Taking one of four drivers, each with their own skill set, the player needs to locate and pick up potential passengers, all of whom are identified by the appearance of a coloured dollar symbol above their head. From that point on it's a race against time through crowded streets to get the passenger to their destination while picking up healthy tips for speed on the way. Tips can be increased through the execution of stupidly dangerous stunts and the cunning use of the short cuts and back alleys the game offers.
There are three major modes of play, offering the cityscape of the arcade original, a world created especially for the console versions of the game, and the oddly named Crazy Box mode, which sets a number of challenges ranging from high-speed ski-jumps to water balloon popping--an interesting if slightly unusual addition.
Graphically, Crazy Taxi is a treat. Big, bold vehicles fairly rocket around the streets of the sprawling city, which has environments ranging from shopping malls to freeways and beaches. Everything shifts along at a fairly steady 60 fps and the only gripe is the pop-up at long distance, which is irritating but doesn't ultimately doesn't affect gameplay. Sound is excellent, with some thumping skate-punk tunes provided by the Offspring and friends and comedy backchat from the cab drivers and their passengers. Prolonged play may take the edge off this hilarity, but only time will tell.
What's sadly missing is any kind of multi-player facility. Crazy Taxi is strictly single player. This isn't really an issue (especially after closing time when the living room's packed with prospective Travis Bickles all patiently waiting a turn), but the ability for a two player Vs mode would have been the icing on the cake.
This game certainly isn't a Gran Turismo or a Formula 1 2001. There's not even a hint of simulation and the real world never gets a look-in. Instead, this is pure, blissful arcade entertainment.