The game puts the player in the role of John Tanner, an undercover cop who is chosen to work undercover due to his superb driving abilities. The missions are given to you by a mob boss. These missions can involve anything from tailing someone to see where they go or completely removing them off the road. As you play undercover you are no longer seen as a member of the law, so the police are always trying to stop you, adding a real sense of excitement. Your wanted level is measured in the form of a felony bar which increases every time you break the law; this also includes simple errors such as skipping a red light or speeding. The game does come with its very own speedometer. There is a single player campaign to play through in which you unlock different challenge modes to play through.
Single Player Campaign
The campaign begins with a compulsory tutorial level in a car park, which shows the player all the different techniques that can be used in the game, including burnouts and handbrake turns. Once the tutorial is completed, the player is plunged into Miami, starting off with various tasks such as being the getaway driver in a bank robbery, or delivering a fast and fragile supercar without damaging it. Tanner's work eventually takes him to other cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Once the game is finished there is a hidden level in Newcastle, England (as this is where the production team was from). This level isn't fully fleshed out and acts as more of an Easter egg than a real location.
In Driver, there are two different training stages, the first being the Car Park and the second being the Desert. The Car Park training is more of a close-quarters test of driving skill where you will have to preform such challenges as; a Burnout, using the Handbrake, doing a Slalom through support columns, a 180°, a 360°, a Reverse 180°, Speed, Brake Test, as well as complete a full lap around the outer perimeter. The player will be forced to play through and complete all challenges before starting the Single-Player Campaign and taking jobs from the "Get A New Job" option from the answering machine in the players apartment. The Desert course is more of a slalom course made up of cones and barricades where the player has to try and get through as quickly as possible, with as little damage to the car and as few penalties; from hitting the cones barricades, telephone poles or trees.
Take a Ride
From the very beginning of the game, the player can choose to drive freely, with no objectives, around the cities of Miami and San Francisco. Once the other cities are unlocked in the campaign mode, they are playable in this free mode.
In pursuit escape the player must outrun the police in a number of scenarios arround the various cities in the game.
Checkpoint mode features a series of checkpoint races around the various cities from the game.
In Carnage the player must attempt to cause as much damage do the environment as possible in various locations across the cities available in the game.
Often seen as a Grand Theft Auto clone, Driver differs in many ways. Firstly, the police are much stricter in this game than in the GTA series, often chasing you for running through a red light, or driving on the pavement for example. Also, the focus on driving removes attention from the lawbreaking attributes of GTA, as pedestrians cannot be hit, and the player cannot leave the car to cause mayhem. Another thing worth noting is the fact that Grand Theft Auto 3 was not released until 2001, two years after Driver's debut on the PlayStation One. Driver was one of the first open world, fully 3D games of its kind.