Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller Showcase: Glitter Oasis

Find out about the new city and some of the new minigames in the newest installment in the Crazy Taxi series.

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"How long do you think it's been in development?" Kenji Kanno, general manager of Sega's Hitmaker studio, asked with a smirk. With that question, Kanno made it clear that Hitmaker wasn't creating Crazy Taxi 3 because it had its heart set on doing so, but because the demand for another game was too great to ignore. "A lot of people are simply expecting another game," Kanno said. "There were a lot of requests for the jumping ability to be added to the older courses." Indeed, Hitmaker has gone to great lengths to add new areas and redesign the older courses (particularly the West Coast course) for Crazy Taxi 3 so you can jump over obstacles that were previously impassable. Over the next three weeks, we'll be taking a look at all the courses in Crazy Taxi 3, but today we'll take a look at the brand-new Las Vegas-inspired city, Glitter Oasis.

Glitter Oasis is massive in comparison to the two previous Crazy Taxi courses.
Glitter Oasis is massive in comparison to the two previous Crazy Taxi courses.

As with previous Crazy Taxi games, you'll find an entirely new cast of cabbies to choose from in Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller, and not surprisingly the crew--which is made up of Angel, Bixbite, Mrs. Venus, and Zax--fits in quite well with the theme and the city, which is based on Las Vegas and the surrounding canyon areas. At the beginning of the game, you'll be placed on the main strip area where there are enormous radiating casinos, lavish fountains, and recreations of famous landmarks from around the world scattered along the sides. There are also relatively small walkway areas filled with pedestrians, tables, umbrellas, newsstands, and plenty of other objects to obstruct your cab from getting to its destination.

Outside the city, there's an area with massive canyons and rivers and a number of tight twists and turns. This area is enormous, and it takes a quite some time to drive through (a little over a minute) on the main road, which is why shortcuts are more important in Glitter Oasis than in any other Crazy Taxi course. "The most difficult thing in creating a course for Crazy Taxi is the shortcuts," Kanno said. "You have to find a balance [in the number of shortcuts] so that the course doesn't become too difficult." Shortcuts are also particularly helpful when driving groups of passengers (who range from showgirls and boxers to people dressed in large rabbit outfits) to their final destinations.

The graphics in Crazy Taxi 3 are on par with previous games in the series, though there are some new lighting effects.
The graphics in Crazy Taxi 3 are on par with previous games in the series, though there are some new lighting effects.

In addition to shortcuts, the crazy dash, which gives your cab a quick boost, is an absolute necessity. Glitter Oasis has its share of long straightaways, and if you're going at the regular top speed, then you're less likely to get your passenger to his or her destination. Plus, the crazy dash will give you a nice little cash bonus if you use it consistently in conjunction with the crazy hop or the crazy drift--though it can take a little time to get used to the crazy dash's timing.

In the 10 months Hitmaker had to develop the game, it managed to create a massive level that has a vibrant city portion and a massive (but sparse) secondary canyon area that should appeal to any Crazy Taxi fan. If the new stage and redesigned courses aren't enough to entice you, Hitmaker has also brought back the minigames for Crazy Taxi 3. Some of these minigames are familiar, and some of them are entirely new. We'll be taking a look at a few of the minigames in Crazy Taxi 3 in each city profile. This week, we'll be looking at crazy tornado, crazy football, crazy home run, crazy UFOs, and crazy logs.

Minigames

Crazy Tornado
The name of this minigame pretty much says it all. After a character wearing a bird costume jumps into the back of your cab, you'll have to drive toward a tornado that literally throws cars in every direction. You'll have to swerve in and out as cars fly toward your cab, but the path that this minigame takes place on is relatively narrow, so you'll also have to be careful and not fall off the sides. As you get closer to the tornado, the flying cars become more frequent and bigger, but a few crazy dashes should help get you through the final stretch without any problems.

Crazy Football is one of the more entertaining minigames.
Crazy Football is one of the more entertaining minigames.

Crazy Football
This is perhaps one of the most entertaining minigames in Crazy Taxi 3. Essentially, your cab will be placed on a football field in a massive stadium, and your only objective is to go down the field and score a touchdown with your football player passenger. It sounds easy until you factor in the crowd of five or six cars that comes racing toward you at full speed every five yards. The AI of these cars is vicious, and they'll relentlessly attempt to push you out of bounds or trap you. As in crazy tornado, when you get closer to the goal, the game will start throwing larger vehicles at you, but they're easily passed if you can successfully time your crazy hops.

Crazy Home Run
The sports theme continues in this minigame, though it doesn't require quite as much skill as the others. All you have to do in crazy home run is drive full speed toward an oversized ball that's sitting on home plate in a baseball stadium and then jump to hit it. If you've timed everything correctly, the ball will go flying toward the bleachers on the outer edge of the park Of course, if the ball doesn't go far enough, you'll have to try again.

Crazy UFOs
Of all the initial minigames in Crazy Taxi 3, crazy UFOs probably requires the most skill. The only objective here is to jump and ram into several UFOs scattered along a long stretch of road surrounded by two walls. However, these UFOs will be moving from side to side, so it can be a little difficult to make contact when you're going full speed with a crazy dash. One UFO located near the end of the course is particularly hard to hit, but after your first run, you should have no problems getting through this minigame.

Each minigame will test either one or a combination of Crazy Taxi skills.
Each minigame will test either one or a combination of Crazy Taxi skills.

Crazy Logs
The last minigame we'll be looking at this week is crazy logs. This minigame tests your crazy hopping skills by throwing numerous logs down a narrow incline. You'll have to time each jump so that you don't collide with a log, which will slow you down and cost you precious seconds off the clock. You don't really need to use the crazy dash until the very end, when there are five or six logs rolling down the ramp, but it can save you a few seconds if you use it early. Since the course is also very narrow, you have to be careful not to fall off the sides.

Glitter Oasis and the minigames we've mentioned are pure Crazy Taxi enjoyment. The new additions fit nicely with the chaotic fun we've come to expect from a Crazy Taxi game. Next week we'll take a look at the redesigned West Coast course from the original game, as well as several other minigames.

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