Crazy Taxi was quite a thing, huh? Screaming down the streets, aimed like an unstoppable whaling harpoon at a Taco Bell that just had to be on the other side of town. Ahh, the memories. Collateral looks nothing like that. If anything, I’d say it probably has more in common with Bruce Willis at the beginning of The Fifth Element. Flying cybercars, crazy hover police chases, the constant, erupting feeling that you are Bruce Willis nothing can stop you – the whole shebang. OK, maybe not that last one, but it’s what I plan to think while playing. It’s an open-world cyberpunk taxi sim with a faction system, customization, and a vibrantly disgusting art style. What’s not to like?
Oh right, the main character is named Zack Edgewater. Welp, they can’t all be winners. Still though, there’s a lot to get your mouth (or mechanically chattering lip enhancements) watering and your gums (or vita-gel-infused oral cavity socket protectors) flapping here. For instance:
“Navigate your way through the sprawling, cyberpunk dystopia of ‘New Bedlam’, a bustling neon city populated by hoodlums, riffraff and genetically modified mutants. This chaotic, futuristic urban landscape makes Collateral a visually loaded, eye-gasmic experience. New Bedlam is a large, open world environment consisting of several sectors, each with a distinct aesthetic and unique landmarks. Explore areas such as China Town, the Industrial Zone and the Redlight district.”
“Collateral features a standing system, allowing you to form allegiances and rivalries with the factions and corporations of New Bedlam. Each faction has inherent advantages, such as access to special weapons unique to that faction, as well as cumulative rewards, like unlocking new city districts when enough favour has been gained. Complete missions to earn the respect of your favourite factions, and blow enemy factions out of the sky.”
So you explore, race, and battle your way through the neon bulb labyrinth of a city’s un-streets, and all the while you make choices both large and small that have lasting consequences – for instance, entire portions of the city being destroyed. Also interesting: your hover car isn’t stuck on a single plane. It’s a vertical world, so chases can go up, down, and all around. I could see that becoming joyously chaotic in a heartbeat.
Certainly, Collateral looks a little janky at the moment, but it’s far from finished. As of now, it’s halfway through a Kickstarter campaign – both in terms of time and funds pledged. With a goal of just $15,000, it’s definitely got a chance to go the distance. Toss a few pennies (or holographic, natural-language-enabled mini-portraits of your favorite leaders) into its tip jar, perhaps?