The nature of the game, general point of gameplay, and your final score ratings are described here.
In this game you play the role of a cab driver. A game time limit appears in the upper-left corner. When the game begins, your time limit starts to decrease and the game ends when it reaches zero.
Scattered throughout the sprawling course are people anxious to be picked up. These customers are hard to miss, as they're standing inside colored circles with dollar signs floating above their heads. You stop your cab inside one of these circles to pick a customer up (unlike a real cab, you can only pick up one at a time).
As the customer runs toward and boards your cab, the destination they want to be driven to appears in the lower-left corner. A dark-green arrow which always points towards the destination will appear above your cab to keep you from getting lost. Once the customer has gotten in, a light-green customer timer also hovers over your cab, to let you know how much time you have to get your customer where he/she wants to go. The amount of money the trip is worth appears in the upper-right corner on a Fare Meter underneath your total score.
This part is the heart of the game: get your customer to their destination as quickly as you can, using whatever means possible. You can leave the road to drive through parking lots, on the grass, or even underwater. You can use ramps or the terrain to leap over heavy traffic. Whatever it takes.
As you near the destination, the color of the arrow above your cab will change color from green to red. The destination itself will be marked by a wavering green drop-off zone, which surrounds the destination like a fence. When you come to a full stop within this drop-off zone, your customer will exit the cab and you will receive money based on the distance travelled, the amount of time remaining, and the amount you've earned in tips through skillful driving. You will also receive a customer rating; if you delivered your customer quickly enough, you are rewarded with bonus seconds added to the game time limit:
If you didn't make it to the destination before the light-green customer timer reached zero, you get a customer rating of BAD and receive no money or time bonus whatsoever.
Obviously, it's of the utmost importance to collect as many time bonuses as possible so you can continue playing and increase your score (Crazy Taxi does not let you continue your game by adding extra money).
The main objective of Crazy Taxi is to repeat this whole process of picking up customers, driving them to their destinations, and dropping them off (hopefully earning time bonuses) as many times as you can.
When the game time limit reaches zero, it's all over. The amount of money you've earned by then becomes your final score, which receives a rating.
As you play the game, you'll notice that the customers available to pick up come in a variety of colors. The color of a customer indicates the distance you'll need to go to reach his or her destination. Here's what each color stands for:
The larger the distance, the greater your starting fare (and the more time you'll be given to make the trip). However, what customers' colors alone won't tell you about their destinations is which direction you'll need to go to reach them. As you become more familiar with the game (and visit the Locations section of this site), you'll find that noting the presence or absence of customers along with their colors can help you rather accurately predict which direction they want to be taken in most cases.
While driving customers their destinations, you have additional opportunities to add money to your final score through skillful driving. Events the game considers skillful are:
If you do any of these things while you have a customer in your cab, you will receive a tip. Tips start out small, maybe just 50¢ for the first one. But if you earn another tip soon afterwards without striking another vehicle with your cab, then you've started a combo. The larger you can make your combo, the more money each subsequent tip will be worth. However, whenever your cab comes into contact with another vehicle your combo will be broken and the Tip Multiplier will reset at zero. Note that hitting anything else (boxes, phone booths, walls, etc.) will not reset the Tip Multiplier. The money you earn via tips gets added to the Fare Meter and to your total score when (hopefully) the customer is dropped off at their destination quickly enough. (By the way, the tip values don't really multiply on each other; if they did, the scores possible in this game would become ridiculously high.)
The Tip Multiplier adds a new facet to the game: greed. While quickly getting customers to their destinations is still critical, earning a lot of tip money during these rides will make your final score that much better. At advanced levels of play, the danger is that focusing too much on extending long combos to earn bigger bonuses via the Tip Multiplier may cost you those important time bonuses. Another important thing to keep in mind is that you must successfully drop off your customer at their destination to receive any of the tip money you've built up. After all, cashing in on the tips is just as important as earning them. Generally, you'll want to concentrate on earning high Tip Multiplier Bonuses after you're comfortable with your ability to always get Speedy customer ratings.
When the game ends, a screen will appear that tells you the total number of customers you picked up, your final score, and in the lower-left you'll receive a rating based on your score. From lowest to highest, the ratings are:
If you earned a Class S License or better, you'll be treated to the credits alongside some some pre-recorded footage of the cab you chose. It is possible to achieve S-class scores without using any of the techniques on The 5 Skills You Need To Succeed page. However, only by using those techniques, learning the roadways, and quite a bit of practice will you reach Awesome and ultimately Crazy rankings. The good news is that's just what this website is here to help you do!