Developer(s) Reflections Interactive
Publisher(s) Atari
Series Driver
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Game Boy Advance, Mobile phone
Release date NA June 21 2004
EU June 25 2004
PC March 15 2005
Genre(s) Action, Shooter
Mode(s) Single-player
Rating(s) ESRB: M, T (GBA)
PEGI: 16+, 12+ (GBA)
Media DVD, Cartridge
System requirements Supported OS: Windows 2000 and XP
  • Processor: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or Athlon XP (or better)
  • RAM: 256 MB (512 MB recommended)
  • Video Card: 64 MB DirectX 9.0c-compliant with T&L support
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compliant (or better)
  • DirectX version: DirectX 9.0c or higher
  • DVD-ROM: 4x or faster DVD drive
  • Hard drive space: 2.95GB free hard disk space
  • Peripherals supported: gamepad
  • Supported video cards at time of release
    • NVIDIA GeForce 3/4/FX/6 families (Geforce 4MX not supported)
    • ATI Radeon 8500/9200-9800/X families.

Driv3r, more commonly known as Driver 3 (marketed as DRIV3R), is a racing, shooting, and adventure video game. It is the third installment in the popular Driver series and was developed by Reflections Interactive and published by Atari. Driv3r was released in North America for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox on June 21 2004. In Europe, it was officially released on June 25, although due to the way Atari shipped the title across the continent, it made its way into independent UK retailers before the release date, even making a #6 position in the ELSPA chart for that week. On March 15 2005, it was released on PC for US customers, it was also released on Game Boy Advance October 25, 2005. A scaled down version was released for the mobile phone in June 2004. At one point a Nintendo GameCube version was planned, but it was later canceled.

Driv3r brings back features from Driver 2 and adds the ability to ride motorcycles and boats, use weapons, swim, climb ladders, and enter certain buildings among other things.

Plot[edit | edit source]

The game begins in Miami, where undercover police officer Tanner, along with partner Tobias Jones, must infiltrate a crime ring specializing in stolen vehicles. A ruthless woman named Calita runs the Crime Ring, and there is a weapons specialist Lomaz, and Bad Hand. Tanner convinces them to give him a shot to work for them. Once he is accepted by the group, Tanner begins conducting various jobs for them, in pursuit of a total 40 stolen high performance vehicles.

The Outfit end up having a falling out with a local crime lord named "The Gator", which ends up with Tanner shooting him into the sea when Calita sends him and Lomaz to kill The Gator. The Outfit then moves their operations to Nice, France, and Tanner relocates as well. However, Interpol agents (Henri Vauban and Didier Dubois) have their own plans to take down the crime ring and are at odds with Tanner. Tanner decides to work the job his own way, which, in several cases, leads him into direct conflict with the Interpol agents.

In Istanbul, Turkey, Tanner is now working as a rogue agent. However, Tanner and Jones are able to find a number of contacts who lead them to the crime ring and its true leader Jericho (voiced by Mickey Rourke), a former hitman and minor character in Driver 2. Jericho once appeared at a warehouse while Didier Dubois was using a laptop, first stunning Tanner, who drops his gun, then confronts Tanner and shoots Dubois. A cutsecene later shows Dubois's partner Vauban tell Tanner "Dubois is in a body bag and the bullets are yours." Tanner then walks away and that ended his cooperation with the police force, forcing Tanner to escape to the nearest warehouse. A cutscene earlier in the game showed that Jericho had turned on his boss Solomon Caine and assassinated him in a hotel elevator, probably in retaliation for forming an alliance with his rival Vasquez at the end of Driver 2. Once it is evident that Tanner has found a way to stop the gang from selling the stolen vehicles, he is brought back onto the force and aids in stopping the sale. Following a car chase and violent shootout between Jericho's Crew and the Turkish Police, Tanner faces crime lord Jericho in a final showdown. After the long lasting gunfight between Tanner and Jericho. Tanner, who gains the upper hand, single handedly takes down Jericho. However, just when tanner is about to finish him off, he walks away. However, Tanner, not realizing that he is caught off-guard, is surprisingly shot by Jericho, who he tells Tanner "Mistake", before leaving both men injured and the ending of the game shows one of them flatlining. In the mobile phone game, Driver: Vegas, it is revealed that both men survived, and Tanner seeks revenge on Jericho.

Besides that, there is a reference to Tanner's survival in the following game. On a wall of TK's apartment in 2006, the player can notice graffiti that reads "Tanner Lives." Tanner may also have joined the NYPD Police Force in 2006 (Parallel Lines) as there is a photo of Tanner in one of the offices in the mission Bear Cage.

The Story in The Driv3r Booklet[edit | edit source]

A Gang of Miami Car Thieves attempts to ship 40 of the world's most expensive cars to a mysterious international buyer. Taking their pick of cars in Miami and the South of France, The Gang keep on the move and co-ordinate the sale in Istanbul, a City straddling both Europe and Asia. But in the Gang of Car Thieves, posing as a getaway driver, is Tanner, an obsessive and ruthless undercover cop, determined to stop the sale of the cars and discover the identity of their buyer.

You play the role of Tanner as you work both for and against the Gang of Car Thieves. You must use your skills in driving and firearms to infiltrate your way into the Gang and then work out how to stop them in time.

There are 40 stolen cars. They have a street value of $20 Million. But there is only one cop who counts. Tanner.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

The cars are nameless in the game, but all vehicles are modelled after the real automobiles. The official names were confirmed in some game guides including a 1969 Ford Mustang, 1975 Pontiac Firebird, Citroen CX, Aston Martin DB5, U-Haul Semi Truck, Ferrari Testarossa Convertible, Renault Alpine, Lamborghini Jalpa, BMW 507, Seat Ibiza, General Motors New Look Bus and a Lamborghini Countach. There are also 9 secret vehicles to unlock including a Ford GT40,Shelby Cobra, a go-kart, a Volkswagen Minibus, a hot rod, a forklift,a pre-war Auto Union race car and a Bugatti Royale.

In Miami, all vehicles are from the 1980s and earlier. In Nice the cars are of newer and the traffic is more like the present. In Istanbul the cars are from the 1950s and 1960s, including a 1961 Chevrolet Impala.

The vehicles in Driv3r are modelled to behave as in real life. For example, bullet holes appear when a car is shot, vehicles only take significant damage when the engine is hit, rims of blown tires screech against the curb, and individual pieces of the car can be shot out or can fall out after taking damage.

Weapons are unnamed in the game. Weapons' firing range and rate vary depending on their type. When the game starts in Take A Ride mode, Tanner is only equipped with one weapon. Other weapons can be claimed by seizing them from police and road gangsters who have been killed, or from hideouts or safehouses. Weapons vary from pistols to grenade launchers.

The PC version of the game has an extra mission called "The Hit". The Xbox version allows for custom soundtracks within the game, although the player cannot change the song track.

Connection to Grand Theft Auto[edit | edit source]

Rockstar North had started the rivalry with a mission in Grand Theft Auto III called "Two Faced Tanner" in which players had to kill an undercover cop who was "strangely animated" and "useless out of his car", a reference to Driver 2's game play (they even went so far as to give the pseudo Tanner a female's walking animation).

Reflections responded by adding tanned men with waterwings on their arms, Hawaiian shirts with faces similar to Rockstr's Tommy Vercettihidden throughout the game, as a mocking reference to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, whose characters were unable to swim. They were called "Timmy Vermicellis".

Rockstar responded to this in [Theft Auto: San Andreas]. There, in a mission where the player breaks into Madd Dogg's mansion, a person can be overheard playing a video game and making fun of the way the main character walks (Tanner's walking animations were often criticized) and asking how "Refractions" (a play of the Driver series' developer, Reflections) could have "messed up so bad." He also says "Tanner, you suck ass!"

Ironically, Michael Madsen, the voice actor for Tanner, provided the voice of List of characters in Grand Theft Auto III#Toni Cipriani|Toni Cipriani in [Theft Auto III], but did not provide the voice of Toni in the prequel, [Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories].

Reception[edit | edit source]

PlayStation Reception
Reviewer Score
1UP.com C [1]
GameSpot 5.4 / 10
Gamespy 5.2 / 10
IGN 5.4 / 10
Game Informer 6 / 10
Electronic Gaming Monthly 59 / 100

After an extensive and intensive promotional campaign, Driv3r was met with a poor critical reaction, with the vast majority of magazines and websites giving the game mediocre scores; IGN and GameSpot both gave the game 5.4 out of 10. [2][3]

Driv3r was criticized for Tanner's lack of hand-to-hand combat skills and meleé weapons. There were also criticisms for the poor implementation of the 'on the foot' missions. This was also a criticism levelled at Driver 2.

The game won the MegaGames.com award for Worst Game of 2005.[4]

Police AI vehicles were criticized for the use of "doublespeed", a way of cheating in which a pursuing cop would suddenly double its speed making it hard (if not impossible) for the player to escape. The AI can easily stem from the series' long use of rubberband AI. No matter what vehicles players can pick (either fast or slow), the police AI seems to always catch up and stay with the player.

Driv3rgate controversy[edit | edit source]

Despite generally negative critical reception, the game did receive some positive feedback, as two magazines published by Future Publishing (PSM2 & OXM) gave it 9/10.[5] Having played the game and seen the overall media response, readers of both magazines began to question the integrity of the scores, and a long discussion on Future Publishing's GamesRadar forum saw the mini-scandal dubbed "Driv3rGate" (adding the suffix '-gate' to the name as per media tradition owing to the Watergate scandal).[6] The affair gained a fairly large amount of coverage in the games press and on internet forums[7][8] and was still being discussed as late as 2008.[9]

Although a number of forums maintained that the magazines had come to a deal regarding publicity with Atari, no proof either way was ever cited and the scandal eventually simply died down.

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.