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Hard Drivin'

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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' Arcade Transmission Selection.
Hard Drivin' Genesis Title screen
Hard Drivin' ZX Spectrum Then comes the game's main menu
Hard Drivin' DOS Title screen - Hercules Monochrome

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 (1842)

The Press Says

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) ZX Spectrum Jan, 1990 921 out of 1000 92
Génération 4 Genesis Feb, 1991 86 out of 100 86
Power Play Genesis Apr, 1991 61 out of 100 61
Amiga Joker Amiga Dec, 1989 61 out of 100 61 Genesis Jan 26, 2009 4 out of 10 40
neXGam Lynx 2002 2.8 out of 10 28
ST Format Lynx Dec, 1992 27 out of 100 27
Zzap! Commodore 64 Dec, 1990 20 out of 100 20
The Video Game Critic Genesis Jan 08, 2001 D- 16
Defunct Games Lynx Jul 24, 2004 6 out of 100 6


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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.


  • EMAP
    • Golden Joystick Rewards 1990: Winner Best Coin-Op conversion.

Contributed to by B.L. Stryker (20703), Guy Chapman (1744), FatherJack (48938), NGC 5194 (17313), tbuteler (3023), Xoleras (66218), Martin Smith (63134) and Servo (55836)