in for a treat. However, if you don't like the Offspring or have played CT as much as I have, then you'll probably want to play a CD on your stereo and avoid hearing "All I Want" for the thousandth time.

Difficulty: 7
Crazy Taxi is easy to learn, but very hard to master.

Concept: 6 
Acclaim's mission: to port one of the greatest games of all time to every console out there (except Xbox, which will be receiving an exclusive version of Crazy Taxi developed by Sega sometime next year). Acclaim succeeded with flying colors, retaining all of the greatness of the Dreamcast version. But, since it is only a port, would I have expected (or even accepted) anything less? Of course not. The GameCube is more than twice as powerful as the Dreamcast. It's a shame Acclaim didn't take advantage of that factor and add something new to the game.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 9
Anyone who doesn't own this game should stop what they're doing right now and head to the nearest electronic store to buy it. There are no other driving games on the GameCube and even if there were, it wouldn't matter because this is one of the best video games ever made. Parents afraid of letting their young kids play a game with the oh-so-scary "Teen" rating should relax. All they have to do is turn off the music (or hit the mute button on their TV) to eliminate all of the vulgar Offspring songs, making this game suitable for gamers of all ages.


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