Wonky car physics and dumb police can't slow down this fun ride.
Driver was one of the original PlayStation's best titles. This fast-paced game reminded us of the old days of 70s/80s car chases. Well, it's time to relive those days again with Gameloft's faithful, yet slightly faulty, port of Driver for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
You play Tanner, an undercover cop covertly working with a criminal organization. You take up employment as a getaway driver, completing jobs through four major cities: New York, San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles. As you proceed through the story, you'll avoid police while learning more about the organization, gathering info to turn the tables.
Throughout most of the game, you'll perform criminal acts in your vehicle, such as escaping police custody and high-tailing it through city intersections and over speed bumps. The gameplay is great, utilizing the iPod Touch/iPhone's tilt functionality for steering. On-screen buttons let you easily hit the gas, pump the brake, use turbo or pull the emergency brake, should you need to make a sudden stop.
That said, it's not a smooth ride. The physics are a little off, particularly when you run into objects. We have yet to see a car slam into a building in real life and drive away successfully, but here it's commonplace. Even worse, the police A.I. isn't well adjusted. Half the time, they're right on your tail, ramming you without much concern for the innocent civilians. The other half, they're so dimwitted that you can slip past three of them with little damage. Gameloft should consider improving their intelligence with a downloadable patch.
On the other hand, the company did an outstanding job with Driver's visuals. It took the old PSOne engine and upgraded it to almost an entirely new level, with well-designed cities, outstanding lighting effects, a (mostly) fast frame rate and an easy-to-see heads-up display, indicating your damage and felony ranking against pursuing police officers. The cars look great too, especially going into a drift, with smoke emerging from the tires and panicked citizens jumping out of your way.
Better yet, the music is awesome. Driver features three radio stations to choose from, all funkified and fresh with different beats. In addition, the sound effects aren't bad, with plenty of car collision noises and squealing tires. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it suits the game.
Had the physics not been off and the computer so confused, Driver would've been an instant classic for the iPhone. As it stands, it's a game with flaws that could possibly be hard for you to overlook, especially for seven bucks. However, if you're a fan of the original or always wanted to get your Starsky and Hutch on, accelerate your way to the App Store.
What's Hot: Great tilt-based controls, looks even better than the PSOne original, four massive cities, funky soundtrack with three radio stations to choose from, exciting chases.
What's Not: Questionable car physics, police A.I. waivers between relentless and dumb, pricier than most iPhone driving games.