|One of the more popular -- and certainly more creative -- racing titles to hit the arcades in 1999 was Crazy Taxi, an offbeat game wherein the goal is to take various passengers to their destinations as fast as possible. The gameplay is open-ended: you decide who you want to pick up based on the waiting passengers' fare levels, which are indicated by the color of the dollar signs over their heads. Your job is to do anything you can -- including driving down sidewalks and cutting off other cars -- to get your customers where they want to go. Destinations can include such real world places as Tower Records and Pizza Hut. An overhead arrow points you in the general direction you should go.
In this port for the PlayStation 2, you can pick from the same assortment of cabbies to control: Axel, an all-around average guy; B.D. Joe, whose car is really fast but lacks traction on non-paved surfaces; Gena, who can accelerate and brake with the best of them; and Gus, whose car is the opposite of B.D. Joe's. The music in the coin-op version, which was supplied by the bands Bad Religion and the Offspring, is the same here, as are many of the environments. You race against the clock the entire time, and your customers give you tips for doing crazy stunts. The crazier the stunts, the more money for you. At the end of the game you receive a license that rates your level of performance. The aim here is to earn as much money as possible within the allotted time.
For the home version, the developers have thrown in more cars to unlock, such as a pedal taxi. They've also created a new course that is also set in San Francisco as well as a series of mini-games that you can play in order to unlock hidden cars. Each mini-game is designed to be more difficult than the last, and you can play them in any order you wish. The first set involves developing your skills as you try to pick up enough speed to jump a certain distance off a ramp or drive around a field popping giant balloons. In the next two sets you must take certain customers to their destinations in increasingly difficult scenarios. For example, in one of them you must jump ramps from one platform to another without falling in the ocean as you take a customer to the last one. Gamers with a memory card can use it to save their data and customized options.