Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller for the Xbox has everything from the previous two games. It has the West Coast and Small Apple levels, all the previous two games' cab drivers, the same frantic action, and the minigames from Crazy Taxi 2. It also has a brand-new circuit, the Glitter Oasis (modeled after Las Vegas), four new drivers for that course, and a lot of new minigames. That sounds like a lot of good stuff, but unfortunately, that's about all there is. If you're a huge fan of Crazy Taxi, or if you've never played any of the previous games, you may find a lot to like about Crazy Taxi 3--if nothing else, it's a compilation of the previous two games that improves upon those games' maps and gameplay. However, if you're not a huge fan or a newcomer to the series, you may find that Crazy Taxi 3 doesn't have much more to keep you coming back.
The original Crazy Taxi hit arcades in 1999, and it later appeared on the Dreamcast in 2000. Both versions were good, simple driving games in which you played as a cab driver who had to drive the streets of the West Coast (in a city modeled after San Francisco), pick up passengers, and drive them to their destinations as quickly as possible. Crazy Taxi was easy to pick up and play, and thanks to the Dreamcast version's time-based missions, which let you play for three, five, or 10 minutes at a stretch, it was also easy to pick up and put down again. Crazy Taxi 2 was released for the Dreamcast in 2001, and it had a new level called the Small Apple (modeled after New York City) to play in. It also let you pick up multiple passengers and had a new maneuver--the crazy hop--that let your taxi leap into the air.
Crazy Taxi 3 looks better than the previous games in the series, which used simple textures in their 3D environments so the games could run at consistently fast frame rates. The game features enhanced versions of the West Coast and Small Apple levels, including better-looking textures on the buildings and reflections off car bodies and windshields. And all three of Crazy Taxi 3's driving levels have new special effects as you drive, like the new smoke trails behind your taxi when you perform a crazy dash and the new motion-blur effect on your taxi's chassis and headlights, which is most noticeable when making a sharp turn. Unfortunately, the new Glitter Oasis level, which begins on a busy thoroughfare that's supposed to resemble the Las Vegas strip, is a bit too busy. At certain points in the level, you'll run into some very nasty slowdown, especially if you try to perform a crazy dash or crazy hop in areas with lots of oncoming traffic or obstacles.
Crazy Taxi 3 doesn't sound quite as good as it looks. The new Glitter Oasis level has a few new fast-paced, frantic music tracks that seem suitable for the first few minutes, but they have long-winded guitar riffs and insipid choruses that become repetitive pretty quickly. Crazy Taxi 3 also includes all the upbeat rock songs from the previous two games. They're as suitable an accompaniment as ever for flying down a straightaway or tearing around a corner at high speed, but if you've played the previous Crazy Taxi games, you've heard them before, and you may even be tired of them already. Like the previous games in the series, Crazy Taxi 3 has humorous voice samples for your drivers and their passengers. Basically, they'll curse you out for driving too slowly, and your driver will tell them to shut up. However, some of the samples seem too quiet, especially for groups of passengers, who often mumble their lines. Also, for some reason, your passengers will sometimes give you wrong directions--they'll sit up in the back of the cab and demand that you turn left or right, even if the objective is straight ahead. Finally, Crazy Taxi 3 reuses the same announcer as the previous games: an actor doing his best impression of American radio personality Robert "Wolfman Jack" Smith. In fact, rather than offering all-new voice work, Crazy Taxi 3 reuses most of the voice samples from the previous games.
If you've never played Crazy Taxi before, you might really enjoy Crazy Taxi 3. The basic premise is simple: You pick up passengers, take them to their destinations as quickly as possible, and perform stunts, such as flying over hills or narrowly missing oncoming traffic, for bonus money along the way. Crazy Taxi 3's enhanced West Coast and Small Apple levels are as fun to play as ever. The West Coast level, which has new areas added to it, is actually worth running through again even if you played the first Crazy Taxi to death, since you can use the crazy hop to open up shortcuts through winding roads and the two-way freeway.
Unfortunately, the Glitter Oasis level doesn't seem quite as enjoyable. Though it mainly consists of straight roads and sharp turns at the beginning, it eventually goes out of the city on a winding road over a lake, and it then goes further out over a canyon. If you fall off the road into the lake or canyon at certain points, it's too difficult to try to get back on the right track, so you'll probably find yourself restarting the level. In addition to the three courses, Crazy Taxi 3 also has Crazy X, an expanded set of very short minigames. A few of these, like crazy football, in which you drive a football player down a field while getting "tackled" by oncoming traffic, can be fun for a little while. However, some of them, like crazy ball, a course in which you must hop your taxi into a giant disco ball, drive all the way around the course, and then do it again multiple times, can be boring, even tedious. Most of Crazy Taxi 3's minigames are otherwise pretty forgettable. Though some are challenging, it's safe to say that you probably won't enjoy any of them enough to play through them more than a few times.
If you're a big fan of the series, and all you're looking for is more Crazy Taxi, you should definitely get Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller. It has improved versions of just about everything from the previous two games, plus an all-new level with new drivers and music. Also, if you've never played any of the Crazy Taxi games, Crazy Taxi 3 is a great place to start--it's fast, fun, and easy to learn, it doesn't take much time to play, and unlike the previous games, it gives you a choice of three different courses. Otherwise, if you've played the Crazy Taxi games before and you aren't a big fan, you may want to consider renting Crazy Taxi 3 first.