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Crazy Taxi 1-3

Page 2:
Portable Versions

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by Paul G., with additions by derboo - last updated December 4th, 2010

The Crazy Taxi series was a breath of fresh air to many. Sure, it may have seemed like the standard gimmicky driving game that seemed to flood arcades in the late 90s (and are still prevalent today), but there was a lot more to Crazy Taxi. It was a simple game with pure arcade quality gaming about a seemingly mundane job: taxi cabbing. The name is simple but to the point: it's taxi driving but with a crazy twist, seeing as you don't have to follow the rules of the road (and in later games, the rules of gravity) to get your customer to their predetermined destination.

With great atmosphere, music perfectly fitting the game, insane amount of maneuvers (including the Crazy Drift that helps you turn on a dime or the Crazy Dash to have a sudden boost to speed past traffic), and a great level design, Crazy Taxi sports tons of playability. Unfortunately, the appeal began to wear off, as each subsequent game failed to improve much on the formula. So after releasing a few sequels, it appears as though the game became stale to best.

Back in 2001, it was announced that producer-director Richard Donner had acquired the rights to make a live action film based on the Crazy Taxi license. This seemed a bit odd, seeing how there is absolutely no story whatsoever in any of the games. The year after, word got out that Mindfire Entertainment, the same company that produced the awful House of the Dead movie, had obtained the rights to it. Mindfire announced the movie as "a PG-rated comedy that blends the action and car crashes of The Fast and the Furious with the drama of HBO's Taxicab Confessions and the comedy of Rat Race." Not much has been said in terms of plot, actors/actresses, and the movie seems to have been scrapped or shelved for now.

Despite its inherent shallowness, Crazy Taxi offers up a lot more depth than simply "going real fast", and that's where it shines. Unfortunately Sega never expanded much on the formula, and Crazy Taxi basically died along with the arcades. Despite some of the redundancy of the sequels, it's a near-perfect game design, and it's still fun to let loose and reek havoc upon cities just to make money.

What are you waiting for? Go out there and make some crazy money!

Crazy Taxi 3 (Xbox)


Crazy Taxi - Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Windows, PlayStation 3, XBox 360 (1999)

American Dreamcast Cover

Japanese Dreamcast Cover

The first entry in the Crazy Taxi series began as an arcade game running on Sega's brand new Naomi hardware. The game has a simple premise: you select one out of four cabbies and make crazy amounts of money by bringing customers to their destination in the quickest times. At first, your cab is empty, with tons of people waiting around for you to pick them up. Slide up next to them and they'll hope in, with an arrow pointing you in the vague direction. Make it fast enough and you'll get some extra seconds on your clock, along with your fare. Take too long, and not only do you lose money, but precious time as well. The goal is simply to score as high as possible before time runs out.

Since this is a score based game, you need to perfect your skill in order to maximize the amount of money you get. Performing insane stunts such as your Crazy Dash and Crazy Drift add bonus cash to your total score, which is paid off when you deliver your customer to their destination. The game takes place in the West Coast, a fully realized city based on the hilly landscapes of San Francisco. In staying true to life, you'll be able to take your customers to authentic food and retail chains, such as Pizza Hut, FILA, and Burger King, to name just a few. Keep in mind that this game was made before Grand Theft Auto 3 popularized huge, open urban environments, and you can begin to see how impressive Crazy Taxi was, especially since it's far superior on a technical level, seeing how it runs at a full 60 FPS nearly all the time. There are a few collision and clipping issues, but these are barely noticeable when you are playing. The only annoying control problem is that you need to switch gears to go into reverse, instead of simply holding the "brake" button when you're stopped, a more natural technique used in other games.

Your fanciful jaunts around the city are accompanied by the likes of bands such as the Offspring, Bad Religion, and Methods of Mayhem, which has become staple music in the Crazy Taxi universe. It's fitting, but seeing as there are only a handful of songs, they get old quickly. The announcer is also like some random insane guy who sounds like Beetlejuice in desperate need of a chloraseptic lozenge.

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

After the initial release for the arcade, Sega hyped up the port for the Dreamcast, which is practically identical to the Naomi hardware. And with good reason - it showed the system's graphical power, amazing fast-paced gameplay, and was ported almost perfectly. Using the triggers to accelerate and brake makes for better controlling and more natural feeling than the arcade with the steering wheel. One complaint about the control however is that your hands will hurt, but that's just due to the actual controller in general.

While the arcade game is fun, it's ultimately a game that can only be played in quick bursts, since they rarely last more then five or ten minutes at a time, unless you're really good. Due to the nature of the game, the Dreamcast version added tons of extra stuff to make it more fleshed out. While having the original arcade city in the mix, there is now an original level exclusive for the console. The arcade track is pretty much perfection, while the original track expanded upon the level design, spreading out the landscape even further. However, the landscape tends to confuse the radar telling you where to drop off your passengers, and there's more slowdown here than in the arcade city.

Brand new to the concept of Crazy Taxi is the mini game filled Crazy Box Mode that teaches you how to properly perform crazy moves to use in the actual game. This mode is essential, for it teaches you all the basics and advanced moves to help you pave your way in become the most insane cab driver ever to grace the West Coast. Added bonus is when you complete all of Crazy Box Mode: the Rickshaw (AKA the cabbie bicycle).

Once Sega left the hardware business, other companies were scrambling to pick up some franchises to port over to other consoles. Acclaim went ahead and developed and published Crazy Taxi for the PlayStation 2 first, then for the Game Cube as one of the system's launch titles. Both versions have a lot more graphical hiccups, including way more clipping errors. There's also a weird audio glitch in the PS2 version in Crazy Box mode where a song will start playing for five seconds then randomly change. A weird alteration for the Gamecube is that the port has different voice actors/actresses. Other than that, it's exactly the same as the Dreamcast version.

Crazy Taxi (Xbox 360)

Activision and Strangelite handled the PC port, and it's the worst one of the bunch. The framerate chugs regardless of your computer's hardware, making this version almost unplayable and highly unenjoyable. The only added benefit is the fact that you can use a steering wheel attachment to make it more like the arcade, something the console versions (excluding the Dreamcast) lacked support of.

In November 2010, Crazy Taxi was re-released again for both Sony's and Microsoft's download programs on their current home consoles. Other than taking the graphics up a notch by supporting the now obligatory HD resolutions (including widescreen support, unlike the XBLA port of Sonic Adventure), this version suffers from the same condition than its counterpart in Fare Wars on the PSP, namely the absence of the original licensed music and licensed stores in the city. On the other hand it once again lacks multiplayer, one of the major defining features that made the PSP version worthwhile. It also lacks in-game custom soundtrack support, but at least you can use the system's interface to play whatever music you want, provided you've copied them to your console's hard drive.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Sega

Publisher:

Sega

Director:

Kenji Kanno

Genre:

Racing

Themes:

Contemporary: Urban
Player: Blue Collar
Player: Woman
Over the Top


Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi (Dreamcast)


Crazy Taxi 2 - Dreamcast (2001)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

After the huge hit that was the original, it would seem strange to not make a sequel, and that is where Crazy Taxi 2 comes in. The game now follows the Crazy Taxi crew to New York City to go make some even crazier money. While the old crew stays in the West Coast, four new characters are introduced to add an East Coast flavor. While it seems like the West Coast is forgotten, you can unlock the original crew in the Crazy Pyramid mode to play them in the regular game mode.

So what is new with this version compared to the first iteration? Only two things, actually. Crazy Taxi 2 introduces being to pick up multiple passengers. This does not mean you can pick someone up and on the way to their destination you can pick up another customer. This simply means that you can pick up from two to four people at the same time and take each of them to their different destinations. Due to the increase of passengers, you now have more time to drop them off. Additionally, for every crazy move you perform, the bonus cash is multiplied by the number of people in your cab. However, if you don't deliver them all, you're shafted the entire fare and are usually left with very little money. It adds strategy to the game in making decisions on whether to play it safe or go all out and go for the big fares.

The other big advancement for the Crazy Taxi formula is the Crazy Hop maneuver, or the ability to propel your cab into the air. This move alone changes the entire dynamic of the game. Instead of veering in and out of traffic to reach your goal, you can simply hop over it. The inclusion of this move adds even more techniques to your arsenal, such as the Drift Hop (jumping up to a ledge and drifting to drive the opposite direction). It's also perfect that the development team would based the level design around jumping. Shortcuts are well placed, usually just a hop away and you've cut through a huge portion of the play area to get huge amounts of money. Crazy Taxi 2 based on the building laden city of NYC being called "Small Apple" and the much smaller area "Around Apple". It's a nice change of pace after playing the first one to death with it's hill filled areas of San Francisco although some would argue that these new areas have a bit of a confusing layout compared to the original game.

Crazy Taxi 2 (Dreamcast)

Crazy Box mode's spirit is back, as it returns as the Crazy Pyramid mode. It basically plays exactly as Crazy Box mini-games (some of the mini games are actually "sequels" to the first game) but all have an added emphasis on the Crazy Hop. This time you will unlock several items instead of just one vehicle ,and it's all worth it. Prepare to spend a lot of time with it, for it's certainly not a cake walk.

While the game has a lot to offer, it's still somewhat lacking. The game was supposed to have a new multiplayer and online modes, but these were nixed during development. The graphics are basically the same as the first game, and if you hated the soundtrack before, you aren't going to be too thrilled with this game. The Offspring come back in full swing with some tracks provided by Methods of Mayhem - but only for the endings. During the actual game you're stuck with nothing but the 5 Offspring songs. It's worth noting that this game was never ported to anything else until 2008; it was completely a Dreamcast exclusive until Fare Wars on the PSP arrived. Dreamcast still remains the only way to play it on a home console.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Hitmaker

Publisher:

Sega

Director:

Kenji Kanno

Genre:

Racing

Themes:

Contemporary: Urban
Player: Blue Collar
Player: Woman
Over the Top


Crazy Taxi 2 (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi 2 (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi 2 (Dreamcast)

Crazy Taxi 2 (Dreamcast)


Additional Screenshots


Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller - Xbox, Arcade, Windows (2002)

American Cover

European Cover

While donning the number three, one thing you'll noticed about this game is that it seems more like a collection of Crazy Taxi 1 (featuring the West Coast Arcade level, but no West Coast Original) and 2 (featuring the Small Apple level, but no Around Apple) with a new area to explore (Glitter Oasis, which is based on Las Vegas and the deserts of Nevada.) Once again, there's a whole new cast of cabbies.

There are no real updates to the game other than a tweaking of the Crazy Dash to make it a bit easy to pull off. The biggest draw for this game instead of being the new area of Glitter Oasis is being able to play the West Coast with the Crazy Hop and the ability to pick up multiple customers at a time. It's an incredible shame, seeing how Glitter Oasis has so much potential, but it's just too aggravating to play compared to the first two games, with its obnoxious canyons and extremely long stretches of road It completely misses what's actually interesting in the level: the actual city area. The entire stage seems to have been constructed purely to show off the lighting effects courtesy of the Xbox, which is the only major graphical improvement over the Dreamcast games.

Crazy Taxi 3 (Xbox)

Other than that, this is standard Crazy Taxi fare. The mini games are back in the brand new Crazy X mode, but most of the games are recycled from the previous two. The usual assortment of unlocks are here, including the new horse stroller (?!) and the ability to play the game either during the day time or night (which isn't too exciting unless you were having a hard time seeing around Small Apple in the dark). The best unlock in the entire series from besting Crazy X mode is the ability to play as any character in any course. While a lot of tracks by the Offspring, Methods of Mayhem, and Bad Religion return, there are more varied musical tracks with the inclusion of Brian Setzer 68 Come Back Special and Silver Bullit. Overall, if you're a fan of the game, you'll love it for it being more of a collection of the series, but hate it for not advancing the series anywhere.

Sega would release an arcade version of Crazy Taxi 3 a year later, dubbed Crazy Taxi High Roller without the numeral. The arcade runs on the Sega Chihiro board based on Xbox hardware and plays exactly the same except it actually uses a sterring wheel. Nothing new is added to this arcade rendition other than putting difficulty levels on the courses so you know which area is easier than others ( from easiest to hardest: West Coast, Glitter Oasis, Small Apple). Once again, Activision and Strangelite handled the PC port and yet again was unsuccessful in bringing the game over intact. It suffers from the same problems as the PC version of the original Crazy Taxi, except it's even worse than before.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Hitmaker

Publisher:

Sega

Director:

Satoshi Horie

Genre:

Racing

Themes:

Contemporary: Urban
Player: Blue Collar
Player: Woman
Over the Top


Crazy Taxi 3 (Xbox)

Crazy Taxi 3 (Xbox)

Crazy Taxi 3 (Xbox)

Crazy Taxi 3 (Xbox)


Additional Screenshots


View all "Crazy Taxi" items on eBay


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Crazy Taxi 1-3

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