Crazy Taxi was another of Sega's more bizarre concepts during The '90s that upon first glance honestly would make you think, "what the hell were they smoking?!", but once played, made you think, "I sure am glad they smoked that."
A 1999 arcade driving/racing game, ported to the Dreamcast in 2000, Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 in 2001 (being handled by Acclaim), PC in 2002, Game Boy Advance in 2003 (with the subtitle Catch a Ride), Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2010 and iOS in 2012, the game focused upon four "extreme" independent cab drivers,note each with his or her own special car and attributes, who picked up random citizens of a city that bore more than a passing resemblance to San Francisco. Each of these lovely passengers wished to be driven to a destination within the city: a church, a baseball game, KFC and so on. Your job was to get them there ASAP, even if it meant essentially breaking all rules of the road, including driving off parking garages or even underwater. Your fare increased via tips when you performed tricks like Crazy Jumps or Crazy Drifts, and your passenger reacted in real time with excitement or disdain, depending on how you drove.
The game was also noted for its soundtrack, featuring punk bands The Offspring and Bad Religion. The original game has seen a number of ports over the years (following Sega's exit from the hardware market), from the GameCube to the PS2 and even modern consoles/handhelds like the PSPnote and digital storefronts like PlayStation Network.
Sega and Hitmaker went on to release a sequel in 2001, Crazy Taxi 2, exclusively on the Dreamcast and set on two New York-inspired maps with four new cabbies.note It also introduced the "Crazy Hop", allowing the cab drivers to spring their cab's hydraulic pumps to vault the car over traffic and into shortcuts. The cab can now carry parties of two to four fares who all have unique destinations (this results in the benefit of tip multipliers for everyone currently in the cab and longer time extensions with bigger payouts but it's "all-or-nothing", meaning if you can't deliver the last passenger to their destination you don't make money from any of them).
The third and so far final game, Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller was released on the Xbox in 2002 (and later ported to the PC two years later). This time, rather than adding two entirely new maps, Sega opted to redesign two older maps ("West Coast", the original game's Arcade map and "Small Apple" from the sequel) and create a single new map ("Glitter Oasis", based on Las Vegas) to careen around. Again, featuring four new cab drivers (Angel, Bixbite, Mrs. Venus, and Zax; the other eight drivers from the previous two games are available on their respective maps and all twelve can be unlocked to drive on any map), the game sticks to the same basic formula as 2 and sets two of the maps (Small Apple and Glitter Oasis) at night, which is a first for the series.
In addition to the fare delivery main game, each game has its own minigame collection designed to test your driving skills in wacky, surreal challenges (such as using your car as a bowling ball to get a series of strikes against pins or trying to score a home run off a huge baseball).
A Free To Play sequel on Mobile Devices called Crazy Taxi: CityRu$h was announced on March 14th 2014. It removed most of the direct control from the player, instead opting to make it play like Temple Run. Early reception has been... less than positive, to say the least. Another mobile title, Crazy Taxi Gazillionaire (later renamed Tycoon for some reason) launched on January 5th 2017, which turned the gameplay into a Idle Game where you send your cabbies to pick up customers, rake up some dough to hire more cabbies and upgrade their skills for even more money.
An upcoming new game in the series was announced at The Game Awards 2023 as part of Sega's Power Surge project.
Hey hey hey, it's time to make some crazy tropes, are ya ready? HERE WE GO!
- Agony of de Feet: Poor performances sometimes result in the customer kicking your taxi, but sometimes they'll do it a bit too hard and grab their foot afterward.
- Allegedly Free Game: CityRu$h is free to download, but it relies on the classic tricks of premium currency and energy-based mechanics that make you wait to do things. While you can accumulate a surprising amount of premium currency without paying a cent, you probably won't have enough to, say, buy a cab with premium gems unless you save your diamonds or pay up. The game also includes ads that appear after your first few missions per play session. You can't get rid of them unless you pay up.
- Anti-Frustration Features: If you pick up a passenger and their timer is longer than the game timer, the game timer will be extended just enough to match the passenger's timer, so as to avoid a Game Over in the middle of their timer.
- Attract Mode: "Hey, hey, hey! Ready to have some fun? I got some kicking music, and I'm ready to see you drive! Get those coins out of your pocket, throw 'em in the machine, and let's get started! CRAZY TAXI!"
- Big Applesauce: Around Apple and Small Apple from Crazy Taxi 2.
- Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Your score is expressed in the form of fares and tips earned from customers.
- Camera Abuse: Occasionally during Gazillionaire/Tycoon, cars rammed by your taxis will fly up and into the screen, shattering the glass briefly.
- Camp Gay: Implied with Angel from Crazy Taxi 3.
- Celebrity Cameo: Hulk Hogan can be hired as a driver in CityRu$h.
- Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The KFC and Pizza Hut substitutes seen in later releases are still modeled after the original restaurants. It's more subtle with "Fried Chicken Shack", but "Pizza Place" clearly has Pizza Hut's iconic red roof. Not only that, but the original textures are still hidden in the game files, allowing a Game Mod that restores the original brands to only be 1 MB.
- Compilation Rerelease: Fare Wars is a port of the first two games for the PSP, which adds wireless multiplayer.
- Cool Old Guy:
- HOT-D from the second game is the oldest driver at 78, but he's extremely healthy and rather youthful, and was already a stunt driver before becoming a cabbie. His life philosophy is about getting more green.
- Gus, the oldest of the West Coast cabbies at 42, was the one who invented the Crazy style. He seems pretty chill and gambles with his poker buddies outside work.
- Cool Old Lady: Mrs. Venus from 3. She supports seven kids, a husband, is the main breadwinner, is a combination Nice Guy and Sassy Black Woman, and is just as skilled at taxi driving as the other racers despite being 48 years old which makes her older than the inventor of the crazy taxi style and only younger than Hot-D! Her Catchphrase when you select her is "All right, let's all have a good time!"
- Damage-Proof Vehicle: You can hit all sorts of cars, trucks, and buses while driving someone to their destination, and your cab won't have a single scratch on it. Oddly enough, neither will the vehicles that you collide with.
- Denser and Wackier: CityRu$h is definitely this. The other games weren't exactly grim and brooding, but the art style is much more cartoonish, and the passengers, as well as the plots of the HQ missions, are much sillier. Same with Gazillionaire/Tycoon — some of the fares include Medusa and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
- Drives Like Crazy: Right there in the title. The passengers give you tips when you get jumps or drive near other cars.
- Easily Forgiven: "Watch it, you nearly killed me! Take me to Kentucky Fried Chicken."
- Endless Game: The game simply goes on until the extendable game timer runs out. Unless you're playing the console versions, which offer fixed-limit modes.
- Endless Running Game: CityRu$h blends this with the traditional Crazy Taxi gameplay style. While it controls like an endless runner, you do have a time limit, which can be extended by making stops or, in certain modes, picking up blue coins that will add a couple seconds to your remaining time.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: You drive a taxi. Crazily.
- Fictional Counterpart: Averted in the original game, where they got the rights to use KFC, Levi's, Tower Records, FILA and some others. Played straight in the downloadable re-releases, which declined to resecure any previous licenses.
- Have a Nice Death: Mostly in the Crazy Box missions:
- Hurt Foot Hop: Sometimes, if you take too long but still manage to get to a person's destination, they'll kick your taxi then hold their wounded foot.
- Irony: Delivering the priest to the church and having him exclaim "You're one hell of a driver!". While listening to Bad Religion, for that matter.
- Lucky Charms Title: The first mobile game's subtitle is CityRu$h.
- Market-Based Title: Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars was released in Japan as Crazy Taxi: Double Punch.
- Mission-Pack Sequel: Crazy Taxi 2 and Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller are just like the first one, but have new cities to play in and new characters to play as, and also adds a controllable jump. High Roller adds only one new stage, but slightly alters Small Apple and has it take place at night, and West Coast is given a complete overhaul due to the existence of the Crazy Jump.
- Motion Blur: A feature of the night stages in 3: High Roller.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Name any city where your driver will break every motor vehicle law conceivable to man with The Offspring blasting in the background. And then ask for a $200+ fee.
- Optional Traffic Laws: The only penalty you suffer from crashing into other vehicles is that they'll slow you down. Aside from that, you can break about every conceivable traffic law there is without any problems (And you're not likely to have a good time if you don't).
- Police Are Useless: Cop cars are simply something else to slam into and run down.
- Product Placement: All over the place, though understandably absent in the PSP and downloadable re-releases (probably because the licenses expired and Tower Records can't really benefit from promotion when they were long out of business by that point anyway; as for Amoco, they'd been absorbed into BP at the time of the PSP re-release, but as of 2018, has been brought back by BP on a limited basis). CityRu$h opts for playing advertisements for other mobile games like Clash of Clans after missions or to bypass certain time restrictions instead of putting the ads directly in the game world (although one of the unlockable cabs does have a Hot Wheels advertisement).
- Punk Rock: The original releases feature music from punk rock bands such as The Offspring and Bad Religion. The rebellious tunes fit the theme of the game like a glove.
- Racing Minigame: Crazy Box, Crazy Pyramid, and Crazy X.
- Repurposed Pop Song: Courtesy of The Offspring and Bad Religion.
- Re-Release Soundtrack: The PC, PSN, and XBLA ports lack the tracks from Bad Religion and The Offspring that the arcade, GameCube/PS2, and Dreamcast editions had. The PC edition has tracks from other punk bands, while the PSN and XBLA versions use original scoring. The iOS and Android releases resecured the rights to these songs, but they play the full versions of the songs.
- Ripped from the Headlines: The game is heavily inspired by the madness that ensued when the SFO short-run cab time limit was extended in the late '90s.
- Road Trip Across the Street:
- Characters with red dollar signs above them ask the player to take them to places that are both within walking distance and on the exact same side of the street as the passenger. For example, one male passenger under a red dollar sign near the beach on the Arcade map would want to go to Pizza Hut, which was not only on the same side of the street he was standing on (the right side), but just 219 yards (less than two American Football fields) away from him. Why waste all that money when walking is free? But maybe the biggest example is up the road, when a passenger asks to be taken to KFC...60 yards away from him! All he has to do walk up the sidewalk, and then, walk across the street, and he's there! Must be rich.
- Upon further review, a woman downtown takes the cake. You pick her up at the west side of the mall, and where does she want to go? TO THE NORTH SIDE OF THE MALL! You literally just have to drive through the mall to get her there.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: If the customer's time limit runs out, the customer will jump out of your taxi, even if it's moving!
- Scoring Points: Earning dollars, really, but it's the same principle.
- Secret Character: Completing all of the minigames nets you a goofy new taxi to drive (a rickshaw bicycle, a baby stroller, etc). In Crazy Taxi 2, you can also unlock the original cabbies from the first game — along with their cars, of course.
- Super Drowning Skills: Fall into water during the "Crazy" missions and it's Game Over. It has some logic, as you're driving an automobile.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills: On the other hand, some maps in the series have water you can drive into with no damage to you, your vehicle, or your customers. In fact, you can even find prospective customers to pick up in the water! The only thing stopping you from staying underwater is the time limit, which is true of being on dry land as well.
- Superhero: Not one, but two superheroes are playable in CityRu$h. One of them, Ca$hman, was part of a special event and couldn't be set as your driver for longer than ten runs at a time, while Captain Crazy is playable full-time.
- This Loser Is You: After the end of the game if you get a class D license or lower, these are the kinds of messages you get.
- Thrill Seeker: Many of the drivers became cabbies for the speed and thrill, and even Gena and Bixbite have declined to go into pro racing because of the restrictions.
- Timed Mission: The entire point of the game. You have the game timer which ends the game if it runs out. Your current passenger has their own timer, presumably indicating their patience; if their timer reaches 0, the game keeps going but they will get out of your taxi in disgust, even if you're still moving!
- Too Dumb to Live: Your passengers do not understand basic concepts like "wearing a seat belt" and "sitting down." They will stand up repeatedly in the car while you're doing crazy stunts, crashing into things, swerving, and generally driving like a maniac. Oh, and if you don't get them to their destination on time, they jump out of the cab, even if you're driving at almost 100 miles per hour. The only reason these idiots survive is because Sega doesn't program passenger deaths in.
- Totally Radical: Delights in it. "Yo" especially shows up every second sentence.
- Updated Re-release: The Dreamcast port of the original added an original level as well as Crazy Box mode (later to become a Crazy Taxi staple). The PSP port adds a multiplayer mode (thanks, Sega, it only took 8 years).
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Averted as pedestrians and customers will always dodge any attempts to be run over.
- Viva Las Vegas!: Glitter Oasis from Crazy Taxi 3.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Some of the time limits you're given to get your passenger to their destination are incredibly tight, to the point where you can make your way through the city flawlessly and still make it with less than five seconds to spare. The passenger will still get pissy with you when you do.
- What the Hell, Player?: Your passenger will berate you if you pick them up but force them to jump out of the way in the process. They'll also insult you or kick your cab on poor performances, and if their timer runs out they'll jump out of the taxi even if it's still moving!