I was quite excited to hear that Sega were planning to bring over some of their most popular Dreamcast titles to both XBLA and PSN, in HD and at 60 frames per-second no less. However, the realty was somewhat more disappointing, as the first game to be given such treatment, Sonic Adventure, was an almost half-baked, upscaled attempt at delivering on such promises.
While the framerate was indeed massively improved (doubled over the DC game), and the game benefiting from an extra lick of paint in combination with the additional level of smoothness, no work was done in bringing the presentation up to date. Sonic Adventure was displayed in 4:3 borders on either side of the action, with no option as to change their colour, or the overall aspect ratio.
Sega’s port of Crazy Taxi however, is different. As you can see the game is now presented in a true widescreen, 16:9 ratio, with the extra field of view being rendered and displayed, rather than the screen being stretched out to fit.
In addition, it appears that the game is also rendering in high definition this time around. Crazy Taxi is basically native 720p (1280x720) with no bordering, pillarboxing, or any kind of upscaling. What you get here is the real deal, running in HD business that Sonic should have been privy to.
Saying that, the bump in rendering resolution hasn’t really done all that much to improve image quality. CT has no anti-aliasing enabled, meaning that edges appear to be sharp and particularly prone to displaying jaggies. By the look of the above screenshot it's pretty obvious the overall look wont be quite as clean as first hoped.
I imagine though, that the game will be running at a flawless 60fps and with no screen tearing – it should be v-synced like Sonic Adventure, and that will be nice to see in HD for the first time.
How it will compare with the PC port is anyone’s guess, although at present it looks like playing the DC original on a progressive scan CRT TV or VGA monitor is still the best way to sample the game, seeing as the proper HD treatment has been a little unkind to the title’s aging art assets.
You can expect a full tech analysis as soon as we get our hands on the demo, assuming of course that there will be one.