Have You Played… Crazy Taxi?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I love its style even if I find playing Crazy Taxi a chore.

Is there any lazier a mechanic than a time limit? I don’t mind my pace being measured, but when a game puts a ticking clock on my fun, the tension it adds feels frustratingly artificial. When the clock runs out and my game is over, it’s a huge, off-putting punishment.

That’s a shame in Crazy Taxi, a game of typical ’90s vibrancy: great colours, great music, great speed and car-handling, but a timer that not only measures your performance as you deliver passengers around the city but shows you a game over if you’re too slow.

I battled through that to play plenty of Crazy Taxi anyway, because it’s still great, but I wish a new game would ditch the old-fashioned arcade trappings and, like other racing games before it, take away the guillotine descending above your head.


  1. AutonomyLost says:

    I played this game to death when it debuted on the Dreamcast.

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    Hmm, I can understand, sort of, if someone just couldn’t get on with the time limit but it never bothered me that much (I didn’t have to tolerate it; if anything I actively enjoyed it). The thing that got to me was – I played the original (my first console was a Dreamcast) and I’d happily load it up on PC but for some reason I found the Steam version nigh-on unplayable. Like, in the literal sense. The handling was so ridiculously twitchy it was near impossible to keep the car pointed anywhere I wanted it to point for more than a second or two. Maybe it was my ancient 360 pad… I didn’t remember the original being like that.

  3. Da5e says:

    Day after day your home life’s a wreck
    The powers that be just breathe down your neck
    You get no respect, you get no relief
    You gotta speak up and yell out your piece

    So back off your rules, back off your jive
    ‘Cause I’m sick of not living to stay alive
    Leave me alone, I’m not asking a lot
    I just don’t want to be controlled
    That’s all I want, that’s all I want
    That’s all I want, that’s all I want

    • Aspirant_Fool says:

      That song is exactly the first thing that popped into my head when I saw Crazy Taxi. I salute you.

    • mrbright01 says:

      Nothing changes, cause it’s all the same
      The world you get’s the one you give away
      It all just happens again, way down the line

  4. Scobie says:

    Where would the challenge come from if you were to remove the time limit?

    • JaguarWong says:

      Challenge? In a videogame? What do you think this is; 1999?

    • April March says:

      You could have a set number of fares instead of an overall time limit. And each fare could have its own idea of what is worth more money/points. Some of them might be late, and so they do ask you to arrive within a certain time; some might ask you to drive safely while others might ask you to drive dangerously; some might have specific desires like that you take side roads or drive on the sidewalk or get some mad air.

      At the very very least, the countdown might stop when you are not actively in a fare.

      • flojomojo says:

        Agreed, that would be fun … especially if you could make it any number you want. At least the home versions let you play for a long time.

  5. ROMhack2 says:

    I remember bugging my dad to buy it to his insistence it was not worth £40.

    Like any dad, he eventually caved in but I’d say he was right.

  6. iainl says:

    You monster. The time limit is central to Crazy Taxi. What next, F1 GP without all that worrying about who wins the race?

    Though I’m obliged to point out that any Crazy Taxi that is not on the Dreamcast is not true Crazy Taxi anyway.

    • Llewyn says:

      Pfft. Any Crazy Taxi that doesn’t require you to put a coin in and stand up to play is not true Crazy Taxi.

      • cloudnein says:

        Pfft. Any Crazy Taxi that doesn’t require you to put a coin in and sit down to play is not true Crazy Taxi.

        I keep my Dreamcast(s) for a reason…And play Jambo Safari whenever I sees it.

  7. Somerled says:

    My wife and I played the hell out of this on the PlayBox back in those dreamlike days when she still played video games. To this day when we hop in the car to go somewhere, we’ll quote the passengers from the game like idiots. I’m looking forward to confusing the shit out of our kids with that.

    I actually managed, after much practice, to get the highest possible ranking and the CRAZY TAXI license. It was glorious! A near perfect run in my mind. The game was solved! The next time we booted up and played, my wife cut the power as it was saving to the memory card (y’know … “do not remove the memory card or shut off power when you see this spinning icon”). The score was lost forever.

    I love my wife.

  8. Harlander says:

    Apparently that giant arrow hovering over your car is a patented element that’s been defended quite strenuously.

  9. mrbright01 says:

    This game defines the 90’s for me as well, an iconic piece of my adolescence. The music, the art style, the countdown timer ticking off vital seconds. I still revisit it when I feel the urge to go down Nostalgia Hill. In fact, this might be the only thing that really triggers that feeling for me.

    I also feels it holds up well for its age. While the textures are blocky, the primitive polygons work for the game (helps that if you’re doing it right, it’s all a blur anyhow), and the gameplay is still fun.

  10. Eddie Bax says:

    Have I played this? YAH, YAH, YAH, YAH, YAH

  11. MajorLag says:

    When I pull out the ol’ Dreamcast to tray and capture the joy of gaming I felt in my youth, Crazy Taxi is always among the first in the drive.

    The time limit, well, it’s completely necessary. It’s a game about driving fast to get fares from point A to point B. Without the time limit there’s no pressure to make a decision between a nearby orange fair or the green one down the street. Quick top up on time or risk the early game over for more cash? Whatever your choice, you’d better do it fast. It also forces decisions about risky maneuvers for shortcuts. The shortcut saves a bunch of time, and you could really use those extra seconds, but if you fail you lose even more time. Decisions decisions. Fast decisions.

    Crazy Box is great too. It’s a great set of challenges because it really does teach you to handle the car better.

  12. The Algerian says:

    Heh, game’s kinda lame without Offspring’s music.