In Undercover mode, as
in Driver and Driver 2, you take on the
role of Tanner ("The Driver"),
a tough and ruthless undercover FBI officer
out to catch the bad guys. Quite how tough
and ruthless though is down to you.
is the story mode and the main game element
of Driv3r. Employing a linear, mission-based
structure, the story begins with a beautifully
crafted animation in which we see Tanner and
others (you don't know who they are, but all
will become clear) in a shoot-out with police.
How did it all come to this? Well, that is what
you'll find out by completing all the missions.
a gang of Miami car thieves is attempting to
ship 40 of the world's most expensive vehicles
to a mysterious international buyer. As Tanner,
you must infiltrate the gang, by gaining their
trust and respect as a getaway driver, prevent
the sale of the cars and discover the identity
of the buyer.
difficult? Nah, it's all in a day's work for
an experienced undercover officer like Tanner.
Experienced, I hear you cry! Don't worry, on-the-job
training is thankfully provided :-)
the animated introduction, you find yourself
at Tanner's home in Miami (see screen-shot below).
Your first mission is to travel to the Police
HQ for induction and weapons training.
you've ever played Grand Theft Auto (GTA) or
The Getaway, you'll immediately feel at home
as all three games feature sprawling city landscapes
as well as a multitude of vehicles (both on
land and on water) and weaponry to use and abuse.
The character control system is intuitive (although
slightly different from GTA which initially
caused some confusion) so you'll soon find yourself
running around hijacking vehicles and causing
mayhem before you know it.
before you step out of your plush Miami apartment
into the big bad world, I'd recommend familiarising
yourself with the on-screen displays. At the
top-left of your screen you'll find your health,
felony and damage meters. As logic dictates,
you lose health it you're shot, hit by a vehicle
or fall from a great height and when it reaches
zero you're dead. So it is worth trying to avoid
those. But fear not, as you can restore your
health by picking up health packs which can
be found dotted around... but never when you
really need one!
felony meter unsurprisingly indicates your felony
rating which increases every time you commit
a crime in view of an officer of the law. To
compound the problem though, as your felony
rating rises, the aggression of the police in
pursuit also increases until they become practically
suicidal (thanks to the game's bizarre AI -
but more about that later).
the felony meter is your damage meter which
rises as you plow your vehicle into solid objects
such as walls, lamp posts, other vehicles and
most bizarrely, bushes and foliage. Fortunately,
once you have destroyed a vehicle, you can always
hijack a new, fully working one.
the top-right of your screen, your current weapon
of choice is shown along with the number of
rounds and bullets available. Driv3r includes
a host of weaponry including pistols, machine
guns and hand grenades which are picked up as
you progress through the missions. Although
not obvious at first, your selection of weapon
at a particular point in a mission can mean
the difference between success and failure.
arguably more important than your weapon display
is the continuously updated map which can be
found at the bottom-right of your screen. This
shows your current location as well as displaying
the location of nearby police vehicles and indicating
the direction you need to travel during a mission.
you need to study the map in greater detail
(as it is quite easy to become disorientated
when you first start playing the game) at any
time, you can enlarge it by pausing the game.
passed your initial training, mission follows
mission in which you must learn new skills,
as well as use those you have already learnt,
to progress to the next stage.
general, missions can be classified as being
either "in car" or "on foot".
"In car" missions consist of chasing
somebody or being chased while "on foot"
missions have you running around using your
arsenal of weapons to kill enemies. Now after
such an exciting description, you'd be forgiven
in thinking that Driv3r is predictable and consequently
dull, however, you'd be wrong.
progress to the next stage/mission, you must
first achieve all of the requirements of the
current mission (usually a series of mini-missions).
This can be both frustrating and satisfying
at the same time, because unless you are like
my 14 year old cousin, it will take you more
than one attempt to complete each mission. Most
missions have some kind of twist which, unless
you are extremely lucky, will trip you up the
first few times. However, once you've worked
out how to overcome it you'll wonder why it
took you so long to work it out!
To make matters
even more difficult, you can complete the majority
of the missions in more than one way. For example,
in one of the early missions to capture a villain
from hotel apartment, if you go in guns blazing,
the target jumps in his car and drives away.
But if you try to block his exit, he drives
out an alternative route. Clever!
GTA, Driv3r strictly adheres to the linear mission
based structure which can be infuriating if
you cannot complete a particular mission (as
you cannot attempt a different mission and return
with a fresh perspective and/or weaponry).
However, should you return to playing Driv3r
after a break, Driv3r neatly summarizes your
progress within the Undercover mode using a
cinematic style animation. It is only a
little thing, but it shows that a great deal
of thought has gone into the production of the
though, it appears that no thought was put into
refining the physics of the vehicles, especially
those of the cars! As a driver for almost a
decade, I found the car dynamics in the game
completely unrealistic with oversteer a particular
problem (no matter what vehicle in use).
If you're like me, I sometimes
just want to go for a drive without the pressure
of having to complete a mission and this is
what the Take A Ride mode allows. Once you have
selected the city (providing you have unlocked
it in the Undercover mode), time of day, weather
and vehicle you'd like to drive, you can start
exploring or simply cause trouble for the locals.
well providing some welcome relief to the Undercover
missions, this mode is invaluable for learning
the layout of the city - each of which have
lots of hidden nooks and crannies.
the car dynamics as they are, this mode is also
useful to learn how each of the different vehicles
If you fancy a bit of light relief
from the Undercover mode but want something
a bit more challenging than the Take A Ride
mode, Driv3r includes a selection of driving
games for you to test your skills behind the
Chase: Chase and destroy the opponent's
car before the time runs out (which
is harder than it sounds).
Getaway: Ditch the cops in pursuit
in the fastest time possible. As in
the Undercover mode, the higher your
felony rating, the more suicidal the
Knock over a train of cones placed around
the city against the clock.
Survive as long as possible while manic
cops ram and try to wreck your vehicle
(again, suicidal cops are about with
no care or consideration for the general
public or your safety).
Race: Use the map to help you race
from one checkpoint to another in the
city in the fastest possible time. My
Race: Drive through as many cones
as possible against the clock. If you
hit a cone, time is deducted from your
total. Difficult, especially after a
Notice from MyAtari
Road Safety Department: Do not attempt
to drive a real car after drinking.
It's bad for you.
standard in most PS2 games, the Options menu
allows you to tweak the audio, graphical and
control features of the game. However, in Driv3r,
this menu also provides you with access to a
variety of bonus material such as the replay
management system where you can load, save and
delete any saved replays you made. OK, but nothing
has so many good things going for it. But sadly,
it also has some major and minor niggles which
spoil the overall experience. The three worst
offenders for me are: