Compared to other Pinball games of the time, Taxi is deceptively simple. As a taxi driver, pick up a crazy cast of characters — including former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev (Gorbie), Dracula, and Santa Claus — then take them to the airport and collect the jackpot. The longer you play, the more tips you'll put on the meter, so take the Express Lane and loop the airport for an even bigger score.
Taxi is proof that a pinball game doesn't need complicated rules to be challenging, as most of the high-scoring shots are timed, and a great score requires prodigious flipper skills. The uncomplicated layout makes it appealing to beginners, while the fast action and broad crisscrossing loops keep everyone attentive.
A digital version of this pinball was available on The Pinball Arcade until the license to the Williams and Bally tables expired on July 1, 2018.
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The Taxi pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- The meter caps out at 99,000 points, and its multiplier caps at 5x for a max fare of 495,000.
- The Spin-Out Skill Shot multiplier tops out at 5x the spun value.
- Captain Ersatz: "Lola", a blatant copy of Marilyn Monroe. Word of God is that the character was originally "Marilyn", to make the reference even more obvious, until Williams management became worried about a lawsuit from the Monroe estate. "Marilyn" became "Lola" by changing her hair color on the backglass and playfield art, but it is believed that a few Taxi machines with the blonde "Marilyn" art are still in circulation.
- The crisscrossing figure-eight airport ramps, which builds the Airport Value and can be advanced to light the 1 million point shot.
- During multiball, locking one ball then quickly hitting the Drac Scoop earn an Express Lane bonus worth 300,000. All ramp shots score 100,000 as long as both balls remain in play.
- Shooting both ramps at the same time during multiball scores a Crossover bonus of 250,000.
- Company Cross References: On the backglass, the taxi is in front of Williams' Pinball Palace, with a sign name-dropping several then-recent pinball games from the company: Cyclone, Pin Bot, Space Station, High Speed, Banzai Run, Comet, and Big Guns.
- Crossover: Pin Bot is one of the passengers.
- Everything's Better with Cows: The playfield has a cow sitting in a motorcycle sidecar.
- Gotta Catch 'Em All: Collect all five passengers to light the Jackpot.
- Glorious Mother Russia/You No Take Candle: Gorbie talks like this.Gorbie: "You give to me ride!"
- Leitmotif: The game plays a brief tune associated with each character when they are picked up.
- Machine Monotone: As in his own game, Pin*Bot speaks like this.Pin*Bot: "TAXI - TAXI - TAXI."
- Match Sequence: A taxicab zips across the display, pulling a pair of spinning boxes behind it. The boxes eventually settle down to form a pair of match digits.
- 1-Up: Extra balls are earned by completing the C-A-B rollovers three times and shooting the Drac scoop (all on the same ball).
- Our Vampires Are Different: They need taxicabs to get around town, for one.
- Painting the Medium: "PIN*BOT STRANDED." is displayed on alphanumeric display, much like the one it used.
- Progressive Jackpot
- Public Domain Character: "Gorbie" (Mikhail Gorbachev), Dracula, and Santa Claus.
- Score Multiplier: The Spin-Out's value multiplier increases after every drained ball (up to a maximum of 5x value).
- Shout-Out: According to Mark Ritchie, Lola was named after The Kinks' song of the same name. The song is about a man's encounter with a transvestite, and the song was chosen due to Lola's muscular arms on the backglass.
- Signature Style: Taxi hits all of Mark Ritchie's favorite touches, especially the crisscrossing ramps, long shots, and lots of timed shots.
- Skill Shot: Shoot the ball into the Spinout saucer, then collect a bonus based on how many revolutions it makes.
- The Smurfette Principle: Marilyn/Lola is the only female character in the game.
- Special Guest: Pin*Bot, a refugee from his own game.Pin*Bot: "PIN*BOT STRANDED."
- Spelling Bonus: C-A-B advances the bonus multiplier (up to 5x value), and, for 10 seconds, every hit to the pop bumpers raises the jackpot value.
- The Taxi
- That Poor Cat: A cat screech is heard every time the player shoots the left airport lane.
- Timed Mission: Almost all of the high-scoring shots in the game.
- Vampire Vords: Drac talks like this.
- Your Size May Vary: Pin*Bot was quite a bit larger than a human in his game.
- "Look out!" *CRASH!*