Let's make some crrrrrrrrrazy memories.

Maybe it’s just me, but unless I’m completely inebriated, taxi journeys tend to be tense and disturbing affairs. Either your paid chauffeur refuses to talk, stifling your well thought-out conversation starters, or they seem to talk far too much about the most strange and disturbing subjects. Perhaps that’s why the conversation seems to flow so effortlessly when I’m heavily intoxicated: we’re finally on the same wavelength. But sadly, when I’m sober, an unsettling silence usually fills the air. Naturally, I’ll throw out the token conversation starters tailored specifically for the cabbie of today: “Been busy? What time you on ‘till? Which football team do you support?” Should these carefully refined, trusted lines of dialect fail, then it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll be staring blankly at my phone and shifting nervously in my seat for the rest of the duration of the journey. And that’s never fun.

Now, if I was a taxi driver, I’d strive to make sure that my client felt comfortable and welcomed.

Now, if I was a taxi driver, I’d strive to make sure that my client felt comfortable and welcomed. But how would I go about doing this? Well, first of all I’d take the simple steps of purchasing a soft top Cadillac, which I’d paint a charming yellow. Next, I’d don a Hawaiian shirt, dye my hair green, change my name to Axel and firmly insist that my customers jump into the open topped vehicle rather than use the doors. Once they’ve told me their destination, I’d turn round, crank up the audio system to the tune of some catchy punk rock and proclaim “Let’s go make some Crrrrrrrrrazy money!” Then, I’d violently speed towards their destination as they whooped and hollered whilst showering me with precious tips; a monetary reward for my unrivalled awesomeness. Ah, life would be sweet indeed.

“Dude?… Colonel?!”

Unfortunately, the “man” and their “laws” will forever scupper my wonderful dream of customer satisfaction and exciting transportation. However, thanks to the delightfully inventive minds at SEGA, this dream was in fact a brilliant reality in the form of the arcade classic, Crazy Taxi.

Got The Knowledge

The next thing I knew I was begging my dad for more and more pesetas until the dreaded “that’s your lot” was uttered.The next thing I knew I was begging my dad for more and more pesetas until the dreaded “that’s your lot” was uttered.

Funnily enough, I first came across Crazy Taxi whilst on a family holiday in Spain. A loud, almost obnoxious arcade machine was doing its best to grab my short attention span, luring me in with its delightful graphics and catchy tunes. The next thing I knew I was begging my dad for more and more pesetas until the dreaded “that’s your lot” was uttered. With each attempt I progressed further into the bustling city, thwarted and equally rewarded by my reckless driving. As my final play came to an end, I was left with that horrid feeling of essentially going cold turkey. The need to cater to these demanding polygon customers ached in my loins. I was totally addicted. I needed to make some more crazy money. And fast.

Unsurprisingly, I continued to strategically ensure that we walked past the arcade that housed the golden machine on more than one occasion during our holiday. And, in turn, I cleverly hoarded all my holiday money for SEGA’s bizarre taxi romp – the ice creams could go to hell. Even though there were four distinct and charismatic drivers to choose from, I always ended up choosing Axel: who I’ll forever associate as the man who stole all my parents loose change.

In all honesty, I can barely remember anything about that particular holiday apart from playing Crazy Taxi! Pretty crazy hey…

Ya-Ya-Ya-Ya-Yaaaa!

As alluded to above, Crazy Taxi initially started out life as an arcade title in 1999 – complete with a wheel and shifter – before it was later ported to the SEGA Dreamcast in 2000 and a whole host of other consoles later down the line. But we’re here to talk about Crazy Taxi’s original console debut for SEGA’s prematurely deceased Dreamcast. And thankfully, the Dreamcast’s port was a faithful representation of the crazy coin-op, with a few added features to boot.

You couldn’t hit pedestrians in Crazy Taxi. It was crazy, not inhumane.

Crazy Taxi’s gameplay was unique, fast, accessible and surprisingly addictive as you attempted to complete as many fares as quickly as possible within the time limit. Each customer had a different destination which was either near, far or very far away. You had to think carefully about who to pick up and who to ignore if you were to maximise your available time and increase your score as, although the longer journeys yielded a higher fare, they would quickly eat up your precious time.

If your customer’s timer ran out (yes that’s two timers you had to contend with), then they would promptly jump out of the taxi. Why should they pay for such shoddy service? A time bonus and rating was rewarded depending on how quickly you delivered the human cargo. It was simple, satisfying and incredibly fun.

Novice players would soon find their time would quickly run out, but, for the dedicated and the skilled, once you mastered the routes and various tricks such as boosting to increase your speed, you’d soon learn how to keep the time ticking over, allowing you to reach the higher ranks and drive further into the colourful, bustling city. Luckily, less proficient cabbies could choose from a three, five or ten minute settings to drive around in if the Arcade rules were too difficult.

Everybody In The Cab Getting Tipsy

To pick up a passenger, you had to stop in a specified circle which usually involved a flamboyant emergency brake (a specified stopping zone was also present at your destination). Depending on your parking, your juicy fare would scamper over to your vehicle and hop on in, ready to ride; or, they’d yell whilst diving out of the way of your vehicle, taking an age to finally get in. Of course, your main objective was to get them to their required location as quickly as possible, however, by performing stunts and near misses of oncoming vehicles, you could swiftly bump up your potential pay packet and in turn, your overall score. Whip the cab round the corner, fly off a ramp or drive head first into oncoming traffic; passengers were hot-blooded thrill seekers, ready to pay for a speedy service with style.

Drop it into reverse and then into drive for a boost! Warning: Do not try this in your actual car.

At the end of each session, the player was awarded a licence rating depending on their score. Obtaining the prestigious ranking of “S” was no easy task. However, blessed with a phenomenal soundtrack comprising of punk rockers The Offspring and Bad Religion, each session never felt like a chore. When “All I want” hit, you knew what time it was, and exactly what it was time to make.

Taxi For SEGA

Unfortunately, what should of been Crazy Taxi’s glorious HD return to the current generation of consoles was, in a nutshell, ruined by the removal of the timeless soundtrack and other memorable features such as the in-game advertising which made the city seem so appealing. Popular destinations, which coincided with the generic, like the Levi’s Store, Tower Records, KFC and Pizza Hut were sadly removed. What’s left is a hollow shell of the game we all once loved.

If you have the original, then it’s even more of a reason to cherish this unique classic which is as fun as it ever was. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make some more Crrrrrrrrrazy money! *if only it was real…*

Prefer moving pictures and sound? Then watch our video retro reflection here

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