Crazy Taxi - Ridiculously mad taxi-based action in an open-world environment, from Dreamcast to your Mobile
Hailing from around the turn of the 21st century, Crazy Taxi once span endlessly around in the Dreamcast consoles of millions, but has likely gathering dust ever since. Well, that is until 2012 when the long-awaited port for iOS/Android hit the respective app stores. Take Control of the mentally unstable yet furiously determined cabbie in an open world, taking fares and breaking the speed limit with more skill than in Driver: San Francisco to get people from A to B as quickly as possible. There's nothing sane about these journeys; it's called Crazy Taxi for a reason! Continue Reading
Release Date: 06/01/2014
Available on: iOS, Android
While a gamer may often admit to being impressed or tickled by things extraneous to the gaming world, they (read: I) cannot help but be extremely excited at the prospect of a good-quality port for mobile devices. This is because more often than not, developers tend to port games that they either feel are worth porting or old-school titles that quite obviously have a huge demand for a handheld version of them that will sit snugly among their other apps. Though not quite as exciting as a Donkey Kong Country port, Crazy Taxi is a pretty well-known title in the gaming world, mainly for being a legendary title that was home to an infamously misguided console, the Sega Dreamcast. Anyone that once owned this console is likely to have come across Crazy Taxi at one point, and are aware of just how fun an open-world taxi "simulation" can be (and the reason for the "Crazy" prefix in the title).
What Time You On Till?
If you're feeling a little left out as to exactly what the original Crazy Taxi entailed, you're missing out big time. Crazy Taxi's action revolves around putting you behind the steering wheel in a taxi owned by a rather volatile and let's just say unorthodox taxi driver, with the sole aim of beating the clock over and over again as you pick up passengers and make a frantic dash for various locations around the city. Since this is pretty much a like-for-like port of the original game, you're also lucky enough to be driving around the game's open-world environment, performing ridiculous manoeuvres and generally raising hell on the roads in order to make more money and score more points than the previous fare.
Though the game's premise doesn't sound massively crazy at this juncture in the review, it should be made clear that the pace of the game is rather difficult to put on paper (real or virtual). Enter into arcade mode and you've not got the luxury of time on your side: one minute is all you get to start with in this mode. Of course, it's up to you to make the fun last as long as possible by getting to destinations on time and thereby earning extra time as well as extra cash for your efforts. This means you're almost constantly scraping for time and paying attention to the clock, since your continued participation in the unreasonably quick action is dependent on your success.
While the concept is a pretty decent one, it is really the gameplay mechanics that make this port of Crazy Taxi shine. Instead of tight and responsive driving like you would expect in driving simulators like Gran Turismo 6, the mechanics are rather chaotic, bordering on the unpredictable at times as you slam into the side of another vehicle with no detriment to your vehicles health. To have a perishable vehicle would be altogether a little too much for this game; struggling to scrape to your destination within the allotted time is difficult enough, and any unplanned encounter with other vehicles will cost you precious seconds.
If you're expecting a slick and innovative control system like something that would be at home in Real Racing 3, you may be a little shocked by your findings when playing Crazy Taxi. Realism was out of the passenger-side window from the get-go here, with the touch-based controls only allowing for fairly basic forward, back, and side-to-side manoeuvres.
What makes things a little more interesting are the various "special" (or more appropriately, "crazy") moves you can perform such as a power-slide by double-tapping in your desired direction. A speed boost is initiated by double-pressing the accelerator button. You've also got tilt controls, but these aren't particularly good at getting you where you want to go. Hell, even the on-screen controls are relatively unresponsive, and making sharp "crazy turns" is even more difficult when you're in a tight spot.
Good Then, Great Now
You can tell a great deal of time has passed between the original and this port. Edges look quite sharp mind you, but you should be expecting some rather hazy textures and dated-looking graphics when picking up your iPhone/Android device with this game for the first time. There is enough action in the Arcade and Original Modes to keep you smiling however, with various challenges to frustrate you during rush hour or a sneaky 5-minute iPhone break at less-than-appropriate times during working hours. Sure, the gameplay is simple and a little silly, but that's what you get from a port of an arcade-style game from over ten years ago. Enjoy it as what it's mean to be: a silly driving-heavy romp through an open world as a Crazy Taxi driver. It isn't pretty, but I'll be damned if it isn't entertaining.
Crazy Taxi is developed by SEGA of America.