One drove over the cuckoo’s nest.
Crazy Taxi has a long-standing clinical record, from its hallowed Dreamcast
roots to the by-the-books port on
the PS2. You would think that’s enough to keep it in the nut house, but somehow
Crazy Taxi has finagled its way free and is back in another low-effort
port on the GameCube. Somebody better fetch Nurse Ratched.
To a gamer, the word “port” is almost as bad as other four-letter
words. Instantly, preconceived notions of ramshackle turnarounds pop up in one’s
mind. This also seems to be what popped into Sega’s mind because sadly, this
game does little to refute the stereotype. Crazy Taxi for the GameCube
is exactly like the Dreamcast version, but considering that the original was
released about two years ago, GameCube’s Crazy Taxi is sharply dated.
For the uninitiated, Crazy Taxi is all about you and your yellow checkered
ride. Zoom about a giant city against an ever-dwindling clock, all the while
picking up passengers and driving them where they want to go. These passengers,
crazy fools that they are, will pay you extra dollars for thrills like unannounced
games of chicken with oncoming traffic. Not a bad deal.
Crazy Taxi has always been hindered by its arcade roots. It’s great
for a fast, cheap thrill, but it’s not great for long lasting play since there’s
no depth whatsoever. Plus, it always drinks out of the milk carton and leaves
the toilet seat up!
Crazy Taxi for the GameCube, like the Dreamcast and PS2 before it,
still comes with the two San Francisco themed maps that the original came with
– the Arcade city and the Original city. Both look relatively similar, with
the main difference being the size of the map.
There’s also a bevy of different mini-games in an effort to breathe more life
into this puppy. They aren’t very fun, but they’ll help you grasp some of the
trickier maneuvers in the game.
Like the DC original, buildings on the horizon abruptly appear like facts
on an episode of VH1’s Pop-Up Video. Strangely, the pop-up is even more
noticeable in the GameCube version. Why couldn’t they improve the original by
nixing the pop-up? Why couldn’t they up the ante on the graphics? Why couldn’t
they include a pair of fuzzy dice?
The music is the same as the original, featuring tracks from The Offspring
and Bad Religion. You’ll find the tunes either catchy or annoying depending
on your tastes, but I think everyone will agree that they are a good fit for
Crazy Taxi‘s nature. I think one of the songs is about a metaphorical
“Tug of War,” but every time I hear it, I think I hear “Soda Wars.” Then my
mind wanders to mental images of Coke and Pepsi duking it out. Or maybe it’s
because of the overflowing product placement in the game.
Some of the voices have been changed for the GameCube and it definitely has
taken a turn for the worse. There seems to be some added cussing where there
once was none. Golly, gee whiz, my poor virgin ears! Same goes for the 9 year
old that I absentmindedly let borrow the game.
Crazy Taxi for the GameCube is a mediocre port of what can already
be considered an old but classic Dreamcast game. On the other hand, it’s a port
of a good, fun game with the ever-important gameplay still intact. It’s still
fun, but it’s also dated and aimed towards those new to the craziness.
Then again, Crazy Taxi for the DC is now practically $10, and Crazy
Taxi GameCube is $50! I’d understand pricing it at $50 if they actually
tried to add something to the game or at least fix the minor but aggravating
problems, but $50 for the exact same game? The cost-to-value ratio seems more
than a mite off there, especially with how long Crazy
Taxi 2 has been out. If you really want to get loco, wait for the cab fare
to go down.