Crazy Taxi

Crazy Taxi
4
Game Name: Crazy Taxi
Platforms: Windows 98
Publisher(s): Activistion
Developer(s): Hitmaker / Strangelite (port)
Genre(s): Checkpoint racing
Release Date: Aug, 2002

[Transcript of an interview with Gus the Cab Driver]

I have a feeling that today is going to be a good day.

I have been assigned to do business on the Original part of town, which is much better than the Arcade part – customers are more lenient, you go to much better locations, and the chances for a bit of road-rippin’ are much more frequent.

The jumps are undoubtedly the best part of this job.

So I’m just sittin’ in my cab, chillin’ out by the Big Hills amusement park, when my redneck boss comes in over the intercom. “Hey hey hey, it’s time ta make sum crrrrraaazy money! Are ya ready? Here! We! Go!!” It’s the same damn catchphrase I’ve heard every day for the past God knows how many years, and I know what it means – time to get to work.

So I tune in to my favourite station, and sure enough, they’re playing one of the five-or-so techno tunes that make up their repertoire. I like this station because there ain’t a great deal of yakkin’ or yammerin’ – they just put on the tunes, loop ’em, and that’s it. Sometimes, they’ll play something different, like a rock tune or some tribal drum shit, but that’s only on special occasions. Most of the time, it’s just techno. And right now, it’s my lucky tune, “Big In Japan”. The good vibes keep getting stronger as, with my tunes pumpin’ and my hood down, I start out on my job.

The first customer I pick up is a chick that wants to go to the Wave & Beach, out by the boardwalk. I dig goin’ there, because people always give you a lot of time to get there. Not like some other costumers, who are constantly looking at their watch and trying to catch us out.

When folks are nice, I always repay them with some nifty swerving and drifting. Heck, we all do. All four of us. Even Gena, who, for a smokin’ chick like she is, is much tougher than you’d think, and often hangs out with us boys. In fact, I think that green-haired pretty-boy, Axel, is layin’ the moves on her. Seriously, that kid has a lotta nerve. He’s the youngest cabbie in our company, yet he’s the one everyone knows. I reckon 90% of our customers don’t even know me, Gena, and B. D: Joe work for the same company he does. They think it’s just him and his fancy souped-up cab, and they only notice us when we stop to pick ’em up somewhere.

And boy, do people like to stop in weird places. I mean, I’ve picked up customers underwater, and on top of roofs! It really is “Crazy” driving your “Taxi” around this city!

Yes, that is a customer underwater. Unfortunately, they want to go somewhere boring.

Fortunately, it also pays. Big time. Folk dig on even the little things, like a Through (brushing up against a car without hitting it). And a Crazy Jump drives ’em absolutely batshit crazy. They start tippin’ like mad. Seriously, on the Big Jump over the suspension bridge, Gena claims to have made as much as fourteen bucks, although I think she’s lyin’ – I myself usually make in the vicinity of five to ten bucks for that particular manoeuvre. But for me, it ain’t really about the money – it’s the thrill that counts. And you can always trust good ol’ Gus to deliver some old-school thrills and spills. So if you see my vintage-style convertible cab around, hop in – you won’t regret it!

Anyway, back to my work day. Things are going great, and I keep delivering people to places on time. They reward me with not only tips, but also compliments like “That was some serious speed!” and “You’re a smoooooooth driver!” If I’m lucky, I even get a smooch from the ladies – and man, the older they get, the racier they get! You wouldn’t believe what the Grannies’ll do to thank you! My favourites, however, are the Valley Girls and their mums. They just love a guy who can go fast. Whenever I pull a stunt, it sounds like they’re having an orgasm or something! Seriously!

But it’s not just rich bitches and little old ladies – you get preachers, businessmen, tourists, punk-rockers and a whole lot of black folk, who sound like they just stepped out of a 70’s hood movie. You know – saying “foo’!” and “yo’ kewl!” and all that jazz. B. D. Joe says that’s the lingo “bruthas” use around here, but for my money, they’re just demeaning themselves. I mean, they sound like Chicken George or somebody. Terrible! And the way they carry themselves…I’m no racist, but whenever I get a guy in a wifebeater wanting to go to the bank, I feel like he’s going to rob it, for some reason. Yes, I know, shame on me. But don’t judge before you’ve lived it…

Anyway, on to something completely different – traffic. People in this city are terrible drivers! Accidents happen all the time, and while a cause quite a few of them, others just happen at random. Cars flip over and get rammed into by other cars, the whole shebang. However, for some reason, no-one ever seems to get hurt in these pileups. It’s like the cars moved by themselves. As for me, I sometimes lose control of my cab after a hit, which on the one hand is good – major drift points! – but on the other, can make me lose seconds and piss off more finicky costumers. On the whole, however, cab handling is good, and I only wish I had a GPS, because I ALWAYS get lost going to Millennium Tower or the Marine Museum. It doesn’t help that these places have some of the more intolerant and impatient costumers. Subway stations are a bitch, too, although it’s a blast to drive inside the railway tunnels from one station to the next.

I’ve heard of “fiddler on the roof”, but a little old lady!?

Today, however, I find myself lugging people between R.B. Station and the Baseball Stadium, with a few trips down the motorway in between. Seems I spend half my life on this motorway, dodging eighteen-wheelers and buses. I don’t mind, though – it rakes in big bucks! Short trips, like the ones I’m doing today, don’t pay much, but represent the easiest 200 dollars you can ever make. And seriously, even with our high fares, people take the cab for EVERYTHING. Even when the place they’re going to is right down the street, they still hail us, pay us 150 bucks and even state “Wow! Didn’t expect to get here so fast!” No kidding…!?

Still, I ain’t complainin’, and neither is any of the other guys. Axel and Gena, being young, are still a little awed, but me…I’m the veteran. Nothing amazes me about this town anymore. Not even the fact that it seems to be made up of clones, since there are several copies of each type of person – even vicars. And definitely not the fact that no-one ever catches the “regular” yellow cabs – after all, we do it better!

Anyhow, enough chit-chat. I have to go work, earn my livin’ and that all-important S license. So far, all I have is an A – Awesome, but not Special. So you’ll excuse me for cutting this conversation short, but i need to get in that Crazy Box and practice some drills. Yeah, it’s boring, and basic, and it can never hold a candle to the “real” deal. But hey – grunt work pays off later, right?

So, it’s been fun talkin’ to y’all – almost as fun as drivin’ my cab. But for now, this is Gus of Crazy Taxi, signin’ off.

[JGR thanks Gus for his time.]

 

The Good

Insanely fun. Good control. Smooth difficulty curve. Rewarding and immersive gameplay. Gloriously unrealistic physics. Drivers have different strengths and weaknesses.

The Bad

Below-par graphics with lots of glitches, even for the period. Repetitive and stereotyped voices. Somewhat annoying techno soundtrack. Dull “practice” mode.

 

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