|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sniper||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 2, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars is a repackaging of the original Crazy Taxi and its less-than-spectacular sequel, Crazy Taxi 2. There is no denying the original is a classic. It was popular in the arcades and on the home system that still is dear to my heart, the Dreamcast. Crazy Taxi was colorful, chaotic, frenzied, and fun.
Unfortunately, the magic is just not captured on the PSP. It's a great port, to be fair, and this version is loaded with extra features (I like to think of them as bribes), but somehow I just can't get over playing this game on a handheld. It really needs the big screen to give it that extra dimension: a sense of immediacy with a realistic impact. However, this is what it is, and I admit there is still plenty of fun to be had. It's just less great.
Developers, Sniper, have done a good job of shrinking Crazy Taxi to the handheld realm. It looks good, sounds good, controls well, and manages to capture most of the gameplay nuances from the original. You'll even see the familiar characters of Joe, Gena, Axel, B.D., and Gus, although their voices have been changed, including that of the announcer. You also won't be hearing Offspring, unless you load your own MP3s into the system. There is a new soundtrack, and it's not bad at all, but you can customize this game with your favorite tracks.
I'm astounded at the amount of features available. Not only do you get the two original Crazy Taxi games as well as lots of mini-games, new modes, and a multiplayer component, but you can choose to play the arcade or Dreamcast version of the original game. Very cool indeed. If you've never played Crazy Taxi before, now is the time. Play it on the PSP first so that you don't spoil yourself by playing it on a larger screen. After you've exhausted yourself with the PSP version, you can look forward to playing it at home on a larger screen, either on the original Dreamcast or the PS2. You might even be able to find it at an arcade.
For the benefit of those that haven't experienced the Crazy Taxi gameplay, allow me to enlighten you. The premise of the game is to pick up fares (customers who want a ride), and deliver them to their destination as quickly as possible. Safety isn't an issue as you jump off ramps, ricochet off the sides of buildings, take shortcuts through parks and pedestrian corridors, and slam into traffic head-on. That's why it's called Crazy Taxi.
Think of each fare as a mission. Each mission is timed. For each fare that you successfully drop off, you will receive money. You've got to make a certain amount of money within the time limit to continue to the next stage. It's not easy, despite the helpful overhead arrows that indicate your direction, or the large yellow rings that encircle the drop-off point. At the end of each timed event, you will be ranked by the number of passengers that you picked up, in addition to the amount of money that you collected. Getting each passenger to his or her destination will add some more time to the clock. You'll also increase your fare by pulling off stunts such as jumping ramps and driving the car up on two wheels. Satisfy your customer, and it will be reflected in a tip. At the same time, if you're too slow, your fare will begin to complain, and may even jump out.