So…why haven’t we gotten a new Crazy Taxi game from Sega again? It’s literally been one of their most popular franchises since the Dreamcast era, and yet lately, all we’ve really seen is a fun sequel on Xbox (taking place in Las Vegas, no less) and some mobile games. It’s almost like the company is aboard the Yakuza and Persona train and not looking back on the classic franchises that got them here.
Fortunately, we have developers that understand the love of these classics. So the team at Team6 Game Studios actually took Sega’s formula (with their grace and permission, mind you) and ran with it through their own game, Taxi Chaos, which is available for various consoles. And while it’s not quite the same Crazy trip that we remember from the past, it certainly beats nothing – especially if you’ve got to scratch that “make as much money in a short amount of time” itch.
The game takes place in New Yellow City, a variation of New York City, which isn’t far removed from Crazy Taxi formula at all. You choose one of two drivers – Vinny or Cleo – and then hit the streets, picking up passengers and trying to get them to their destination in the fastest time possible. You’ll have an arrow guiding you along the best route, though, with some ingenuity, you might just be able to find some shortcuts.
There are some subtle changes, some good and some bad, with Taxi Chaos. While there are only two drivers – and neither of them are a B.D. Joe type – they do have some personality as they speak to customers while rampaging through the streets. They seem awful calm about it, but it does add a layer of character to the proceedings, instead of the usual “hey, be careful!” dialogue.
But along with that comes the music, and it’s not that great. That’s not to say that it isn’t listenable, because it is. However, compared to the iconic Offspring and Bad Religion songs we’ve been spoiled by over the years, it simply can’t hold a candle. You’re better off muting the music and blaring “All I Want” at top volume. You’ll feel way better.
For an indie title, Taxi Chaos looks great. While the visuals can be a bit fuzzy at times, Team6 Studios does a great job replicating the Crazy Taxi formula on a budget. The streets can be a little barren at times, but the city itself is well represented and gives you tons of room to run around, albeit in a small time frame. The animations are also pretty good, though some customers don’t have running nailed down that well. Ah, well, it’s the taxi antics that count.
As for gameplay, it feels like vintage Crazy Taxi. Handling is done exceptionally well here, particularly with turns and being able to jump over things, thanks to an on-demand jump command that works just as well as it did in Crazy Taxi 2. In fact, you might just shave a few seconds off the clock with a perfectly timed maneuver. Practice makes perfect.
There are also three modes to choose from. Arcade Mode is definitely the go-to, as you’ll feel like you’re putting quarters into a machine to rack up as much cash as you can. Pro Mode is more challenging, as you’ll need to figure out your own route to destinations without the help of a market. And Free Roam is pretty cool, letting you look around and get a better idea of what New Yellow City holds. That’s really about it, with no multiplayer to speak of, but the general Taxi basics are intact.
Overall, Taxi Chaos can’t quite replicate the sheer success of Crazy Taxi, but it comes damn close. The lack of a fundamental soundtrack certainly hurts, and there’s only so much mileage you can get out of a game with minimal characters and barely any unlockables (with forthcoming updates hopefully fixing that). But it’s good fun for the price, and a nice reminder of a Sega era gone by – one we hope the company revisits someday. For now, Team6 does a good enough job to put you back behind the wheel. Now go make some cuhrazy money.