It’s a truly beautiful thing to see a player’s face light up when he/she sees their favorite classic game brought back to life on a mobile device, just as I was when I came across Sonic, Carmageddon, and GTA III in the Play Store. In that spirit, SEGA is hoping to do fans a good turn by resurrecting Crazy Taxi, one of their arcade hits all the way from 1999, when you could only experience this title’s madness in a custom simulator-style game machine. Let’s take a look at how this title has held up since its heyday over 14 years ago.
A Little History
For those of you who, like me, have never played Crazy Taxi until now, there’s not a lot to know: Crazy Taxi is all about racing through a San Franciscan city, picking up and dropping off passengers, and earning points for wacky driving while you’re at it. The game was designed to look and feel like a wild ride with no rules, and this remaster brings back all of its signature elements, adapting it for touch screens and adding controller support.
Crazy Taxi looks very much like a 1999 game: the open world city is as colorful as the four drivers you can control, and there are lots of fun little details all over the place to check out as you drive through town., including my favorite: loading trucks with their ramps on the street just begging for you to score some hang time with a jump. As you may have guessed, CT isn’t really strict about how you play — it only gets serious about your play timer running out.
The game’s physics are positively bonkers: smash into incoming traffic and watch your taxi bounce off onto the next street; jump and land from any height and drive away as if nothing happened. It’s all quite fun, but in this day and age might feel like an unfinished physics engine to gamers not familiar with this franchise. I quite enjoyed the soundtrack that features punk bigwigs The Offspring and Bad Religion, but had to turn down the grating sound effects that got on my nerves after playing through a couple of times.
CT is essentially a play-as-long-you-can escort mission buffet, which is a hard sell for today’s gamers. All you have to do is pick up and drop passengers to their destinations; you can spice things up by pulling simple stunts (drifts, jumps and near misses) to earn tips. There’s also a bunch of uninteresting mini games with a mix of stunt challenges and time trials that I’d recommend skipping, mostly because the driving in this game isn’t particularly satisfying.
Worth Your Money?
No, god no — unless you spent your allowance on this growing up, and have fond memories whiling away afternoons at the arcade. There’s simply nothing superlative, or even enjoyable beyond five minutes of play in this title, and you can get much better racing or retro (or even both flavors in one — see Carmageddon) games at this price. If you’re not looking to stir up memories of your glorious game-addled childhood, give this a miss.