U.S. cover art
|Developer(s)|| Reflections Interactive|
Crawfish Interactive (GBC)
|Publisher(s)|| GT Interactive Software|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation, Game Boy Color, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, Playstation Network, iOS|
|Release date|| PlayStation|
NA June 30, 1999
EU July 2, 1999
JP March 9, 2000
Game Boy Color
NA April, 2000
NA September 10, 2000
EU October 13, 2000
NA December 2000
PAL August 14, 2008
NA December 8, 2009
|Rating(s)|| ELSPA: 15+|
|Media||1 CD, Download|
|System requirements||Windows 95 or Windows 98,|
|Input methods||Gamepad, keyboard, mouse, multi-touch (iPhone OS)|
Driver: You Are the Wheelman (or more simply known as Driver), is a 1999 action driving video game developed by Reflections Interactive (now known as Ubisoft Reflections), who had earlier hits with Destruction Derby in the early years of the PlayStation. It is the first game in the Driver series. Initially, the game was only released for the PlayStation, but Windows and Mac ports were released less than a year later. A special Game Boy Color version was also released, with top-down view, and fewer missions. In 2009, an iPhone/iPod Touch version was made available.
Tanner, an NYPD detective has gone undercover due to his unmatched driving skills (gained from his time as a race car driver). His mission is to gain the confidence of a crime syndicate's bosses by performing increasingly difficult driving missions such as stopping or following another car, smashing through restaurants, delivering a stolen car, or scaring a taxi customer.
Tanner's undercover work begins with him having to impress to some very lowly gangsters in a parking garage. He has to prove that he can do jobs for them by demonstrating his skills while keeping the car intact. After impressing the gangsters, Tanner is guaranteed a phonecall - he is now their wheelman.
Tanner's first mission involves a lowly bank job being carried out by a man named Art and his associates. Tanner works as their wheelman, before being called up to either drive a stolen car to a yard for a respray or helping a lowly gangster called Ticco carry out an assassination. If Tanner takes the stolen car mission, he works for Art in exchanging a briefcase for a key, but ends up being double-crossed and forced to chase the double-crosser across Miami Bay. If he takes Ticco for a ride, Tanner cleans up after a driver who left a stolen car out in the open.
Tanner then talks to a pimp named Rufus, who reveals that he is busting out an associate of his called Jean-Paul from an armored police car. After this job is complete, Tanner either smashes a group of restaurants for a gangster who has found one of the restaurant owners has failed to pay protection money, or he drives an extremely fast car to safety for a gangster who needs the car for a job. After this, Tanner is forced to pick up a supply of drugs for an operation.
Upon Tanner's return, Rufus is shot by his girlfriend Jesse. Tanner chases her as she tries to escape in a monorail. Tanner prevents Jesse from escaping and turns her into the police. During her interrogation, she gives up the whereabouts of Jean-Paul, who's in San Francisco.
Tanner leaves Miami for San Francisco, in an effort to find out more about Jean-Paul and who he's really working for.
His first mission is a casino job for some gangsters who have heard he is in town. After this, he meets an informant known as Mojo, who gives him information about who Jean-Paul is really working for, and a man named Rudi.
From here Tanner either aids in an exchange, drives stolen guns to a warehouse or aids in the robbery of a shopping mall. Following this, Tanner finds out Jean-Paul is working for a man named Castaldi. With him is Slater, one of Tanner's rivals from his racing days. Slater begins smack talking about Tanner, who proceeds to knock him off his feet. Slater points a gun at Tanner, but Jean-Paul strongly advises Slater to put it away - especially with a gun pointed in between his eyes. Castaldi tells Slater to back off and shut up.
Tanner then either aids a gangster in scaring one of his former associates by taking him on a bumpy taxi ride, or takes a pickup truck full of heavy-duty explosives to an alleyway while avoiding large collisions in order to prevent an explosion. If Tanner has scared the associate, he takes a local gangster called Cosy to a chopper taking him out of town. Alternatively, if he has taken the explosives across town, Tanner aids a group of gangsters left in the lurch in Chinatown.
Tanner later receives a phone call and learns that Mojo has been kidnapped - his captors want $10,000, otherwise they will take Mojo's life. They make Tanner work to save Mojo by forcing him to go to three phone booths in order to pick up instructions about where to go next. At the third phone booth, Mojo is saved and the money exchanged. Mojo reveals that Castaldi is working with a man called Don Hancock, who is running for president. He also reveals Slater's great hatred for Tanner.
Following this, Tanner is either setup by Slater and forced to evade cops as he heads home, or aids Castaldi in meeting one of his men called Ross and bringing him to an underground car park for a meeting. The rivalry between Tanner and Slater has become too bitter at this point, and when Tanner suspects Slater of spying on him, Tanner frames Slater by smashing his car in a chase, resulting in Slater being arrested by the police. Tanner then heads to Los Angeles to work directly for Castaldi.
Los AngelesEditIn LA, Tanner begins by either stealing a cop car for Castaldi's associates or bringing an associate called Lucky to the hospital after he is shot. Following this, Tanner either chases a double-crossing associate of Castaldi's called Duval and smashes him off the road, or gets Castaldi's girlfriend Maya to a hospital after she has overdosed on drugs.
Tanner then learns of Castaldi's true purpose in LA: a hit on an FBI agent called Bill Maddox outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Tanner later meets with Leck, a partner from New York and alerts him to the assassination of Maddox. Tanner orders him to make sure Maddox turns up or otherwise his cover may be rumbled. He also warns him that there is an FBI leak which is giving information to Castaldi about Maddox. Tanner picks up the assassins from a parking garage before taking them to the Theatre, where the hit is supposed to take place. The cops spring an ambush on Tanner, who then takes the gangsters to a safehouse near LAX. The gangsters are convinced that Tanner, the newest and therefore least trustworthy member of the Castaldi Family tipped off the cops, but he convinces them that Slater probably let the San Francisco Police Department know about the hit during his interrogation. Castaldi is hesitant at first, but he lets Tanner off the hook this time.
Tanner then either rescues Lucky from a gangster called Granger, helps some associates escape from a Beverly Hills job or tests the effectiveness of a safehouse by going to it to evade the cops.
New York CityEditWhen Tanner arrives back in New York, he begins by either making a switch at Grand Central or taking a very damaged car to a scrapyard for crushing before the cops can pick it up. Following this, he either takes control of a cop car to thwart a bank job or gets some gangsters out of trouble after they were pinned down by cops in a building after a bad getaway job. Tanner meets up with another undercover agent known as Skin, who tells him McKenzie wants him out. After this, he either brings a cab home for further jobs in the city or destroys a rival gangster's main car. Next, Tanner has to either wreck a car to retrieve photo negatives, or destroy four cars before they reach Castaldi.
Tanner then meets with Leck, who warns him that McKenzie wants him out because he is worried that Tanner's cover will not hold up much longer. Tanner ignores this advice, but tells Leck that he will let him know what Castaldi's main goal is. Next, either Tanner's lady friend Ali will call for help and Tanner has to bail her out of a situation or Tanner goes through a "Rite of Passage", told over the phone by Castaldi that if he does not beat Slater's time across town (7 minutes) then he is out of the final job.
Tanner then learns that the hit is on the President of the United States, and Tanner is forced to ignore all of Castaldi's instructions and take the President to safety.
After safely taking the President to the parking garage, Tanner checks up on him to see if he is okay. McKenzie, along with other police officers, enters the parking garage and congratulates Tanner on his outstanding work. He informs Tanner that Castaldi, Don Hancock and the FBI leak are behind bars, and offers Tanner his badge back. However, Tanner is infuriated that the FBI and police could be involved in the job, corrupted by bribes. He refuses to take his badge back and starts walking out of the parking garage, with McKenzie yelling at Tanner that this is his last chance. Tanner ignores him completely and leaves.
In a nod to the city where Reflections Interactive is based, a small portion of Newcastle upon Tyne was modeled and used in the end credits. Using a GameShark or Code Breaker (or after completing the game in the PC version), players can unlock the city and drive around. However, the drivable area is very small, and can be very buggy around the barriers.
The game is played in four cities: (Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City —which, like many games, remain only partially faithful to the original city layouts, but notably featured them as explorable open world environments.
The game was designed to mimic 1960s and 1970s car chase films. The title and the overall theme seem to be heavily inspired by the 1978 film The Driver by director Walter Hill. Most notably, the "Training" level at the beginning of the game is a copy of a scene from the movie in which the Driver (played by Ryan O'Neal) proves his skills to some gangsters in a parking garage. The music, overall character design in the cutscenes, and the cars themselves (complete with flying hubcaps), are inspired by films such as Bullitt and television series such as Starsky and Hutch. The game also features a "Film Director" mode, where a run could be replayed with cameras chosen by the player, and a "Quick Replay", where the cameras are automatically selected.
In addition to the "Undercover" mode, the player also had an option to drive around in the cities (once they are unlocked) and dirt tracks. There are several other modes, like pursuit, getaway, and checkpoint races. After the game is finished, several cheats are made available. Among them are invincibility, immunity to the police, and other cheats that add that extra "fun factor" to the game.
Differences between the PC & PlayStation versionsEdit
- Better graphics in the PC version.
- 2 cars not featured in the PlayStation version include a Ferrari 250 SWB and Ford Thunderbird look-a-like.
- Different soundtrack for both games.
- Different cheats for both games.
- The 4 main cities in the PC version are slightly different than the ones featured on the PlayStation version.
- Different cars can be selected at certain points in Undercover mode in the PC version.
- The maximum number of cops that can appear in Take A Ride mode is 4 in the PC version and 2 in the PlayStation version.
- Car selection available for Take A Ride mode upon completing Undercover mode in the PC version.
- Carnage game mode (smash as many things as possible within a time limit)
- Cheats not present in the PC version include Long Suspension (Stilts), Small cars, an upside-down camera, and rear-wheel steering.
- Cheats not present in the PlayStation version include Freight Train (cars don't slow you down), Play in Newcastle, Skip intro mission, and super speed for all playable vehicles.
- The PlayStation version has only two different types of NPC cars, where the PC has more
Licensed Music Edit
In contrast to the console version, the PC port featured a custom soundtrack licensed through music libraries instead of original compositions by Allister Brimble, this ended up resulting in a lack of variety for the musical environment, making the port highly criticized for dropping the original score in favor of copyrighted music.
Only one song present in the videogame is also used, the soundtrack features a variety of classic and contemporary funk artists.
- Main Title: "Huggy Bear" - Crispin Merrell
- Interview: "Punch Bowl" - Alan Parker
- Motel Room: "The Rally" - Dennis Farnon
- Miami: "Givem' The Shaft" - Chris Lang & Eric Cunningham
- San Francisco: "Testing Time" - David Lindup
- Los Angeles: "Subway Tunnel Chase" - Lati Kronlund
- New York: "Do Ya Feel Lucky?" - Crispin Merrell
- Desert Offroad: "Rough Ride" - Powerhouse
- Newcastle: "Hole In One" - Powerhouse
Reception and AwardsEdit
The first Driver game was met with very positive feedback and critical acclaim, unlike its sequels (Driver 2 garnered mixed reviews at best, and Driv3r was met with a very poor critical reception). IGN gave the game a score of 9.7 and Gamespot gave it a score of 8.6.
- E3 1999 Game Critics Awards: Best Racing Game
- Ranked #12 on IGN's list of the "Top 25 Games of All Time" for the first PlayStation console.
Nevertheless, the PlayStation version suffers from some glitches that the developers acknowledge and justify, because the game was pushing the boundaries of the hardware The game was also criticized for its overly-aggressive A.I. that makes completing certain missions impossible.