Two games defined the Dreamcast for me - Jet Set Radio and Crazy Taxi. They were bright, bold, and utterly compelling. Both of the games created fantastic atmospheres, painting their worlds in garish hues and bouncing, perfect soundtracks.
Crazy Taxi: City Rush doesn't manage to capture those brilliant beats. It feels like a slightly second rate copy. Rather than being brash and reckless, it treads similar ground without ever being carefree.
That's not to say it isn't fun. As an endless runner it has its moments, and it adds a new pace to the genre that makes it feel fresh, but it isn't Crazy Taxi.Sensible hackney carriage
You control your car with a series of swipes. It drives forwards of its own accord, and you can slide it between different lanes to dodge obstacles and gain the obligatory spinning gold coins.
Sometimes you need to turn corners. To do this you swipe in the direction you want to go and hold your finger there for a while. Lift it up and you'll skid around the corner. Get it wrong and you can pull off a u-turn by swiping down the screen.
You also have a boost you can use to get a temporary burst of speed. Hitting it when you drive over a ramp truck sends you flying gracefully through the air.
You need to pick up and drop passengers like before, collecting fares to spend on upgrading the different aspects of your vehicle.Vroom
But there isn't the freedom of the original game. Missions usually only involve two or three clients, and they cost some gas - the game's energy system - to perform.
There's still a thrill to the thrashy, simple gameplay, and the ticking clock makes the small-bite challenges feel surprisingly frantic.
It's nice tinkering with your car as well. It's not a sophisticated system, but you can feel your taxi getting faster and sharper as you add new bits. You can customise the look of your vehicle too, adding new graphics and hood ornaments that get you more cash per fare.
There's also a sort-of strategic mini-game that sees you buying other vehicles and sending them out to earn cash while you're driving your own rounds.No offspring
Crazy Taxi: City Rush isn't a bad game. It shows off the same colours as its predecessor, and there are moments when you'll be swept away by its bright and simple gameplay. It's fun, it's light, and it sparks with little arcade flashes of brilliance.
But then it makes you wait to play, asking you to watch videos or cough up for some premium currency to keep driving. It's not the most egregious free to play system, but it feels like its punishing you for wanting to keep going.
If you don't mind dropping some cash here and there you'll find a reasonably engaging endless driver that bursts into life every now and then with a burst of bonkers crashes and quick-tapping braking.
But it isn't Crazy Taxi. It's a glimpse of Crazy Taxi, a whiff of Crazy Taxi. And while that sets it above a great deal of other endless runners, it's not enough to carry the licence.