Today, videogames.com editors Jeff Gerstmann and James Mielke booted up our shiny new import copy of Crazy Taxi. While Sega of America provided us with near-complete US revisions of the game, we were dying to play a 100-percent complete copy to see if the slow-down problems and clipping issues had been resolved. Well, after a crazy driving adventure of our own (doing barrel rolls at the airport, looking for a real-life KFC, scratching the fender on Jeff's Mustang, etc.), we finally got back into our cockpits and took Crazy Taxi out for a spin.
After a good amount of play testing, we can say that 95 percent of the slowdown we experienced in previous beta versions is practically gone. Although there are still moments when you crash against a wall or when the game starts to chug dramatically when you're simply driving in a straight line, these moments are few and far between and never interfere with the gameplay. Polygon draw-in still rears its ugly head occasionally, but it is never too evident unless you're watching someone else play.
If you're not privy to what Crazy Taxi is all about, the game is a new kind of racing game where you race against the clock instead of against other cars. Your role as taxi driver requires you to pick up as many customers and drop them off at various licensed locations (Kentucky Fried Chicken, FILA, The Original Levi's Store, Tower Records, etc.) as fast as you can. To achieve this, you must drive through a heavily congested San Francisco-like environment.
The conversion is visually spectacular. While we haven't compared the Dreamcast version with an actual arcade machine, it doesn't look as though Sega cut many corners in bringing home the huge virtual arcade environment found in Crazy Taxi. You pick one of four drivers, each with a unique taxi. The game moves at a consistent 60 frames per second and makes great use of lighting effects and razor-sharp resolutions. New to the home version are a large number of additional modes, which test your taxi driving skills.
We'll have a full review soon, very soon actually, since the US version is weeks away from its own release. However, in case you can't stand to wait, everything in the import version is in English, so this is one of the most import-friendly games to arrive in a while. Keep yourself occupied by checking out these screens we've compiled today.