I’ll be the one to say it: your old local arcade sowed the seed of future bar fights over equally pithy matters. The seriousness of offering up a quarter or two of precious allowance money to games distinctly designed to either end you or your friendships was a deadly-serious endeavor. Life became worth living with every angle of the joystick and tap of the colored, germ-riddled buttons, and you risked a high-pitched scream of “HOWCOULDYOU!?!?” if you ever dared to draw attention away. I’ll answer you later, security guard!
All of that is to say that Crazy Taxi, which had the misfortune of coming around during the end of the main arcade craze, stole many, many quarters without ever seeming to teach me much in the way of “get gud” skills. I even bought the damn thing on Nintendo Gamecube, with a stack of quarters of course, to knock some more milk out of that dusty utter. And for what it is, I can’t say it lacked in fun times had.
Anyone that stepped into an arcade during the late 90s/early 2000s knows of this insane little “driving sim”. You pick your weird avatar, you get in your impractical taxi, and you haul ass. As far as high-score chases go, you’re not going to find a more entertaining use of about 3 minutes than taking one round of Crazy Taxi for a spin. You will careen through streets and thin obstacles with very little abandon while your passenger will continually remind you how bad of a job you’ll always be doing at anything you’ll ever do. There’s likely a dedicated psychopathy class for who these passengers personify in your life and why you feel their hatred still.
You can momentarily shut them up with neat driving using ramps and near-misses in traffic, both of which have plenty of opportunities on the faux San Francisco streets. The entire experience is timed with your fare’s timer depending upon the difficulty of the drive and a session timer for when your total fares will be counted up. As alluded to, I never became good enough to grab any more than 4 or 5 green (easy) fares, so don’t come to me for MLG strategies. Still, the main thrust of the game is a quick concept to pick up and knock out some money without sinning in the eyes of god.
In the years since I first touched this version of Crazy Taxi, I’ve become aware that this was a super-simple port job from the Dreamcast version with the slightest of visual upgrades. I get it, and I’m sure I would’ve been indigent had I’d bought one then the other, but I wasn’t so unfortunate. My touchstone is just the Gamecube version with some weird little extras. Those extras are basically a bunch of driving mini-games that are designed to show you the…I struggle to call them “subtleties”…of earning higher fares in-game. None of them make me feel anything. It might as well be a string of news reports on animal fashion shows.
Crazy Taxi vanilla is the 1990s arcade scene on a disc. Loud yelling, really spotty, rage-y music, and all the steep angles of a whittled wooden figurine are lovable nostalgia these days as opposed to the cutting-edge thing. It’s tough to say there’s a lot of my love still attached to this series (read: game) but the world can do a lot worse than bringing some Crazy Taxi back into the world.
Crazy Taxi Score: