November 6, 2000
I have to admit that I wasn't really looking forward to this game too much. Surely driving a taxi around a city picking up and dropping off passengers can't be that much fun. How wrong I was. Crazy Taxi is not only one of the most original games in the arcades it is also one of the most enjoyable. But just how well does only the 2nd Naomi arcade game fare in the arcades against bigger Model 3 based games?
The first thing I noticed about this game is the amazing graphics. Not only do the cars look brilliant but the background scenery is beautiful. AM3 have managed to make the Dreamcast based Naomi chipset approach the graphics of Model 3 titles such as Sega Rally 2 and Daytona USA 2. The game also runs very fast, which is required in a game just as this.
It's not just the graphics that makes this game special. The playability is just as high as any other arcade driving game. If you've ever played Harley Davidson & LA Riders you'll understand what this game is like. Your task in Crazy Taxi is to pick up passengers and drop them off at their desired location. Fares are collected depending on the distance traveled, and the total determines your overall ranking.
Fortunately, you don't have to drive around the city in the hope of finding the passengers destination. A green arrow shows you the way to the drop off point. But it's not mandatory to follow the arrow game either. If you can see a shortcut to a destination, take it and if that means cutting through a park, driving through a crowd of people or going the wrong way along a street, so be it.
There is another section of the game that also deserves a mention. The music. It is perfectly suited to the game and although I didn't recognise it (I'm more of a rave/techno fan) my friend pointed out that the songs are from Bad Religion and Offspring. The sounds effects are fairly standard for a driving game, but never reach a point where they become irritating.
However, the game does have a couple of faults. The biggest problem is the game is too damn difficult. Perhaps it was the machine settings in my arcade but it wasn't long before I was putting in a few more credits for a continue. Another criticism which I have to put forward is the arcade cabinet. There are 2 different versions available. Both a sit down cabinet, and stand up cabinet. My local arcade only has the standing cabinet it felt very strange playing a driving game while standing. Sega may have been better off only offering the sit down cabinet to arcades.
Overall Crazy Taxi is an absolute blast to play. If you see it in the arcade have a go, you won't be disappointed. Crazy Taxi will be released on the Dreamcast eventually but AM3 have stated they wish to add extra features into the home version. This game is definitely on my most wanted list for the Dreamcast.