Crazy Taxi was the best game ever. I bought a Sega Dreamcast just to play this. Before that I’d go to the arcades that had sit down taxi versions of the game. It’s based on the amazing premise, you pick up a passenger and then you take them to where they’re going. Then you pick up another one and take THEM to where THEY’RE going. Then you pick up ANOTHER ONE! The game never has to end!
If you could get there with a big enough time bonus, you could keep playing and never run out of time. The driving was loose and fast and the crashes pleasantly non-violent. There’s no damage done to cars or pedestrians. A crash just slows you down. You’d earn money by performing more stunts with passengers in the car. Seriously, all they needed to do to keep this franchise going was just make new maps of new cities for crazy taxis. But they ruined it. Crazy Taxi 2 added a jump feature. That’s nonsense. Why would a taxi jump without a ramp? Their new maps didn’t matter because they violated the purity of the controls. Crazy Taxi 3 kept the jump so the Vegas-style maps didn’t matter either. Thankfully, the original Crazy Taxi is now on iOS in its purest form, with seamless tweaks that make it seem like it belonged on your phone the entire time.
Crazy Taxi for iOS is basically a port of the Dreamcast game. It’s got the same two city maps to choose from plus the same mini-games, but two styles of controls. There’s a touchscreen D-pad controller where you just tap left or right, and hold the drive button to accelerate. It’s simpler and can’t do everything the original game could do, but it takes less getting used to. They’ve also worked out the tilt controls, making Crazy Taxi play like so many other iOS racing games. In Tilt Mode, you get the crazy boost and crazy drift back, but the new controls are basically an entirely new game. Tapping the accelerator for a boost is easy enough, but I’m having trouble mastering the crazy drift the way they set it up. I have to figure out the sensitivity of tilting my phone while holding the drift button. I’m also having a harder time weaving in and out of traffic with a tilting device, because I’m used to a steering wheel or analog stick. I still love it though. It’s a whole new game to learn, but the same theory of play that I've always loved.
For those of you who've never played Crazy Taxi before, man, I wish I could be you experiencing it for the first time again. You can play Arcade Mode where you start with 50 seconds, and if you drive well enough each passenger can give you a two or five second time bonus. The passengers are highlighted in different colors to indicate how far away their destination is. Use your judgment to either make quick trips, or rack up fare on a long drive. Interestingly, the options no longer allow you to increase the time limit, so it’s really arcade rules. The iOS game still offers flat time limit games of 3, 5 or 10 minutes. The Arcade map is recreated faithfully with all the same passengers and destinations. It’s pretty much San Francisco, with hills and cable cars. As well, it offers a faithful reproduction of the Original map from the Dreamcast game, and it’s even hillier if you want to jump the old fashioned way by flying off a ramp at top speed. There’s water you can drive into in the Original map though. You can choose from four different drivers, and presumably each one has slightly different top speeds or turning abilities, but I never noticed a difference and I still don’t.
The graphics are the same, the sounds are the same and the Offspring and Bad Religion soundtrack is the same. Now you can add songs from your own iTunes library, although the Crazy Taxi soundtrack is so awesome, I don't know why you’d want to. Maybe if you have the complete Offspring discography, I bet all their songs fit Crazy Taxi. You do have to turn vibration off. It’s a bit much for as many times as you crash in the game.
Crazy Taxi is still the best game ever, and now for iOS it’s two games in one. You get a perfect simulation of the analog stick version, and an iOS specific tilt control version. Even as a pricier game at five bucks, it's totally worth it. Remember, this exact game used to sell for over $50, or a dollar a play in the arcade. Sega, please, PLEASE just update this game with new maps. Don’t mess with the controls, just give us new cities to drive through and you’ll have perfected Crazy Taxi some ten years later.