Crazy Taxi Review

I have fond memories of the Dreamcast, and those memories include time spent with Crazy Taxi. The fast-paced arcade racing coupled with a licensed soundtrack in an age before licensed soundtracks were common made for a fun, turn of the century diversion. When I heard that Crazy Taxi was coming to XBLA, I was pretty excited about the chance to once again go racing down steep hills while flying past cable cars with The Offspring blaring through my speakers. And with graphics updated for HD? Icing on the cake. However, when I finally got my chance to take the wheel of a crazy taxi the positive feelings of nostalgia were soon replaced with those of disappointment.

The first thing that stands out about the game is that itís a bit on the ugly side. Well, more than just a bit. The graphics may be in HD resolution, but the models, textures, and everything else that makes graphics what they are havenít been noticeably updated from the original game; everything looks chunky, blocky, and outdated. While bad graphics donít necessarily make for a bad game (and vice-versa), referring to this game as "digitally remastered" is somewhat deceptive. And while I'm on the topic of marketing hype, I should mention that while the soundtrack may have been updated to support Surround Sound, the license tracks have been dropped. Bands that appeared on the original game's soundtrack such as The Offspring and Bad Religion have been replaced with a no-name line-up that's adequate at best.

Gameplay is faithful to the original Dreamcast version. You're a taxi driver with no regard for traffic laws or passenger safety and a strong determination to make as much money as you can as quickly as possible. Fares are designated by colored circles around each person, with the color designating the relative distance you'll have to travel to deliver them to their destinations. Stop your taxi within one of those circles and the person will hop in you cab and tell you where to go. From there it's a race against the clock to get the person to the destination within a set time limit. Succeed and you'll earn cash based on how quickly you made the deliver. Fail and the passenger will hop out of your taxi on the spot and stiff you the fare. You'll also be faced with an overall game timer that will end your game when it expires, but delivering passengers to their destinations quickly will earn you some bonus time on the clock.