Crazy Taxi was one of the highlights of the SEGA Dreamcast. Very simple to learn and extremely addictive, the game could be played for hours on end or just the occasional quick 5 minutes. Since SEGA gave up on the Dreamcast and decided to develop for other consoles, their main titles have found their way to other platforms. Crazy Taxi was always going to be one of these highly sought after titles and after an appearance on Sony's PS2 it now comes to the Nintendo GameCube.
If by some small miracle you haven't heard of Crazy Taxi before then let me fill you in. The concept is a simple and fun one. Basically you control one of four taxi drivers and you have to pick up passengers and deliver them to their destination within a certain amount of time. An arrow points the way to the target destination but in a devious twist of genius from SEGA the arrow points in the direction as the crow flies and not according to the preferable driven route. This is the special ingredient in the game and the one that causes you to drive frantically, avoid oncoming traffic and take wacky diverse routes in order to get to your destination.
The game offers three entertaining modes of play. There is Arcade mode which features the same course as the arcade version. The original mode features the course that was included on the original Dreamcast version. Both of these modes offer arcade rules, where you are initially given 50 seconds of time and you gain time when you pick up passengers, play for 3 minutes, play for 5 minutes and play for ten minutes. After you've finished you get graded on your performance. This is dependent on how may passengers you picked up and how quickly you delivered them. Crazy Box is the final mode and it certainly is the one that offers the most variety. Crazy Box contains 9 mini games. These range from popping balloons with your taxi to having to crash into poles to drop off customers. These games can be deceptively difficult but all are enjoyable.
The game provides text information for everything so you know exactly what you have to do. The text is clear and easy to read. The only verbal content that is not subtitled is the banter between the taxi driver and passenger and this doesn't really affect the gameplay. Visually the game is very clear. The passengers have a coloured circle drawn around their feet. A red circle indicates that the passenger doesn't need to travel far whilst a green circle indicates that a far away destination is required by the passenger. There are also several other colour graduations between the red and the green. The passenger's destination is highlighted by a series of green rings and is very easy to spot. The manual is short but useful and gives you all the information you need.
Graphically the game is disappointing because it looks identical to the Dreamcast version. That is not to say the graphics are poor, they are quite good, it's just that the game hasn't been optimised to take advantage of the extra muscle of the GameCube.
Crazy Taxi is a fine addition to anyone's software collection. If you own the game on the Dreamcast or PS2 then there isn't anything here to justify a purchase but if you don't own the game and are a proud owner of a GameCube then here's your chance to pick up one of the best arcade games in recent times.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10 Crazy Taxi is as addictive as it ever was. The Crazy Box mini games round off the package and add variety to the title. If you don't already own the game this must be on your list of GameCube titles to own.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problem for deaf gamers with Crazy Taxi. The taxi driver and passenger comments are not subtitled but this doesn't damage the gameplay or experience one bit.