When AM3's arcade division heard the pitch for Crazy Taxi, I can only think of one thing that must of come to their mind:
"Hey Hey Hey, Let's make some craaaazy money!"
Because if theres one thing that unites both Japanese and US gamers, its this strange driving urge to get behind the wheel of a powerful vehicle and drive really fast. Whether it's Denshya De Go! 4 1/2: Kotetsu No Denshya (Trains of Steel) in Japan, or Test Drive Offroad 8: Drive Through Butter in America, gamers seem to have an insatiable taste for speed. This is a taste that I, on the whole, don't share; unless it's the latest Mario Kart, or perhaps Waverace, I won't go anywhere near it.
Thus, for the record, I don't like racing games, but I DO know what I like...
And I sure as hell like Crazy Taxi.
The newest in a really long line of DC killer apps (including Sonic, Soul Calibur, yadda yadda yadda), CT has all the qualities that make the DC currently THE place for sexalicious gaming. (That term must be weeded from the existence of vocabulary - Ed's note) Graphically, it puts to shame ALL exciting racing games. The Psuedo-Francisco created is one of the most realistic gaming environments I've EEEEEEVVVER seen before. These cities are alive with pedestrians, phone booths, and really stupid oblivous drivers. And it all looks so GOOD. The best way I can describe it is: imagine driving through the FMV city in the CG opening of Sonic Adventure. It's THAT good, and you don't have to worry about a giant mutant aqua dragon going on a rampage either.
Gameplay is rock-hard, super-adrenalized, hyper arcade action. Your goal is to drive around with one of four assorted cabbies and pick up fares, and get them to where they want to go as fast as possible. Sound simple? Unfun even? WRONG! The game plays like Driver on speed, with the exclusion of those annoying cops to avoid. Feel like catching some air? Jump out of a parking garage! Wanna cause havoc? Drive through a heavily populated beach! Feel the need for some deep fried, greasy, chicken from hell? Drive to KFC, and be sure to knock over as much stuff as you can! And when you get tired with straight up mega driving, theres always the mastery of the various "Crazy" techniques in the game, such as the Crazy Drift, the Crazy Jump, and the Crazy Stop.
Overall in the audio department, the game is hardcore. Has some of the best sound effects I've yet to hear on the DC, and the voice samples are as numerous as they are humorous. I never thought I'd get called a "punk-ass" by someone in a videogame before. The music however, is a mixed bag. While the tracks by Bad English and Offspring do their job adequately, the constant loop they're on and the fact that there's only three or four songs can grow to be repetitive. This perhaps is the only gripe which I have with Crazy Taxi. Though the gameplay will also grow to a routine fashion, feeling almost redundant, you may ask yourself: "Why am I still playing this?"
Well let me enlighten you-- it's because its fun; a sufficient reason to play any game.
(Pics Courtesy of Gamefan Online)
· · · Riisuke