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Reviewed: Driver
Author: Chris Kim       Date: October 31st 1999
Page: 2

Driver as the name implies, is a game that puts the player in the role of a getaway driver for the largest crime family in the United States. The game simply involves Tanner, the undercover cop, in four major cities in the United States where the stakes and riches are the highest to track down the crime family. Tanner will travel through Miami, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles in search for the family. Rather than typical racers, Driver involves players to zoom through cities, like in Midtown Madness, but accomplishing tasks and missions while keeping a low profile on the police side of things. The game will take the player through cutscenes of unfolding storyline of intrigue and deception as Tanner uncovers all the facts about the crimes that are going on, helping out the crime to get the inside scoop on how to stop them.

Crusin' Down the Highway
Heavy Run In's
Don't Run!

Obviously, the game revolves around a central plot of Tanner trying to track down the Castaldi family from city to city, while pretending to be one of them. As it was stated before, the adventures will take Tanner through four major cities, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Each of the cities are very unique in their design and for the most part do follow the layout and design of how the cities really look and feel like. Miami is always near bodies of water with lots of boats and harbors and San Francisco has the patented trolleys and tall houses with steep roads to add the feel of really being in the game. As the game takes place during the 70's period, muscles cars and the disco fever is still running wild, with cutscenes having people all dressed up in the disco poofy hair styles and striped bell bottoms.

The game is mainly consists of Tanner remaining undercover and moving from city to city while uncovering parts of the Castaldi crime patterns and infiltrating their system by being one of them. In every city, Tanner will stay at a hotel room and missions will come in through there by answering machine calls of tasks that various thugs as him to do. From there, the player can just cruise the city for just looking at places and getting to know the city and various missions can also be accepted. As the missions are accepted, various tasks such as being a runaway driver, picking up guys from a crime and dropping them off, or chasing an enemy vehicle are common. But, because the game isn't a racing game, the regular faces of driving are existent, cops are on the loose, they will try to demolish the car that is running wildly, various hazards such as road blocks, sidewalks, and trees can get in the way, and civilian cars can get in the way of the timed missions. Wildly running from the cops is quite easily the biggest task that is put in front of the player, cops will always be trying to run the player off the road and crashing up the car.

Cutscene of Crime
Crusin' the Night
Following the Boat

The variety of missions found in the game is pretty nice, some missions will involve just arriving to a place, some will involve bashing a car into the wall and destroying it, and others will include picking up something and running it to a safe place. No matter what mission it is, they will always keep the player busy and excited about what hazards or things will happen on the way. See, the biggest part of the game is not actually doing what the mission asks, but avoiding the hazards and traps that await during the drive by of doing the task. Weather effects in various missions also affect the driving directly, the roads will be more slick so traction will be lighter than it is in dry day. So, tires won't screech nearly as much, and an increased stopping distance as well as skidding is increased. There are a total of around forty five different mission set across the four locations, which will keep even the most advanced players busy. But, the game gets increasingly difficult as the mission progress on, sometimes getting extremely difficult.

A game like this is obviously very wild and fast, but one cannot neglect to see that the physics are very accurate and well represented in the game. From the speeding jumps to the ricochet of five cars bouncing off each other, the game tends to lean towards realism in the way cars will react in situations. Blasting the acceleration pedal and gaining extreme speed will always lead to a burnout of tires screeching on the pavement, losing some traction. Cars will have effects of inertia from making extreme sharp turns. When blasting on brakes at high speeds, fish tailing will occur. Ricochet off of walls at high speeds against sides of walls will hit off an angle. When going high speed off of hills, lots of air will be caught causing the car to bounce wildly when returning to the ground. All parts of these physics will keep the excitement real.

Miami Hotel
Driving From Danger
Destroy that Car!

One very important part of the game is how the damage is scaled and modeled. The scale is drawn to pretty well in accordance to where the damage occurs on the car, certain hits will affect how the car performs from there on. If a car bashes head on into the wheels of the car, the hood will be blasted, and a huge dent is created, causing the steering to be a bit more difficult. But, the way that damage affects the car is a bit on the weak side, even when the car is almost completely damaged with the bar at almost full red, the car will usually drive just as well as it did when it was first driven.

Aside from the regular missions, there are also side games that can be played for enjoyment. There is the pursuit game, where all the player does is bash into a car and try to destroy it across a city. Getaway, where the player must just outwit a single cop by either losing it or getting the car severely damaged. Cross Town Checkpoint, where the racer must blaze across a city in the shortest amount of time from checkpoint to checkpoint, in a similar fashion to Midtown Madness. Trail Blazer, where the player must follow a path of cones and must knock over each one for increased time. Survival, where the player must survive the onslaught of several cops coming from several directions. Dirt Track that the player must race on a outback dirt road and get the best time possible. The last game mode is carnage whereby the player can cause as much havoc and damage to the city as possible.

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Added:  Sunday, October 31, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 2/5

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