Sega has started to dip into the Dreamcast library. A couple months ago, Sonic Adventure was released to XBLA and PSN but lacked any modern day improvements such as quality leaderboards, online play, and wide screen support. While Crazy Taxi, the next Dreamcast game to be ported to modern day consoles, has been up res'ed to fit on high def TVs, the lacking features make it another lazy port.
The Dreamcast was one of the most beloved systems of all times thanks to the arcade-at-home experience that it created. Crazy Taxi is the perfect example of this. Instead of sitting in front of your home TV for hours, this game was designed to provide quick bursts of fun one quarter at a time.
The premise of the game is simple: pick up random people in your taxi and drop them off at their destination in the shortest amount of time. The faster the player reaches the destination, the more points, or cash in this case, is rewarded to the player. Getting air from jumps, narrowly missing moving traffic and drifting around turns is also a way to earn extra tips from your customers to increase your score. The game is over when the player runs out of time, but picking up a passenger will add a few seconds before you see the game over screen. The color of the "$" symbol above their heads will determine how far the destination is and even turning on a dime is easy thanks to the highly arcadey control scheme. It is a pretty straightforward game design and doesn't offer much in terms of strategy or even replay value for a home console game.
From the main menu, the game informs the player how to drift and earn speed boosts but does it in a crappy and uninformative way. A video tutorial would have been nice instead of the poorly translated still images. Again, this proves the minimal effort that went into this port.
The game tries to offer a higher rate of replay value by giving the player the option of playing Arcade, Original, or Crazy Box modes. Competing for a higher rank on the leaderboards, the player can choose between 3, 5, and 10 minute gaming sessions but these modes are exactly the same just with an extended clock. Crazy Box is really the only thing that offers something different; the player is tasked with completing specific challenges, like jump a certain distance for example, but each challenge only lasts a few seconds. More will be unlocked in time, but this mode is just another way to make use of the limited gameplay.
Crazy Taxi's resolution has been thankfully stretched to fit in a wide screen instead of having the ugly letterboxing on the sides of a 4:3 screen. Unfortunately, this is the only upgrade. In fact, the game's presentation actually takes a step back as much of the licensed music from the original Dreamcast version has been replaced with awkward heavy percussion based tunes. This, again, further proves the lack of effort that went into this port; they didn't even bother renewing the music licensing. Earning trophies/achievements also will take quite a bit of time and practice.
Crazy Taxi is not a bad game if you take it for what it is. It is designed to provide an entertaining experience a few minutes at a time. The $10 cost to download the full version of this game is actually a little steep considering that no new features were introduced and even the game's original soundtrack is missing. However, if you missed out on the age of Dreamcast, at least play the demo version of game…or check out the game's many other ports and sequels (GC, PS2, original Xbox, GBA, PC, PSP).
Not As Good As: playing the original back in the Dreamcast era
Also Try: starting your own cab company
Wait For It: Chu Chu Rocket on XBLA
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