Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Video game number three hundred and forty two: Crazy Taxi

Video game review number three hundred and forty two in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Crazy Taxi".

At this year's E3, I was so excited to hear that some of the classics from the Dreamcast were being ported to the modern consoles, and that Crazy Taxi was one of those games. I played the shit out of Crazy Taxi on my Sega Dreamcast, and I loved it so much that I even bought the stupid sequels, in hopes they might be even half as good as the original (they never were).

Playing this on my Xbox sounded awesome, until I actually played it.

First of all, this IS the Dreamcast game as far as I can tell. The graphics look exactly the same, and I was hoping for some sort of modern refresh with the old controls. Instead, the only thing they've added is Xbox Live leaderboards. I'm not sure that's enough to justify buying this all over again, especially when I've got a perfectly good Dreamcast packed away in my closet somewhere.

If you've never played Crazy Taxi before, I'd almost recommend you seek out a Dreamcast of your own, and play it as God intended you to....with that giant, unwieldy controller on a standard definition television. However...because most people probably aren't going to go through the trouble of doing that...I will go ahead and recommend that you try this downloadable version of the game. It's not pretty, but if you can get past the old school graphics, it's still one of the most solid arcade games out there.

The premise is simple. You drive a cab around a city picking up passengers, and the money you earn for doing that depends on how quickly you can zoom them to their destination. There are shortcuts throughout the city, and luckily for you...your cab is indestructible, so you can go nuts with the driving.

There are a couple of modes (arcade and original), but the only difference between them seems to be how much time you have to take fares around down. There's a "stunt" mode called Crazy Box. I never enjoyed this on the Dreamcast and I still don't enjoy it here. You have to do this thing called the Crazy Dash a lot, and frankly, I don't think it works well with a controller (any controller). The move was made for the arcades, where you could slam the shifter back and forth really quickly. I wonder if this game supports those steering wheel peripherals? That might do the trick.

Overall Rating? Ok. This is going to be hard. The game of Crazy Taxi itself is easily a 10 in my book. This is the same game I loved on the Dreamcast and technically, it deserves that score. However....I have to rate it honestly, and honestly....I think this is more of a 7/10. It could have easily been a 10 if they'd simply taken some time and refreshed the graphics and controls a bit. Instead, this is simply shovelware from an old console with some achievements thrown in. If you haven't played it...you definitely should. If you love achievements, you should pick it up just for that. Otherwise...if you've got a Dreamcast, you might just want to stick with the classic version...because they're really not bringing anything new to the table here. Leaderboards and achievements are nice, but after 10 years...I was expecting more of an update.

Achievements: I got a couple. Not sure how much I'll keep playing..but most of them seem reasonable enough.

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