Who says you can't drive on the sidewalk? In Crazy Taxi, you will do whatever it takes to get a good tip. Originally appearing in the arcades just under one year ago, this Sega AM3 title was developed on the then new Naomi motherboard. It was a no brainer that the title would make its way to the Naomi friendly Dreamcast, it was just a matter of when. First announced three months ago, the title has arrived home sooner than anyone expected. So does it live up to its arcade counterpart? Absolutely and more!
For those of you who have been living under a rock, the premise of the game is quite simple: you assume the role of a taxi cab driver in a wild race against the clock to pick up and drop off customers to their destination. In the process you will drive through busy streets filled with cars, people and obstacles. You will do whatever it takes to get the customer to their destination in a speedy time. You reward? Money and extra time in order to pick up more customers and keep the game rolling.
We have heard about how great the conversion would be? But did it deliver? Let me be the first to tell you that this is a perfect pixel for pixel translation. The verdict is now in that Dreamcast can in fact handle wonderful Naomi conversions. The House Of The Dead 2 was an indication whereas Crazy Taxi is a confirmation. It is quite amazing the detail that has gone into this game and in such a short time for the conversion to home. This game flies by at an incredible rate of 60 frames per second refresh rate. It is incredible considering how much detail is on the screen with numerous things in motion including other cars, pedestrians, obstacles, city landscape, realistic reflections and more. The detail of the cities are impeccable. While some will say that it is easy to create cities, the fact of the matter is nobody has created them before in such a way where you can go a number of routes. The combinations are endless. You can go through side streets, shopping malls, subway routes, sea-sides and even under the water to find surprises awaiting for you there.
The destinations in the game come to just over 30 locations. Real-life destinations that appeared in the arcade version also have made it home. You will find KFC, Fila, Tower Records, Pizza Hut and more within the game. The detail of these locations are so surreal that you could swear you were pulling up to KFC for some chicken.
All of this praise does come at a price however. There are instances of slowdown and pop-up. The slowdown occurs when things get really crammed on the screen while you are going at an insane rate around the city. It is a minor nuisance and does not take away from the action of the game. The same could be said of the minor pop-up which seems to occur more frequently on the extra, Dreamcast exclusive track. It is minimal and you will hardly notice it while you are engaged with the onscreen insanity.
I can't remember the last time a soundtrack fitted a game so well as the one included with Crazy Taxi. Sega went out of its way to include a rocking soundtrack by the popular bands Offspring and Bad Religion. The tracks "All I Want", "Down The Line", "Ten in 2010" and "Hear It" will keep your heart pumping and your bladder just barely under control. Now while these tracks fit the game like glove, they do tend to get a little repetitive after playing the game for hours on end. It would have been nice if Sega had of added more tracks or even had other tunes for the Dreamcast version.
The in game sound effects are also flawless. The streets are filled with all kinds of noises. Perhaps one of the funniest aspects of the game are the customers you will drive. They provide a running commentary of your performance as you take them on a wild ride to their destination. If you drive well you are praised. Drive poorly and they will tell you flat out "you suck". You will even hear a priest tell you "you're one hell of a driver". Fantastic!