Released November 23, 2010 / $9.99 / Version: PSN
Original Release: Dreamcast / January 24th, 2000
First things first: this PSN remaster is not the exact same Crazy Taxi that you spent entire weekends playing back in 2000. I mean, it’s still a game about picking up passengers and getting them to their destinations as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. It still has arcade and original modes. There’s still a punk rocker with a pink mohawk to pick up. But that’s where the similarities end; there are some fairly substantial changes to this version of the game- some welcome, some unfortunate.
Let’s get the bad out of the way, yeah? To some, the most notable change to this version is the omission of the Bad Religion and Offspring songs from the soundtrack. As a long-time Bad Religion fan and someone who enjoyed most of The Offsping’s mid-90s to early-2000s material, this was definitely disappointing. It may be nostalgia or the fact that I’m an old, crotchety, jaded punk rocker now, but the new tracks felt pretty grating to me- so much so that after giving them a once-through, I muted the in-game music and put on a playlist of the original soundtrack on repeat via my PC.
A similar licensing change that I found far less offensive was the removal of “real life” locations such as Pizza Hut and KFC. As someone who generally despises product placement and “realism” in games, this was actually a positive for me. Another positive was the addition of online leaderboards. These are a great way for people much better than me to compete for high scores (seriously, I thought I was pretty hot stuff at Crazy Taxi until I saw the scores on these leaderboards. Whoa).
The final significant change to this version is in the visuals. The game retains its excellent, colorful, vivacious art design and sports crisp, clean, widescreen visuals that run at a solid 60fps. The menus didn’t fare (no pun intended) as well and look pretty ugly and stretched, but it’s a pretty minor issue, as you spend so little time with them.
All things considered, this is the best version of Crazy Taxi available outside of the original Dreamcast title and it’s just as addicting as it was back in 2000. Just make sure to dig out your old Offspring and Bad Religion records before setting off to make that crazy money.