More than two decades after the original release of Crazy Taxi, Sega fans have long been pining for its return, or at least for another developer to drift by with their own take on the bombacious arcade classic. Sadly, they’ll have to continue waiting; Taxi Chaos is nowhere close to being a spiritual successor.
This unabashed Crazy Taxi clone is just as simple and straightforward as its main inspiration. Diving into the game’s arcade mode you’ll blitz around New Yellow City, scooping up passengers and dropping them off one at a time. The quicker you are, the higher your fare with every dollar being tallied at the end of each run.
Those first few minutes of playing Taxi Chaos are actually pretty fun. It’s an accessible driving game and one that boasts a vibrant sandbox bustling with traffic and pedestrians. However, once that pang of Crazy Taxi nostalgia fades, your desire to continue playing will soon follow.
There just isn’t enough substance to Taxi Chaos. From the shallow, repetitive design to its solitary, rather soulless map map, and the lack of reward or replay incentive. The developers at Team6 Game Studios have steered too close to their muse, failing to expand or modernise Sega’s original formula.
Game modes are sparse, and all of them have you performing the same task of picking up passengers, then racing to their chosen destination as you rack up points. There are no crazy pickups or gameplay modifier, no advanced driving mechanics or any form of multiplayer.
Besides the classic arcade rules there is a Free mode that lets you kick back and explore NYC with no restraints, though we’re a little puzzled as to why you might want to do this, simply ferrying passengers until you quit to the main menu.
Team6 have also thrown in a Pro mode that lives up to the name in a sense, removing the giant guiding arrow and forcing drivers to recall locations from memory instead – I suppose that exploring in Free mode will help you prep for this tougher challenge. It’s an interesting concept though, again, we had no real desire to play this third Taxi Chaos mode more than once, simply out of curiosity.
This feeling extends to some of the game’s hidden features such as special passengers and hard-to-find collectables, neither of which were a compelling enough reason to get back behind the wheel.
New Yellow City is drenched in the same bold palette of Crazy Taxi’s own urban stages, but while it’s nice to look at, it’s not much fun to explore. It’s disappointingly flat with few actual shortcuts and only a smattering of landmarks, meaning this colourful take on NYC feels very nondescript. Scout the city and you’ll find the occasional ramp or rooftop though weaving these into your route usually adds a risk factor that’s not really worth it for the rewards.
If you were hoping for a soundtrack to rival that of Crazy Taxi then you should definitely reel in your expectations. To be fair, it was Sega’s reputation (and not to mention budget) that secured such a stellar licensed tracklist. Team6 at least try to populate their soundscape with dialogue from their two playable drivers and endless supply of insufferable passengers. However, the quality of these exchanges range from banal to cringe-inducing.