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Driver (Windows)

77
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Kasey Chang (3654)
Written on  :  Nov 23, 2000
Platform  :  Windows

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Summary

Initially a lot of fun, then you start to notice all the flaws

The Good

The chase are a real blast, lots of authentic-looking streets to drive through, excellent driving model, ability to save chase replays and edit them with the "director's mode", third-party mission editor

The Bad

Brain-dead AI for the cops, infinite cop respawn, some extremely frustrating missions with too-tight time limits, too many missions based on time limits, some multi-part missions with no end in sight and carry-over damage, cars are too "bouncy", strange physics bugs that sends cars flying hundreds of feet into the air when colliding near a wall, ridiculously hard initial "test", virtually impossible final mission, absolutely NO multi-player (not even modem or split-screen), lousy voice acting and goofy looking movies, console-style design that has absolutely no concept of a "computer mouse", only 8 replays slots and 8 save slots... the list goes on and on.

The Bottom Line

Driver is a game where you drive through game-ized versions of Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, avoiding cops and fulfill objectives. With plenty of streets to drive on, you can pick your own route, cut through grass, drive on sidewalks, drive on wrong side of the street... Anything goes, just don't get caught! (i.e. have your car smashed into immobility by the cops) While there's a backstory about you being an undercover cop trying to track down a conspiracy (which eventually involves the FBI, plenty of local police, the Mafia, and the President of US), the action is in driving, and just driving. You get messages on your answering machine in a hotel room, and by choosing which message you answer, you go on different missions. Most missions are time-based. A typical mission: Go to location X in 2:30 seconds, no cops following you at the end! The cars look authentic, and the streets look pretty good (if a bit repetitive), but all the streets intersect at right angles, making this part look MUCH worse than Midtown Madness. Though you'll be driving so fast you'll hardly notice. The cars you drive are 70's muscle cars, though they all have automatic transmissions and they handle not that differently.

The problem with Driver is the developers ported this from Sony Playstation, and they did a very lazy job. The game does not use the mouse in any way even though it would make sense to use that in the main menu (you have to use keyboard). The options are console-style "hit left-right to toggle through the choices" when it makes more sense to use "drop-down" on a PC. The initial version does not even allow mixed keyboard and joystick controls!

Driver could have been THE cop chase game with a bit more effort like ability to export chase movie to AVI, use mouse in the interfaces (including director's mode when editing the chases), ability to bypass missions after X attempts, little touches like that. As is, it's a game with great premise but lousy execution that should have deserved better on a PC.