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Driver 2

Developer: Reflections | Publisher: Infogrames
Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 11/13/00 | Genre: Driving

In a seedy warehouse in Central Chicago, a lower echelon mob boss is reviewing the daily activities with one of his trusted advisors. A 1991 Monte Carlo sits idling in the background, ready to shoot out the door at a moment's notice with a skilled driver at the helm. The mob boss speaks, in hushed tones.
"I need you to do me a favor. We have a big shipment coming down, and I want you to be there for it to supervise. It is a big deal, but I don't want you to do anything but drive there."

"Excuse me?" replies the bewildered henchman.

"That's right. Just drive there, and then, I will tell you to drive immediately somewhere else. "

"Ok, but doesn't that seem a bit weird?

"Yes, but that is the way this video game is designed. All you do is drive."

I have to be honest. This is the way I thought Driver 2 would shake down. How else can you make a plot out of just driving? Well, Sony seemed to be able to pull it off. Driver 2 was an action packed game with a good plot and very creative story writing. True, all you do is drive around the streets, but the game designers made sure to keep it interesting by throwing different twists into the story instead of you just driving from point A to point B.

I expected a game that would involve lots of furious driving around the streets of Chicago and you would encounter more and more difficult routes and heavier and heavier police resistance. Alas, this was not true! For instance, one of the tasks is for you to follow a car driven by the "enemy" and you have to keep your car a certain distance from your lead or you will fail the level. Quite innovative, I must say. The police resistance was a bit puzzling, but the game designers had to take some creative liberties to fit the actual plot of the game. Imagine if you will:

"Car 54, this is Car 76. We are in pursuit of a gray `91 Monte Carlo, license plate No IH8FUZZ. Car is traveling westbound on Lakeshore Ave. at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Please Advise."

"Car 76, you are instructed to drive excessively fast and ram your car into the suspect repeatedly until his car is too wrecked to drive or until your car bursts into flames."

"Copy that, Car 54."

Yep, this is how it works. The police ram you until you can't drive anymore, often risking their own lives to run you head on. That's right. They will jump across the median to meet your car head on.

The gameplay is a different story than the story. You are presented on your screen with two meters, one for the overall health of your car (Damage) and one for the amount of police resistance you have so far encountered. You complete various missions having to deal with (get ready!) driving your car around the streets. The missions are just challenging enough to keep you interested in the game, but not being so easy that you beat the game in one sitting. My biggest problem with the game is the extremely sluggish controls. I used the analog control stick to drive the car, and it was still very difficult to do small adjustments to the steering. Also, there are parts of the game where you get out of your car and you have to run to a specific point of the level, and it is impossible to get him to go where you want. I failed a level several times because I couldn't get my character to go where I want. Overall though, the game remains pretty faithful to the real physics of driving. Taking corners in the city streets was very reminiscent of Gran Turismo. Not quite as real, but the same general effect.

As a side note, the game had very impressive FMV sequences that were very well scripted and "filmed". They did help with the story part of the game, giving you some reason to aimlessly drive from here to there. The only problem I had was that the FMV sequences were very violent for the most part. Gratuitous shooting of grown men usually doesn't jive with what was generally advertised as a driving game. Parents beware! If you buy or rent this game for a younger child because of the driving aspect, stay at home for a while to skip over the scenes for them.

I liked the game. Accurate driving physics, interesting story, and a few innovative twists combine to make a pretty interesting game.

By Dave Hoekstra - 08/15/00
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Screenshots for Driver 2

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