Crazy Taxi (Sega Dreamcast)

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One of the more popular -- and certainly more creative -- racing titles to hit the arcades during 1999 is 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 differently colored 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 passengers where they want to go as quickly as possible. Destinations can include such real world places as Tower Records and Pizza Hut. An overhead arrow points in the general direction you should go.

In this port for the Sega Dreamcast, which uses the same 3D "Naomi" chip technology as many of Sega's arcade games, 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 Arcade 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 craziness. The aim here is to be as crazy as possible.

For the home version, the developers at Sega's AM3 have thrown in more cars to unlock, such as a pedal taxi. They've also created a new course (which is also set in San Francisco) as well as a series of mini-games that you can play in order to unlock hidden cars. There are nine mini-games in all, each more difficult than the last.

The game will work with the Dreamcast steering wheel, and force feedback adds a real jolt to the bumps and jumps. Gamers with a Visual Memory Unit can use it to save their data and customized options.