Think back to when you were growing up as a gamer kid: Were you a Sony kid, a Nintoddler, or a Sega fan? Sure, Sega fell off the radar right around the time when the Gamecube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 were at each other’s throats, vying to be the best console of the generation. However, Sega didn’t go down quietly, as their Dreamcast was one heck of a way to go out, featuring some of the games that would go on to become true cult classics.
Regardless of the console you had growing up, odds are that you knew about Crazy Taxi. A hit in arcades when it landed on the scene in 1999, it soon found its way to home consoles, first with the aforementioned Sega Dreamcast. After that console failed, it became available on the PS2, GameCube, and even the PC, which is a testament to its quality back when it was in its prime.
The main premise puts the player into the role of a taxi driver. Your goal is to drive around town, picking up customers, and driving them to their destinations. While this concept doesn’t sound really engaging by today’s standards, the unique and wacky driving mechanics make for an entertaining and fun experience.
The objective of the arcade version, other than helping your customers reach their destinations, was making as much money as possible. Players could achieve this by performing stunts such as ramping objects in the environment, near-missing other moving vehicles, and other insane maneuvers. Once the customer is dropped off, the player will receive money and bonus time in relation to how fast they got to the destination. Meanwhile, the clock is always ticking; run out and it’s game over.
This was a very simple concept that sparked a mass following and elevated Crazy Taxi into cult status. However, other than the occasional taxi minigame found in the latest GTA game, we never really got another game just like it – until now. Developer UNIS is taking a shot at the classic taxi-driving formula with its latest project, Crazy Ride.
Introducing Crazy Ride
Sure, the name is a little bit on the nose, especially considering that Sega has nothing to do with this project. This is merely UNIS taking the classic Crazy Taxi formula and adding their own unique twists and details to help it stand on its own. Not that old Crazy Taxi vets wouldn’t notice the similarities in the first few seconds of gameplay, anyway.
At a glance, Crazy Ride closely resembles the game from which it draws inspiration, but dig deeper and you’ll notice certain features that set it apart. For instance, instead of driving taxis, the game is using the more contemporary idea of ride sharing. This allows you to choose from a wide variety of cars. Furthermore, the city in which the game takes place is vast and much larger than the ones in Crazy Taxi. In fact, this city is designed more like a track from an arcade racing game as you can find ramps, boost pads, and other awesome elements to increase your speed and keep you rolling at all times.
However, the most amazing aspect of this release is, without a doubt, the cabinet.
While the 43” display is more than enough to showcase the game’s vibrant colors and smooth gameplay, there’s also several features to improve player immersion. For instance, the cabinet has a powerful fan installed behind the steering wheel, which blows gusts of air at the driver in relation to their current speed. There’s also a handy GPS navigation screen on the dashboard, which can help the player reach their destination.
As those who’ve played the original Crazy Taxi before can say, there is no way to accurately navigate towards the destination, other than the green arrow at the top of the screen. However, this arrow doesn’t take into account obstacles, cul-de-sacs, intersections or any other obstacles in the way, and only points directly at the destination. In this sense, it came down to the player to pick the shortest route to maximize their cab fare. Crazy Ride does away with all the guesswork and provides the player with the tools to reach easily navigate towards their destination.
In short, Crazy Ride seems like it’s going to be worth all the fuss. Those who were adamant on getting a new Crazy Taxi game definitely have a reason to get excited. However, this project is still not listed on UNIS’ website, so we’re guessing that they might unveil it in November’s IAAPA show. Until then, we’ll be keeping our eyes open for any new developments.
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