Fandel Mulkey On December 17, 2010 at 11:28 am

Back when they started to include real musical soundtracks into CD-Rom-based games in the late 90s’, I had a conversation with a friend on if that was actually a good idea to do so. My friend though it was cool saying that it added more realism to a game; I on the other hand thought that it would make developers lazy, throwing cheesy tracks on to games in lieu of actually crafting an original soundtrack. Another problem that I admittedly didn’t give much thought to at the time is what would happen if, say ten years down the line a publisher wanted to re-release the game in a compilation, how would they re-license the musical tracks?

With Crazy Taxi being re-released for XBLA and PSN…we now have our answer what happens to the beloved sound track.

Flashback to 1999/2000 – Most arcade games were regulated to one of three genres: Lap Racing, Fighting and Puzzle games. Sure, you’ll find the occasional odd game here and there, but those three genres consisted of 98% of all games in arcades at the time. While on the surface Crazy Taxi looked like another typical racing game, once you got behind the wheel you quickly found out that it wasn’t your typical racer. Instead of going around in circles making your timed checkpoints, you were free to explore in a living, breathing city filled with real-life places. The main goal is to find a random customer and frantically race to their destination in the quickest time possible. The longer the destination, the more money and time you receive with the ultimate goal trying to gain as most money as possible before time runs out.

Ten years ago, the graphics and free-form go-anywhere gameplay were a revolution, but today, it hasn’t aged very well. Muddy textures and low polygons abound, with a heavy dose of clipping thrown in. Gameplay-wise the car handles a lot sloppier than I remember, the biggest sin being the clumsy mechanic of boosting your speed by shifting into reverse and back into drive at the right time. Since this is a port of the Dreamcast version, the game also includes the crazy box mode – a bunch of mini games that range from the simple to the near-impossible (using my taxi as a bowling ball trying to score multiple strikes nearly caused me to throw my controller at the screen).

As for the “Offspring” music that was one of the most memorable parts of Crazy Taxi a decade ago. It is completely gone. It’s been replaced by a generic no-name band do to licensing issues. Also replaced are the Pizza Hut, KFC and other real-world places, all substituted with generic brands. As I alluded to earlier, Crazy Taxi is a perfect example of why it isn’t such a good idea to use license/copyrighted material in a game. For newcomers it isn’t a big deal, but for nostalgic fans (which I’m sure will be 95% of the potential buyers of this game), the music and real locations were such a memorable part of the game. With it gone, goes with it a lot of motivation for buying the game. New additions to the game is a nice widescreen mode for HDTV’s and leaderboards for you crazy taxi drivers. Not a good tradeoff in my opinion to lose all the cool music tracks.

To be fair, the game is really cheap at ten bucks and there is an argument that at so cheap of a price, there is a lot of fun to be had, even if the game seems stripped of much of its charm. But when it’s said and done, Crazy Taxi is another example of a revolutionary game that falls victim of aging badly due to licensing problems. The removal of the music was just insult to injury.


It’s hard to really judge as the game is a port of a ten-year-old game. Sega makes no bones about it and lets be fair, most buyers are well aware about what the game looks like anyway.


The biggest sin is the removal of the games soundtrack; one of the most memorable parts of the original game. Other than that, the voices are annoying but the sound effects are okay.


It’s still mindless fun, but it’s apparent that other games have long surpassed Crazy Taxi gameplay-wise. The car handles slippery while the speed-boost mechanic is clumsy at best.


For ten bucks you can overlook much of the aged gameplay and graphics and there is some mindless fun to be had for the cheap price; but the removal of the music and other locals does a lot to kill the nostalgic desire to relive the glory days of the Dreamcast/Arcades of the late 90’s/early 2000’s. It is a prime example why license tracks and places aren’t a good idea in gaming for re-releases.

2 Responses

  1. oyun indir says:

    Crazy Taxi 3 is the one of the famous car driving games, too bad most of the music was removed.

  2. puleta says:

    Puts up a picket sign “I want the old songs back!”.