|Platform(s)||PlayStation, Game Boy Advance|
|Release date|| PlayStation|
Game Boy Advance
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Rating(s)|| ESRB: T|
Driver 2: The Wheelman is Back (named Driver 2: Back on the Streets in Europe) is the second installment of the Driver video game series.
Driver 2 expands on Driver's 3-D, free-roam structure, as well as adding the ability of the character, Officer Tanner, to step out of his car to explore on foot and commandeer other vehicles. The story missions are played separately from the take-a-ride mode where the player can explore the cities on his own time.
Missions in the game are generally vehicle-oriented, and involve trailing witnesses, ramming cars and escaping from gangsters or cops. A cutscene is shown prior to almost every mission to help advance the storyline, and thus the game plays rather like a Hollywood-style car chase movie. Although Tanner can leave his car and interact with certain elements of the environment, all violence takes place during pre-rendered scenes.
While the original PlayStation version offered a two-player split screen play, the Game Boy Advance version introduced a four player link option.
The story in Driver 2 follows Tanner, an undercover police officer, and his partner, Tobias Jones, as they track a man named Pink Lenny. Lenny is portrayed as a weasel in the intro, where he is in the Red River Bar bragging to a Brazilian about scaring somebody with his handgun. 'You shoulda seen the look on this guy's face', Lenny tells the Brazilian. Then a couple of real hoods walk in and shoot everyone in the bar, while Lenny cowers and prays in the back by the pool table. Lenny escapes out the back door and the chase is on. Lenny is a former money man for a gang lord named Solomon Caine, but has sided with Caine's rival, a Brazilian gangster dubbed Alvaro Vasquez. Gang wars are erupting in Chicago, and Tanner must find Lenny before the violence boils over. The game features a cold blooded hood named Jericho, with his twin sawed-offs.
Driver 2 includes four cities which are notably larger than the original game. The cities are Chicago and Havana, which are both immediately open for 'TAKE A RIDE' mode, Las Vegas, which can only be accessed once missions are complete for the first two cities, and Rio de Janeiro, only accessible after completing the Las Vegas missions. The cities all have secret cars hidden within them, which become available once the player finds the hidden areas where each car is located and approaches the respective vehicle to unlock it. The cities include many of their respective landmarks, such as the Navy Pier and Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Havana's Plaza de la Revolución and El Capitolio, recreations of the hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, and the Corcovado and some other known landmarks of Rio.
In a move similar to the first game, Driver 2 featured a soundtrack reminiscent of typical 1970s car movies, containing instrumental funk and boogie tracks as well as more popular songs by artists and composers, to further emphasize the retro feel of the game.
Background music for each city seems to match both with the car-chasing movie music and the predominant music styles of each city, for example, Havana BGM seems to be influenced by the Son cubano, Vegas BGM sounds with influences of North America's Western music and Rio BGM is influenced by samba and bossanova.
It has also been noted that one of the background themes for the Chicago missions is a note-for-note copy of Tekken 3's Paul Phoenix theme.
Cars in the levels themselves have approximately 5 or 6 seconds of looped music, in Chicago it is Rock/Electro Beat style and in Vegas it is Drum & Bass.
The licensed songs featured in the game are given below:
- "Sitting Here Alone" by Hound Dog Taylor- The opening scene of the game at the Red River bar.
- "Help Me" by Sonny Boy Williamson- Tanner arrives back at his apartment and confronts Jericho.
- "Fever" by The Dust Junkies- The first cutscene in Las Vegas with the trucks pulling into the gas station.
- "In The Basement" by Etta James- in a bar in Las Vegas where Tanner and Jones shoot pool.
- "Requiem" (the Lacrimosa part) by Mozart- The climactic scene in Rio at the base of the statue of Christ the Redeemer.
- "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition- Plays over the end credits of the game.
The game was first released on the PlayStation video game console and was later ported to Nintendo's Game Boy Advance. Because the game was so long, and cutscene graphics were somewhat advanced for that of the PlayStation era, the game was released on two discs. The first disc contained data for the first two cities, and the second disc contained data for the last two cities.
Reception of the game was mixed. Some felt it expanded on the original Driver and contained enough fresh content to be a worthy sequel, with GameSpot concluding "Driver 2 is an extraordinary game". Others felt this was not enough of an upgrade, or lambasted the graphics (particularly the framerate) and almost constant slowdown whenever the action on the screen got too busy.