Arcade Hits – Crazy Taxi & Atari Anniversary Edition

Are you ready to make some craaazaaay money? It’s time to get hop into you bright yellow cab, pick up a passenger and get crazy on the streets of Anytown U.S.A. (aka San Francisco)on your way to raking up the dough! Crazy Taxi is an open world or more accurately, open city taxi simulator where your job is to pick up passengers across your fair town and take them to their requested destinations. The concept is very straightforward but the challenge lies in the details of your tasks. Once you select your cabbie with their unique taxi from the 4 options, you’re thrust into the game immediately. Grab a nearby passenger and take off! The faster and crazier their trip is, the more money you make. There are multiple types of passengers that are identified by color code and there is some strategy involved. The further the destination is, the more money you make but the greater the risk that you won’t make it within the time limit allotted if you make a mistake or take a wrong turn. The key to success is ultimately memorizing the lay-out of the city and finding the variety of shortcuts, direct routes and ideal passengers to pick up to maximize your time. Arrows point in the general direction of your destinations but the game doesn’t tell you exactly how to get there. It will let you know if you’re completely going the wrong way, which is helpful until you figure it all out. Crazy Taxi is of course based on the popular arcade smash from 1999 and ported to the Dreamcast a year later. It features nice graphics and well planned city layouts. It reminds me a lot of The Simpsons Road Rage for the Gamecube but a more narrow scope. I know Road Rage was released after Crazy Taxi but I owned and played that game years before I finally bought my copy of Crazy Taxi for the Dreamcast so my perspective is a bit backwards. Like Road Rage, Crazy Taxi is crazy addictive and even though I’m not a big Offspring fan, the “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah” opening of All I Want fits perfectly with the frantic gameplay. Sneaking in some Bad Religion to mix things up a bit doesn’t hurt even if both bands have a similar sound. In all, Crazy Taxi is a helluva fun game and worth an add to your Dreamcast collection.

The second game I will mention in this post is my copy of Atari Anniversary Edition. This is one of only two Dreamcast games, along with NFL2k, I bought brand new when stores were liquidating inventory after the system was discontinued in 2002. The timing happened to coincide with my brief obsession with 2nd generation gaming systems so buying an Atari compilation to play on a current (at the time) gen console seemed like an obvious thing for me to do. The end result is a decent mix of classic arcade titles such as Asteroids, Centipede, Pong, Tempest, Crystal Castles among others. Lack of paddle controller hurts gameplay for some of the titles on the disc and inability to save high scores to your VMU is a total missed opportunity. Otherwise, the games are faithful to the arcades, have options to turn on cabinet art to frame the playfield and include additional information such as artwork, press releases and interviews but nothing that makes Atari Anniversary Edition stand out from any of the numerous other arcade compilations released around the same time.

Currently in my collection:

Crazy Taxi – game, manual, case A-

Atari Anniversary Edition – game, manual, case B-

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