Hard Drivin'

a game by Tengen
Genre: Racing
Platforms: Lynx, Sega GenesisGenesis
Editor Rating: 6.7/10, based on 12 reviews
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 2 votes
Rate this game:
See also: Racing Games

Have you ever had the urge to take a hot sports car to the limit? Now you can with Hard Drivin' by Tengen. This awesome driving simulator for the Genesis features a realistic three-dimensional view from the driver's seat of a high performance sports car. Arcade speedsters already know this one from the Atari coin-op of the same name, and it features the same colorful polygon graphics and wheel-spinning driving.

On Track

The radical racing takes place on a track that's actually two tracks in one, a Speed Track and a Stunt Track. If you take the Speed Track, you try to stretch the limits of your car's speed potential on 90 mph turns and long straight-aways.

ProTip: Pay attention to speed limit signs at turns. They're very accurate.

On the Stunt Track, you rocket off ramps, jump a draw bridge, and even turn a loop! Make sure that you pay attention to the speed limit signs for these stunts, or it could be disastrous.

  • Make sure your speed is slightly under 60 mph when you reach the drawbridge. Exceed 60 mph and you'll flip your car!
  • Watch out for oncoming traffic on the loop.
  • For rapid deceleration without losing control, run off the road. It slows you down much faster than your brakes.

Getting in Gear

Before you begin your wild ride, you choose your transmission, either an automatic or a manual. With the automatic you can concentrate on driving not shifting gears. If you're good enough, opt for the manual tranny. You shift gears by pressing Button C as the clutch and hitting Up or Down to work the gears.

Tracking the Phantom

After you've selected your transmission, you're ready to race! Take off from the starting line and when you reach the fork in the road, choose either the Stunt Track or the Speed Track. The speed track is definitely the easier of the two since you don't have tricky obstacles to worry about although the Stunt Track is much more fun.

Stay steady on the center yellow line for the entire race and simply swerve out of the way of oncoming cars. This way, you avoid cars running up hehind you, too.

If you make it to the finish line, and beat the posted time, you compete in a challenge lap against the Phantom Racer, a ghost car. If you crash a run out of off-road time (you only get 10 seconds), you lose the race! This might sound easy, but it's quite tricky since you race the Phantom on the Stunt Track.

  • The quickest path to the Championship Lap is to drive the fastest time you can on the Speed Track. There are too many ways to mess up on the Stun course.
  • Since the Phantom Racer is, well, a phantom, you can drive into or through him, so drive as it you're the only car on the road. A good strategy is to draft behind him and then blow by him just as you near the finish line.
  • For a change of pace, make a U-turn during the Practice mode and go backwards on the track. It's like an entirely new race!

For once, you can forget everything you leamed in Driver's Ed. Cut loose with this awesome Tengen title.

Download Hard Drivin'

Lynx

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Genesis

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Game Reviews

Once again, Atari's shrunk down one of its coin-op hits for the Lynx's tiny confines without sacrificing graphics quality or features. Hard Drivin' looks and sounds just like the original, but true to its name, it's hard to drive.

Drive Fast, Drive Hard

This is a first-person, out-the-front-windshield perspective driving cart where you wheel a cherry red Ferrari through a polygon graphic environment. It's more driving simulator than arcade racing game, and the laws of physics are strictly enforced. For example, you can't take sharp turns at 200 mph nor can you stop on a dime. Driving intelligently is more important than quick reflexes.

You can take on two tracks, the Speed Track or the Stunt Track. The Speed Track is rather tame, but it features sharp curves and heavy traffic, while the Stunt Track throws wide jumps, a 360 degree loop, and a huge indined U-curve at you. If you ever stray off either course, you have 10 seconds to get back on track before your car explodes! The objective for both is to qualify for a race-off with the Blue Phantom, the computer's personal racing champion.

Perhaps Hard Drivin's most fun feature is the camera mode which replays a third-person view of your car in the few moments before you cross the finish line-or crash. It's a morbid kick to watch yourself careen off an embankment and burst into a ball of flames!

Drivin' A Little Too Hard

Hard Drivin's no lemon, but it's got its kinks. The steering controls are sluggish, and the 4-speed automatic transmission, which requires pressing both Option buttons to use, has too many moves for one thumb. But if you don't mind working while you drive, take Hard Drivin' for a test spin!

ProTips:

  • Pay attention to speed signs on curves. Going faster than the posted speed is asking for trouble!
  • Maintain at least 60 mph on the 360 degree loop and the U-curve!
  • The Blue Phantom is exactly that-a phantom. You can easily pass through him or cut him off without fear of hitting him.

Gamers beware! This follow up to Hard Drivin' is not a driving simulator for the weak at heart! Oh, it looks tame enough from the outside, but once you get behind the wheel, get ready for the ride of your life.

Race Drivin' not only includes the original tracks of Hard Drivin', but it also features two new tracks and a "Buddy Race" as well as a variety of cars to choose from. The Autocross track is designed to help players perfect their driving skills by providing a vector-drawn pace car and a lap timer. The pace car is actually a recorded replay of the player's best previous lap.

With no other cars on the course, the track will challenge the players with 90-degree turns that will have to be negotiated under a certain time limit in order to continue play. Once you feel comfortable with the way the steering reacts, it's time to select the ultimate track, the Super Stunt track. This is an incredible combination of hairpin curves, high-banked turns, a super jump loop and more.

When you begin play, you start at the base of a high mountain. As you enter these dangerous roads, be aware of the posted speed limits--if you're not careful and you drive off the edge, you'll find out just how high you really are. The winding mountain road is followed by a jump that has not one landing but two. The lower landing is for those of you who chicken out at the last minute and hit the ramp at about 90 m.p.h. The upper landing is for those of you who are trying to push it to the limit. (You must hit the ramp going at least 110 m.p.h. if you want to make it.) If you're going too slow, on either landing, you'll get the chance to see what it's like to collide head on with a concrete wall. As you land, be prepared to slow down to about 60-80 m.p.h. because there's a turn, and if you're going any faster than that on the tail end of the turn, you'll go flying into the grass.

Immediately following the turn is your first checkpoint. A sharp turn that has to be taken at 60-80 m.p.h. is in front of a broken loop or jump loop. The best way past this is to hit the loop at 90-plus m.p.h., positioned as close to the edge as possible in the right lane, then hold the steering wheel as straight as you can. If you hit it wrong or let the steering wheel slip on you, you'll become a part of racing history. Not a pretty sight, especially when you look at it on the instant replay the game provides after a crash.

Provided you get through this alive, you'll be staring down the jewel of the game: the corkscrew loop. You have to hit this fantastic masterpiece at a speed of at least 90 m.p.h., and it's best to enter the loop on the right side of the road. There is no room for error on this thin stretch of road. If you do happen to fly off, the instant replay will take about ten minutes to watch.

Just when you thought you saw the end coming near, out of nowhere appears a monster of a hill. In the middle of this monstrosity, the road is actually perpendicular to the ground. It's so steep that after coming to a standstill near the top, you can floor it to try to make it over the top and find yourself going backward--while your wheels are doing 140 m.p.h. Going down the other side is no piece of cake either. If you do it wrong, you'll start to lose control of the car and begin a nose dive for the ground.

The final obstacle you must avoid isn't a loop, a jump or even a hairpin curve, but a car wreck. Yep, that's right--a car wreck. It seems that a truck and a car decided to lock bumpers in the middle of the road. To add insult to injury, You're in the middle of a tunnel and you must do your best S.T.U.N. Runner imitation in order to get up high enough to make it past the collision for your last dash to the finish line.

The Buddy Race is a first in video gaming. I can't think of any other video game that allows a second player (alternating) to go head-to-head with an image or playback of what the first player did. This allows two players to enjoy the spirit of competition against another player without the operator having to buy two separate machines. Which brings us to the other "Buddy Race." Using two machines, arcade owners can hook up two players by using the same type of cable that is used to hook up players on Final Lap. This helps to bring in a whole new thrill to the game.

In the one-machine/two-player game, the first player's car is a shadow or vector car just like in the championship race in Hard Drivin'. But in the two-machine/two-player mode, the car will be solid like in Final Lap. This means you can push your opponent off the road and do other similarly nasty things. (Unfortunately, Atari didn't have the machine-linking feature available at the time of this writing, but it assured us this enhancement should be ready by the time you read this.)

To make it around all the different tracks, you've been given a choice of driving vehicles to select from. There's a Sportster is the only one that you can also configure as an automatic. You'll have to experiment to see which car suits you on the various tracks. Even with all the intense driving in the game, there were a few things that bothered me about the game. The first thing was the wreck sequence. There seemed to be too much of a delay between when you went flying off the road--you know that you're obviously heading for a crash--and when you had a chance to start your engine again. The second annoyance was with the steering. Although there was an attempt to improve the handling to create a true simulated-driving experience, Atari went too far with tweaking the system. The end result is an over-sensitive steering reaction that makes it very hard to stay on the road in situations that you'd normally be able to get out of if you were in a real car.

Just the same, who cares! We're nitpicking to find flaws. The bottom line is that Atari's Race Drivin' is an incredible game that even non-driving game fans (like myself) will enjoy.

Driving or flying games such as Super Monaco GP and Air Diver can give you some idea of what it's like to drive at over 200 miles an hour, or to pilot a jet fighter. But neither game is a true simulator.

In a true simulator, you'd be able to spin your racer around and drive into oncoming traffic. You'd be able to turn tail and flee the enemy jet planes, or even nosedive into the ground. A true simulator lets you do almost anything in your video-vehicle that you could do in a real one. But this kind of freedom requires complex programming. It also requires more control functions than the two buttons on a Master System control pad offer. And although it's technically possible to design a true simulator for an eight-bit game machine, many game companies feel that the average videogame player just isn't ready for the depth and complexity of a simulator.

So instead, we get "track" games, such as Air Diver and Super Monaco GP. In other words, the vehicle in the game seems to run on a narrow track, almost like a train. Even Air Diver, with its loops and rolls, limits; your plane to a restricted pathway with slight allowances for steering left or right and up or down. It's like flying through a tube.

But now there's a new Genesis game that comes closer to being a real simulator than any other home videogame — Tengen’s Hard Driviri, adapted from Atari's arcade hit.

Hard Driviri is a stunning carracing game. You can choose either of two courses, the Stunt Track or the Speed Track. The Stunt Track is studded with ramps, banked turns, and even a loop. The Speed Track is built for fast driving — there are more straightaways, and the turns are more gradual.

But what really sets Hard Driviri apart from other racing games is the degree of control you have. You can actually turn your car off the track and drive over land, although you'll be returned to the track if you stay off-road for more than ten seconds. In the arcade version, this allowed you to take illegal shortcuts. But be careful when exploring — in some places there are invisible barriers that prevent you from straying too far. If you hit one, your car explodes.

With a little practice, you can venture pretty far off the beaten path in the time allowed. As you wander around, you'll notice that the bridges, road signs, and road-side features are all three-dimensional. You can drive completely around a house, for instance, and view it from every angle.

When you hit a road sign (you'll probably do this a lot, just for fun), it bends forward and stays bent. Even if you drive completely around the track and return to the sign, or turn around and drive the wrong way until you come back to the sign, it will still be bent. All this makes Hard Driviri seem much more substantial, as if you really are driving through a tangible, computergenerated landscape.

The ten-second time limit for off-road driving and the hidden barriers do impose some restrictions on your freedom, of course. Also, when you're playing in normal mode — competing against other drivers for the best time — you're required to pass certain checkpoints in a given time period. But Hard Drivin' has a practice mode, freeing you from timed competition. As long as you stay on the road, or at least return to it every ten seconds, you can explore at your leisure.

Another neat feature carried over from the arcade version is the instant replay. After you crash your car in an accident, you can observe the crack-up from a point of view just above the road. You may find yourself purposely smashing your car into other traffic or ramming bridge abutments just to watch the replays.

Unfortunately, Hard Driviri doesn't have the best graphics we've seen in a racing game, and the animation isn't the smoothest, either. But no other home videogame comes as close to being a true simulator. Hard Driviri gets off to a good start, and we can only hope for more.

One of the finest racing simulations to hit the arcades, Hard Drivin' on the Genesis really shows off the potential of the system. Using the same filled polygon technology as in the arcades the Genesis version puts you behind the wheel of a Ferrari and you can race either on the looped Stunt Track or the flat-out Speed Track. Should you qualify then move on to racing head to-head with the best time on record. Realistic 3-D type imagery helps simulate the real thing.

The Atari arcade classic comes to life on the Lynx with true filled polygon scaling and fast driving action. Choose the speed track or stunt track and test your skills in one of the toughest autoracing challenges ever!

  • Manufacturer: Tengen
  • Machine: Genesis

DOQQQ Tony Hsu of Roswell, Georgia, found a way to drive the practice race with other cars on the track. Play a game normally but intentionally lose. Then go to the option screen and select Practice Mode. There should now be other cars on the track. Thanks, Tony.

  • Machine: ATARI

Though it came out in 1989, this popular race-car simulation is still doing very well at the arcades. Among its highlights are fast polygon-fill graphics, great digitized sounds, an instant replay on any accident and a hazard-packed stunt track with a loop-de-loop and dangerous ramp jump. This game was so impressive, it was reviewed in Road and Track magazine.

  • Machine: Sega, Genesis

Hard Drivin' is a stunning car-racing game. You can choose either of two courses, the Stunt Track or the Speed Track. The Stunt Track is studded with ramps, banked turns, and even a loop. The Speed Track is built for fast driving - there are more straightaways, and the turns are more gradual.

But what really sets Hard Drivin' apart from other racing games is the degree of control you have. You can actually turn your car off the track and drive over land, although you'll be returned to the track if you stay off-road for more than ten seconds. In the arcade version, this allowed you to take illegal shortcuts. But be careful when exploring - in some places there are invisible barriers that prevent you from straying too far. If you hit one, your car explodes.

With a little practice, you can venture pretty far off the beaten path in the time allowed. As you wander around, you'll notice that the bridges, road signs, and road side features are all three-dimensional. You can drive completely around a house, for instance, and view it from every angle.

When you hit a road sign (you'll probably do this a lot, just for fun), it bends forward and stays bent.

Even if you drive completely around the track and return to the sign, or turn around and drive the wrong way until you come back to the sign, it will still be bent.

All this makes Hard Drivin' seem much more substantial, as if you really are driving through a tangible, computer-generated landscape.

The ten-second time limit for off-road driving and the hidden barriers do impose some restrictions on your freedom, of course. Also, when you're playing in normal mode - competing against other drivers for the best time - you're required to pass certain checkpoints in a given time period. But Hard Drivin' has a practice mode, freeing you from timed competition. As long as you stay on the road, or at least return to it every ten seconds, you can explore at your leisure.

Another neat feature carried over from the arcade version is the instant replay. After you crash your car in an accident, you can observe the crack-up from a point of view just above the road. You may find yourself purposely smashing your car into other traffic or ramming bridge abutments just to watch the replays.

Unfortunately, Hard Drivin' doesn't have the best graphics we've seen in a racing game, and the animation isn't the smoothest, either. But no other home videogame comes as close to being a true simulator. Hard Drivin' gets off to a good start, and we can only hope for more.

  • Theme: Race
  • Players: 1
  • Difficulty: Average

The highly recognized arcade title of the same name is now in 16-bit! You'll be able to drive through all sorts of tracks loaded with plenty of options and even an instant replay! Hit the cow!

The first of the polygon-rendered racing sims, the original coin-up took the arcades by storm. Just about every trick used in today's sophisticated 3D racers can be seen here with the notable exception of texture mapping.

Hard Drivin' is a faithful conversion of the 3D Arcade Hit from Atari Games. You are in control an hi-performance sports car.

Your objective is to race around the course as fast as possible and hit as many checkpoints as possible. If you hit a checkpoint you gain extra time to go farther. You will see traffic on the road both in your direction and coming down the opposite direction, so be careful when you pass...

The course has two sections: speed track, and stunt track. Speed track is longer, but you can usually achieve higher speeds. Stunt track requires you to perform several stunts such as jumping bridges, driving through a loop, and so on.

Crashing the car has no serious consequences and indeed shows a replay of your crash from a cinematic angle. Admire your crash head-on into the cement truck, or clipping the minivan, or flying off the bridge in the wrong angle... You lose several seconds as your car is "reset" and you get up to speed again.

The home conversions retained most of the then-advanced 3D graphics but lost the force-feedback that was in the arcade version.

The gameplay resembles a driving game, featuring a car similar in appearance to the Ferrari Testarossa. To separate it from other driving titles of that era, stunt loops and other road hazards were added. The game generally consist of 1 or 2 laps around the stunt track. In certain modes, you race against the computer controlled car, Phantom Photon. The game essentially challenges the players in a daredevil fashion and broke away from the norm racing games like Out Run or Pole Position. It can be also seen as a predecessor and possible inspiration for Stunts, a racing game with similar visuals, controls and tracks. It also featured a realistic manual transmission mode, in which the driver would have to properly operate the car as they would in real life.

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

Atari Lynx Screenshots

Similar Games

Viewing games 1 to 5