The first game in the Driver series came from Atari and it debuted on the PS1. Looking back on Driver, it was a "pre-cursor" to Grand Theft Auto III with its gangster style and it's peek into the "criminal underworld." Driver '76 is a flashback in time complete with fly afros, bell bottoms, muscle cars and a really great soundtrack that's heavy on soul and R&B. Playing as a "wheelman" named Ray living in New York City, gamers are looking to collect a prize at the end of all the missions. In this case, it's not money or power, but the girl of Ray's dreams, Chen-Chi. The small problem here is that she happens to be the daughter of the biggest Triad crime boss in NYC, named Zhou, and it turns out her father's a little choosey about who she dates. It takes pulling off some big and not-so-big crimes for Ray to gain enough of a reputation to earn the right to date Chen-Chi.
Besides the missions, gamers can take a break from the action doing side jobs to earn cash to buy some cool cars and motorcycles and customize each of them with a decent variety of both cosmetic and mechanical upgrades. Gamers can use these cars in the game for regular missions and jobs, which is a cool added feature. Aside from single player missions, there are multiplayer options for head-to-head challenges with game modes like Street Racing, Circuit Racing and Carnage. Another option is to race for "pinks" by putting the vehicle's pink slip on the line so that whoever wins the race, gets the car. Driving some of those big old cars from the '70s is a challenge and a few of the cars drive like lead sleds, making it difficult to navigate turns without e-braking and leaving no room to 'finesse" a way through traffic. If cops are in pursuit, it can be really frustrating and it's almost better to try and plow through traffic than to try to make a sweet getaway. Police A.I. is uneven and at times it's way too easy to give the cops the slip, and other times the A.I. seems to keep up much better. The game also suffers from a bit of the "been there, done that" but overall, this is a good-looking game with a cool animation style that does a nice job of conveying that "badass" '70s vibe.
|Rating||3 / 5|
|Hot||70's detail, music|
|Not||Some cars drive poorly|