Hard Drivin'

Critic Score User Score
ZX Spectrum
Commodore 64
Amstrad CPC
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Hard Drivin' is a 3D arcade hit from Atari Games. You are in control of a high-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 retain most of the then-advanced 3D graphics but lack the force-feedback that was in the arcade version.


Hard Drivin' Lynx You can see how far you got around the track after a race
Hard Drivin' Lynx Time waits for no man
Hard Drivin' DOS cars blend into the background with 4 colors - CGA
Hard Drivin' Genesis Main menu

Alternate Titles

  • "Hard Drivin' 1" -- Informal name
  • "ハードドライビン" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A major disappointment. Amstrad CPC Neville (2054)

Critic Reviews

Crash! ZX Spectrum Jan, 1990 92 out of 100 92
ST Format Atari ST Jan, 1990 84 out of 100 84
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Atari ST Dec, 1989 10 out of 12 83
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Jan, 1990 10 out of 12 83
All Game Guide Arcade 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari ST Jul, 1991 69 out of 100 69
Amiga Joker Amiga Dec, 1989 61 out of 100 61
GamePro (US) Lynx Nov, 1991 3 out of 5 60
Video Games Genesis Mar, 1991 57 out of 100 57
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Lynx Nov, 1991 4 out of 12 33


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Cancelled NES port

A NES port was planned, programmed by Mark Morris, but was eventually not released.


In 2007, Midway holds the rights to this game, a lucrative deal as it includes a series of patents to the concept of recorded "ghosts" in racing games. These are recordings of a certain racing session, shown in a new game allowing players to race against and compare their best times. New games that want to use this feature have to license it from Midway: #5,577,913, a "System and Method for Driver Training With Multiple Driver Competition".

Sega Genesis cover artwork

If you look carefully, the rear license plate of the car reads "10-GEN". You might think that the "GEN" references the Genesis platform, but the full vanity plate text phonetically reproduces the name of Tengen, Atari Games' home console division and developers of this port.


  • Commodore Format
    • November 1994 (Issue 50) – #4 The Bottom 10
  • EMAP
    • Golden Joystick Rewards 1990: Winner Best Coin-Op conversion.

Contributed to by B.L. Stryker (20702), Guy Chapman (1743), --x-- (58535), NGC 5194 (17288), tbuteler (3025), Xoleras (66095), Martin Smith (63030) and Servo (55759)