February 15th, 2007, 19:40 Posted By: wraggster
SEGA has some of the most well-known and classic franchises in all of gaming. The company is currently working on bringing some of these classics to current platforms and reinvigorating them for a new generation of fans. One of these franchises is Crazy Taxi, the fan-favorite, arcadey series that first appeared on the Dreamcast back in early 2000.
The goal of Crazy Taxi is extremely simple - pick up a passenger and get them to their destination as quickly as possible. Rinse and repeat. That describes the Taxi portion of its name, but it's the Crazy part that made it fantastic fun. The city is your playground, and you needn't obey any rules getting your fares to their destination. Cruising through oncoming traffic, smashing into other vehicles, catching air off of one of the game's numerous jumps or cutting through a shortcut here and there are all part of the game. Crazy Taxi 2 changed cities, added a Crazy Jump for hopping your car into the air at any time and introduced a number of new and addictive mini-games.
Currently slated for release sometime this summer on the PSP, Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars will put gamers behind the wheel of a taxi once again, all in classic form. A mixture of the original Dreamcast releases of Crazy Taxi 1 and 2, Fare Wars will allow players to select which game they want to play and drop them right into either classic. The games are direct ports of the Dreamcast games, though SEGA will be putting on a little extra polish to give it some added visual flair, like specular lighting on the cars, environment maps on the buildings for nice reflections and some enhanced particle effects.
Beyond the visual upgrades and some enhanced jukebox options, the games will be identical to their Dreamcast counterparts. The PSP's control setup is almost exactly the same that we saw on the Dreamcast, minus having buttons instead of triggers for L and R. This means that no concessions had to be made for any of the game's mechanics and all of the classic moves are still to be found within, like the Crazy Boost or Crazy Slide.
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars will also introduce some multiplayer functionality for play over Ad-Hoc. SEGA is keeping mum on exactly what modes we'll see here for now, though we do know the game will be limited to two players and that you'll be able to choose what features from each game that you want to use (you can turn on Crazy Jump for us in the first city, for example).
The build that we had a chance to play yesterday was in a pre-alpha stage and didn't feature any of the planned visual upgrades. The framerate also ran at only about 70% of the target rate, though it was still reasonably smooth. While the game was certainly playable, the unoptimized framerate meant that it was difficult to pull off some of the moves as we had to slow our finger movements down to match the game speed. We're told this won't be a problem in the final release however.
Aside from these slight issues, the game immediately brought back memories of our Dreamcast favorite. Shortcuts and such came right back to use, and our fingers ached to perform some of the special moves even though we thought we'd forgotten them ages ago. Assuming that SEGA can pull this one up to speed so that it plays a tad cleaner, we're looking at a better-than-the-original port here.
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars is currently scheduled to ship sometime during the summer. Given the game's somewhat early progress, SEGA doesn't want to pin down an exact timeframe yet, but we should be picking up passengers and carting them off to the baseball stadium sooner than later.
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