Thursday, February 21, 2008

Retrogaming: Space Taxi

Today's game du jour of the day, Space Taxi, is another favorite from my Commodore 64 days.

In it, you operate a (wait for it) space taxi, taking passengers on presumably interplanetary journeys. There are various landing pads from which you pick up and drop off your fares; some are wide, and others are barely wide enough to land on without smooshing your prospective customer.

Once you pick up your last passenger in a level, he'll say (in passable voice synthesis), "Up, please." Make sure you navigate that portal at the top of the screen, or you will die in a mangled fiery heap.

And you won't get paid.

As the levels progress, it gets harder, with various gimmicks trying to keep you from making an honest space cabbie's salary, such as moving platforms, those pesky block holes, and the bane of many a driver's experience, a giant ping-pong game.

While it seems pretty simple, it can be a pain in the ass when you finally navigate through an 8-bit representation of Godzilla's lower intestine only to forget to drop your landing gear at the pad, and dying in aforementioned mangled fiery heap.

This game taught me to swear more effectively.

The basic gameplay can be found in the more recent Crazy Taxi. Now I'm thinking, here are two games begging for a mashup: Crazy Space Taxi!

Tell me that wouldn't rock out with your wok out.

Instead of traveling from screen to screen, you'd drive in various immersive space sectors, starting in our own solar system. Not only would it have proven gameplay potential, but awesome space graphics, too.

And you could get a passenger to ask you to "Take me to Uranus," thus promoting much puerile giggling. Just be sure, as my pal Karyne observed, not to ram the car upon reaching your destination.

Yes, we're both 12-year-old boys.

You can play an updated version, Space Taxi 2, or, if you're looking for that old-school thrill, there's some gameplay video below.

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