For many gamers, Crazy Taxi will forever be associated with the Sega Dreamcast. This much loved games console was the final home hardware release from gaming giants Sega. The game actually started life as an arcade cabinet in 1999, where its fast paced pick up and play gameplay made it ideal for the quick turnaround demanded of coin-operated titles. Migrating to various formats after the Dreamcast was discontinued, the game finally got a PC port in 2002. In the game it’s not so much that you’re a crazy taxi driver, more that the whole city is full of completely wired individuals who love to ride around town in a taxi that cuts dangerously between traffic and speeds over jumps. These thrill seekers will pay you good money to risk their lives, but don’t dilly dally too much as each customer is short on patience and will abandon your taxi without paying the final fare if you take too long to get them to their destination.
Crazy Taxi should install without any issues on a modern PC. Simply insert the CD and follow the on-screen prompts. If the autorun prompt does not appear, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and run the “Autorun” file on the root directory of the CD. Do not install DirectX from the Crazy Taxi CD as it is certainly an older version than the one you already have on your machine.
Once installation is complete, you’re going to want to configure your controller and tweak some visual quality settings before you play the game, so move on directly to the next section.
Crazy Taxi has reasonable support for game controllers, though if you want to use an Xbox 360 pad we will unfortunately need Xpadder too. To configure game controllers, search for “Crazy Taxi configuration” on the Start menu or Start screen and click on the icon that appears. A configuration tool for the game will now start. Click on the “Game Controller Setup” tab and the window shown below should appear.
To configure your controller, go ahead and click each button in turn and then press the button you want to use on your controller. If you’re lucky enough to have a racing wheel controller that the game recognises you can use that too and in this instance the pedals will be recognised as fully analogue.
If you’re using a 360 controller (or any controller with analogue triggers) you will not be able to assign the analogue triggers to Accelerate and Brake using this configuration tool. We’ll show you how to fix that in a moment. For now, click on “save and exit”. Now, fire up the configuration tool again and make sure the settings were saved. If not, try exiting the configuration tool and running it as administrator. Also see the troubleshooting notes under “Problems saving games and configuration files”.
To fix the Xbox 360 controller issues, it’s time once again to call in the assistance of the retro-gamers best friend, Xpadder. Fire up Xpadder and configure it in a similar fashion to the configuration shown below.
The layout is about as basic as it gets. The analogue triggers are set to emulate the Up and Down arrow keys, allowing you to accellerate and brake. Unfortunately of course this means that these controls are entirely digital (the throttle is always open all the way or closed), not analogue as in the Dreamcast or arcade versions. Notice that we assigned the arrow keys to the d-pad too, this simply makes it easier to navigate the games menus.
With controls sorted, lets move on to graphics.
Tweaking visual quality
Graphical quality settings for the game can be configured from the same tool by clicking on the “Video/Audio setup” tab. The options are fairly straightforward. To configure the game for best quality, copy the settings shown below (click on the picture to see a bigger version).
On the screen resolution settings, make sure your monitor supports the 1280×960 screen mode (most high definition monitors will). All the other options can be configured as shown in the picture. As long as you have a reasonably modern PC the game should run just fine with these settings. If you play the game and it doesn’t feel smooth, or you can feel the frame-rate drop, come back to these settings and try a lower screen resolution, or change the draw distance to Medium or Normal. On modern PCs we don’t recommend changing the Colour depth from 32 bit.
Remember to click “Save and exit” to confirm your changes. You’re now ready to play the game, so simply search for “Crazy Taxi” on the Start screen or Start menu, click the icon and play.
Fixing the music
If, like us, you started the PC version of Crazy Taxi and were more than somewhat dismayed to find the music had been altered, you will be interested to know that there is a solution. No disrespect to the bands that stepped in when Sega wasn’t prepared to renew their license with Punk rock power houses Bad Religion and The Offspring, but the new music simply doesn’t have anywhere near the impact of the original soundtrack.
To fix the soundtrack back to the original, you are going to need to buy 4 MP3 files or find them in your own CD/MP3 collection. The songs you need are as follows:-
Bad Religion – Them and Us
Bad Religion – Ten in 2010
The Offspring – Way Down the Line
The Offspring – All I Want
Once you’ve got these MP3 files, browse to the Crazy Taxi program folder (by default you can find this in C:\Program Files (x86)\Sega\Crazy Taxi). In this folder is a sub folder called “SoundData”. Open this folder and find another folder called “Music”. You should now see a folder with several MP3 files in it. Make a backup copy of the files “Game1.mp3”, “Game2.mp3”, “Game3.mp3” and “Game4.mp3” and then delete the original files. Now, copy your Offspring/Bad Religion MP3 files into the folder and rename them to “Game1.mp3”, “Game2.mp3”, “Game3.mp3” and “Game4.mp3”. The order doesn’t matter particularly, but the Dreamcast always played “All I want” as the first tune in the attract mode, so if you want that to happen make sure you name “All I want” as “Game4.mp3”.
With those changes done you can start the game again and if you did everything correctly, the original soundtrack will be restored.
Problems saving games or settings – Like many older games, Crazy Taxi places its save game files and various configuration files in the same directory that it is installed to. This can cause problems on more modern versions of Windows as programs are not normally permitted to write to the program files directory. To avoid this problem, either install the game to an alternate location (e.g c:\Games\CrazyTaxi) or manually edit the permissions on the “Crazy Taxi” folder. If you used the default installation directory when installing, the games folder can be found at “C:\Program Files (x86)\Sega\Crazy Taxi”. A tutorial on how to edit folder permissions can be found here.
The popular gaming utility Xfire supports Crazy Taxi, allowing you to take screenshots and videos as well as chat to your friends and browse the web all without having to leave the game.
Is this the best version of Crazy Taxi?
Interesting question. This version of Crazy Taxi is certainly the prettiest. The arcade and Dreamcast versions ran at 640×480, so a bump up to the maximum resolution of 1280×960 is obviously a big improvement. Removing the memorable Offspring and Bad Religion soundtrack was a mistake, but one that you can easily rectify simply by buying a few MP3 files. Where the game falls down is its lack of support for analogue throttle and brake controls. While this isn’t a game where you’ll often be gently squeezing the throttle, like many Sega racing games Crazy Taxi has a deeper handling model than you might actually give it credit for. When you become an expert player you will notice the lack of analogue controls. The game was re-released on the popular digital download service Steam, unfortunately this version is even worse, rather than correctly patch the controls for the Xbox 360 pad, whoever was responsible for the Steam re-release simply botched the controls so that both throttle AND steering are now completely digital! The Steam re-release version also removes or renames locations in the game, locations such as Pizza Hut or the Levi store are changed to non-branded alternatives to save money negotiating any kind of licensing deal.
When originally released, this version of Crazy Taxi was panned by critics for poor performance. However, on a more recent PC these issues disappear, with the game never dropping frames once during our tests. In conclusion then, purists may still prefer the Dreamcast version, but the original PC CD release is well worth a look if you’re a Crazy Taxi junkie.