Taxi 3: eXtreme Rush (PC)

By Phill Parker

Published on Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Graphics: 6.00
Sound: 4.00
Gameplay: 4.00
Replays: 3.00

I hate to be one of those critics who tear down other people’s creations, without offering alternative solutions, but Taxi 3: eXtreme Rush is not a good game. As a commercial product, it simply can’t compete with other arcade-style racers on the PC.

Let’s start with the title. You’d be forgiven if the name “Taxi 3” conjured images of a Crazy Taxi clone (not that there’s anything wrong about a new Crazy Taxi replica sporting updated graphics – the original was a fun little game). Perversely, Taxi 3: eXtreme Rush doesn’t actually feature the joys of rushing around in a Taxi, racing against the clock, and beating traffic. Oh, no. Instead the “plot” of Taxi 3 says that someone absconded your prized cab, and you must enter underground street races in downtown London to gain enough respect to find it. Yep. Rhetorical question: If I was a taxi driver, and someone jacked my ride, couldn’t I simply collect insurance to buy a replacement?

Team6, the Dutch developers of Taxi 3 (www.team6-games.com), say they brought this game’s physics to the next level. Technically that’s true, because driving a car in this case feels like steering a rubber ball. No matter which souped-up racer you select from a collection of generic sports cars and muscle cars, each one handles as if it were attached to a bungee cord. If you brake to avoid hitting an object, but still crash anyway, you instantly reverse at top speed while the camera skews around madly. Not pushing the brake button means that collisions make you instantly stop and bounce. Boing! It’s all so disorienting.

Some of the races are weird. One format involves driving in a straight line, turning 180 degrees, and racing straight down the same road – rinse and repeat. It’s like playing cricket.

While the physics are over the top (in a crappy way), everything else about Taxi 3 is muted. The sound of your motor, for example, isn’t a high-pitched scream or deep roar. Instead, every car sounds like a vacuum cleaner. No, not a powerful built-in central vac – more like a wheezy little dust buster. The music is non-descript. I guess you could describe it as techno. Graphics are okay, because the city design is colorful, and the cars have some neat paint jobs. However, the game engine suffers from acute polygon deficiency. Cranking up the video resolution still doesn’t prevent every object from looking blocky and underdeveloped.

Taxi 3 features multiplayer too, but there’s just no compelling reason to play this game, especially when you consider Electronic Arts’ newest World of Need For Speed collection. For the bargain price of $20, you can purchase Need For Speed Underground, Hot Pursuit 2, Porsche Unleashed and High Stakes, all in one box. Each one of these titles individually beats the gameplay and production values of Taxi 3 by a country mile.

Sorry to dump on you Team6, but you’ve got to offer something better.

http://www.team6-games.com/

Overall Rating: 4.00

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