An ancient game for the Commodore 64 that absolutely rocks. You were a little taxi, and you went around to different platforms picking up passengers and dropping them off at the platform they wanted to go to. Incredibly difficult. I've heard the end level was actually impossible, but I was about six the last time I played it and never got that far. I've been looking for a PC-friendly version of this game for years (not as an emulator ROM) for years, but to no avail.

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 S P A C E   T A X I   L O A D I N G . . . 
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Publisher: MUSE Software
Author: John F. Kutcher
Released: 1984
Platform: Commodore 64
Controls: Joystick: Left, Right and Down Thrusters, Button activates landing gear
Features: voice synthesis
Musical score: Silas Warner (author of Castle Wolfenstein)

Use the joystick to guide your taxi about each screen. The object is to pick up passengers when they appear on a landing pad and deliver them to the place they want to go. After you make all you deliveries for a screen, the force field will open at the to and allow you to move to the next screen.

Gameplay:
A distant cousin of Lunar Lander type games, as controlling the flying taxi is difficult, gravity, acceleration and inertia are present. Different levels can have different g-forces, and some levels feature anti-gravity and even a Spacewar-like black hole.

So what influenced Space Taxi?
JFK: Not sure. I guess to some extent Lunar Lander, because the physics in Space Taxi are so precise. The Idea for multiple screens, I am not sure where I got that from. As for the various screens themselves, they were just things that came to me creatively. I recall making about 1 screen per day once I got into the groove of developing the game. -- Retrogaming Times interview (http://www.tomheroes.com/retrotimes_53.htm)

Upon picking up a passenger, the taximeter starts counting down, you're paid on how fast you can get the passenger to destination. Landing must be done carefully, too much downward and/or lateral speed will destroy the taxi. Rough landings will cost you a passenger's tip. Also be mindful of your fuel tank, where certain levels having 8 or 9 pads also feature a refueling station (which costs you points).

Each level features a different theme, and some feature lethal devices like lasers, shooting stars, ECM interference dishes. The game makes full use of all the sprite functionality built into the Commodore 64.

Where to play:
On the venerable Commodore 64 microcomputer, of course! Alternately, use one of may emulators like VICe or CCS64. Many clones have been made for the Amiga and other systems (http://taxipilot.sourceforge.net) and some shockwave Flash versions exist on the net (http://games.kewbee.de/SpaceTaxi/).

Sound samples:

  • Hey, taxi! -- Passenger calling a taxi.
  • Pad (number), please -- Passenger orders a destination.
  • Up, please -- Level complete, passenger wants to go to next level.
  • Hey!!! -- You've clipped a passenger during a botched fare pickup.
Cheats:
If you turn off the 1541 disk drive, the level loader routine doesn't handle the error properly and repeats the last level you were playing. Accessing the Mystery screen was easy: Choose '24 hour shift', let level 1 load (Short 'n' Sweet), then play it 24 times. When comes time to load Level 25, turn your 1541 back on. You could also turn off the sprite collision detection using the secret menu below.

Easter Egg:
There are hints of a secret menu on Level 25 Mystery Screen of the game. Here is the solution:

  1. From the main title, Pull Joystick Down to access the instuctions screen
  2. Hold down the π key until the word FIRE (Press FIRE to continue) turns gray
  3. Hold down the key until the word FIRE reverts to black
  4. Press the * key and VoilĂ :
WELCOME TO THE SECRET MENU !!!

Here are your options:

  1. Record your own demo
  2. Disable sprite kill
  3. Enable sprite kill (default)
  4. Manual select for demo/random
  5. Automatic screen select (default)
  6. Author information
  7. Exit secret menu

This program was developed and written by
John F. Kutcher
11/21/65
currently, as of January 1984,
he is attending John Hopkins
University in Baltimore, MD

Also try Rescue Squad by John Kutcher

John F. Kutcher can be reached at jkutcher (at) dicorp.com

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