Crazy Taxi - Sega Dreamcast - Sega - Racing - 1 Player

Graphics                *****

Sound                    ****1/2

Control (Pad)         ****

Control (Wheel)     *****

Gameplay              *****

Replay Value         *****

                                                        Overall                   ***** 

The first must have Dreamcast game of 2000 is out and it's called Crazy Taxi. Sega has brought all the excitement of the arcade game home with an almost perfect port of the original.

To start with, Crazy Taxi looks incredible, I mean drop dead gorgeous. With how good this game looks, I'm surprised it's not being courted as a centerfold. Seriously though, the game truly highlights the Dreamcasts graphic power. Not only does the game run at a smooth 60 frames per second, but the locales look almost real. You'll catch yourself doing a double take when you drop someone off at a nationally known store and realize, "Hey, that looks just like the real thing!". In fact, the only drawback I found here is a high amount of draw in when you approach tall buildings that are far away. What I mean is, when driving on the street, there is almost no draw in evident, but watch when you are driving up the hill towards the church and it will suddenly just pop into view. It's a small gripe and it definitely does not detract from the game.

Sega also didn't scrimp on the sound. While the soundtrack is good, it quickly becomes repetitive. My advice is turn the music down in options and turn the stereo on. The sounds are another story entirely. Both the driving sounds and passenger voices are done extremely well and definitely add to the experience. People waiting for a cab will actually complain if you pass them by or if you almost hit them.

The controls are well laid out in and work well with both the standard controller and steering controllers. On the control pad, the buttons are well laid out and both the digital pad and analog stick can be used for steering. I found the analog stick to be a little over responsive so I used the digital pad. I also tested the game with Interact's Concept 4 Racing Wheel. All I can say is... pure joy! The wheel is responsive and feels great. The only problem I have with the wheel is the shifter is located on the d-pad on the wheel. It probably can be re-mapped, I just haven't taken the time to do it. Needless to say, if you can get a wheel - do it. If not, the game still controls very well with the standard Dreamcast controller.

The gameplay is also truly inspired. Crazy Taxi gives the player free roam of a  huge city and the game moves at a frantic pace. Even in the 10 minute game mode you’ll find yourself feeling pressed for time. The game consists of driving your Taxi around the city. Stopping to pick up fares and then get them to their destination before the time limit runs out and in the craziest manner possible. It might not sound like the thing dreams are made of, but trust me, it is. In addition to the standard arcade mode, Sega has also included an original mode (Basically the arcade mode with some enhancements – I find it a bit harder than arcade mode, as well as “Crazy Box” mode which allows the player to compete in several mini games.

But how long will you play it? Well, I’ve been playing it nonstop since I picked it up and haven’t felt bored with it yet. The size of the city and number of passengers vying for your attention is enough to keep the game varied for some time. You’ll most likely play this game about as long as you would a high quality racing game such as Gran Turismo 2. Finally, you’ll find yourself whipping this one out when company comes over, because not only does it highlight the Dreamcast's power, but the learning curve is small enough for casual gamers to be able to truly enjoy this one. (Of course, it takes some time to master, and you’ll beat them every time!)

 So I’ll finish this review of right where I started it. Crazy Taxi is the first must have game for Dreamcast in 2000. Run out and get it as soon as you can, you won’t be sorry.

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