Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars - hands-on

In the days before Grand Theft Auto III, there was nothing quite like Crazy Taxi. A sunny, high-energy arcade adrenaline rush, it was superficially centered around picking up fares in a big, open city and rushing them to their destinations before the timer ran out. However, those who played it for more than five seconds soon realized what Crazy Taxi was really about: bombing down gigantic hills at top speed while The Offspring and Bad Religion roared over the soundtrack.

It was a lot of fun seven years ago, but can it hold up today? Publisher Sega is betting it will, and they're sending Crazy Taxi, its slightly grittier sequel and a handful of new multiplayer modes rocketing onto the PSP this summer (appropriately enough) in a single UMD called Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars..

You should expect some changes when it arrives - a new soundtrack is planned, and there's no word yet if either of the original bands will reappear. But although it'd be a pity to lose "All I Want," "10 in 2010" and the rest of the the songs that helped make the original so vibrant, we take some comfort in the news that you'll be able to add your own tunes with a custom soundtrack feature. One thing we won't miss hearing, however, is most of the cheesy lines passengers spouted, which are being rewritten and re-recorded for Fare Wars.

Aside from that, though, this plays like the same old Crazy Taxi, complete with insane jumps, long drifts and passengers who tip better depending on how many near-wrecks you cause. Even the weird minigames will return, although we didn't see any when we took the game for a spin. Fare Wars is still in pretty early form, but even with slow, yet-to-be-optimized speeds and jaggy-looking textures, it's hard to keep Crazy Taxi from being fun.


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