Format reviewed: Dreamcast
Submitted by: Alex Reeves
Crazy Taxi began life in 1999 as an arcade driving game on the Sega NAOMI platform, and was soon ported to the Sega Dreamcast.
The objective of the game is to pick up fares in your taxi and take them to their chosen destination as fast as possible, somewhere in a town resembling San Francisco (probably for the stunt potential of the roads). The twist is that you are rewarded with a higher fare for reckless driving, including near-misses, jumps, drifts and playing chicken with oncoming traffic. Stunts such as rapid acceleration and braking can be pulled off using the forward and reverse gears, allowing extra stunt points to be racked up and to help complete the levels in record time. Strangely this reckless driving was rewarded by passengers rather than penalised, although botched stunts and crashes resulted in a reduced overall score.
On arrival the fare is totaled and a rating awarded based on time taken and stunts pulled off. Playing under Arcade Rules, the clock reduces as you go and you need to finish in good time to extend, and this is my favourite mode of play. Once you have memorised the characters and the destinations (as well as the short cuts) you can play for a long time on a single “credit”, with ever increasing difficulty.
This game was also ported to the Gamecube, and was pre-cursor to games such as Simpsons Hit and Run, which featured similar gameplay mechanics.
For fans of the arcade the Dreamcast port really excelled, mainly due to the similarities in the NAOMI and DC hardware, and it was a must-have game for any console owner. The gameplay, the music and the replication of the coin-op mode really did allow users to have an arcade experience at home. Couple this with great music and some unlockable mini-games, this is one game I continue to play on my aging Dreamcast to this day.