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Crazy Taxi


Screeching to a halt.
If you havenít heard of Crazy Taxi before, you are probably too young to remember arcades or even the Dreamcast. The game was a rampant success on the faltering Dreamcast 10 years ago, mostly due to the quick nature of the gameplay and fantastic graphics (at the time). Like many other Sega arcade releases, thereís no story involved. You simply pick up people in your taxi and carry them around the city as fast as possible. If you arrive before the timer winds down, you get a nice little paycheck and a new fare. The game gets progressively more stringent on time as you progress, inevitably making you fail unless you have the reflexes of a ninja.

crazy taxi 360 pickup

The control scheme is fairly sensitive and it will likely feel just as jumpy as the original. You have ridiculous control over turning the car and itís great to see all the pedestrians diving out of the way again as I plow across the grass. The main mode is setup in the game fashion of the original as well. You are awarded a grade at the end of the 3 to 10 minute time limit based on how many fares you picked up and dropped off. The arcade mode doesnít have a time limit, but rather adds time to your countdown clock each time you drop someone off. You can also jump into driving challenges to test your skills in the Crazy Box.

Beyond that, thereís really nothing the Sega has added to the game in terms of extra game modes, tweaks on the gameplay or a robust multiplayer system. Beyond the upgrade to HD visuals (and I use that term loosely), they added the obligatory Xbox 360 achievement set. Thereís not much variety in the achievements and they mostly award points for getting the licenses in the two different modes as well as completing the challenges. Itís a fairly basic set that lacks innovation.

crazy taxi 360 18-wheeler

Graphics

The game looks ugly in high definition, mostly due to the blocky models and jerky animation. The color scheme is just as annoyingly bright though. Sega did alter some of the licensed brands that populated the original, like Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I prefer not being advertised to. The framerate is silky smooth though, as one would expect from a 10 year old game.

Audio

WowÖHow could Sega release the game without the kickass soundtrack that came with the original? Perhaps they didnít want to pay royalty fees, but it just doesnít work without the Offspring and Bad Religion blaring while I zip around the city. However, you can use custom soundtracks to put those songs back into the game, an imperative for any Crazy Taxi fanatic. The original soundtrack that replaced it isnít exciting at all. The original sound effects are all included in the game though.

Conclusion

Crazy Taxi is not just a port that doesnít hold up well in the high definition era; itís a sloppy port thatís missing the awesome soundtrack of the original game. However, I can see the allure in buying the arcade version if you donít have your Dreamcast anymore, a likely situation for most gamers. For someone new to the game, you arenít going to capture what made Crazy Taxi so darn entertaining to play in the arcade. In fact, you are going to wonder why you just spent $10 on a game thatís worth about a quarter of that. Diehard fan or not, skip Crazy Taxi and donít reward Sega for lazy, half-assed development on Xbox Live Arcade.



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