CRAZY TAXI 3: HIGH ROLLER for XBox, $80. Rating: NNN
GRAPHICS: Solid, down to the skid marks on the road.
ADDICTIVENESS: Average, but the fast pace and flashy graphics will leave you with a headache no matter how long you play.
ANTI-SOCIAL FACTOR: There's only room for one behind the steering wheel.
PROXIMITY TO THE REAL THING: Drive like this and you are going to jail.
Brand loyalty among video game addicts is a bizarre enough concept at the best of times, but the obsession around the Crazy Taxi series is especially baffling.
The game, initially for the Dreamcast and now out on XBox, puts you behind the steering wheel of a taxi as it barrels around notable streets, picking up passengers, running over pedestrians, seeking out head-on collisions and generally breaking every Young Drivers of Canada recommendation. It's fun enough, occasionally even thrilling, especially if driving fast to a punk rock soundtrack is your thing.
Crazy Taxi isn't particularly fresh or new, but that hasn't kept it from becoming one of the more successful game series around. There are the predictable sequels and collectors' toys, but Crazy Taxi is also being made into a feature-length live-action film. Perplexed yet? The third instalment offers few clues as to the game's overwhelming appeal.
Extending the mayhem to the Las Vegas strip, Crazy Taxi 3 again features you driving incredibly fast in souped-up taxi cabs while passengers shriek at you to pick up the pace. Aside from the setting change -- the series's two other backgrounds, San Francisco and New York, are also included -- there's little to differentiate volume 3 from the original.
Steering between oncoming cars is still harder than it looks, and no matter how many times you play it, the game still manages to get your heart racing.
There are a handful of mini-games buried here to help alleviate the boredom, but first and foremost this is an average racing game where speed rules and traffic laws are politely run down. You either get it or you don't, and I'm not sure I do.