Sega has apparently begun development on big-budget reboots of two classic titles: Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio. According to a report from Bloomberg citing “people familiar with its plans,” the Japanese gaming giant aims to produce new games that may become worldwide sensations like Fortnite and offer recurring income.
As of late, there have been a number of cryptic clues about Sega’s aspirations in this area. Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi were cited as examples of “previous IP” in the company’s annual results report for the year ending March 2021.
Also addressed was an internal “Super Game” project by Sony execs, which would imply creating multi-platform AAA blockbusters with worldwide release dates.
Over a million copies of this Dreamcast title have been sold in the United States, making it the third most popular. The PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and PC versions of the game were subsequently released, as well as successors for the Xbox, Game Boy Advance, and PlayStation Portable.
Taxi drivers in each game must collect money by transporting customers to their destinations as quickly as possible and collecting tips by pulling off “crazy antics” before the clock runs out. The Offspring and Bad Religion contributed the music for the game’s soundtrack, and the game’s revolutionary gameplay concept, which is simple to learn yet tough to master, has earned the series acclaim.
Crazy Taxi and its sequels are all score attack games with the same basic rules. The player controls one of the numerous taxi drivers in a fictitious metropolis, searching for passengers and rushing them to their destinations.
The player must do this while the game clock is still running. A colorful overhead sign indicates passengers searching for transportation. The color markers indicate short trips, intermediate trips, and long trips. Picking up a passenger gives the player more time on the countdown clock.
A second countdown timer represents how fast the traveler must arrive at their location. While in the cab, a huge green arrow appears on the player’s HUD, pointing in the approximate direction of the passenger’s destination.
During the trip, the player can earn extra money by performing “crazy stunts” like drifting, jumping, and near-misses. If the player arrives in time, they are paid based on distance driven with a possible time bonus. If the passenger’s countdown reaches zero, the player must find another fare.
This mode lasts as long as the main clock does. The game ends when the main clock hits zero, and the player is ranked and rated accordingly. Unlike other arcade games, the player cannot pick up where they left off.
While there are hundreds of possible passengers to pick up and deliver, the game has a limited amount of fares. The passengers strewn across the city will arrive and leave at random, but once picked up they are unreachable for the duration of the game.
Starting with Crazy Taxi 2, players may pick up a group of passengers, each with their own destination.
There are two ways to earn a total fare: by dropping off the final passenger on time or by having many passengers in the vehicle.
The “Crazy Hop” stunt maneuver in Crazy Taxi 2 allows the player to make the taxi hop over barriers or higher drivable surfaces. The console games also had mini-games that required the player to accomplish a goal utilizing one or more of the game’s “crazy stunts.”
Some of them are more realistic, such as taxi bowling or pool, while others are more exaggerated. Some mini-games need other mini-games to be completed. Each driver and vehicle have somewhat varying performance according to aspects such as speed and turning, which affect the game.
Crazy Taxi was one of the best-selling Dreamcast games. In 2000, it was the second best-selling Dreamcast game in the US, selling approximately 750,000 units. The game was lauded for capturing the arcade feel and potentially surpassing it by simplifying the controls and insane antics.
With restricted draw distances and a big number of automobiles on screen, the game suffered from “pop-up” and frame rate degradation. Critics cited the port’s lack of depth, issues with the destination arrow, and the announcer’s bad “Wolfman Jack” imitation.
The new features of Crazy Taxi 2 were favorably welcomed by critics, while some felt that more significant modifications might have been included in the sequel. Despite the new areas, critics lambasted Crazy Taxi 3 for its lack of new gameplay mechanics.
“The imaginative vitality that initially created the Taxi series has dimmed greatly,” IGN said in its review of Crazy Taxi 3. The PS2 and GameCube versions of the game are not as good as the Dreamcast version.
Despite having the same gameplay elements, both had more “pop-up” and inferior controls than the Dreamcast version.
Graphic difficulties hampered the Crazy Taxi: Catch a Ride conversion to the Game Boy Advance; as IGN wrote, “it’s painfully evident that the hardware simply was never designed to push that much”. Crazy Taxi and Crazy Taxi 3 have visual issues on the PC.
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars’ PSP versions have gotten better reviews than others. Reviews have praised the game’s multiplayer features and option to create a custom soundtrack, with IGN stating that “adding this should be a no-brainer, yet many PSP titles don’t.”
The game’s controls have received mixed reviews, with some complimenting the PSP’s scheme and others describing them as rigid and inconsistent. According to GameSpot, Crazy Taxi’s gameplay doesn’t compare well to more modern racing games on many platforms.
In Sonic Riders’ “Sega Carnival” circuit, there’s a Crazy Taxi part with a secret shortcut that lets riders pick up taxi driver Axel. In the EyeToy game Sega Superstars, players walk about and yell to hail a taxi driver.
B.D. Joe is a playable character in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, a cross-series racing game. SEGA AM3 had to approve Sumo Digital’s Steve “S0L” Lycett using B.D. Joe is in the game. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed saw him return.