Crazy Taxi 2
Crazy Taxi Company has picked up shop and relocated to New York City. However, other than heading for the east coast and replacing the four drivers from the original, Crazy Taxi 2 does little to differentiate itself.
The two new levels are “Around Apple” and “Small Apple” and both maps work well with the classic arcade gameplay. People are always going to the most unpredictable places, which is one of the funnier things about Crazy Taxi – like when a cheerleader or a mime want to go to the stock exchange. If there are going to be any future incarnations for this franchise, I’d love to hear them making small talk on the ride or trying to defend their choice. Although CT2 is actually the first game in the series to allow you to pick up multiple people at once, there are a few problems with that. You can only pick up a group if you do it all at once and the group is never diverse. They’re all the same in terms of voice and looks. Another thing is that they never go to the same location (that would be too easy). This also means the directional arrow at the top of the screen tends to spin erratically, as it tries to figure out which location you need directions for. Another thing making this problematic is the atmosphere of New York. It’s filled with tall buildings which all look ridiculously similar.
While New York is without a doubt the taxi capital of the world, it brings with it some inherent problems. Going by knowledge of map locations doesn’t always make as much sense as it did in Crazy Taxi. Another side-effect of the more corporate standard is that the two new courses are bound to be clogged with traffic, due mostly to where they’re located. So there’s still many different buses, cars, and other taxis which drive around aimlessly, never actually going anywhere. Cars in parking lots might give you another impression, but they never leave. This is a small gripe and it’s understood that having cars pulling in and out of drop-off locations might be detrimental to the player’s run.
For either map, the player chooses what rules they’ll play by in terms of time. Normal rules require constant fares and allows for time bonuses. The other options are 3, 5, or 10 minute set times for your runs. Or you can play in the Crazy Pyramid, in which you’ll unlock location maps for both levels, alternative taxis, and eventually, the full cast from the original game. This mode is helpful for initiating the player with the gameplay. Once you’re capable of doing everything in the pyramid, it goes without question that you should be able to obtain an S rank in both of the new maps.
Sometimes there are problems with clipping other vehicles or even immobile objects like garbage cans or wooden boxes, but these instances are limited enough to where it really won’t have enough of an effect on the gameplay to matter. Its easiest to find flaws with the game when it’s not in motion. Thankfully, this accounts for such a small percentage of CT2’s gameplay. Once again, The Offspring put down another quality soundtrack to match the action with fast-paced alternative rock songs. Methods of Mayham also throw down in contribution. There’s also the ability to replay your runs, once saved to the VMU.
Crazy Taxi 2 is a good game in its own right. Due to the booming success of its predecessor, changes like the ability to jump are going to be seen as controversial and this judgment comes with some bias. There’s really no point spending extra time covering that function; its reception will vary. For hardcore fans, CT2 is a must. For anyone else, feel free to stick to the Dreamcast original. In many ways the first one is probably an even better overall product than the arcade hit which started it all. At the very least, it’s a good place to start. And if you enjoy the original, but want more, then just go ahead and buy an Offspring album already.