The spirit of the Dreamcast is revived once again, and this time it’s by way of Crazy Taxi on the PlayStation Network. Has this arcade hit withstood the test of time? Let’s find out!
If you’ve ever played the original Crazy Taxi in the arcade or on the Dreamcast, you’ll feel right at home when you load up this latest HD remastering of a true Sega classic. The gameplay is just as fun and frantic as most will probably remember. Your goal? Speed as many passengers as you can to their allotted destinations while raking in loads of cash in the process. Extra cash bonuses can be earned for reckless driving, insane stunts and other crazy behavior. Everything from arcade to the ever-difficult crazy box modes are back once again, but this time online leaderboards add a bit of depth to the gameplay. We often found ourselves coming back in an attempt to cut deeper into the leaderboards. This is one addition that’s quite nice, and certainly something that would have changed the dynamic of the game back in the day.
The controls for Crazy Taxi are nimble and responsive, just as you would expect, though we would have loved if some modifications had been made to the engines for a more genuine roar. But it’s essentially a port, not a full remake, so we can’t complain. Graphics-wise, Crazy Taxi looks exactly the same as it did 10 years ago, with a slight coat of HD polish thrown in for good measure, but this is more-so to accommodate HD sets rather than make the game look that much better since the frame-rate was always excellent and things are, for the most part, unchanged. However, many will be pleased to know that the game takes up the entire screen on HD sets, as opposed to the first Dreamcast classic to be released on the PSN, Sonic Adventure. As per classic Crazy Taxi, there is quite a bit of pop up as buildings sometimes spring out of nowhere in the distance when players are traveling at high speeds and the game doesn’t have the opportunity to load them fast enough; though sometimes ugly, don’t fret, as this won’t hinder the gameplay experience at all. It would have been nice if Sega could have pulled a bit more horsepower from today’s current-gen systems, but we can’t complain, the game still looks sharp.
Now comes the portion of Crazy Taxi that had us a bit vexed… the soundtrack. What comes to your mind when you think Crazy Taxi? You think Offspring, not to mention the few other bands that were featured in the original game. Well, this time around Sega didn’t bother licensing any of the classic tunes for use in this latest iteration, which left us with some watered down generic bands, most of which sounded pretty awful. This same licensing issue also kept the quirky name-brands out of the game like KFC, Levis and Tower Records (RIP), which are now replaced with generic names… but we digress. The spirit of the original Crazy Taxi was in its fantastic music, and something just feels off this time around. Although one huge plus is the ability to utilize custom soundtrack support, so you can reunite The Offspring with Crazy Taxi that way, if you so choose. The inclusion of this feature really saved the the game, at least from a fun-factor standpoint. Also worth noting is the fact that some of the menu music and character voices have been changed. Characters like B.D. Joe sound far too sterilized and like the attitude that made Crazy Taxi cool, but this is more of a nitpick than anything else.
All-in-all, you’re getting a great deal with the new Crazy Taxi HD. This title still manages to bring the fun and is always great for quick gaming sessions. Despite some of the sound issues, Crazy Taxi still looks great, plays great, and is sure to get everyone from the hardcore to the casual involved. At the standard Dreamcast remake price of $9.99, you really have nothing to loose. And besides, driving a pastor to church and then hearing him say that you’re “One Hell of a driver!” never gets old… ever.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Online leaderboards add purpose to the mix.
– Lack of original soundtrack and licensed brands detract from overall experience, though custom soundtrack support is a relief.