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Crazy Taxi: Retro

imageCrazy Taxi is an open world racing game developed by Hitmaker and published by Sega. The game was ported to the Dreamcast in 2000. The main objective of the game is to pick up customers and take them to their chosen destination as quickly as possible. Along the way, money can be earned by performing stunts such as near misses with other vehicles. The player is directed to a destination by a large green arrow at the top of the screen. The arrow does not adjust based on obstacles, but rather points in the general direction of the destination. Once the player arrives near the destination, they must stop within a specified zone. When the destination is reached, that customer’s fare is added to the player’s total money earned. Ratings are then awarded depending on how long the player took to complete the journey. If the customer’s timer runs out before the player reaches the destination the customer jumps from the taxi.

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Players can select three, five or ten minute settings, or the Arcade Rules used in the original coin-op version of the game. In the three time-limited settings, play continues for the designated period of time, after which the cab automatically stops and no more points can be scored. Under Arcade Rules, the player starts with an initial time limit of one minute, which can be extended through time bonuses earned for quick deliveries. Console versions of the game also feature a mode known as Crazy Box, a set of minigames that feature challenges such as picking up and dropping off a number of customers within a time limit, bowling using the taxi as a ball, and popping giant balloons in a field.

The arcade version of the game includes one stage, and an additional original stage was added for the console versions. Both stages are based in sunny coastal California locales, with steep hills and other strong similarities to San Francisco. The player has a choice of four drivers and their cabs, each of whom has slightly different attributes.

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Shenmue

Shenmue: Retro game of the day

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Shenmue, released in 1999, was developed by AM2 and released on the Dreamcast. In fact it was the reason I purchased a Dreamcast. The game was the vision of Yu Suzuki who wanted to create an interactive world by simulating aspects of real life, such as the day and night system, real-time variable weather effects, fully voiced non-player characters with their own daily schedules, quick time events and various other interactive elements such as vending machines, arcades, and convenience stores.

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‘I’m looking for Sailors’ – Ryo Hazuki

The story begins November 1986 when Ryo Hazuki comes home to witness a gang leader beating his father to death. Ryo steps in to defend his father but is knocked out and the gang leader, Lan Di, rides off into the sunset with the mystical dragon mirror… but just what is the dragon mirror and why did Lan Di kill Hazuki-sensei?

At the time of production Shenmue cost $47 million making it the most expensive game ever created. It was soon followed in 2001 with a sequel, Shenmue 2. The original and its sequel are still considered to be among some greatest video games ever released but with disappointing sales figures, in comparison to costs, the story was left at an unresolved cliffhanger. The 3rd and final game in the trilogy is yet to surface, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed…

Shenmue did briefly return in 2002 when an enhanced version of Shenmue 2 was released on the Xbox. The most significant differences with this version were the graphical improvements and the inclusion of a full English dub, with Corey Marshall reprising his role as Ryo Hazuki. The Xbox version benefited from being able to fit onto one DVD and was bundled with Shenmue: The Movie on a separate disc. This 90 minute film composed entirely of scenes from the first game which helped to fill in the story so far, check it out here ->

With HD remasters of both games apparently complete we again wait with fingers crossed for their digital re-release. This can’t happen soon enough as decent sales may kickstart the final chapters production.

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