You gonna eat dat knish or you gonna drive?
Believe it or not, "cab driver" is a dangerous line of duty. Think about it- cabbies are out all day and night picking up complete strangers who may have just escaped from the local mental institution. Throw in long hours and the lack of a readily available bathroom and you've got one tough gig. But now it's payback time.
Crazy Taxi 2 is the sequel to the hugely popular arcade and Dreamcast title, Crazy Taxi. Players take on the role of a local cabbie and race through the city as recklessly as possible with the single goal of getting passengers to their destinations before the timer runs out. Brought straight to the Dreamcast by the Hitmaker/Sega team, CT2 adds a new dimension to reckless cab driving while managing to keep all of the original craziness. Unfortunately, the same problems that plagued the original game are still running out into the middle of the street. But as always, some of you will be able to smash through the faults and have plenty of fun.
The core of the game remains virtually unchanged. Players still choose one of four wacky cabbies and drive with reckless abandon through city streets all in the name of customer service. You'll drive into oncoming traffic, crash through phone booths, and even drive off road just to get your customers to their destinations as fast and as , um, crazy as possible.
Even the graphics are untouched. If you've seen the original Crazy Taxi, you know exactly what you're in store for.
The control is also the same, with plenty of quick turns and arcade style action. It's easy to learn and hard to master, so new players will have to spend some time behind the wheel to become the best.
The most notable tweak in Crazy Taxi 2 comes in the form of the "Crazy Hop." So in addition to the indestructibility and super boost equipped ride we all know and love, the new and improved taxi comes with superman-style hydros. These hops give you the ability to jump over cars and even small buildings. It adds a lot to the thrill factor and makes for some really insane moments. I guess now you really can fly through the city.
Another addition to the game is the ability to pick up groups of passengers. While you'll be challenged to get all of your passengers to their destinations in a short amount of time, more customers means a larger bonus for all of your wily stunts.
This version of Crazy Taxi leaves the City by the Bay and heads east to the Big Apple. If you thought the original city was big, you're about to be wowed. Crazy Taxi 2 features a massive city through which to careen. Even after a number of sleepless nights, I still haven't completely mapped out the city in my head. With more places to go than ever before, you'll always have a long road ahead.
There is also a "Small Apple" mode that gives players an alternate map to run through. So much to do, so little time.
As you make your way through the city, it's easy to see the advertising guys have been hard at work. I think I'll hit up Burger King for lunch before I head out to FAO Schwartz. It's more shameless advertising, but I guess a city like New York would look weird without a few brand names to sport. Still, if they insist on forcing advertising down our throats, couldn't they drop the price of the game?
CT2 also includes a fresh batch of mini-games, like Crazy Golf and Crazy Hurdle. They seem to be easier than the original ones and not as inspired. You can't beat the original Crazy Bowling with a stick. The majority of these new mini games just focus on plain old jumping. Jump as far as you can, jump three times as far as you can, jump from platform to platform. Ugh, this isn't a platformer guys, I wanna drive!
Crazy Golf seemed promising, but it turns out that you don't use your car to hit a ball into a hole...you just use it to hit the ball far. They should have named it Crazy Driving Range.
The biggest problem with the original title came from its limited depth. While two cities and the mini games will keep you busy for a little while, you'll still just be driving from point A to point B time after time. It's fun for a while, but does indeed get old. I really would have liked to see some car upgrades or new cities or something to spice it up.
The same goes for the soundtrack. Once again, The Offspring takes the spotlight joined by Methods of Mayhem. The tunes are fine for a little while, but any extended play will cause you to head for the options screen and the power button of your own stereo.
But even with its faults, Crazy Taxi 2 still managed to give me quite a "been playing waaay too long" gaming blister. Frantic driving action in a huge city is still a thrill and fans will still love every minute of it. Now if you'll please excuse me, I've got to find some fuzzy dice for my TV.