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Crazy Taxi (iOS)

Ya Ya Ya Ya Ya! Crazy Taxi heads to iOS with some improvements over its HD siblings, but is it better for them?

Developed by: SEGA
Published by: SEGA
Released: 11 October 2012
Price: £2.99 (UK)/$4.99 (US/Canada)/€3.99 (Eurozone)/$5.49 (Australia)
Tested On: iPod Touch (4th Gen) running iOS 6 Version:  1.0.0

Crazy Taxi isn't a game I should really need to explain to you guys, but just in case you have never heard of the game (and if you haven't - Hi, the year's 2012 and we have touchscreen smartphones now, amongst other innovations. Please catch up), here goes: You pick one of four cabbies and drive around two locales rather loosely based on San Francisco, picking up passengers and dropping them off where they want to go within a specific time limit to earn lots of cash. Simple.

Let's Make Some Crazy Money

The first thing you're bound to notice with Crazy Taxi isn't the fact that the game looks superb, or that the original soundtrack, which was so sorely missed from the 2011 HD offerings, is back. Nope, it's actually how well the game itself plays.

Crazy Taxi, a game which lends itself to the scoreboard attacking, reflexes-very-much-needed game that SEGA were known for back in the day, isn't exactly a game you'd think would fit well on a mobile device where your two main control methods are touchscreens and tilt controls. I was certainly critical of the idea myself, thinking SEGA had finally gone mad and was just releasing any old game on any old format. How wrong I was.

I'm not sure how they've managed to do it, but the game actually handles brilliantly on the iPod's touchscreen, and that's down to the simplicity of the controls. If using touch controls, you have two arrows in one corner, with the Drive/Reverse settings in the other. They're placed just far enough in the corners so that people with...slightly larger thumbs (HI!) can still see the gamescreen. Tilt controls are..well, tilt controls, though you get an added button to perform drifts. It is a shame, though, that the D/R control is one you have to hold down, I feel it would probably work better if it was a toggle, especially as you do come to a pretty grinding halt if you happen to slip off the button. In a game where speed is everything in order to earn big bucks, it can ruin a particular run.

But There's Something Missing, Right?

Yes and No. Gameplay wise, everything is where it should be. You've still got your four cabbies, the two cities are still there in all their glory. the various game modes are still there (Arcade, Original, and timed variants of them both), graphically the game does still look as good as the Dreamcast original (again, no mean feat) and as I'll keep stating, the original soundtrack is back. The generic cookie-cutter rock that had seemed like it was to be the norm didn't really maintain the aura that The Offspring and Bad Religion brought to the table, so the return of the original soundtrack is more than welcome, especially on a personal note as Crazy Taxi actually started my love for these bands in the first place!

However, whilst SEGA did manage to secure the original soundtrack, it seems that licensing the locations to which you deliver your passengers was a step too far. It's a shame, as the locations clearly look the same, but Fried Chicken Shop or Pizza Place just don't have the same ring to them. To be fair, it's not a problem levied at the iOS version specifically, as the HD and PSP versions had the same issue, but that doesn't make it any less disappointing.

Take Me to the Homepage

Another thing I've always noticed about the game is how silly your passengers end up being. During one run, a passenger asked me to take her to the chuch. Which was 100m away. She could've walked there in the time it took to get in the car, spin the car to face the right way, get to the church, and then get out of the car. I understand that there's different difficulty levels for the passengers, but there is such a thing as being too easy, even for the game's original release date of 1999. Then again, we are also talking about a game which has no problems with you driving around underwater in an open top cab, so maybe some concessions should be made.

The game also contains achievements and leaderboards via Game Center, which is great for the collector in us. The list is pretty standard fare, such as completing all of the Crazy Box missions, and collecting the various licenses from the Arcade and Original modes. In fact, it's pretty much the same as the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 list, which is a shame as a little more originality would've been nice.

Overall

Crazy Taxi is a game that shouldn't work on a mobile device, and even if it was going to, you'd expect it to be a cut-down, pretty poor variant on the original. The fact that yes, this is still the same game you played on your Dreamcast and yes, it is on a device that'll easily fit in your pocket (less so if playing on an iPad) is actually outstanding. It's also a lot cheaper than the HD version on home consoles despite looking almost exactly identical, with the original soundtrack thrown in to boot.  

Quite simply, when it comes to mobile gaming, this is one of SEGA's finest moments. I doubted it could be done, and I was wrong. For £2.99, or your local equivalent, you cannot go wrong.

SCORE: 5/5

23rd October, 2012 - 13:49 GMT Gavvie Article viewed 1371 times 0 Comments

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