The initial pang of nostalgia more than makes up for the digital download's asking price, but it's the game's time-wasting potential that will keep you coming back for more.
Crazy Taxi is a game that's so good we actually broke our original Dreamcast copy from playing it too much. The phrase, "Woah-oh-oh let's go make some kerr-azay mon-ayy," uttered by the game's dudebro narrator will forever form a large component of our gaming heritage. Crazy Taxi represents a time when games didn't need to offer much more than one, simple underlying mechanic, and it succeeds through its simplicity. Crazy Taxi is, in essence, nothing more than driving from A to B. But it's brilliant.
The PlayStation 3 re-release brings the original Dreamcast title across to the PlayStation Network with a few subtle tweaks. The official licenses are out, as are the sounds of The Offspring. We thought the lack of "Ya, ya, ya, ya, ya," was going to be hugely detrimental to our enjoyment of the re-release, but as it happens SEGA's done a fantastic job bridging the audio with similar sounding tracks. When we really stop to think about it, how memorable was Crazy Taxi's original soundtrack? Sure, we might have loved "that one Bad Religion track," but we can't really recall the melody. The other absentee is Crazy Taxi's abundance of licenses. Again, it's disappointing, but it's just as fun driving to the "Pizza Shop" as it is "Pizza Hut". It's obvious what's intended.
On the plus side, the PlayStation 3 port has been optimised for HD televisions. Wide-screen is in (though there is a "borders" option if you'd prefer) and the whole picture appears to be cleaned up a bit. Obviously it still looks like a game that was originally released in 1999 — the textures are muddy and the pop-in is horrendous — but it runs just the same on PlayStation 3 as the original did on Dreamcast. This is an authentic experience.
Outside of that, there's little else to talk about. The gameplay is unchanged. It's still all about driving recklessly, picking up passengers and taking them to their desired location. That green arrow at the top of the screen? Yeah, that's still as haplessly useless as it was on the Dreamcast. Both the Arcade and Original city layouts have made the jump, and the Crazy Box puzzle mode is on-hand to add some variety. It won't take longer than 20 minutes or so to see everything Crazy Taxi has to offer, but the purpose of the title is in its replayability. Online scoreboards have been added to up the competitive ante, and they certainly made us dive into Arcade mode for longer than we had time for. (We're currently below fifty on the worldwide leaderboards, if we fall out of that slot then heads will roll.)
Crazy Taxi is uplifting; the gameplay is pure and unmuddled by complicated mechanics. We did have a few issues getting the Crazy Boost to register with the DualShock, but once we slotted back into the groove we were scoring "Class S licenses" with little time to look back. It's just a solid experience in every regard. Good gameplay never gets old.