DRIV3R, the latest in the once-proud franchise is coming to PC, although after the debacle of its console release, we'd suggest you wait until our review before even thinking of parting with your cash. In the meantime you can sample the classic original - a prototype for the GTA-style mission-based car/crime adventure, only with more driving. There's no denying it's aged badly since its PSone debut, but it's still almost worth considering, if only to see what the Driver series could have delivered if it had lived up to its promise.
Driver borrows its gameplay straight from big-budget action flicks: Raying as a cop infiltrating a gang, you pose as a getaway driver and rampage through the streets, dusting cops, running lights, and taking shortcuts through white picket fences. In the Story mode, missions range from handling a bank heist to just getting in tight with the gang by posing as a taxi driver, picking up a suit, and driving like a maniac till your fare wigs out A huge assortment of pick-up-and-play mini-games, ranging from Crosstown Checkpoints to Survival, let you take these 70s muscle cars for a quick spin.
The handling's already really tight, too, as you can whip your ride through I80°s, 360°s, and more. The only downer is that Driver's strictly a one-player game, but with the developers of Destruction Derby behind the wheel, this one looks like a wild ride that gamers won't want to miss.
If you think GranTurismo's action is too sim-oriented or Need for Speed's is too high class, then GT Interactive has a gutsy bad-ass thrill ride for you. Driver is the latest V8 monster to rev up on the PlayStation, bringing Hollywood-style car chases to life. Set in the '70s, Driver puts you in the role of an undercover cop, Tanner, who is posing as a driver-for-hire in order to bust up a crime ring. Your assignment spans 44 missions through New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. Your goal in each is to make your appointed pickup successfully. Arrive too early, and the cops'll nab you; arrive too late...well, then you'll have to deal with the mob.
The preview of Driver played smoothly; each car handled realistically, and the action was intense. Graphically, the cars looked outrageous--vintage 70s muscle all the way--and showed appropriate damage when bashed up. The controls and sound were also right on track: You can go Dual Shock or digital, and the frenetic music and police sirens were already in full effect. Unless the final rev takes a nose-dive off the Golden Gate, look for Driver to crash home in fine fashion this July.
Driver slams onto the PlayStation with some of the hottest cops-and-robbers action this side of Starsky and Hutch. By combining the realistic racing physics of Gran Turismo with the devastating action of Destruction Derby (and adding lots of cinematic flair), Driver gives gamers an exciting thrill-ride they won't soon forget.
I LOVE IT WHEN A PLAN COMES TOGETHER
You're thrust back into the 70s in the boots of Tanner, an undercover cop posing as a driver for hire to take down a vicious crime ring. You'll perform a range of objectives over 44 action-packed missions through four cities, including San Francisco and New York, delivering cars, busting out criminals, smashing up restaurants, and more--and that's just in Undercover mode.
Driver features three additional fuel-burning modes: Training, Driving Games, and Take A Ride--and you'll burn rubber through each, cruising in the most fly rides to ever torch an interstate. There's even a film editor that enables you to piece together your best replays into a cinematic car chase, Hal Needham-style.
THE ACTION'S PURE DISCO, BABY
Driver's graphics are slammin' for the most part. From S.F. to Miami, each city is accurately rendered right down to the landmarks. Furthermore, Driver's hot rods look spectacular: All the vehicles, from the muscle cars to the cop cruisers, exhibit realistic details. You'll also take damage with every car you hit or wall you smack into: Smoke erupts from under the hood, hubcaps fly off, and headlights cease to function. Driver's biggest flaw, however, is the very noticeable pop-up in the background. Fortunately, it doesn't detract from the high-octane action or the frame rate.
Equally impressive are Driver's controls, which enable you to effectively burnout, take tight corners, and maneuver between other cars on the road. Because each vehicle handles realistically--just like those in Gran Turismo--it may take you a few practice sessions to get the hang of powersliding with the handbrake. Sonically, the roadsters and cop cars sound authentic. Meanwhile, the '70s-inspired soundtrack is cool, but in each level, except for moments of danger, the beat continuously loops.
If you're hankering for a Hollywood-style car-chaser, get behind Drivers wheel. Its cool story line, kick-ass muscle cars, and high-speed action make it a ride you won't want to miss.
- When blazing from one checkpoint to the next, use side roads. The longer you avoid detection, the less time the police have to form roadblocks.
- If cops are tailing you on a long stretch of road with two-way traffic, drive into the oncoming cars. The police may crash.
- When smashing into the restaurants in Payback. powerslide at an angle to avoid getting stuck and losing precious time.
- Cops will often lie in wait if you Just waltz to the door of your hideout. You're a sneaky crook, so think like one.
Driver's graphics are almost as powerful as the cars they're depicting: Each hot rod is accurately styled with 70s flair, and the environments accurately represent the cities. Though you'll definitely notice pop-up in the background, this flaw doesn't ruin the action.
The roar of muscle cars, the whine of cop sirens, and awesome collision effects create the perfect mood. The soundtrack is funky enough, but it could've been more fresh--each level's beat endlessly loops throughout.
All the vehicles handle realistically, and the controls are as tight as the rides you're driving. After spending some time practicing, you'll easily get the hang of burning out. taking tight corners, and weaving in and out of traffic.
Driver offers up quality car-cruising action with a cool story line and all the trappings of a Hollywood crime flick. If you've been dying for an alternative racing experience, or you still pretend you're B.A. Baracus on the weekends, get behind the wheel, fool.
So was is worth the wait? Well...yes. But Driver is a game that's not without its little problems. As an example of a "different" kind of racing game, it's tough to fault. The whole '70s cop show vibe is pulled off with tremendous style and the squealing tires, roaring engines and ludicrous smashing-through-boxes. Starsky and Hwfc/i-kinda chases make this a joy to behold. It's packed with options too. Not only do you get the "story" mode that has you infiltrating the mob as a getaway driver (which develops into an excellent )FK-style, mob-trying-to-kill-the-president thing)...but you also get some cool pick up and play modes. The finest of these is the Pursuit Mode. Here you simply have to chase after a single car through the streets of the city and try to ram him off the road before he escapes. It's simple, but so effective that you'll spend as much time with this "bonus extra" as anything else. But what of those problems? The gorgeous graphics seem to put a tremendous strain on the PlayStation, the net result of which is some terrible slowdown. Race around with a couple of cops on your tail and it feels like you're only doing about 3omph, which ain't that great. It also has some really bad memory card problems which can completely lock up your PlayStation when you try to save a game.
I've been looking forward to the exciting car chases of Driver for so long now. The fact that it has problems though has proven to spoil the experience. Don't get me wrong. It's a great game but the stupid glitches spoil what could've been perfect. The slowdown is somewhat forgivable--this is a fine-looking game that really pushes the PlayStation after all. What I can't forgive are the memory card problems, which crashed my machine several times.
I've wanted to play this game since it was announced some time back. And overall. I'd say it has been worth the wait. But you should be aware: The game isn't without problems. The frame-rate suffers in some areas which takes away from the high-speed feel of chases, and the difficulty should've been more gradual. Still, the story line is funny and interesting, the control is tight and the action and consequent crashes and flips are awe-inspiring.
Driver pulls off the '70s cop show theme quite well. The other thing it does really well is re-create the driving characteristics of a bloated old muscle-car. The body sway, spinouts, etc., it's all right on the money. With the physics in place, the rest is academic, lust playing the driving games (specifically pursuit) is a blast. Story Mode is decent but once you're done, you're done, not much replay there. Small glitches aside. Driver is definitely worth the money.
It's really surprising that no one has done this before. Virtually every cool action film and TV cop show has good old-fashioned car chases in them...so why haven't there been any car chase games?
Now there is...developed by the U.K.-based ® team that produced both Destruction Derby games for Psygnosis, it is one of the most impressive car games that we have ever seen. The player takes on the role of a getaway car driver, and the basic objective of the game is to meet up with criminals as they are leaving their heists and drive them to safety. Simple.
What makes the thing so impressive though is the fact that the chases take place in some of the most accurate modeled cityscapes we've seen on any system. The team apparently drove around each city and took video of every street to make sure that they got buildings in the right places. One guest at Reflection's booth at E3 felt so familiar with the map of Miami the team had made that he drove around and pointed out the apartment building he used to live in!
Despite the realism of the maps though, it's the tire-squealing '70s cop show-inspired action that really makes this game an exciting prospect. Tearing around the streets of San Francisco with loads of cops on your tail while weaving in and out of the sensible, law-abiding drivers and pedestrians of the city is a truly wonderful experience.
Driver has yet to be signed to a publisher--but from what we saw at E3 it's only a matter of time. Watch out for more news on this in coming months.
- MANUFACTURER - Reflections
- THEME - Racing
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
It’s time to relive some of those great car chase scenes you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. GT Interactive and Reflections present Driver, which puts you behind the wheel in an effort to outrun cops, gangsters, and the clock throughout four different cities. It’s going to be a difficult and bumpy ride so fasten your seatbelts and read on. You are the wheelman.
Driver has some very fun and interesting gameplay that will really challenge even the best gamers. The game is set up with several options for playing including Training, Driving games, Take a Ride, and Undercover. Training consists of two different missions designed to give you a feel for handling the car. The interesting part is that these missions are actually harder than some of the main missions in the game! Take a Ride is a better place to start as it allows you to cruise around one of the four cities in the game at your own pace. The Driving Games consist of Pursuits (catch up to and smash up your victim’s car), Getaways (put the pedal to the medal to escape the cops), Cross Town Checkpoints (cruise around town and make it through all the checkpoints in the shortest time possible), Trailblazers (follow a path of markers to the end before time runs out), Survival (much like a getaway, but with a lot more cops -- see how long you can last), and Dirt Tracks (practice laps or race the clock). All of the driving games allow you to enter your score on the scoreboard if you wish. Then there’s the main game: Undercover.
The Undercover missions consist of a storyline where you play an ex-racecar driver turned cop named Tanner who goes undercover as a Driver for various gangsters. There are a variety of missions that are similar to some of the driving games, such as pursuit, but most are timed checkpoint style. Surprisingly, the first mission in the game tends to be harder than many subsequent missions. After that, they are fairly easy and get progressively harder as you make your way through four large, different cities: Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. In fact, the missions get really difficult towards the end of the game and the last mission is just downright crazy. Between most missions, you will get a cinematic sequence to keep the story alive. In some cases it will bring you to your motel room where you have some options for saving or just driving around the city. Your "enemies" in this game consist of the cops, gangsters, the clock and various combinations of these. There are also environmental conditions such as driving at night and/or driving in the rain which will add to the challenge. If that isn’t enough, you also have to deal with general traffic. The general traffic patterns, including the way the police drive, is really bizarre. For instance, cars make left turns from the right lane and vice versa. They will often cut you off and do a ton of lane switching. In fact, it seems the only real traffic law they follow is stopping for red lights. Blaring the horn at these drivers seems to do nothing at all. With driving like this, why is it the cops are after ONLY you?
The control in this game does not seem to be handled nearly as well as it could’ve been. The back of the package says the Analog feature is supported in this game. Technically this is true as you can use the analog joystick on the controller, but it acts virtually the same as the digital controller. After some close examination, I did find that the analog feature is used, but the stick is not sensitive enough for you to ever notice it during the fast-paced gameplay. The lack of good analog support is enforced by a button that, when held in combination with the joystick/D-pad, immediately turns your wheels all the way to one side or the other. This button also helps immensely when trying to control the car. In addition to steering, you also have buttons for the gas pedal, brakes, hand brake, horn, and a button to do a burnout for faster, but harder to control startups. There are also different viewpoint controls such as looking to either side, behind you, or changing the player’s general viewpoint while playing. I found being able to look behind the car very useful in this game.
On screen information is simple to read and work with. You have the timer, if applicable, damage meter, felony meter, and the most important item: the map. The timer and damage meter are pretty self-explanatory. The felony meter will rise as you outrun and outrage more police or gangsters, thus encountering more and making them harder to shake. In most cases, if you can’t shake ‘em, you can’t finish the mission. The map on the main play screen allows you to see a small portion around where you are located. It also shows any police and whether or not they are chasing you. There is also a map of the whole city in the pause menu that is incredibly useful for seeing where you need to go and planning your route.
A nice feature included with this game is the ability to "make a movie" of your mission or drive by placing cameras at different locations on or near the car. When directing, you can switch cameras to give you the best angles possible for whatever is happening in the movie. When done making the movie, you can save it to your memory card so you can show it off later. Unfortunately, there is no feature for allowing you to select what car you want to drive either in the Undercover missions or any of the other driving games.
Quite nice, but pretty standard as far as PlayStation games go these days. There really aren’t any flashy explosions or incredible special effects, but this isn’t really that kind of game. The backgrounds in the game are photo realistic and look really nice -- when the buildings aren’t in the way. The cars, buildings, and people themselves have good detail. When cars get hit, the amount of damage caused is very apparent when looking at them.
This game has a pseudo 70’s funk soundtrack. Unfortunately, the only time you hear this is on the title screen. The overall sound effects and speech are done well, but the volume balance between the two is off a bit so you’ll find yourself turning up the volume to hear voices and turning it down when driving around. The game sounds themselves are pretty realistic, but nothing groundbreaking and consist mainly of A LOT of squealing tires, engine sound, police sirens, and crashing. The cut scenes consist of a variety of people leaving messages on your answering machine and "city" sounds outside
Memory card (can be used in either or both slots, 1 block per save game), Shock controller compatible, Analog controller compatible.
Given the style of this game, there should have been better analog controller support. With its variety of different types of driving games and storyline Undercover missions, Driver has a lot to offer. Overall, this is a difficult, but very entertaining game and will provide many hours of enjoyment and a few hours of frustration, which is why I give it a score of 84.
Your name is Tanner. A few years back you left professional stock car racing for police work. Now you’re going undercover to infiltrate the underworld's most powerful, most dangerous organization: the Castaldi family. You’ve turned in your badge and left New York for Miami, where your first contact awaits.
The criminal underworld has accepted you as one of their own and you have been hired to be a getaway driver. Speeding through the streets of real cities with working traffic systems, pedestrians, and motorists on the street and cops on the patrol. You are the best driver in the criminal community. You are the Wheelman.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Driver gives you total freedom while driving around town. When I first started playing the game I was impressed with how the game looked and played, but I didn’t realize how big a game this really was until I sat back and watched the game demos. It hit me like a monkey wrench, you can go wherever you want in the cities with no predefined tracks or anything of that sort. Now that is good gaming! How many games have you played where the cops try to chase you around and you can go through alleys, parking garages, and open playgrounds without hitting an invisible barrier? Not many.
I won’t bore you with some of the controls because I think everyone can figure out how to play a driving game. You have your gas on one button and your brake on the other. How hard can it be? Pretty darned hard! You must master the emergency brake and it also helps to know a little about the burn out also. Whenever you need to make a sharp turn at 80 MPH the emergency brake is a handy little tool. If you have to make a quick U turn, in a tight area, the burn out button is the way to go.
The graphics for Driver are just as good as any other driving game on the shelf nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, this game looks very good but I have noticed that the bar has been raised for driving games and Driver has just made the grade. Driver does have some of the best reflections I have ever seen in a driving game. There is a mission in Los Angeles where you drive a car in a thunderstorm and the road is covered in water. The road looks like a sheet of ice and it is simply impressive. While the reflections are great, the walls and backgrounds could have used a little more help. I noticed that there were a lot of buildings that looked exactly like the others and the sky didn’t have any depth to it.
I had the opportunity to play Driver on both the Sony Playstation and on the computer and I have to admit that the game looks just about the same on either platform. The PC version is a little bit crisper, but then again I am a little biased because I love my computer.
Driver sounded great! The music was funky and the sound effects were right on the money. I kept waiting for the Barretta theme to play or to see Ponch and John cruising around on their motorcycles. Who could complain about 70’s music blaring out of their subwoofer while driving around San Francisco? I guess I will have to. The music was far too loud. I tried to turn it down in the options menu but I don’t think it was working properly because it never did make it any softer. I then went to my desktop and turned the CD player volume property down for it to work correctly. The v2.0 patch solved many of the nagging sound problems and I would highly recommend that everyone download it.
The cars handle very realistically in Driver. The Camaro that you get to cruise around in seems to handle the best while the cop car that you steal while in Los Angeles seems to drive like an old wagon. I found it hard to steer around corners and it wouldn’t beat a VW bug in a quarter mile. C’mon, GT Interactive, where are the cops' Mustangs and Camaros? We all know that they drive them in California. Speaking of cops, they could have used a little bit of work. They seemed to have absolutely no regard for public safety at all and were relentless. They would run people off the road just to get a clear shot at you. Just when you thought you had dusted them another would show up on your radar or they would put a road-block in front of you. Although the road-blocks were easy to maneuver around I did notice that sometimes the cops would peel off and ram you as you tried to get around.
Minimum: Windows 95/98, Pentium 233, 80 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 4 MB 3D, accelerator card, and 16X CD-ROM.
Recommended: PII 350 Mhz or better processor, 165 MB Hard drive space, 64 MB RAM, and 8 MB or higher 3D accelerator card.
The documentation is more than adequate to get you started right away. It describes some of the different games you can play (pursuit, getaway, cross-town checkpoint, trail blazer, survival, dirt track, time trial, and carnage) and gives a few tips as to how to play the game. It also gives you a little storyline for the game (not that it is needed) and the basic install instructions.
The only thing that kept Driver out of the upper 90s was the fact that it didn’t have multiplayer support and the cops were out of control. If GT Interactive puts out an add-on pack for this game it will be a hot seller for a long time to come. (Hint) I think it would have been cool to have a Starsky and Hutch car also, but that is a different story.
Now this is a cool new idea for a racing game: As the driver of a getaway car, you have to haul ass from the scene of the crime, dodging pedestrians, running red lights, and, naturally, ditching those pesky cops. The catch is that you're actually an undercover officer named Tanner who's working to infiltrate a crime ring that's active in New York, L.A., Miami, and San Francisco. All four cities have been carefully reproduced in the game, so you'll recognize prominent landmarks or even back alleys (if you frequent them).
The game's set in the 70s, replete with a retro soundtrack and muscle cars that, GT says, handle realistically, take damage as you rub fenders, and even drop hubcaps when you rip around a comer. And because Reflections, the developer of the Destruction Derby series, is also behind Driver, this intriguing video game version of the classic movie chase scene has the potential to be a thrilling new racing experience.
Snapshots and Media
GameBoy Color Screenshots
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