Driver: Parallel Lines

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Driver: Parallel Lines
Driver - Parallel Lines Coverart.jpg
The original Atari cover for all regions. Ubisoft's PAL releases use a completely different cover.
Developer(s) Reflections Interactive (now Ubisoft Reflections)
Publisher(s) Atari (PS2, Xbox), Ubisoft (Wii, PC)
Distributor(s) Electronic Arts (South America)
Designer(s) Gareth Edmondson (Reflections Interactive)
Ken Allen (Atari)
Series Driver
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows, Wii
Release date(s) PlayStation 2
  • NA March 14, 2006
  • EU March 17, 2006
  • AUS March 30, 2006
  • JP October 12, 2006
Xbox
  • NA March 14, 2006
  • EU March 24, 2006
Microsoft Windows & Wii
  • NA June 26, 2007
  • AUS June 28, 2007
  • EU June 29, 2007
Genre(s) Racing, third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, Download

Driver: Parallel Lines is the fourth installment in the Driver video game series. The game was released in March 2006 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox by Atari, Wii[2] and Microsoft Windows in June 2007 by Ubisoft.[3]

Overview[edit]

Diverging from previous Driver games, Parallel Lines takes place in just one city, New York, instead of multiple cities, although halfway through the story, the period setting of the story—1978 and 2006—is changed. Due to the underwhelming performance of Driv3r, particularly the often-derided on-foot sections, Parallel Lines returns to the formula used in earlier games in the series, focusing on driving, although shooting remains in the game. The game was received better by critics than the last game, though did receive some criticism.[4] This is the first game of the Driver series that does not follow undercover cop John Tanner.

Gameplay[edit]

Driver: Parallel Lines takes place in an entirely open world environment. Instead of choosing minigames from a menu as in previous Driver titles, minigames are now accessed from the in-game world. Many changes have been made from the previous game, including visible blood when someone is shot, a money system, fully modifiable vehicles, environment destruction (i.e., lamp posts can now be run over and fire hydrants can break, spewing water into the air), and a new felony system that differentiates between personal felony and felony "attached" to vehicles the player has used. If the player attracts police attention on foot or in a certain vehicle and then loses the police and enters a "clean" car, their wanted level will be suspended. It can be reactivated, though, by spending too much time in the sight of a police officer, who will eventually recognize the player as "wanted." The same principle applies to out-of-car activities, such as weapon use, and allows the player to holster a weapon in order to lose police attention until spotted committing illegal acts again. For the Wii version, the felony bar has been replaced with Grand Theft Auto-esque "stars" which light up when the player attracts police attention. Also, swimming and jumping abilities from Driv3r, were removed. The game also featured a new in-car menu on the bottom left hand side which featured a speedometer, a meter denoting how much nitrous oxide was contained in the car and an odometer which showed how many miles the player has driven in-game.

The game was originally intended to include online multiplayer, but this was scrapped when it became apparent to the developers that they could not deliver a strong multiplayer mode[5] and wanted to focus entirely on the single-player portion of the game. The instant replay film director mode of previous Driver games was removed from Parallel Lines. Instead, the only available cinematic mode is the fixed-perspective slow-motion "Thrill Camera."

There is a total of 32 missions in the game, 17 in 1978, and 15 in 2006. After completion of the game, the "Era Change" is unlocked, allowing the player to shift between 1978 and 2006 at any time.

The game's appearance changes significantly between 1978 and 2006. The player's character and pedestrians also change in appearance. Weapons are updated with more modern counterparts (such as the 1978 shotgun being replaced by a modern pump-action shotgun), and in 2006 modern vehicles are mostly seen on the streets (cars from 1978 are still available to drive, however). New York's scenery changes, quite significantly in places, and Times Square's lights and commercial posts change through the eras. Ray's garages are modernized accordingly as well.

Controls[edit]

The control layout differs slightly from Driv3r. There is no option to jump on the game. Also the use of a separate control to do a "burnout" as opposed to accelerating normally with no wheel-slip in vehicles was removed. This was practical on the pressure-sensitive buttons of the PS2 controller but meant that if the game was played using a PC keyboard to drive vehicles, that most of them would constantly do a burnout when accelerating at low speeds, reducing control. Also the "Auto-aim" feature, similar to the console versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was introduced on all platforms of the game, allowing easier target selection for shooting. A manual aim was also possible on all weapons, which zoomed in the view for greater accuracy.

New York City[edit]

The major features of New York's skyline, such as the Empire State Building, are always visible, even from the other boroughs across the river.

The interpretation of New York City in Parallel Lines is not GPS street-accurate like True Crime: New York City's Manhattan. Instead, the game presents a smaller but more stylistic version of the city that includes all the boroughs except Staten Island and parts of the New Jersey shore. The game's Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and New Jersey consists of 222.5 miles (358.1 km) of roadway, larger than the combined total of all three cities (Miami, Nice, and Istanbul) from Driv3r. The game's New York City is also more "life-like" compared to previous games in the series: vendors sell donuts, NPC pedestrians talk rather than simply grunting and screaming, and numerous side jobs (such as cab driving and car towing) are available. Several things have changed in the game from real-life New York, for example, New York Police Department has simply been dubbed into "City Police." However, the game completely lacks any kind of weather. The only atmospheric changes are the day-to-night cycle.

In 1978, the World Trade Center complex is present, along with New York City's many other landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Times Square, Central Park, Colgate Clock in Jersey City and the Flatiron Building, in both 1978 and 2006. Furthermore, despite not being built until the 1980s, the World Financial Center is present in both eras opposite the World Trade Center. In Brooklyn, the player can visit Coney Island. Downtown Brooklyn is also present but not accurate to its real-life counterpart. The game features all of New York City's major bridges except the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Whitestone Bridge, the Hell Gate Bridge, and the Throgs Neck Bridge. The player can traverse these bridges freely from the start. An elevated portion of the New York City Subway that runs from Manhattan to Coney Island is part of the game world, but the subway system is not accessible to the player as a means of transportation; although trains do run on the above ground railway system. In 1978, the player has access to the Austin J. Tobin Plaza of the World Trade Center. Whereas in 2006, the complex is closed off by a blue colored and glass wall. Also, one major difference between the 1978 New York and 2006 one is that in 1978, New York has a rather sepia tone to it, whereas in 2006 the sky has been blue-tinted.

Vehicles[edit]

Both eras included in the game have distinct styles of vehicles, although a few of the 1978-era cars can and do show up in 2006. The cars stored in the garage from 1978 can be used in the 2006 era and vice-versa. Although based on real automobiles, all vehicles in the game are fictitious, and are given fictitious names.

New to the Driver franchise is the ability to customize, or mod, the player's vehicle. Each vehicle can be upgraded numerous ways in Ray's Garage. Upgrades include custom body and paint jobs, although they are preset, increased engine power, nitrous boosters, bulletproof glass, window film and tunable springs, shocks, ride height, brakes, neon lighting, and downforce. A test track is available to "try out" the upgraded vehicles and making any necessary adjustments. The upgrades are 10x more expensive in the new era.

Plot[edit]

1978[edit]

18-year old T.K (The Kid) works as a getaway driver for a New York crime ring in 1978, escorting thieves robbing liquor stores, racing over the city and the circuit tracks. His good friend and roommate, Ray, a professional mechanic and a gambler, works as a mechanic in Hunts Point, where T.K has a room. T.K describes himself as "a country boy looking to make good", and he is new in New York, but quickly settles down after a few weeks. The story starts after another heist, where T.K escapes the police, and is relaxing when Ray arrives; he considers going deeper into the criminal world, instead of "always robbing nickel and dime stores."

Ray, going deeper, introduces him to Slink, an owner of the club in Harlem and a local drug dealer, whom he does low-level work for. He proves himself for Slink with his driving techniques and shooting abilities. He is then introduced to two other prominent gangsters, The Mexican and Bishop. The Mexican usually sets up races for him to prove his way as a driver, while Bishop hatches a plan to break an associate, Candy, out of Riker's Island prison, and gets jobs for T.K so he can get access to the prison like stealing a prison van and scaring a security guard so he would let him in the prison. Afterwards, T.K successfully breaks out Candy.

The gangsters form a collective, composed of T.K, Slink, Bishop, The Mexican and Candy, led by a corrupt undercover detective, Corrigan. Corrigan's organization wishes to start distributing cocaine in New York City, but a prominent Colombian drug lord, Rafael Martinez, already has a foothold, making it almost impossible to distribute, so Corrigan plans to have Martinez kidnapped. Candy proves himself with his planning skills and orders T.K to plant some bombs around the city.

After setting up everything for the kidnapping, Candy lays out a large, detailed plan; T.K first drives to a bridge where Martinez's convoy is supposed to follow, and blows it up to derail the convoy. Afterwards, he blows up one of their jeeps to weaken the convoy, and directs them to the vantage point by blowing up one of the passageways, and then waits in the alleyway to ambush the convoy. Afterwards, he takes the limo to the local garage where Corrigan waits.

As Corrigan planned, Martinez's henchmen offer the ransom money and T.K collects it, but Martinez's henchmen arrive, setting a trap. However, he manages to drive a bike across the rooftops of buildings, and enters the back of The Mexican's truck, and they drive to a warehouse meeting point, with TK having derailed Martinez's henchmen.

After counting the money, Corrigan changes the plan and shoots Martinez dead. Figuring that TK is insignificant, and that they need somebody to set up, Corrigan shoots him at the same time and leaves him to be framed and charged with kidnap, extortion, and murder, and Slink, Bishop, Candy and The Mexican leave, revealing that this was a part of the elaborate plan to escape with the money and that TK was a scapegoat from the beginning. TK is arrested sentenced to 28 years at the notorious Sing-Sing prison.

Incarceration[edit]

While at Sing-Sing, T.K plans vengeance upon each of the men who betrayed him. While he was incarcerated, Slink became a drug producer and a porno director, turning his Harlem club into a studio, a front for a huge drug business. Bishop became a drug kingpin (something like Martinez) who cooperates with Slink, expanding the drugs that Slink produces. Corrigan is now the Commissioner of the fictitious "City Police", funded by Bishop, Slink and Candy. Candy became a gangster who runs a prostitution and porn movie ring, an "empire of trash" by TK's words, distributed by Slink's movies, forming a strong ally that rules the town. But, in TK's words "only The Mexican has fucked up", who was dillusioned with the money. He detoriated, went bankrupt, and became an alcoholic low-life, working in an arcade room in Queens.

2006[edit]

T.K is released in 2006, 28 years later and now aged 46. With Ray's help, he immediately tracks down The Mexican in the arcade room and pulls a gun on him. The Mexican recognizes him, and pulls a shotgun on him, but TK chases him around town before reaching the Coney Island, where he kills him and his goons. His corpse is thrown out of T.K's car in front of Corrigan, who immediately recognizes him, realizing that TK is out of prison and seeking revenge against him and the others.

Afterwards, Ray introduces him to Maria Cortez, a 30-year old high-level gangster who works for Candy. TK does jobs for Maria in the hope of reaching Candy. He also gets info on Slink and Bishop to destroy their business to reach them as well with the help of Ray. However, someone is trying to kill TK, starting with blowing a car in front of Ray's Garage when they were going to meet Maria, another time when Ray built a car for TK to destroy Slink's business, once when TK was going to meet with Maria to prove her his driving skills by doing a job, and once when he sabotaged Bishop's drug operation.

After destroying Slink's pornography and drugs outlets, TK catches Slink in his Harlem-owned club and kills him in a car-chase. For Bishop, TK disrupts his smuggling operation. Bishop phones TK and offers him a chance to duel one-on-one, but turns up in an army tank armed with explosives. TK succeeds in blowing up the tank and killing Bishop. While on a job for Maria, TK finally gets to meet Candy, but he is quickly apprehended by Candy's henchmen and drugged. TK manages to break free however and kills Candy in a car-chase.

Corrigan then turns up at Ray's garage in Hunt's Point. He reveals that Ray has been working for him, and Ray set up the assassinations of Candy, Slink, The Mexican and Bishop, but only to secretly help Corrigan erase all of his connections to the 1978 kidnapping, so he couldn't be charged with anything in case one of the other four was arrested. Ray did this in exchange for money, because of his gambling problem and subsequent debt (something in which Ray always had problems). Corrigan is also the one who tried to carry out assassinations on TK.

Corrigan, now seeing Ray as a liability, kills him, then tries to kill T.K as well, but is saved by Maria who turns up armed, while Corrigan escapes. Maria reveals she is actually the daughter of Rafael Martinez, the assassinated Colombian drug lord, and that she worked for Candy to track the killer of her father. She figured it out that Corrigan killed Martinez, and that T.K was framed by Corrigan, and tells him that they should work together to catch Corrigan.

T.K and Maria start planning to get revenge on Corrigan, first placing a squad car with Candy's body in his parking space, blow up his office, put Slink's body in the trunk of his limo, and kill his body guards. Maria tells TK that Corrigan is placed in the witness protection program. TK arrives in front of his hiding spot, shoots the guards, but Corrigan escapes by helicopter. After blowing up a tunnel with TK in it, with TK narrowly escaping, he shoots down the chopper.

Corrigan survives, and starts crawling over the street, but T.K arrives with a gun pointed at Corrigan's head. Maria tries to stop him from pulling the trigger, telling if he wants Corrigan to suffer, he should give Corrigan to Maria, who wants more revenge than TK. In the end, he accepts, and Maria's henchmen take Corrigan into the car, as she leaves with Corrigan. TK looks in the sky, holsters his gun and slowly walks away.[6][7]

Characters[edit]

The Kid a.k.a T.K: An 18-year old driver prodigy and a wheelman in 1978 and 46-year old in 2006, he is a countryside kid that arrived in New York "looking to make big". He quickly got around New York and was a known wheelman, providing driving services to goons and criminals robbing "nickel and dime" stores, also winning in many illegal street racing schemes across town and on city tracks. He lives with Ray, owner of Ray's Garage, who provides him with contacts and also introduces him to Slink, and fixes his car daily. He drives a black Cerrano coupe in the game. He was arrested and sentenced to 28 years after framed for the kidnapping of drug lord Martinez. He was released in 2006 and got his revenge after Slink, Bishop, Candy and The Mexican after killing them all. He also worked for Maria, Martinez's daughter. He chased and subdued Corrigan, but left him to Maria to have her revenge.

Maria Cortez/Maria Martinez: A 30-year old woman working for Candy and who connects T.K with Candy over Ray. She is also Martinez's daughter, although he is unaware of it, and she is using Candy to find the man who killed her father. After seeing Corrigan shooting T.K and hearing his confession in Ray's Garage, she agrees to work with T.K to capture Corrigan. In the end, she takes Corrigan away and leaves T.K behind on good terms, avenging her father's death with torture-kill of Corrigan.

Ray: A 23-year old mechanic and gambler in 1978 and a 51-year old in 2006. He arrived in New York in 1975 and become a professional wheelman, but, by T.K's words, "had a wipeout, never drove again". He is making his living fixing cars and doing tuneups on them and owns Ray's garage, where T.K has a room. He also introduced T.K to slink. He has a huge gambling problem which causes him a lot of debt, and he is poor. His addiction gets the better of him when he is used by Corrigan to goat T.K to kill Slink, Bishop, Candy and The Mexican in exchange for money. He was killed by Corrigan in 2006.

Corrigan: An ambitious but corrupted police detective in 1978 and the police commissioner in 2006. He approached the group seeking to expand drug operations in the New York area, and had arranged to kidnap Martinez for ransom. However, he suddenly shot him, revealing that his plan was to take the ransom, kill Martinez to silence him, and leave T.K as the fall guy. He became a police commissioner in the 90's, and when T.K got out, he used him over Ray to eliminate Slink, Bishop, Candy and The Mexican in order to straighten his image and also to erase all of his connections to the 1978 kidnapping in case one of them decides to blackmail him. He was abducted by Maria at the end of the game to torture-kill him as revenge for killing Martinez, even though he encourages T.K to kill him quickly to avoid the pain, but he relents. It is implied that Maria tortures him to death.

Slink: An aspiring young drug dealer in 1978 and a drug producer in 2006. He meets T.K over Ray and gives him several jobs before meeting him with the rest of the gang, and also getting him a penthouse suite on Manhattan. He runs a club in Harlem. It was revealed that he was in the plan to kill Martinez and frame T.K. After his incarceration, Slink become a huge drug baron, manufacturing heroin, cocaine and ecstasy and distributing it with Bishop, using his Harlem club and his job as a porno director for a front. T.K, after leaving prison, destroyed his adult shops and disrupted his drug business, and confronts him in his studio. Although he escapes, T.K catches with him on Harlem streets and causes him to crash, killing him.

Bishop: Candy's colleague in 1978 and a drug baron in 2006. He meets T.K over Slink and asks him for his help in bailing Candy out of prison before meeting him with the rest of the gang. It was revealed that he was in the plan to kill Martinez and frame T.K. After his incarceration, Bishop became a drug lord, having a huge business across the U.S, and buying a huge mansion in Queens and also getting a trophy wife. T.K, after leaving prison, disrupted several of his drug shipments before Bishop called him to confront him in his mansion. However, he arrived with a huge tank. Still, T.K blows up the tank, killing him.

Candy: Bishop's colleague and a explosive and planning expert in 1978 and a strip club chain owner in 2006. He meets T.K after the latter bails him out of prison before meeting him with the rest of the gang. It was revealed that he was in the plan to kill Martinez and frame T.K. After his incarceration, Candy ran a business of distributing porn films and ran strip clubs. T.K, after leaving prison, worked for Maria and met Candy in his home in Queens. However, Candy's guards drugged T.K before he escaped. T.K catches up with him and kills him.

The Mexican: Slink's friend and a professional robber in 1978 and an alcoholic low-life in 2006. He meets T.K over Slink and asks him to prove to him with his driving skills before meeting him with the rest of the gang. It was revealed that he was in the plan to kill Martinez and frame T.K. After his incarceration, The Mexican, unlike the rest of the gang, detoriated. He started to gamble massively and lost all of his money fast, and all of his possessions. He become an alcoholic low-life working in a arcade room in Queens. T.K finds him there and confronts him, and the latter escapes to Coney Island, where T.K kills him and his goons.

Ricardo Martinez: A powerful Colombian drug lord with a large foothold in New York in 1978. Since Corrigan wants to distribute cocaine in New York, he arranges with T.K to abduct him for ransom money to start the business. However, as Corrigan pretends to release him after getting the ransom, he shoots him. It was revealed that his death was organized from the start to leave T.K as the fall guy. He has a daughter Maria, who avenges him.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
PC PS2 Xbox Wii
1UP.com C+[8]
Eurogamer 6/10[9]
GameSpot 6.5/10[10]
IGN 7.2/10
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 61/100 69/100 69/100 59/100

The game received mixed to positive reviews. IGN rated it 7.2, praising the return of the series to its roots, and mentioned that "It's still not perfect, but it's not broken either."

Eurogamer gave 6/10 mentioning that "There's not too much shame in trying to do what GTA does, of course (and at least it's not about bloody gang warfare for once), but while this is definitely a solid improvement on its dreadful predecessor, it needed to achieve a basic level of competence and build upon it, and it only does that to a very limited extent."[9] Gamespot gave it 6.5 calling it a competent GTA clone, but far from being recommendable.[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Driver: Parallel Lines features a mixed licensed and original songs soundtrack consisting of over 70 songs, ranging from 1970s-era rock and funk to modern alternative rock and rap songs. The songs play while the player is in a vehicle, as if they were on the radio. Notable groups featured on the soundtrack include Funkadelic, Can, Suicide, The Stranglers, War, Iggy Pop, Blondie, David Bowie, Parliament, The Temptations and Average White Band in the 1978 part of the game, and Public Enemy, The Roots, TV on the Radio, The Secret Machines, Kaiser Chiefs, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and LCD Soundsystem in 2006. The 1978 portion of the game also features some modern funk tracks recorded by session musicians especially for the game soundtrack. All music licensing and in-game composition was done by Nimrod Productions.

Also, the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions have the same soundtrack as the other versions but have a few extra songs. This is most likely due to the PC and Wii versions being released by Ubisoft.

Limited Edition[edit]

A limited edition version of the game was released along with the regular version. The special edition, costing slightly more, includes an extra DVD containing information about the production of Parallel Lines as well as in-game videos and character profiles. Also included with the limited edition is the official soundtrack, including twelve tracks from the game. The PAL version is dubbed "Collectors Edition", and does not contain the DVD, featuring instead the soundtrack CD and a metal case.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Driver: Parallel Lines on Steam
  2. ^ IGN: Driver Skids to Wii
  3. ^ Ubisoft Third Quarter Sales Report, Ubisoft Corporate Website, January 23, 2007
  4. ^ http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps2/driverparallellines?q=driver%20parallel%20lines Metacritic score: 69
  5. ^ Douglas C. Perry, Driver Parallel Lines: Progress Report, IGN, January 12, 2006
  6. ^ The Characters of Driver: Parallel Lines, GameSpy, February 21, 2006
  7. ^ Knowledge of Niall Murphy (2012)
  8. ^ Sharkey, Scott (2006-03-15). "Driver: Parallel Lines Review". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2009-07-03. 
  9. ^ a b Bramwell, Tom. "Driver: Parallel Lines // PS2 /// Eurogamer - Games Reviews, News and More". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved March 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "PlayStation 2 Driver: Parallel Lines Review". GameSpot. March 14, 2006. Retrieved March 7, 2009. 

External links[edit]