Saturday, April 4, 2009

50 Great Arcade games #1 - Crazy Taxi

Note: The first few paragraphs are copy & pasted from an old Neogaf thread. If you've read this stuff before feel free to skip ahead.

1. Crazy Taxi is a pretty obvious pick for best arcade game because not only does it have a simple premise(pick people up, drive them to their destination, repeat until you run out of time) but the execution is perfect.

One of the major things to consider is that you have a limited number of people available in the city of Crazy Taxi. That means during prolonged games you'll find that nearby customers start to become more rare, forcing you to consider different routes in your next game to maximize your earning potential. And even though all that point A point B crap sounds fine on paper you have to keep in mind the constant unforgiving traffic. Getting the most crazy money also requires chaining skills like the crazy through(driving close to cars without smacking them), crazy air(hitting a ramp and catching lots of air), and crazy drift(crazy drifting..whoo). All of these factors are involved in just one trip. Then when you have to consider getting your customer to their destination ASAP and making sure you get enough time to reach your next customer...well it's a lot to absorb.

Which is why design and execution is paramount to making a great arcade game. Seriously folks without design and execution everything falls apart. I have a very low opinion of the rest of the Crazy Taxi series because I think execution falls short on them and some of the new ideas(picking up multiple passengers, jumping) really don't work as well as they could. Maybe the ideas would have worked out better if the stage design was as good as the original CT's city. Granted the city is pretty basic in design but that's part of the appeal. It's easy to memorize and destinations are simple to keep track of, allowing you more time to focus on your driving. Some of the later cities in the CT series are just outright confusing and it's hard to get anywhere.

So as a gamer your goal is to shoot for a "CRAZY" rating in Crazy Taxi. Hell I don't even mind if you set the timer options all the way for your benefit. I used to do around $35k but these days I'd be lucky to claim half that.

-----New Stuff-----

I think one of the most important ideas in Crazy Taxi is the constant feedback you're getting. In a game where every second counts it's good to know that almost everything you do will get an audible reaction. Little things like nearly running over a customer when you go to pick them up will result in you get chiding as well as losing precious seconds since they have to run a bit further to get into your car. The voices are corny and anything but subtle but they're also clear and immediately understandable so you're constantly aware of your progress. Another important aspect is your car's pliability. Very rarely will you make a dead stop when you smack into a wall(unless you're purposely doing so to drop off a customer) as instead the car maintain a constant amount of motion. This is a great idea because there is nothing more frustrating than a single mistake costing the entire game. There should always be a sufficient amount of leeway to salvage any mistakes in a game no matter how major(though in the end if we expect to become the best at a game we can't make any mistakes at all either). 

To be honest I can't play this game anymore. Back then my time with Crazy Taxi was notable because it was the third Dreamcast game I bought and it was my only system. These days however I own several systems with several times as many games(not to mention a full time job and other things) so I really can't play Crazy Taxi like I used to. Not to mention the number the controller does to my hands.

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