The delightfully wacky premise, exemplary and addictive arcade gameplay and an overarching sense of style that make Crazy Taxi a crazy-fun game that could have only come out of the bright-burning flame that was Sega’s twilight years. To this day, you would be hard-pressed to find many game players in this generation that have yet to experience the joy of racing around San Francisco in an indestructible cab. It’s a game that leaves an imprint on players. Sega, being on a big digital distribution kick as of late, has re-released Crazy Taxi on iOS and Android. Given roughly a decade of perspective, how does the new port hold up to the original?
The classic Crazy Taxi gameplay remains mostly untouched for the mobile port, save for a few additions that I’ll talk about later. All the content is here that was in the arcade and Dreamcast originals, as well as some Game Center achievements for good measure. Nothing terribly new, so anyone expecting something different probably should re-evaluate their expectations. But, that’s just fine. Crazy Taxi is a timeless game; it hasn’t aged a day since its release, and is still just as fun to play today as it was thirteen years ago.
One of the biggest problems that plague mobile ports is poor touchscreen controls, but here, the problem is handled very well by minimizing the buttons down to the bare essentials. You are only given controls for left and right steering, and buttons for forward and reverse. That’s all you need, and it’s nice that the screen isn’t cluttered with unnecessary buttons. The best part about the controls is that it is now much simpler to perform tricks in the game, such as drifts or boosts, which can be accomplished with a simple double-tap. It makes the game much more enjoyable than other iterations, where performing these tricks required a great deal of practice to execute properly. It’s minor, but a welcome addition. The only problem I noticed with the game that I noticed was that slowdown was more common than usual, and gets annoying in heavy traffic.
The biggest news about the new mobile version of the game is that Sega was finally able to re-license the music from the original game. Say what you will about the songs themselves, but their inclusion at all is a sign of dedication from Sega to create a faithful port. Personally, I am a big fan of the original soundtrack, so hearing all the tunes again from the original put a smile on my face. Die-hard Crazy Taxi fans will definitely appreciate this touch. However, it should be noted that the real-life shops and destinations found in the original are not present, and instead are the same generic names as they are in most of the other ports.
Other than that, the visuals have received a resolution bump to take advantage of high-definition screens, but the models themselves are exactly the same. There really isn’t much else to say; it’s aesthetically the same as Crazy Taxi always was, and the faithfulness of the port allows the mobile version to be unquestionably the definitive handheld version of the game, if not the definitive version altogether thanks to the simplified control scheme.
Pros: Arcade-perfect port, original music, improved controls
Cons: Minor slowdown issues