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by Sega

Crazy_Taxi_Screen_shot_1.jpg (7929 bytes)Sega’s 1999 release of Crazy Taxi was a boon for the system and for arcade fans everywhere. It had that certain quality that placed it among the best games on the Dreamcast not because it was groundbreaking or revolutionary, but rather because it was simply a lot of fun to play. It’s one of the few older games that never quite made it into retirement; it always seemed to find its way into my DC for a quick spin around the city.

CrazyTaxi2_6.jpg (8492 bytes)Perhaps in my case it is precisely this longevity of the first Crazy Taxi that works against the superb sequel. Crazy Taxi 2 is a solid, well crafted sequel that adds two new cities, four new cabbies, a host of new mini games, and a new special move for the cars. These additions aside, Crazy Taxi 2 has changed remarkably little from the first installment. While there is virtually nothing wrong with the game, it is plagued by a troubling sense of "been there done that" which makes Crazy Taxi 2 difficult to get excited about.

CrazyTaxi2_8.jpg (8505 bytes)For those unfamiliar with the franchise, in Crazy Taxi 2 you select one of four available cabbies. Your job is to pick up fares, successfully navigate the large metropolis, and deliver your clients to their destination as fast as possible. The faster the passengers are delivered, the more bonus time you earn. The crazier you drive, the more tips you earn. When your time is exhausted your total income is tallied and you are ranked by how much cash you earned during the day.

Crazy_Taxi_Screen_shot_3.jpg (9017 bytes)The cities seem smoother than those of the original installment. While it’s difficult to estimate and compare the size of the stages, the cities in Crazy Taxi 2 are more intricately designed featuring more shortcuts, more twists and turns, and more interactive geography that make the cities feel larger than those of Crazy Taxi. The mini games have likewise been improved. In Crazy pyramid mode you are faced with a slew of increasingly difficult challenges. The early tests have you completing simple tasks designed primarily to help you develop the basic driving skills necessary to excel at the game. The later challenges combine several different skills and require nearly flawless execution to successfully complete. While Crazy Taxi veterans will have long since mastered the skills necessary to dominate the early rounds, the later challenges are hard enough to test even the most skilled drivers. The mini games are very difficult, very fun, and a masterful addition to the game.

CrazyTaxi2_9.jpg (9392 bytes)The most significant change in gameplay is the addition of the crazy hop, which allows you to do precisely that. With the touch of a button your yellow cab is sent hurling through the air, over traffic, over pedestrians, and even over small buildings. The crazy hop is a fundamental part of the game and virtually all of the short cuts and secrets require the use of the crazy hop in one way or another. Gameplay has also been altered with the introduction of the multiple fare. Certain fares wait in groups of up to four people and can be picked up together. All the different customers are going to different destinations, which means that you better know your way around the city if you want to get them all to their destination on time. All of the customers have the same time allotment, and all must be delivered on time if you want to get paid. On the upside, tips are multiplied by the number of customers in the car, so there is an opportunity to make lots of extra money.

CrazyTaxi2_7.jpg (9442 bytes)Control and graphics remain unchanged aside from the exceptions noted above. The soundtrack is passable but not memorable, featuring bands such as the Offspring and Methods of Mayhem. The original Crazy Taxi featured customizable settings for traffic and time difficulty. I enjoyed the ability to manipulate these features, particularly the traffic setting. It added variety to the game and an increase or decrease in traffic changed the way the game had to be played. This feature has been removed from Crazy Taxi 2, presumably to ensure equality in game scores uploaded to the Crazy Taxi web page. While a level playing field has seemingly been assured, it is at the expense of varied gameplay, and I am disappointed to see fewer player options.

Crazy_Taxi_Screen_shot_2.jpg (10035 bytes)Nevertheless, Crazy Taxi 2 is a superb game that delivers in pretty much every way it is expected to. Excellent games on the Dreamcast are beginning to dwindle, but Crazy Taxi 2 is a testament to the fact that they are not yet gone. Those Dreamcast owners who never got a chance to play Crazy Taxi (do such people exist?) will certainly want to play Crazy Taxi 2. Veterans of the series will find enough changes to warrant giving the new installment a spin, but should be aware that it will feel much like the original. If you are hungry for new Crazy Taxi cities and challenges, then by all means buy Crazy Taxi 2. However, if you’re tired with the Crazy Taxi process, the new installment will not rejuvenate your thirst for driving mayhem, and I suggest a rental.

Jeff Luther   (07/13/2001)

Snapshot

Ups: Same CT action; new hop move; multiple fares.

Downs: Same CT action; doesn't feel 'new' enough.

Platform:
Sega Dreamcast

 


1995-2001
GamesFirst! Magazine