Sad as it is to report, Crazy Taxi just isn't very much fun anymore. Though they were once shining examples of over-the-top, wacky-as-heck arcade driving games, the original and its sequels have not been treated kindly by the years, a fact highlighted by Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars for the PSP. This release includes Dreamcast ports of both Crazy Taxi and its follow-up, Crazy Taxi 2, then tosses in a bit of ad-hoc multiplayer, and calls it a day. What it doesn't do is adjust the game in any way, shape, or form for modern times. The shallowness of the gameplay is likely to turn off anyone who isn't intensely nostalgic for all things Crazy Taxi. And even those folk will likely take umbrage with the sluggish gameplay and dodgy controls in this version.
Any card-carrying Sega fan already knows what to expect from these two games, but for the uninitiated, a brief synopsis. In both games, your goal is to take control of one of four different cabbies and drive around the city lickety-split, picking up customers and getting them to their desired location. That might not sound like much of a concept, but the thing that made the games so much fun back in the day was the jaunty, kooky nature of the gameplay, where driving like a maniac to fly over hills and narrowly avoid head-on collisions actually made your passengers happier and increased your score. Cars bounce off one another like they're made of rubber, and insane drifts take the place of proper steering. Likewise, big jumps litter every city block, and in Crazy Taxi 2, you can even use supercharged hydraulics to leap over any oncoming traffic. The game also imposed some rather stiff time limits for each passenger, lending to the immediacy and frantic pacing of it all.
For their time, these games were plenty of fun, but they don't really stand up especially well when you put them up against other arcade driving games. Part of the problem is that the core gameplay just isn't fun for more than very short bursts. Racing around the city and picking up passengers is amusing for a bit, but there's really nothing else to the main game. You either do it in arcade mode, where you get a very short amount of time and only earn time boosts from picking up more passengers, or you set specific minute limits for the game and play that way. Again, it's fun for a bit to race around and try to get as much cash as possible, but it's not something that will sustain your interest for long, especially when you take into account some of the frustrations of this specific release.
By and large, Fare Wars offers up solid ports of Crazy Taxi and Crazy Taxi 2, but there are some caveats. Crazy Taxi 2 always had worse handling than the original game, due largely to its overreliance on drifting, but in Fare Wars, neither game controls well at all. Drifting is a pain, and the turning radius on your cab seems decidedly lacking. Furthermore, there are times when you'll simply be driving along, and you start to turn in one direction, but then feel like your car is getting sucked in the opposing direction. It's tough to say if this is specifically a control quirk, or something else, as it always seems like you're getting sucked toward another car or piece of the scenery. This issue makes keeping a good handle on your car a severe pain when rounding tight corners or trying to veer away from oncoming traffic.