Sega’s current creative output doesn’t match what the company produced when it was in the console business, but digital marketplaces have let old school gamers relive its golden years. Crazy Taxi for Android ($4.99), the smash racing hit for both arcades and the ill-fated Dreamcast console, is re-released yet again—and it’s one of the best versions to date.
The mobile version (I tested it on a Samsung Galaxy Note II) keeps the fast-paced, addictive fun of the original game and resurrects an important part of the Crazy Taxi experience that was absent in recent re-releases: a killer soundtrack featuring Bad Religion and The Offspring. Now that all the pieces are back together, Crazy Taxi should be considered a must-have game for diehard fans.
Licensed to Drive
Gamers play as one of four cab drivers who must pick up passengers and deliver them to their destinations within an allotted time. If you successfully do that, you get the fares; blow it and the passengers bail without paying. Crazy Taxi’s handful of modes slightly tweaks the basic formula, but you’re racing against the clock in all of them. The Crazy Box mode features 16 mini-games, but they aren’t quite as fun as the main game.
Crazy Taxi was originally designed with a joystick (and then a controller when it hit consoles) in mind, but the touchscreen, naturally, is a smartphone’s input device. I wouldn’t recommend using it, though, as touchscreen controls aren’t suited for fast breaking and direction changes. You can also dart through the San Francisco-like city’s traffic by tilting your Android device—I found it the superior method of handling corners at high speed. That said, Sega wisely includes wireless MOGA controller support for those who want a more console-like experience.
Another wise inclusion: The return of the Bad Religion and The Offspring songs that helped define the game’s original arcade and home releases. The pop-punk tunes comprise a stellar soundtrack that’s the perfect musical accompaniment to frantic driving. This, in my mind, makes Crazy Taxi for Android the definitive downloadable version (the PC, PSN, and XBLA versions lack the licensed music). The visuals are dated—Crazy Taxi’s a game from 1999, after all—but once you put the pedal to the metal, the relatively low polygonal count isn’t much of an issue.
Are You Gonna Go My Way?
Crazy Taxi’s proper return serves as a reminder that Sega was once an industry leader in crafting entertaining, quirky games. On paper, Crazy Taxi’s premise—a game about driving a can—sounds really odd, but the gameplay, music, and nostalgia makes it a game that I will return to often.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc