Driver (video game)

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Driver
Driver Coverart.png
European cover art
Developer(s)Reflections Interactive
Crawfish Interactive (GBC)
Publisher(s)GT Interactive Software (PS1 and PC)
Infogrames (GBC)
MacSoft (Macintosh)
Ubisoft (PSN)
Gameloft (iOS)
Producer(s)Peter Hawley
Designer(s)Martin Edmondson
Writer(s)Maurice Suckling
Composer(s)Allister Brimble
SeriesDriver
Platform(s)PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Color, Macintosh, IOS
ReleasePlayStation
  • EU: 25 June 1999
  • NA: 30 June 1999
Microsoft Windows
Game Boy Color
Mac
iOS
  • WW: 8 December 2009[4]
Genre(s)Driving, action
Mode(s)Single player

Driver (known as Driver: You Are the Wheelman in North America) is an action driving video game developed by Reflections Interactive and published by GT Interactive Software for the PlayStation. It was released in Europe on 25 June 1999[5]; and in North America on 30 June. It is the first game in the Driver series.

Initially, the game was released only for the PlayStation, but later, a Microsoft Windows port of the original PlayStation version was released in North America on 11 October 1999, and in Europe later on.[1] In May 2000, a remake developed by Crawfish Interactive and published by Infogrames was released for the Game Boy Color.[2] This version featured a top-down view, and fewer missions. A Mac port was released in North America in December 2000.[3] The game was re-released on the PlayStation Network on 14 October 2008,[6] and a remake developed and published by Gameloft, with enhanced voice acting and graphics, was released for iOS on 8 December 2009.[4]

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay from the PC release, in the mission "Taxi!" during the "Undercover" mode.
The same mission in the iOS release. In this segment, Tanner is trying to scare someone sufficiently, indicated by the "Freaked!" meter.

The game is played out in four cities: Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, each of which remain only partially faithful to the actual city layouts. The game was notable at the time of its original release insofar as the player was able to explore each city as an open world environment.

Plot[edit]

NYPD officer and former racing driver John Tanner is sent undercover by his boss Lieutenant McKenzie to discover the intentions of a crime syndicate led by Castaldi. McKenzie instructs Tanner to go to Miami and meet a pimp named Rufus. After arriving in Miami, Tanner uses his driving skills to prove himself to some gangsters in a parking garage, allowing him to become their getaway driver.

Tanner carries out jobs for various gangsters before meeting Rufus, who tasks Tanner with rescuing Jean-Paul, one of Rufus’s associates. Rufus is later shot by his girlfriend Jesse. Needing more information for his investigation, Tanner apprehends Jesse and takes her to the police station, where she reveals that Jean-Paul is now in San Francisco.

Tanner goes to San Francisco, where he meets Castaldi, Jean-Paul’s boss, and begins working directly for him. He also meets Rusty Slater, his former racing rival, who also works for Castaldi. Tanner later learns that Castaldi is working with a man named Don Hancock, who is running for president. He later suspects that Slater has been spying on him and wrecks Slater’s car during a road chase, resulting in Slater being arrested.

The Castaldi family move to Los Angeles, where Castaldi plans to assassinate FBI agent Bill Maddox as part of Castaldi’s plan to carry out a more high-profile assassination in New York. Tanner tells Leck, a police associate, to ensure Maddox turns up, otherwise Tanner’s cover may be affected. The assassination on Maddox is successful, but the police ambush the gangsters, forcing Tanner to take them to safety. Tanner convinces the suspicious gangsters that Slater likely told the police about the planned assassination while under interrogation. Leck later tells Tanner that McKenzie recently met Marcus Vaughn, a corrupt FBI agent who is working with Castaldi and Hancock.

The Castaldi family then move to New York, the location of the planned high-profile assassination. Tanner is told by his police associates that McKenzie wants him to pull out of the undercover operation, as he is worried that Tanner’s cover will not hold up much longer, and Leck tells Tanner that Hancock has bribed several members of the FBI. Tanner remains undercover and continues working for Castaldi, intent on discovering what he is planning.

Tanner eventually learns that Castaldi plans to assassinate the President of the United States, and Tanner is tasked with driving the President’s car. However, he ignores all instructions and takes the President to safety. McKenzie then arrives and tells Tanner that Castaldi and all of his associates, including Hancock and Vaughn, have been arrested. He then tells Tanner to take his badge back, but Tanner refuses, suspecting that the police and FBI are involved in the job, corrupted by bribes due to Vaughn’s involvement. Tanner leaves, ignoring McKenzie completely.

iPhone/iPod Touch[edit]

In 2009, a remastered version of the game was released on the App Store. Developed and published by Gameloft, the original plot and structure were left intact, but the graphics were enhanced, the music was re-done, and voice acting was re-recorded for the cutscenes.[7]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
GBCiOSPCPS
AllGame3.5/5 stars[8]N/A4.5/5 stars[9]4/5 stars[10]
DestructoidN/A9/10[11]N/AN/A
EdgeN/AN/AN/A7/10[12]
EGMN/AN/AN/A8.3/10[13]
EurogamerN/AN/AN/A8/10[14]
GameFanN/AN/AN/A84%[15]
Game InformerN/AN/AN/A8.25/10[16]
GameProN/AN/A4/5 stars[17]4.5/5 stars[18]
Game RevolutionN/AN/AN/AA[19]
GameSpot7.4/10[20]N/A8.5/10[21]7.7/10[22]
GameSpyN/AN/A73%[23]N/A
IGN8/10[24]N/A8.9/10[25]9.7/10[26]
OPM (US)N/AN/AN/A4.5/5 stars[27]
PC Gamer (US)N/AN/A78%[28]N/A
Aggregate scores
GameRankings76%[29]81%[30]79%[31]88%[32]
MetacriticN/A83/100[33]N/A87/100[34]
Award
PublicationAward
Game Critics AwardsBest Racing Game (1999)

In the German market, Driver's PlayStation version received a "Gold" award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD) by the end of July 1999,[35] indicating sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland.[36] The committee raised it to "Platinum" status (200,000 sales) by the end of September.[37] In the United States, Driver's jewel case version for computers sold 390,000 copies and earned $3.8 million by August 2006, after its release in October 2000. It was the country's 42nd-best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006.[38]

Upon its initial release, Driver was met with very positive feedback and critical acclaim. The PlayStation and iOS versions received "favorable" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[34][33]

IGN's Douglass C. Perry said of the original PlayStation game, "In the history of driving games for PlayStation, there is nothing that comes close to the comprehensive, deep, and thoroughly pleasurable experience that's embedded deep in the heart of Driver [...] It fulfills driving enthusiasts' deepest desires to drive as fast as possible through major US cities and to slam into just about anything without any repercussions. In that sense, Driver is a dream come true." He went on to call it "one of the best driving games on any system."[26] Game Revolution's Ben Silverman was equally impressed, saying, "Driver excels where other games have failed by striking a perfect balance between action and realism. Car handling is a wonderful mixture of true physics and arcade functionality—not as nitpicky and sim oriented as Gran Turismo nor as ridiculously implausible as SF Rush. Driving follows the 'easy to learn, hard to master' formula [...] Rarely does a game captivate the stoic and hypercritical Game Revolution office, but Driver has done just that."[19] GameSpot's Ryan MacDonald was not as enthusiastic, saying, "Driver is a game that might be mediocre in its presentation but more than makes up for it in its gameplay and concept."[22]

IGN's Mike Morrissey praised the quality of the PC port and said: "Though the PC version of Driver is a fairly straight port from the PlayStation title released in July, graphic improvements are apparent, especially at resolutions of 800x600 and over with the details cranked. Though this requires a fairly fast computer, the effect is worth it. Smooth frame rates reveal nice textures for the buildings and surroundings, translucent water in areas of Miami, and of course, lens flare."[25] GameSpot's Erik Wolpaw was somewhat disappointed with the port, but this was negated because the original game was so strong: "Like many console-to-PC ports, Driver suffers from being translated verbatim and taking little advantage of the more powerful PC platform. However, Driver's core game design is so strikingly original and fun that it can be enjoyed without embellishment". They concluded that "It is addictive, intuitive, and fun, which are qualities sometimes overlooked in the industry's myopic pursuit of purely technical innovation. With Driver, Reflections has produced the definitive re-creation of the classic urban car-chase movie and has quite possibly introduced a new genre of driving game".[21]

IGN's Craig Harris praised the Game Boy Advance port's top down view and the controls and concluded, "I'm actually quite surprised at how well Driver turned out for the Game Boy Color. I was expecting a Point-A-to-B game like Grand Theft Auto and got a whole lot more. The missions have different elements to give the basic formula a bit more variety. It's missing a few details from the PlayStation version, but for what Crawfish had to work with hardware-wise, the development team did a great job."[24] GameSpot's Frank Provo was critical of the sound, but aside from that, he said, "Driver is smoothness personified. Driving around is fun and exciting, the levels are varied, and the side games really do improve your skill within the main game. Even without a battery save and a two-player feature, there's really nothing major to complain about."[20]

At the 1999 E3 Game Critics Awards, Driver won "Best Racing Game", and in 2002 it was ranked #12 on IGN's list of the "Top 25 PlayStation Games".[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Driver - PC". IGN. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Driver - GBC". IGN. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Driver (Mac)". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Driver - iPhone". IGN. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  5. ^ Computer and Video Games issue 212, page 46, EMAP Images, July 1999
  6. ^ "Driver Coming to PSN". Ubisoft. 6 August 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  7. ^ "Driver for iPhone & iPod". Gameloft. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  8. ^ Huey, Christian. "Driver (GBC) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  9. ^ Baker, Christopher Michael. "Driver (PC) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  10. ^ Williamson, Colin. "Driver (PS) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on 18 November 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  11. ^ North, Dale (17 December 2009). "iPhone Review Round-up: December". Destructoid. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  12. ^ Edge staff (September 1999). "Driver Review (PS)". Edge (75). Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Driver (PS)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 1999.
  14. ^ Bramwell, Tom (14 August 2000). "Driver Platinum (PSOne)". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 7 January 2001. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  15. ^ Mears, Rick (30 September 1999). "REVIEW for Driver (PS)". GameFan. Archived from the original on 24 May 2000. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  16. ^ McNamara, Andy; Fitzloff, Jay; Reiner, Andrew (25 October 1999). "Driver (PS)". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 20 May 2000. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  17. ^ Olafson, Peter (16 November 1999). "Driver Review for PC on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  18. ^ The Rookie (7 October 1999). "Driver Review for PlayStation on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on 12 February 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  19. ^ a b Silverman, Ben (July 1999). "Driver Review (PS)". Game Revolution. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  20. ^ a b Provo, Frank (25 May 2000). "Driver Review (GBC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  21. ^ a b Wolpaw, Erik (29 October 1999). "Driver Review (PC)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  22. ^ a b MacDonald, Ryan (9 July 1999). "Driver Review (PS)". GameSpot. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  23. ^ Ladewig, Bruce (17 October 1999). "Driver (PC)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 25 January 2005. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  24. ^ a b Harris, Craig (16 May 2000). "Driver (GBC)". IGN. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  25. ^ a b Morrissey, Mike (8 October 1999). "Driver (PC)". IGN. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  26. ^ a b Perry, Douglass C. (8 July 1999). "Driver (PS)". IGN. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  27. ^ "Driver". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. 1999.
  28. ^ Poole, Stephen (August 2000). "Driver". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on 16 March 2005. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  29. ^ "Driver: You are the Wheelman for Game Boy Color". GameRankings. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  30. ^ "Driver for iOS (iPhone/iPad)". GameRankings. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  31. ^ "Driver for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  32. ^ "Driver for PlayStation". GameRankings. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  33. ^ a b "Driver for iPhone/iPad Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  34. ^ a b "Driver for PlayStation Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  35. ^ "VUD - Sales-Awards Juli '99" (Press release) (in German). Paderborn: Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. August 12, 1999. Archived from the original on June 23, 2000.
  36. ^ Horn, Andre (January 14, 2004). "VUD-Gold-Awards 2003". GamePro Germany (in German). Archived from the original on July 18, 2018.
  37. ^ "VUD - Sales-Awards September '99" (Press release) (in German). Paderborn: Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. November 2, 1999. Archived from the original on May 26, 2000.
  38. ^ Edge Staff (25 August 2006). "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012.
  39. ^ IGN staff (22 January 2002). "Top 25 Games of All Time: Complete List". IGN. Retrieved 2 September 2014.

External links[edit]