Crazy Taxi is a series of score attack racing video games that was developed by Hitmaker and published by Sega. The first game appeared in arcades in 1999 and was very successful, prompting Sega to port the arcade version to their Dreamcast console in 2000. It was the fifth best-selling game on the Dreamcast, selling over a million copies. The game was later ported to the PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and PC with sequels also appearing on the Xbox, Game Boy Advance, and PlayStation Portable systems.
Each game has the player assume the role of a taxi driver who must accumulate money by delivering passengers to their destinations in the fastest time possible, earning tips by performing "crazy stunts" before the time runs out. The franchise has been recognized for its innovative gameplay design which is easy to learn but difficult to master, its use of in-game advertising, and its soundtrack music provided by the bands The Offspring and Bad Religion. The core gameplay mechanic has been patented by Sega, leading to at least one lawsuit over similar gameplay in The Simpsons: Road Rage, which has since been settled out of court.
Crazy Taxi and its sequels are score attack games that all employ the same fundamental rules and mechanics. The player controls one of several taxi drivers in a fictional city, looking for fares and then taking them to their destination in the fastest time possible. Passengers looking for rides are indicated by an overhead marker that is colored to represent the distance to their intended destination. When a passenger is picked up, the player is awarded additional time on the countdown time. Furthermore, a second countdown timer is started, representing how quickly the passenger needs to be at their destination. While a passenger is in the taxi, a large green arrow is shown on the player's HUD that points in the general direction of the passenger's destination to help guide the player through the map.
The player can use special "crazy stunt" moves such as drifts, jumps, and near-misses, and consecutive combos of these, to earn extra money from the passenger during the trip. If the destination is reached in time, the player is paid based on distance driven with a possible time bonus based on how quickly the destination was reached. If the passenger's countdown drops to zero, they will exit the taxi and the player will be required to look for another fare. The game continues in this mode as long as time remains on the clock. Once the clock reaches zero, the game is over, and the player is ranked and rated based on the total earned.
Starting with Crazy Taxi 2, the gameplay included the ability to pick up a party of passengers, each having a different destination. The number of passengers in the car multiplies the tip bonuses earned from stunt driving, while the total fare can only be earned once the last passenger is dropped off in time. Additionally, Crazy Taxi 2 introduced a new stunt move called the "Crazy Hop" that allowed the player to make the taxi jump to clear some obstacles or reach higher drivable surfaces.
The console games have also featured a set of mini-games that require the player to meet a certain objective using one or more of the various "crazy stunts" within the game. Some of these test the player's handling of a taxi, while others are more exaggerated, such as taxi bowling or pool. Some mini-games require the completion of others before they can be accessed.