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Reviewed: Driver
Author: Chris Kim       Date: October 31st 1999
Page: 3

One of the major downfalls of this game is the lack of multiplayer support. The game totally screams out for large gaming feasts over the internet, hopefully, a patch will address this issue.

Intelligence is a very strong point of Driver. Even on the easy setting, the cops in the game are not stupid. A lot of tricks and strong maneuvers must be made to outwit and outrun the police. Various skills of the police are to setup barricades and road blocks, ramming the player into the road of traffic, or cornering the player into a situation. But just like the player, the police are not supermen, and will make many mistakes. Sometimes simple moves such as 180 turns will juke out a cop, weaving in and out of traffic can cause cops to be lost. Multiple car pileups will not be uncommon. There are some mishaps with the AI on triggering siren chases though. A small crash into another car while in site of the police's view, will cause them to start flaming sirens in pursuit, while other times, when driving on the sidewalk and hitting down ticket meters and crossing a redlight insight of a police officer, he didn't seem to have a problem with it. With one extra AI issue added into the game is something that really was unique, rather than having stupid civilian cars, the civilians will actually attempt to avoid collisions and maneuver out of the way if possible. They will stop at red lights, sometimes they seem to have the smartness to give the right of way, just almost.

As said before, the game is extremely difficult even with the settings on easy. But, the game is a ton of fun to play. The game has over forty levels to play and should keep just about everyone busy. Then there are the additional sides games that are a nice addition.

Crashing Through a Store
Chasing in the Rain
Trolleys!

For the most part, controlling and pickup up the controls of racing games are fairly easy. This game is no exception with the relatively few controls used in the game, mainly consisting of accelerate, brake, turn, handbrake, horn, and camera angles. Moving the car around is responsive, handbrake works quite efficiently in making those difficult 90 turns and 180 spin moves during tight police chases. Turning the car to do the many maneuvers wasn't too difficult at all. The game works well with nearly all game devices, keyboard and gamepad alike, but the game tends to be a bit sensitive to devices that don't have an extremities control (i.e. keyboards, certain gamepads), and the sensitivity is a bit high. A joystick or steering wheel would be most appropriate for the fine tuning. An extreme settings like those found in Viper Racing would have been great, unfortunately, that game is the only one I've seen that has that control option.

Being a near direct port from the Playstation version that was released about a three month earlier, Driver tends to be on the console side of things for the interface. All the menus are accessed with repeated buttons presses and changing around graphics rather than a menu. Certain graphics will pertain to a certain option, but it does have text lettering to keep it simple.

Lost Damage
Running into the Law, Literally!
The Meaning of Handbrake

Another part of the game that suffers from being a near direct port of an inferior gaming machine (in terms of raw processing power), the graphics in Driver suffer a lot. Mainly, the textures and other graphics other than the cars are very underwhelming and look very inferior on the PC. The graphics look quite similar to the graphics found in the now three and half year old Road Rash. The building textures are all rather grainy and extremely repetitive, every few buildings is the same textures used over again. The ground textures are very similar in appearance, just some cleaning and smoothed textures are used from the Playstation. The FMV movies made a direct port from the Playstation version, but the FMV is very poor in comparison to other FMV found in other games, the motion is very clunky and choppy, as if they were poorly animated polygons, their lips don't move or are in sync with them. There is little animation or action in the cutscenes. The signs on the roads, stop signs and lamp posts, are sprite based, meaning that no matter what direction the player is facing, the stop sign will always be towards the player. But it's till a wonder why a Celeron 450mhz/64mb RAM/TNT 16mb would run so choppy and poorly at 800x600x16-Bit resolution on medium detail, so it'll probably take a powerhouse machine to run the game smoothly at anything above 800x600x16-Bit, even when the game does support 1600x1200x32-Bit resolution, the game doesn't receive much of an improvement.

One redeeming fact, are that the car models and damage system is fairly well done. The reflections off the car look very nice and enhance the feel of the game, even though the reflections aren't as nice as those found in Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, they still work. The damage that is on the car works fairly nicely, as the specific type of damage that was hit on the car is portrayed accurately. The car's headlights and signals will work, when turning, the turn signals will flash on and off. The lighting of headlights is nice too.

Trail Blazers
Talk About Hard!
Dirt Track Racing

Most racing games sound effects are all pretty much the same, collision sounds here and there, a consistent engine rumble that fills the air. There is nothing special in this game either to write home about. The music, as well, is a simple mix of various 70's style music that isn't heart warming or captivating. The voice acting of the criminals isn't very convincing or the best.

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Added:  Sunday, October 31, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 3/5

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