Review: Back to making some crrrraaazzzzzyyy money!
It's been quite a month for Crazy Taxi fans, first, the original Crazy Taxi turns out to be a hit on Playstation 2, and then, the sequel aptly titled Crazy Taxi 2 makes its way to the Dreamcast. Only god (and Ryan) knows how I've been longing for this game, checking with Sega everyday to make sure it hasn't been delayed, listening to Offspring to get in the mood, and even playing to original Crazy Taxi to hone my skills (dang I'm good!). But in the end, it was all worth it, I ripped off the cellophane, made sure the manual was in color (it's the little things that count) and finally popped in the game. What happened next? Was I disappointed? Was I overwhelmed? Read on to find out?
The first thing I must mention is that I absolutely love the cover art, again, the little things matter a lot to me, and Sega didn't screw this one up (anyone recall the CT1 cover art? Ugh). This game looks good on the store shelves, and if customers judge this ?book? by its cover, Sega will be rolling in dough. Also, the intro movie was pretty cool, while I think that Sega and Hitmaker might have done well to add a little story into it, watching Slash race around town is just as cool. The menu, well, it's exactly the same. Except for the addition of a few new choices, it remains unchanged, while this kind of disappointed me as I was hoping Sega would make the game menus a little more attractive (rather than just yellow), I guess it has become trademark Crazy Taxi. Huh? What's that you say? You really don't care about the cover art and menus? You want to hear about the games? Well, all right, as always, Akash is willing to humor the GT faithful?.
Crazy Taxi 2 is gameplay-wise almost identical to its predecessor; you drive around town, pick up customers, and give them the craziest ride possible. But of course, a sequel requires changes, and while there are only a few, they are HUGE. The biggest being that the Crazy-Taxi Cab Co. has changed locales, they've moved from sunny California over to the Big Apple, New York. The changes are evident from the second you start playing, gone are the hills of San Francisco, they've been replaced by the Stock Exchange, high rise buildings, and a heck of a lot of traffic. Buses, garbage trucks, other taxi's, it's all there, and it can get pretty hectic at times. How are you supposed to get around the four buses coming your way? (No Ryan, you can't play ?Chicken? and hope that you'll win) You Crazy Hop! The Crazy Hop has almost become the central aspect of the game, it's basically just a jump. Press Y and your taxi will fly through the air, the faster you go the higher you jump. Sounds like a trivial addition, but it may well be the best innovation in a game since Sonic learned to grind. You can now jump right on to a highway overpass, hop from building to building, or even just bunny hop through town and rack up the cash.
Once again, you have two ?cities? from which to choose. In this case, they are ?Around Apple? and ?Small Apple.? These maps are enormous compared to the ones in the original CT, there are many more people to pick up and many more places for them to go, this gives the game much more replay value. The new cities are packed with cars and buses, also gaps and ramps come into play, that's when you call on the Crazy Hop, which Arthur has broken his toe trying to imitate. The mini games return in this sequel, but this time in the form of ?Crazy Pyramid? basically just a fancy name for a slew of fun games. My personal favorite was Crazy Hurdles, which has you jumping over hurdles through use of the Crazy Hop (Told ya it was important). Other wacky (or rather CRRRRRAZY!) games include Crazy Golf, Crazy Jam, and others. Also a few make return appearances, such as Crazy Balloons 2 and Crazy Jump 2. Beating these mini-games unlocks other cool stuff, like maps of the cities, new drivers, and more.
A cool new feature in CT2 is the group fair. Occasionally, you'll see a group of people waiting for a cab; they may be cheerleaders, mimes, some guys with giant afro puffs, among others. Each of these 2, 3, or 4 people needs to go to different locations, which are relatively in the same vicinity. The hard part is getting them all to their destinations in the given time, it takes practice but can be done. The best part is the amount of money you get, the regular fare is huge, plus each tip your get for a stunt is quadrupled, you could make a couple g's off one group of customer's. Plus, there's nothing funnier than watching 4 afro's whiplash when you run into a bus, ouch!
There really isn't much to say in the graphical department, it's quite a bit cleaner but that's pretty much it. Hitmaker has eliminated pop-up and given us a farther draw-distance both of which are greatly appreciated. But the real deal is the sound, let me tell you something: the biggest difference between CT1 and CT2 is that when your game begins you don't hear the oh-so-familiar ?Ya ya ya ya ya??. It's really distressing the first time you play, but slowly you adjust, it would have been nice if Hitmaker had made the music from the original game un-lockable, but ya can't have everything. Besides this little fact, the music is great, it may even fit the mood of the game better than the original music did. Trust me, soon enough we'll forget about original music and walk along humming ?One fine Day.? The sound effects are also great, though the one liners from the drivers can get pretty old.
There are also a few other extras in the game, for example, you can now save your replays and upload them to the net for the world to see. Perhaps some online contests? Maybe, but after the Sonic Adventure cheating fiasco, I wouldn't bet on it. As for other online stuff, there are the usual forums and chat rooms, but that's all pretty standard. Hopefully there will be some nifty downloads.
We've talked all about what is in the game. But now, lets talk about what isn't: MULTIPLAYER MODE!!! Damn Hitmaker, wasn't this supposed to be a four-player game originally, what the heck happened? Well, I guess that's pretty obvious, the four-player mode probably wasn't up to par. But, at least they could have included some four player mini games, I mean, I love Hitmaker, but man, I wanted multi-player CT2.