Crazy Taxi: The Game That Made You Want To Be A Cabbie

Caution: Real life taxi driving may not be quite this fun

By Antony Ingram, 18 August 2013

Hey hey hey! It's time to make some craaayyyzy money... are ya ready? Here... we... go!

A lot of kooky arcade-style games use a generic introduction sequence before dropping you into the action, but there's something about Crazy Taxi's intro that really takes you back.

Maybe it's the relative calm those few words afford before the minutes of mayhem that follow. Maybe it's the way the opening "Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!" of The Offspring's All I Want kicks in no sooner than the word "Go!" leaves the voiceover guy's mouth.

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Or maybe it's just that arcade games these days aren't quite as evocative as the game that put you in one of four yellow cabs and sent you careering around a city as passengers threw tips at you for driving like a dick.

Whatever it is, it's all part of the glorious tapestry of a simple but hugely entertaining arcade title, and will bring back memories for anyone who grew up with a Sega Dreamcast in the house.

The Dreamcast died a death after only two years, under-nourished with the sort of consistent quality you'd find on the less powerful Nintendo N64 or the PlayStation 2. And when the PS3 came around, that was the Dreamcast's fate well and truly sealed.

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But it gave us some fantastic titles, and Crazy Taxi was one of those making the greatest impact. Little more than a port of the arcade version, it nevertheless proved that arcade games were still capable of seamless introduction into a home gaming system - even if more sophisticated racers like Gran Turismo had already appeared with far greater depth, and the Dreamcast itself was making inroads into online gaming.

Crazy Taxi could be one of the most appropriately, if not imaginatively-titled games ever. It is the Ronseal of driving games. Nobody picks it up and feels disappointment with what they find within.

The controls are easy to master, the action fast-paced and the graphics no more spectacular than you really need. It's all bright and obvious and simple, in the way of the best arcade titles.

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The yellow convertibles you pilot somehow manage to glamourise the grubby world of taxi-driving too - more often experienced (if you're a Brit) in the back of a slightly iffy-smelling Skoda Octavia, seemingly stuck in fifth gear and colour-blind to red and amber at each set of traffic lights.

So brilliant was Crazy Taxi's format that it subsequently appeared as one of the many things you could do in the 3D series of Grand Theft Auto games. And that, really, is where Crazy Taxi falls down - GTA allowed you not only to taxi people from one place to another, but do a bunch of other stuff too.

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The nostalgia may be enough for many though. And if it is, you can now download it for iPhones and more. Something to play while your real world taxi driver terrorises your local roads.

Yo dawg, we heard you like taxis...

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