Taxi Chaos (2021) vs Crazy Taxi (1999)
Last week I caught the trailer for the upcoming game Taxi Chaos (releasing tomorrow). This trailer took me back to the days of Crazy Taxi. Back in ’99 and the early 2000s, I spent so many hours driving passengers around in Crazy Taxi (on my Sega Dreamcast). When first seeing Taxi Chaos I thought, Why don’t the makers of Crazy Taxi just make another Crazy Taxi. My first instinct was to be offended because some other developer took the Crazy Taxi formula and brought it back.
Why was my first instinct to get mad about a new developer trying to bring back a franchise or particular style of game? If the original studio is no longer around or has moved on to new projects, then why can’t someone else take a shot? The past few years of film have relied heavily on this formula of remakes and reboots, and most of these are being made by fans of the originals. Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow), Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve), Kong Skull Island (Jordan Vogt-Roberts), Star Wars (J.J. Abrams) and most of the reboots we are getting today are created by new directors who were inspired by the original films.
SIDE NOTE: Perhaps I’ve lost trust in new game studios working on old franchises or styles of games because of games like NBA Playgrounds. I was so hyped to play an NBA Jam-like game on my Switch. I played so much NBA Jam, NBA Hangtime and NBA Street games on my Nintendo consoles as a kid. When Playgrounds was finally released it was a total let down. The shot meter, the art style and the general feel of the game just felt off. Maybe I was just looking for NBA Jam with current NBA players, but that’s not what I got.
NBA Playgrounds had a horrible launch on the Nintendo Switch. The Switch version was missing features and the patches that came to other consoles weren’t seen on Switch until months later. The launch was so bad in fact that Saber Interactive gave early adopters were offered another game reboot (for FREE). Shaq Fu, another game I owned and played the hell out of on the SNES, but of course that was another failure. Maybe less so than NBA Playgrounds, but these two games had made me weary of the Saber Interactive group.
I don’t know what it was about Crazy Taxi that made me love that game so much. Maybe, driving passengers around town as they critiqued my driving skills. Maybe it was the music? Yeah, it was definitely the music.
Anytime I listen to the album Smash by The Offspring I think of Crazy Taxi. Smash by The Offspring and Dookie by Green Day were the first albums I owned as a kid (on cassette tape). In my head, I remember that album being the soundtrack to Crazy Taxi, but I now realize that it was a few Offspring songs from their next album after Smash (Ixnay on the Hombre). The confusing part, I learned this past week, is that once the Smash album ends the intro of “Change the World” plays, which is a sort of sneak peek at their next album and a song used in Crazy Taxi. The games soundtrack also featured a few Bad Religion songs.
I created a playlist on Apple Music made up of the music of Crazy Taxi:
Crazy Taxi is one of the many games from my childhood that I think about from time to time. I think of how it deserves a remaster or remake. That’s why I got so excited when I randomly came across the trailer for Taxi Chaos last week. Taxi Chaos uses the same concept, formula and possibly the same mechanics as Crazy Taxi. The design and UI look the same too. The same GPS arrow hovers over your vehicle. Your customers have floating icons above their head. The drop-off points have the same exact horizontal grid layout as Crazy Taxi.
The only thing missing in this trailer is the running meter and the timer. The meter and especially timer were what gave this game its classic arcade feel. Once your fare ran out of time you’d be asked if you want to continue, like an old arcade cabinet (minus the extra quarters). I’m sure Taxi Chaos will have a meter system or something similar. There must be some way of keeping score.
The trailer also said OUT NOW! However, when I checked the Nintendo eShop Taxi Chaos was not OUT NOW! In fact, Taxi Chaos releases Tuesday, the 23rd. Perhaps this trailer was a leak? Maybe they just uploaded the wrong version of the trailer? Who knows! I was prepared to buy this game right on the spot and give it a review. I’m hoping that it’s a good game and will give me those Crazy Taxi feels, in the same way that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Remake take me back to the originals but in an improved and updated way.
Taxi Chaos costs $34.95 (what a strange price). I was hoping for a $19.99 game at most. So, I will most likely be waiting for a sale. Below you can watch the trailer for Taxi Chaos (2021), along with the trailer for Crazy Taxi (1999).
I’m excited to see more about Taxi Chaos and I will follow it closely after it’s release tomorrow. And if by some chance I do end up buying Taxi Chaos soon, you may see a Part II to this post.