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Hard Drivin'

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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' DOS title screen - VGA
Hard Drivin' Lynx The loop the loop in all its glory
Hard Drivin' DOS title screen - CGA
Hard Drivin' ZX Spectrum This is saying what a revolutionary simulation the game is, I think. Shame that after all the work of developing the game he writing is so hard to read.

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

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Amiga Feb, 1990 938 out of 1000 94
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) ZX Spectrum Jan, 1990 921 out of 1000 92
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Jan, 1990 90 out of 100 90
Raze Genesis Mar, 1991 86 out of 100 86
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Amiga Jan, 1990 10 out of 12 83
The One for Amiga Games Amiga Jun, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
ST Action Atari ST Jan, 1990 72 out of 100 72
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Genesis Feb, 1991 52 out of 100 52
Mean Machines Genesis Jan, 1991 51 out of 100 51
neXGam Lynx 2002 2.8 out of 10 28


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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 (20701), Guy Chapman (1743), --x-- (58548), NGC 5194 (17283), tbuteler (3025), Xoleras (66094), Martin Smith (63028) and Servo (55746)