Those who grew up in the 1990s were treated to some amazing arcade racers. Classics such as Daytona USA and SEGA Rally Championship are undeniably some of the best racing video games ever made.
Among these greats is another highly addictive driving experience from that era. Crazy Taxi is a pure nostalgia-fest and a game that gamers could still pick up now and have fun. We believe that a remaster of Crazy Taxi would do very well, but what we really need is a return to its chaotic gameplay in modern games.
Crazy Taxi was originally released for arcade machines in 1999, a time when the original PlayStation was the most popular home console around. Its success led to an inevitable console port, with the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 versions selling best.
But what made Crazy Taxi such a huge hit with gamers? Well, it's down to two things; simplicity and chaos.
At its core, Crazy Taxi was a very simple game. You're a taxi driver who picks up fares and takes them to their destinations as fast as you possible can. The faster you go, the more money you collect and more time gets added to your clock. That's it. No story, no levels, once the clock runs out, it's game over and you go again.
It's highly addictive point-and-shoot gameplay at its best.
The chaos on show is best displayed when the clock is running down to zero, as panic stations well and truly set in. Before you pick up a passenger, you have no idea where they'll be heading. So, if you get a fare that's to the other end of town, you'll have to drive like Lewis Hamilton to make it before it's too late.
That randomness, the 180 degree change of direction is what makes Crazy Taxi eternally entertaining. It never gets old.
We have to give a mention to the soundtrack as well, as it perfectly encapsulates the skate punk rock songs of the late 90s.
Chaos = fun
Without the random nature of the fares and their desitnations, Crazy Taxi wouldn't be half as good. The randomness keeps the player on their toes throughout the experience.
Sadly, this type of gameplay had fallen out of fashion for a long time after the original Crazy Taxi. Developers focussed on graphics and the levels of simulation they could achieve as technology gradually improved.
Thankfully though, there are some games that have employed these themes and are much better for it. Wreckfest is one of the most notable examples, as its ridiculous events and gameplay are always fun. Even third party titles are doing it, with Snakeybus basically being a 3D version of Snake in bus form.
It's not just limited to racing games either, with the unpredictability of games on Fall Guys is what makes us coming back for more.
But what about Crazy Taxi? Are we likely to see remaster or a reboot on console?
Is a return on the cards?
Sadly, Crazy Taxi's sequels were never on the same level of the original. With each game, the gameplay got more repetitive and less unique. The novelty wore off. The last game Crazy Taxi Tycoon was released in 2017, but a successor was announced last year.
Taxi Chaos was released earlier this year and was billed as Crazy Taxi's "spiritual successor". It wasn't what we were hoping for though, and has been panned by both critics and fans.
However, over 20 years after the original was released, a reboot or a remaster would feel fresh and unique, if done right.
Most remasters are re-textures in UHD of the original game, but some, such as the recent Crash Bandicoot remasters, are brilliant games. This is only possible with a proper ground-up remaster. Sega have been open to selling off their old games' licences in recent years, so something could come of this.
For now though, we've always got the original game on PS2 to enjoy but hopefully more developers can take a page out of Crazy Taxi's book when it comes to making their games fun.