Driver was the brainchild of Reflections Interactive, who made a name for themselves with 1989's Shadow of the Beast, and previously Destruction Derby, also for the PlayStation. Like its predecessors, Driver was technically accomplished and ambitious in scope. Reflections aimed to provide a series of missions over four huge - by the standards of the day - cityscapes that one could also free roam around. And they pulled it off. Located here are renderings of Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. I can't comment on how accurate the road layout it (some sacrifice of detail is inevitable), but all the landmarks you'd expect to see are there. Though while it must be noted that Miami looks a bit sparse, this is made up by the detail on the subsequent levels.
Matters aren't perfect, however. The controls can be a touch twitchy and take some getting used to. Some of the missions are up against super tight time limits. And the cops, ugh. The police patrol the city at semi-random intervals, and have a tendency to come at you all sirens blazing if they see your motor make the most minor of highway infractions. Okay, weaving in and out of traffic at 80mph isn't smart, but there are plenty of frustrating moments when you're slowly squeaking by the cops and they go medieval because you press the accelerator a bit too much. The cops also go properly insane too. As your 'felony' bar fills up, the more aggressive and suicidal they become. Barrelling down the free way at top speeds only to have a copper in the wrong lane determined to smash you head on. Yes, it's the thing evasive driving is made of. And those times you've escaped a death-defying chase only to have the cops certainly turn up again five yards from the objective. Frustrating isn't the word.
All that said, Driver is a fun, superlative project. It might not be that well remembered today (despite having sequels relatively recently), but it was the wave of the future - not least showing GTA the direction it was due to go in from their third game onwards. But the thing that tickles me most about the game is its edgy creds, which are entirely faux. You can ride around and smash up cop cars if you wish, but the thing is, according to the plot you're not really a bad ass. Turns out you're a copper in deep cover determined to find out what the crims are up to, and this means undertaking driving jobs for them. Interesting that Reflections obviously felt that going down the amoral GTA route was something best avoided, even if the game's gangster glamour ends up enitrely affected and faux within the game world. What we're left with then is a homage to the car chase movies of the 70s and 80s - it's a shame they fought shy of the cheese when they could have embraced it.