Aug 29, 2007
How on Earth did it take us until now to realize that Crazy Taxi’s arcade-style speediferous driving provided the entire blueprint for the mega-successful Burnout series? Sure, Burnout dumped the idea of schlepping customers to and fro and replaced it with metal-shearing crashes, but the whole idea of screaming down the highway, coming as close as you possibly can to the other cars on the road without actually hitting them? Pure Crazy Taxi.
Of course, that’s about all there is to this collection, which gives you both the original Crazy Taxi and its first sequel, Crazy Taxi 2. You pick people up in a city loosely based upon San Francisco (CT) or New York (CT2), then stomp the gas and follow the giant green arrow to their destination, earning extra tips for near-collisions, drifts and (in CT2 particularly) exciting leaps. There are no engines to tune, and only a few new cars and courses to unlock. This is the entire thing, except for some minigames and “Crazy Box/Pyramid” - a mode that finds you hitting a giant golf ball, popping balloons, jumping hurdles and so on.
This simple focus on action and speed plays well as a portable game, but there are some rust spots on the ol’ yellow jalopy. The game runs noticeably more slowly overall than the original home versions did on Dreamcast. And while we concede that could be intentional (the smaller screen makes precise control tougher) it nonetheless saps the frantic pace a bit. It also adds challenge, because your car moves more slowly, but the time you have to get from point A to point B seems not to have increased in kind.
Finally, there’s also a new multiplayer mode with Ad Hoc support for two players. Two of the modes are so-so time and score trials, but the third, a head-to-head mode in which you and your opponent are bashing into one another in an attempt to get the good fares for yourself, is actually pretty strong. All in all, Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars is still a good time, but like all sparse arcade compilations, your mileage may vary.