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Have You Played... Driver?

Before GTA3 let you get out of the car...

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Inspired by ’70s car chase movies I haven’t seen, Driver was about going undercover as a getaway driver and tearing down backalleys with a car whose backend seemed to have a mind of its own.

Despite not knowing its inspirations, I loved much of it. I had always preferred the Need For Speed games that had police chases in them, and Driver was a game entirely about the thrill of fleeing from the law. And here there was the added benefit that the law were driven by suicidal maniacs, who would smash into and over one another as they attempted to steer around the game’s cities. San Francisco, with its ridiculous hills, was the best, but all were full of trash cans and piles of boxes that demanded to be plowed through.

Best of all, it had a replay editor, which I’m not sure I’d ever seen in a game in 1999. It allowed you to choose camera angles and relive your car chases as a film director, long before Grand Theft Auto offered the same.

It feels like the Driver series was sidelined as soon as Grand Theft Auto 3 arrived two years later and allowed you to get out of the car, though the most recent, Driver: San Francisco, is worth playing for its fun car handling and bizarre coma patient story.

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Graham Smith


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