Leaving aside the mobile spin-offs and ports, the last real game in the series was Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller. 18 years have passed and clearly Sega did not want to make the effort to continue the series and introduce it to a modern audience.
As usual, the indies are to the rescue! Team6 Game Studios decided to resuscitate the concept with Taxi Chaos, available now for Xbox One / Series, PS4, and Switch.
Taxi Chaos is a carbon copy of Crazy Taxi, from its concept to the visual elements modeled in great detail.
The goal is obviously to welcome customers in their car and bring them to their destinations. The “Chaos” (and the “Crazy”) comes from the fact that everyone is in a hurry, and that you do not care about the Highway Code. The closer you drive to other cars, the more you increase the excitement of your passenger, who will reward you with a generous tip. Not only is the time of each trip counted, but you start your game with a paltry 90 seconds. Completed trips add precious seconds to your time, until you run into the inevitable “game over” screen.
This clone adds a jump button to your arsenal. So you can jump over the cars on your way to increase your combo, or roll over the roofs of buildings as shortcuts.
The real fun of Crazy Taxi comes hours after your first experience behind the wheel, as the city begins to feel familiar and you know its every nook and cranny. You may even have chosen the destination desired by some of its inhabitants, allowing you to plan an optimal route that will hoist you to the top of the scoreboard.
Of course, that requires a great investment of time. It was perhaps more easily digestible back in the days of the Dreamcast, when your game library was limited and you just had to do that. (The good old days!) Today, arcade style seems to have given way to rogue-lites, which use purchasing upgrades between games to give you a sense of progress. In Taxi Chaos, only the motivation to get a better score in arcade mode can push you to play a new game.
The pro mode is precisely made for those players who will dive into it head first without counting their hours. The direction arrow disappears: you have to recognize the destinations by their names and get there within the allotted time without any instructions! (But you are crazy?!?)
The last mode is simple “freeroam”, where you can drive without time limits, until you quit on your own. No goal, no scoreboard, just you and an endless number of customers. This mode exists especially for those who wish to explore the city to learn its shortcuts and find the collectibles. It is in this mode that the faults of the game stand out the most.
We notice that customer comments are excessively repetitive. To the point where I had the same line of dialogue 5 times in a row, by different clients.
-How are you today?
-I am one day closer to my retirement!
(bis X 5)
A taxi not too “crazy”
If Crazy Taxi has remained in our memories, it is partly thanks to its slightly punk / rock side, very Sega. It was garish and colorful, considering the arcade cabinet had to attract curious clients. So we could hear his theme song by The Offspring, or his announcer shouting in a wacky voice “Hey hey!” Come on and have some fun with Crrrrrrrrrazy Taxi! ”. The car was fast, and the obstacles made us hover and fly all over the place.
We lose almost everything in this indie clone. Her cartoonish look is pretty and detailed, but a bit more generic. Its generic, wordless rock background music and limp customer comments don’t get our heart rate up like Crazy Taxi could. In a matter of seconds, the game of Sega gave us a slap in the face that kept us alert, while Taxi Chaos has more of a family atmosphere, comforting, stress free despite the threat of the clock. We even have the impression that the car is a little slower, the driving less frantic. Perhaps the wide, flat streets of New York City in Taxi Chaos are the cause of our lack of excitement.
The meter rolls, rolls, roll …
The biggest problem with Taxi Chaos is its price. No one would have said no to a new $ 15 Crazy Taxi. It is the $ 40 requested that dampens our enthusiasm. Perhaps it is its physical distribution on Xbox, PlayStation and Switch that is behind this somewhat absurd price.
In terms of lifespan, apart from restarting excessively the “arcade” and “pro” modes (the games of which only last a few minutes for average players), there are no campaigns, special missions or variations. The only replay value is the collectibles that are unlocked by embedding certain characters.
Yet it would have been so easy to introduce obstacle courses, ghost races, or even competitive multiplayer modes to give us a reason to spend more time with Taxi Chaos.
It’s a shame because otherwise everything is there. The gameplay is virtually identical to the Sega series. I would even go so far as to say that the control is more pleasant in Taxi Chaos. Crazy Taxi’s weird physics and stiff ride hit me when I redid a small part to compare the two. Moreover, know that the Xbox (360) Live Arcade version is available in backward compatibility on Xbox One and Series S / X for only $ 10.
Taxi Chaos still fulfills the mandate for those nostalgic for Crazy Taxi, but its lack of content leads us to recommend that you wait for a price drop, or the release of the additional free content promised.