This scribe was taught harsh lessons in his youth about how ‘hate’ was a very strong word, only to be used in the most extreme of circumstances.
I hate Crazy Taxi 3.
But then hate, in this context, isn’t a bad thing. It’s the kind of hate where a game is ruthlessly taunting you, demanding an increase in performance, and you simply can’t help but be subservient to it.
For tucked away in Crazy Taxi 3 is a little feature called Crazy X. This is a series of mini-games that you must undertake while driving a bright yellow taxi. They involve jumps, timing, obstacles, baseball, in fact a real plethora of individual objectives. It’s an area of the game that’s supremely addictive, to the point where you end up playing it until either your eyes bleed or you shove your fist through the screen. There is no middle ground.
The main game, if you’ve never encountered any Crazy Taxi title before, is shallow arcade entertainment. The idea is that you take your taxi, pick people up, drop them at their destination within a time limit, get another fare and so on, until the master time limit drops to zero.
You have tricks up your sleeve such as a Crazy Jump or Crazy Dash, and you also need to target the best fares to pick up; multiple passengers and longer distances tend to bring in the bacon that bit quicker. So does extreme driving; the more risks you take and come through, the bigger your tip will be.
The game throws in the levels from earlier games in the franchise, and adds a third. However, around half a decade on, it’s still the San Francisco-style surroundings that graced the original game that work the best.
Whichever you plump for, though, each of the levels achieves the same goal, giving you a short burst of gaming action that you don’t really need to think about. Too often PC gaming is lamented for not championing titles like these, instead garnering a reputation for deep strategy games and suchlike. Yet this conversion (from the Xbox original) of Crazy Taxi 3 is perfectly at home on PC. It looks grand, sounds grand and plays grand.
It isn’t, however, the most long lasting title you’ll buy this year, nor is it a game that throws anything new into the franchise. The Xbox version emerged well over a year ago, and if you’re expecting a huge gaming advance on that, you’re in for a disappointment.
Nonetheless, Crazy Taxi 3 is a bit of a treat. It’s a shallow one, sure, but nonetheless is a title that’s hard not to enjoy. Even if you will hate it at times.
Company: Empire Interactive