Reliving classic gaming memories through remakes can be a double-edged sword sometimes. It is great to go back and play classics that you remember fondly, but when you find out that sometimes they weren’t all that, it can really ruin your day. SEGA has been bringing back some classics from their ill-fated Dreamcast for XBLA and PSN, and the latest entry is the wild and sporadic Crazy Taxi. This update is actually rendered in 720p so it now fills the entire screen unlike their last entry, and sports all that made the game a classic; well that is unless you count some of the most iconic music of all time.
I want to get this out of the way first and foremost. Fans of the original game will notice immediately the omission of the music that made this game what it was. Even if you are not a fan of bands like Bad Religion and The Offspring, you can not mention the name Crazy Taxi without someone bellowing out the infamous melody “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah”. It is sort of iconic when you think about it. Instead you are left with some fill-in bands that regardless of whether or not they are any good; will be immediately dismissed by fans of the game. They have also removed the classic restaurants from the game so now instead of heading to Kentucky Fried Chicken, we are left navigating to Fried Chicken Shack.
Once you get past the omission of one of the most iconic soundtracks of arcade gaming you are left with nothing but fond memories. Crazy Taxi was certainly original for its time, but the concept hasn’t aged all that well. The premise of picking up passengers and delivering them to their destination is novel; but ultimately falls flat after a short time. SEGA has done a nice job of bringing the game into HD with slick visuals, but it is still the same low poly counts and textures just at a higher resolution. The only other upgrade is the addition of online leaderboards for both the main game and the mini-games.
The controls are also victims of time. The sloppy mechanics will frustrate gamers that did not grow up with floaty mechanics of most arcade games. Oftentimes you will find yourself missing a destination thanks to the questionable physics. This game was designed to eat quarters and that hasn’t changed here. So far the Dreamcast HD revival has been a collection of wake-up calls that simply porting over these titles is not enough. SEGA has done a better job with Crazy Taxi as far as upping the visuals, but stripping out the iconic soundtrack and not tweaking the controls has definitely taken its toll.
Die-hard fans of the original will certainly find plenty to love here, especially if they don’t have access to their Dreamcasts anymore. Still you can’t help but feel like this is a missed opportunity. Crazy Taxi holds such a fond memory and removing so much of what made it special definitely hurts. Those that have never played the original are likely to wonder what all the fuss is about. The controls and graphics have not aged well, but underneath it all, it is still fun to earn some crazy money.
Review copy provided by publisher.