I love Crazy Taxi so I was looking forward to playing Taxi Chaos but does it live up to Sega's classic? Unfortunately, it definitely does not.
Crazy Taxi is one of those arcade-style games that has held up beautifully. I still own both original games on Dreamcast as well as Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller for Xbox and play them every once in a while even nowadays. The combination of their '90s punk attitude, sharp graphics, awesome music, tight gameplay, sassy characters, and rewarding scoring system make these games an absolute blast and I'm still having fun with them over 20 years since the original debuted. Now, in comes Taxi Chaos which is a modern indie adaptation of the series and thankfully, it gets the basic mechanics down as you have to stop within circles to pick up customers and are awarded cash according to how efficiently you deliver them to their destinations with bonuses for certain dangerous manoeuvres. There's even a jump button which was first introduced in Crazy Taxi 2. So, where does it go wrong? Well, let's start with the gameplay itself.
First of all, Taxi Chaos is easy to learn how to play as all you do is accelerate, brake, steer, jump, and you can also charge up a boost which is kind of helpful whenever you're picking up a passenger. On the downside, nearly everything isn't handled with as much finesse as it is in Crazy Taxi. For example, the physics feel kind of floaty whether you're trying to brake or leap over a small building. Also, the arrow that's supposed to guide you to your destination goes haywire at times and I've even seen it temporarily point in the opposite direction even though my goal was right in front of me. It's all just a clunky mess that isn't even close to how tight Crazy Taxi is.
On the plus side, improving your scores is always satisfying, especially when you manage to chain a large amount of customers within an attempt before the time runs out. However, all you essentially do is try to beat your high score and climb the leaderboards because there really isn't much content. Whereas Crazy Taxi had Crazy Box challenges, all you do here is play the same basic game over and over again. You can unlock additional content such as new vehicles but they're not particularly exciting and there's a mode that removes the guide arrow so good luck with that! Oh, and there are only a couple of unmemorable and generic characters to play as.
Speaking of character, Taxi Chaos definitely lacks in this department as it doesn't really have much attitude on display. The music is typical royalty free rock jams, the graphics are cartoony and forgettable, and worst of all; the character dialogue is full of silly jokes that will make you cringe more than laugh. I honestly think that Taxi Chaos would have been better without any attempts at humour.
I know I keep comparing Taxi Chaos to Crazy Taxi but when it's clearly trying to bring back the formula while offering little creativity of its own; how could I not? One thing that I kept thinking about while playing Taxi Chaos is that Crazy Taxi released 22 years ago. Also, 22 years before Crazy Taxi came out, Atari 2600 debuted. So, how on earth could a game release that much longer after its inspiration without even being close to its high quality? I guess the '90s really was the peak of civilization; wasn't it, Agent Smith?
If someone never heard of Crazy Taxi, played Taxi Chaos, and then tried Crazy Taxi; they would think that Taxi Chaos was some sort of rudimentary precursor to the series. It's not a terrible game but it's certainly not nearly as enjoyable as its 22 year old counterpart.
- + Simple gameplay that's easy to learn
- + Getting better scores is rewarding
- + Although it's not as good, it follows the Crazy Taxi formula somewhat faithfully
- - Gameplay is super-clunky and barebones
- - Could use way more content
- - Graphics are subpar, music is generic, and voices are repetitive and unfunny