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Crazy Taxi

Reviewed by JPeeples Crazy Taxi was released in early 2002 for the Nintendo Gamecube. This version of Crazy Taxi is based on the PlayStation 2 rendition, which featured new (read: HORRID) voices for some of the characters, why on Earth Acclaim didn't go with the original voices is beyond me, it must have been some legal dispute. Since Sega actually made this game originally, I will be crediting them with things they made (novel idea), I can't believe people have actually given Acclaim credit for adding in the Original mode. Ugh, that kind of thing brings a tear to my eye. Anyways, Crazy Taxi allows you to choose from four distinctive cabbies: Axel, Gena, B.D. Joe, and Gus. Each cabbie drives their own unique car, and each car handles differently. Each of the cabbies' cars have their own advantages and disadvantages, which you will probably need to learn if you hope to exploit the advantages and each car, and how to compensate for the disadvantages. If you want to get the most out of the game, you will take the time needed to learn them, a whopping five or so mintues. If not, you are only cheating yourself. All of the characters are bursting at the seems with personality. Now then, without further ado, let's get onto the review. The character design, while stereotypical, is humorous. The game does not take itself too seriously. The in-game environments look stunning. Both cities feature lush, highly detailed environments. The buildings feature a super-smooth look, as do the game's vehicles. The human characters in the game could stand be a bit less blocky, but that's no big deal. The game usually moves at a blisteringly high fast rate, unfortunately, as is the case with most racing-esque games, the frame rate has a tendency to drop when a lot of stuff is happening on screen at once, this does cause some disruption, this is very noticeable in the Original city, but, it's no big deal, it doesn't really affect gameplay. The game is also plagued with pop-up, this mainly occurs on uphill areas in the cities. The pulse pounding punk music of the Offspring and Bad Religion sets the tempo for the white knuckle excitement to come. Each band has about three songs in the game, and each and every song does something to add to the game. It's not all great though, due to the limited playlist in the game, the soundtrack does get repetitious after you have played the game a few dozen times, but it doesn't bother me in the least. The soundtrack for the game might bug others though, especially those who do not like rock or punk music. The cabbies' voices are clear, and fit the characters. They all have many humorous comments to make, as do the fares you pick up. The sound really enhances the feel of the game, the game just wouldn't be the same without the stirring punk soundtrack and humorous voices. As I mentioned earlier, Acclaim saw fit to use the hacked-to-bits voices from the PlayStation 2 version of the game, how nice of them. While these new voice actors do an admirable job of getting across the characters they are portraying, something is lost due to the lack of having the original voice actors. The original game's soul is, in a very small manner, taken away due to this change. Kind of ironic in a sense, fans beg for changes in ports, yet, when some come along, they complain about them. Oh well, in this case, it really does detract from the game. The object of the game is to collect as many fares as you can within a certain time limit. In theory, this may sound like a cakewalk, but in practice it most certainly isn't. Many factors are prevalent that can determine success or failure. One of these factors is the price ranges for the fares in the game. Here's how the price structure breaks down: different price ranges, and subsequently the length of the ride for your customer are represented by colored circles around your potential customer, red fares will pay the least, but they have the shortest ride. Orange fares pay a little more than red, they want to go a little farther. Yellow fares offer the second highest payoff, they also want to go farther than orange fares. Finally, green fares will pay the highest, but they also have the farthest to go. Numerous features were added to the home release of the game, including an entirely new city and set time limits (three, five, and ten minutes) for you to complete your goal. Sega added an Original mode to the game, this mode adds a whole new city to the game, and essentially doubles the game's replay value. Sega has also added a practice mode of sorts, called the Crazy Box mode, in this mode you utilize the many tactics you can use to get your fares faster. This is a great addition to the game because it makes you use the Crazy moves in the game to accomplish the goals, once you complete the Crazy Box mode, you're more than ready to hit the road. There is a lot of incentive for you to collect a ton of money, the game grades you after every run, there are many licenses to get, from the C license to the Crazy license (only the best of the best will get this, the ultimate prize in the game.) It requires you to get $20,000 in one run. This may seem simple, but trust me, it's not, the game does give you a time limit for each fare, if you don't make it to the destination within the time limit, you lose the fare. It's very exciting. You'll be hooked on this game before you know it. The addition of the Crazy Box practice modes is a welcome addition. They help you to brush up on your technique if you're rusty. They will also teach you the game's mechanics. The Crazy Box mode can add a ton of fun to the game, if you take advantage of it. It is one of the best practice modes I've ever seen because it makes you use the game's advanced techniques to progress through the various parts of the mode. Unfortunately, if you just play the game at face value, you run the risk of getting bored of the game fast. The controls in Crazy Taxi are top-notch. The Gamecube's nearly flawless controller design really makes this the best-controlling home edition of the game ever. The button layout is simply brilliance, although due to the simplistic nature of the controls, it is definitely a case of there being beauty in simplicity. The controls are unobtrusive and are never unresponsive or jerky. The game does feature some very unrealistic, borderline wacky physics. For example, when you go over a hill, you literally go OVER a hill, you are about ten feet off of the ground. Thankfully, the insane physics only help the game since they fit the style and feel of the game perfectly. The challenge of the game depends solely on how much you know the level layout, the game does give you arrows to help guide you, but you need to know the layout so you can take advantage of the game's many shortcuts. In the end, your own gaming skill will decide your fate (what an astounding concept!) If you don't put in any time and effort to learn the subtle nuances of the game, then you deserve to have a game that is far too challenging for you, since you didn't do a single thing to remedy the situation. After all, the game does provide an in-game tutorial mode, and it is up to you to take advantage of it. If you choose to not take advantage of it, you will be cruising' for a bruising' after a few play sessions. However, on the other side of the coin, if you decide to make use of everything that you are given. Meaning, you READ THE MANUAL to learn the controls, and you use that Crazy Box mode until you know each and every game technique there is; you will be rewarded for your efforts in the form of the ever-so-elusive S class license, and, if you REALLY practice, the CRAZY license. The replay value for Crazy Taxi is through the roof. This is one of the most addictive games that I have ever played. Believe me, you will not stop playing this game until you have gotten a CRAZY license. There is a surprising amount of stuff to do in this game, not to mention all of the unlockable stuff (i.e. secret vehicles.) Again, you will get exactly what you put into this game. So if you give it 20 minutes to WOW you, and it doesn't, oh well. You just decided to not partake in the gaming bliss that is Crazy Taxi. It ss your loss, and you caused all of your in-game torment. If you don't enjoy the game, it will be because of your own doing. Either you did not come into the game with an open mind, or you had unrealistically high expectations that no game could match up to, or some other thing. This game is a rare treat; it combines excellent graphics, imaginative character design, wonderful sound, and flawless control to make a game that you will want to play for months on end. This game may seem shallow at first, but if you dig a little deeper, you'll find that it has many things to offer. By the way, for the rocket scientists who can't quite figure it out, if you own either the PlayStation 2 or Dreamcast versions of this game, don't bother picking this version up. Now for the sheep who feel like wasting their money on nearly-identical renditions of the same game, go right ahead. It's your CRAZY money to blow, just try to blow it on the right games. Wow, I'm giving a sort of negative review to a Crazy Taxi game, spooky nootchies. By the way, if I have not made it absolutely clear, the music in the game simply rules the universe. Bad Religion's heavy guitar riffs and the Offspring's pulse-pounding lyrics fit the game perfectly. The music really does an amazing job at enhancing the atmosphere of the game. Too bad the new voices manage to detract from it. Also, the Crazy Box mode simply rules the world, you will become addicted to it. And, if you don't get addicted to it right away, simply give it time. Rome wasn't built in a day, but your love for this game sure will be, that is, if you come into it with an open mind. If you are a Gamecube owner looking for a quick thrill, and you don't feel like spending a little more to buy a Dreamcast, Crazy Taxi, and Crazy Taxi 2 for about $20 more than the cost of this game, then you will love this game. But really now, just get a DC if you don't have one, then pick up the first two Crazy Taxi games. You will be getting a great system, an unchanged version of the original Crazy Taxi (it just isn't the same without B.D. Joe's sarcastic voice), and the CRAZY sequel, which isn't as good as the original, mainly due to shoddy level design. Anyways, if you don't like this game, and you have not had any exposure to the other versions/sequels in the series, then you will have no one to blame for it but yourself since this game offers you tons of fun for your money. If you don't enjoy this game, you will brood in sadness for an eternity. You will wonder why your life has lost all meaning. Is it because you did something EVIL in your lifetime? Or maybe it's because YOU DIDN'T GIVE THIS GAME A CHANCE! Or, perhaps, it could be some third thing, but my money's on the not giving the game a chance thing, what with me harping on for 2000 words about it and all.

Overall: 7 out of 10

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