Crazy Taxi (RIP & portable)
Like its predecessor, Crazy Taxi 2 is all about picking up fares and delivering them to their destination as quickly as possible. When playing by the arcade rules, you're governed by a short timer, which can be lengthened by delivering passengers quickly. You play until time runs out. You can also elect to play for a set amount of time, either three, five, or ten minutes. At the end, your score is totaled up and you're given a ranking based on your performance.
While the first Crazy Taxi took place in a fictional city based loosely on San Francisco, Crazy Taxi 2 moves the action to New York. Both levels are full of licensed stores, such as Burger King, HMV, and FAO Schwarz. The two levels, Around Apple and Small Apple, are roughly the same size as the original game's maps, though the levels are packed full of shortcuts and more twists, turns, and actual roadway, making them feel absolutely huge by comparison. Most of the shortcuts in Crazy Taxi 2 are dependent on the game's new move, the crazy hop. Unlike the rest of the game's special tricks, which require you to do a little shifting and play around with the gas button, the crazy hop flings your taxi into the air with a simple press of the Y button. This lets you hop over traffic with ease and take shortcuts, such as jumping onto the roof of a building, hopping up a flight of stairs, or hopping off a freeway overpass down to the surface streets below. The hop is so incredibly useful and it changes the game so drastically that it probably should have been a little more difficult to do. As it stands, there's little point in weaving through traffic on straightaways, since you can just hit the Y button and hop over anything in your way. Aside from the hop, the game controls are roughly the same as the first game's, though the timing on the crazy dash seems a little different.
Also mixing things up is the addition of group fares. Group fares put two to four people in your cab at the same time, with one timer. You have to deliver each member of the group to a different location, and you must deliver the entire load successfully to earn any money. The number of people in your cab multiplies any tips you earn during a group fare, so this can be a great way to earn some fast cash, once you know your way around the city. Rounding out the package is the crazy pyramid mode, CT2's version of the first game's crazy box mode. The crazy pyramid is a collection of minigames that are also license test-like in nature. Each one gives you a goal, such as popping a collection of balloons within a certain time limit or jumping a certain distance. As you complete each level of the pyramid, you'll unlock little bonus items, such as maps of both levels.
Graphically, Crazy Taxi 2 looks a bit smoother than the first game, and there's less pop-up and slowdown as well. The sound is also more varied, with significantly more babbling from your various passengers, especially the group fares. The soundtrack contains tracks from the Offspring, among others.
Crazy Taxi 2 is just as much fun as the first game. While it would have been nice to see some slightly more drastic changes to the Crazy Taxi formula, fans of the original will immediately feel right at home with Crazy Taxi 2. Anyone looking for a solid Dreamcast game--and let's face it, good DC games are starting to get a little scarce these days--will find just that in Crazy Taxi 2.
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