Reviewed: August 28, 2007
Released: August 7, 2007
One of my favorite games on the Dreamcast was Crazy Taxi, so when I heard that SEGA was bringing this classic to the PSP I was pretty excited. And when I heard they were combining it with Crazy Taxi 2 and all of the Crazy Taxi mini-games from both titles I was really excited.
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars is much more than a compilation of all the Crazy Taxi games that have come before it. These games have also been remastered and tweaked for the PSP system so you are going to see and play Crazy Taxi like you never have before including all-new multiplayer modes.
For those who never got to play either of these games you are in for a real treat. The gameplay is fast, frantic, and pretty simple. You drive around various cities and pick-up people who are hailing a cab. These fares are color-coded so you know the approximate difficulty (distance) of the fare before you even make a stop.
Your goal is to pick-up and deliver as many fares as you can within the allotted time limit. You final score will then determine your license class and will be saved to the record books. Itís a very arcade-like experience, as noted by the game mode titled Arcade. You can also choose the Original mode which recreates a special course from the original console version as well as Crazy Box, a collection of crazy mini-games that you can use to hone your driving skills.
The original Crazy Taxi focuses on cities around the west coast including the hills of San Francisco, beaches, suburbs, and sprawling metropolis. Crazy Taxi 2 takes you to the opposite side of the country as you explore New York in Around Apple and Small Apple game modes or jump into Crazy Pyramid, the new version of Crazy Box and home to even more mini-games.
While the locations differ, the gameplay remains the same. Get your passengers from point A to B while pulling off all sorts of crazy moves like dashes and drifts, and jumping for big air. The more crazy moves you can do, and the more you can combo together, the bigger your fare and the higher your score. Just donít waste too much time or your passenger may bail out on you and stiff you for cab fare.
The cities are pretty massive and complex. When you stop for a fare a picture of the target location will appear in a window and a 3D arrow will guide you to the destination. While this arrow is pretty accurate you might want to experiment a bit to find faster and more rewarding routes.
Fare Wars adds in some multiplayer for up to four players via Ad Hoc wireless gameplay in all sorts of new and entirely fun mini-games. Time Trial has you competing for the most cash in one of three timed events, while CRAZY is the cabbie version of HORSE. One player delivers a fare then the other player tries to best that time. And Head to Head mode is basically multiple cabbies racing around the same map competing for fares and high scores. Best of all, the first two modes can be played with a single PSP by simply passing it back and forth.
Any racing game requires some good controls, especially when you are mixing in stunts and trying to combo huge strings of them together. Crazy Taxi works nicely once you get the hang of it. The right trigger is the gas moving you forward or back depending on the gear you have selected with the X/O buttons. The analog pad is surprisingly good at controlling the cab as you weave through traffic and drift through turns or sail over trolleys.
Sadly enough, Crazy Taxi 2 still has a few issues that seem to have carried over from the original. The sequel never was quite as good as the original, both in control and graphics, and this seems to still be the case. Youíll still have plenty of fun with both, but if youíre like me youíll gravitate toward the original game most of the time, at least until you get really board with the west coast maps.
Crazy Taxi has never looked better. Itís probably a slight improvement over the Dreamcast version, but this is the first time you can play in a widescreen format with crisp textures and detailed models. You still have the fun HUD with the fare counter and the giant timer counting down in the corner and the PIP destination view.
The animation is fluid and fast, just like the gameplay, but this does lead to a lot of pop-up on the horizon, just like the original. Colors are rich and vibrant but there is some streaking on Crazy Taxi 2 that is a bit annoying. In fact, for being a sequel, Crazy Taxi 2 has several graphical glitches that simply donít exist in the original.
Iím assuming there were licensing issues when trying to include the Offspring music from the original game, so youíll just have to suffer without it. Thankfully, Sniper Studios has offered you some musical relief in the form of fully customizable soundtracks. Just tap the Select button and the game will cycle through any MP3ís you have stored on your PSPÖeven the Offspring.
The rest of the audio package is a lot of driving and skidding noises and a variety of male and female voices hailing you down, chastising your reckless driving, and thanking you or cursing you when you drop them off. Itís all there just like you remember it from the original games.
The original Crazy Taxi games were endless in their replayability. There was no story to finish. It was just pure arcade racing, and with the various time brackets to choose from you can actually use this to your advantage. If you are on a 15-minute break you know you can play three 5-minute sessions before you get back to workÖassuming your work is something other than playing video games.
The 32 mini-games are just as much fun (and challenging) as I remembered and will keep you occupied for as long as the main game modes, and the multiplayer is great fun as well. Thankfully, the pass-the-PSP option was included since I seldom have access to other people with PSPís (and their own copy of the game). You also have the ability to save replays to your memory card and share them with other players.
If you carry around your PSP in a case that allows for extra UMDís then Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars needs to be one of those discs. This is just one of those games you can pick up and play on a whim for two minutes or two hours. The game can get quite addicting as you try to shave seconds off your delivery time while sneaking in an extra jump or a few more yards of crazy drift.
Iíve been wanting to play Crazy Taxi for the longest time and was just too lazy to dig my Dreamcast out of storage. Now I donít have to. Fare Wars gives me both core games, 32 mini-games and some fancy new multiplayer modes and custom soundtrack support. This is truly a remake done right.