I totally agree with Chi that Crazy Taxi offers an excellent arcade experience. Few games released on the consoles (aside from other arcade ports and retro games) have captured the energy and style of play that I have loved ever since stepping into an arcade and standing before my first arcade cabinet. As soon as I played Crazy Taxi, I got a familiar adrenaline rush and asked myself "why aren't more games like this made?" That constitutes my 8.5 rating. What knocked the game down from a possible score of 10 is the arcade nature of the game, which as in most arcade ports, doesn't do much for the games replay value or depth. Crazy Taxi's short focused goals and time limits are great for getting patrons to shell out buckets of quarters in an arcade during their lunch break; but when it comes to a player sitting on his or her couch, more variety of play is expected to hold a players attention.
Crazy Taxi'sgo-anywhere and go-through-anything policy made for a wild ride the first couple of days; but even that got old after going through the same old locations in the San Francisco-esque city you start in. Granted that AM3 added another city in this Dreamcast port, that still only brings the total number of cities you can drive around in to a whopping 2 (and to be honest, the second one isnt all that different from the first). There is nothing more disheartening than finding yourself going back and forth to the same destinations over and over again. If I really tried hard, I could find a guy on a rooftop or someone at the beach who wanted to go somewhere new, but given the game's time constraints, looking for these people was not time well spent. In addition to the new city, AM3 threw in some training/mini-games called Crazy Boxes. These little diversions ranged from simple freewheeling games to much tougher obstacle courses meant to both hone my Crazy skills as well as extend the replay value of the game. Initially, it worked and I spent quite a bit of time away from the regular game mode trying to beat these mini-games. However, after a short while away from the game, I was jazzed about getting back to playing it, but when I picked it up again, it felt a lot more shallow. Aside from the repetitiveness of the cities themselves, the Crazy Boxes could all be beaten in an afternoon or two.
The biggest irony is that so much work went into making the game feel complete or, at the very least, fulfilling. In addition to securing the rights to KFC and Pizza Hut (among others), Sega got music from The Offspring and Bad Religion to add personality to Crazy Taxi. After one listen of the opening music track, I knew that it was a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, there are only three tracks to listen to and after a while, their repetitiveness is a bit annoying. I would also have appreciated a delay in the games release if they had added some sort of multiplayer mode to the game. It seems that all Dreamcast developers, Sega included, are ignorant to the fact that the Dreamcast comes with 4 controller ports. Hopefully, they will add such a mode to the sequel.
I hope these two paragraphs spent discussing the negatives of Crazy Taxi didn't mislead you because as I believe this is overall a great game. The graphics are excellent, the cars are excellent, and the cities (although there are only two) are very detailed and full of life and the music absolutely rocks. I just felt that the negatives were glossed over by Chi and I wanted to prepare people for some of the flaws they'll come across. As it stands, Crazy Taxi is a great game to pick up, but it's all about the gameplay and not about story or anything else of the kind. If you understand beforehand that you're playing an arcade port, then you should be fine. Here's to hoping that Sega makes a game like this (but with more depth) again in the future because even with its flaws, Crazy Taxiis one of the many reasons to pick up a Dreamcast.
Disclaimer:This review is based on the Dreamcast version of the game.