Hard Drivin' review - Sega Megadrive
We've been waiting for it to appear for ages, but finally Atari's massively successful filled-3D driving coin-op has been converted to the Megadrive.
At first you choose either an automatic or manually-geared car. After that it's straight behind the wheel for some serious speeding. The idea is to drive around a track, reaching each checkpoint dotted around the course to add extra time to your ever-decreasing timer. Should the timer run out, it's game over, so the pressure is on for fast driving.
There are two routes you can take around the course - the speed track and the stunt track. The former is a fairly straightforward, but slightly longer course where you can really get your foot down. The stunt course requires a far more careful approach, with a loop-the-loop, broken bridge and some high speed banking to negotiate.
As well as concentrating on staying on the road, there are other road users to worry about. Cars and lorries travel around the track in both directions, so take care not to stray over the other side of the road!
If you hit any obstacle, a third-person perspective replay of your crash is shown, and you're put back on the road a little further back from the point of impact, resulting in precious time being lost.
What the Mean Machines staff thought
Hard Drivin' was easily one of the most innovative coin-ops of the late eighties: its filled-vector graphics and tactile feedback, as well as its original stunt tracks, caused a sensation in the arcades. However the Megadrive version cannot possibly offer that sort of excitement - and so the player is left with the bare bones of the game, so to speak. It's my sad duty to report that this conversion really doesn't cut the mustard. The car handles well and the update is fast, but ultimately the game lacks longevity. It's easy to finish the courses, and then what do you do? Finish them again? Megadrive games are expensive, so if you want to play Hard Drivin', go to the arcades and spend a few ten pees - you'll get better value for money.
Hard Drivin' worked well as a coin-op - the positive feedback steering wheel, realistic clutch controls and enclosed cabinet made for an enjoyable driving experience. However, on the Megadrive much of the coin-op's tactile appeal has been stripped away, exposing what is really a rather basic racing game. The 3D graphics are smooth, fast and impressive, and the game is certainly enjoyable for a while. But once you've mastered the tracks and beaten the Phantom Photon (which doesn't take a vast amount of practice) it all gets rather dull and pointless. Players who loved the coin-op will doubtless enjoy the action, but it won't take long before the novelty wears off.
Dan - 19 Feb 2009, 14:42 GMT
He he, this game was absolute garbage. One of those beautiful games thats sole purpose in life was so that we could mock those who purchased it. "Burgin's got Hard Drivin AND Super Bowling!" Ha ha ha!
yo_soy - 01 Mar 2010, 14:28 GMT
I can remember my brother punching a kid in the face for pronouncing the title of this as 'Hard Driven.' And serves him right.
Jaz's Sheep - 29 Jun 2010, 11:28 GMT
yo_soy, my hat is off to your bro, that is brollyant.