- Original release year: 1999
- Consoles: Arcade, Dreamcast (later: PS2, GameCube, Windows, PS3, Xbox 360, iOS, Android)
Always thinking outside the box in their heyday, Sega were always able to come up with some unique, but excellent concepts for games. Take Crazy Taxi. Sure, Sega could have produced another gorgeous game, stuck some cars onto a track and encourage players to see who can get past the finish line first.
Instead though, with this Arcade title, Sega came up with a highly addictive, innovative and unique concept. You play as a taxi driver in sunny San Francisco and the idea is you pick up customers and have a limited time to get them to their destination. The faster and better you drive, the higher the tips, the quicker you are, the higher the time bonus. Genius. The physics and gameplay are not realistic, with Crazy Taxi certainly living up to its title. You will find yourself drifting around corners at maximum speed, flying off steep cliffs and racing down hills, sending any poor sod that gets in your way flying in the opposite direction. If there is one word that summarises what Crazy Taxi is, it is ‘fun’.
I remember my mate and I loved going up to the ‘Electronic Dungeon’ (RIP), a local independent game shop, ran by a couple of friendly, hippy, weed smoking metalheads, that also served as a popular unlicenced babysitter for careless parents, due to offering a service where you could pay 60p per hour to play on an N64 or £1 to play on a Dreamcast. We’d go and play a ton of Crazy Taxi all day (or until more kids came into the shop to play on the consoles). In particular, we also enjoyed the Crazy Box mini games, which offered challenges to add longevity to the home release.
Another time I remember playing Crazy Taxi in my youth, was the year 7 trip to France. It was a great school trip, with lots of memories. One memory that sticks out though, is on the ferry trips there and back. I wasted so many Francs and GBPs on two arcade machines in particular – Virtua Tennis and Crazy Taxi.
Crazy Taxi went on to inspire a number of sequels (and clones/rip offs), but it’s the original everyone keeps coming back to. Nothing beats racing through San Francisco, blasting The Offspring and Bad Religion. I really cannot articulate just how addictive this game is. Yeah, it’s a simple (but very original and innovative) concept, and yeah, it only has two different maps, but even 16 years after its release, I still like to have the odd game of Crazy Taxi. I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours I’ve put into the game.