Hard Drivin'

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Hard Drivin'

Hard Drivin'

Date added: 2014-09-30

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Game Information:

Hard Drivin' is a driving simulation video game developed by Atari Games and released for arcades in 1989. It allowed players to test a sports car on circuits that emphasized stunts and speed.

Contemporary home systems to which Hard Drivin' was adapted had far less computing power than arcade machines. These included the PC DOS, Amstrad CPC, Sega Mega Drive / Genesis and Atari Lynx. The Commodore 64 version was only released as part of the Wheels of Fire compilation. Mark Morris programmed an NES version, but it was never released. A ROM of the game can be found on the Internet.

The game featured the first 3D polygonal driving environment through a simulator cabinet, rendered with a custom architecture. The force feedback, car physics simulator, game design and most of the programming were the work of Max Behensky.

Hard Drivin' was released in 1988, when arcade driving games were implemented with scaled two-dimensional sprites and when solid (rather than wireframe) polygon graphics in games of any kind were rare (Pole Position and Out Run are classic examples of driving games using scaled two-dimensional sprites).

There was a second PC version (Hard Drivin'II) which was identical to the first one, but with visual track editor and serial port connection options to play between 2 PC's connected together.

The gameplay resembles that of a driving game, with a car similar in appearance to the Ferrari Testarossa. The screen shows a first-person perspective from inside the car, through the windshield. To differentiate it from other driving titles of the time, acrobatic looping and other road hazards were added. Generally, the gameplay consisted of driving one or two laps around the stunt track. In some modes, if the player was in the top 10, he competed against the computer-controlled car, Phantom Photon. In this race, it was possible to race in the opposite direction and beat the Phantom Photon at the start/finish line. The game challenges players in a reckless way and breaks away from traditional racing games such as Out Run or Pole Position. Stunts, a racing game produced later, has similar graphics, controls and tracks. It was also one of the first games to allow more than three initials on the score board, which enterprising drivers could use to build phrases during the game.

It also features a realistic manual transmission mode and a force-feedback steering wheel, in which the driver would have to correctly steer the car as he would in real life.

A notable feature of the game is the "instant replay" screen that is presented after an accident, which sets Hard Drivin' apart from most driving games of its era, which after an accident simply put the player back on the road, stationary, and let him accelerate again. Before resuming play after an accident, Hard Drivin' would show an animation of about ten seconds, titled "Instant Replay," which showed a wide overhead view of the player's car movements and surrounding vehicles up to the accident, with the player's car always centered on the screen. During the replay, the player could not change the on-screen action, but could interrupt it to return immediately to the active game. The replay continued about two to three seconds after the crash, showing a polygonal fireball and the movement of the car, including spins, flips or bounces against the obstacle hit. The replays add to the appeal of the game and motivate you to crash in spectacular ways to see them from the air.

Besides collisions, a non-survivable landing after going airborne (even if the car landed right-side up), or even going too far off-road, could cause a crash which would be replayed like any other crash, with the car even exploding into the same orange fireball. The game tracks the player's progress around the track by invisible waypoints (denoted by flags on the course map showing the player's progress when the game ends due to time running out), and after a crash, the car is placed back on the track at the last waypoint passed; this sometimes is a significant distance back from the point of collision. (One of the waypoints on each track was the marked checkpoint about halfway around, which when passed granted the player extra time.)

Hard Drivin's approach to collisions or unrealistic events—putting the car back on the road at a standstill—was the norm for driving games until later games such as Cruisin' USA and its successors introduced intentionally artificial physics to force a car to always stay near the road and land right-side up pointing forward.

After going off-road, the player has ten seconds to return to the road, or else he will be stopped and returned to the road, at a standstill, at the last waypoint passed (just like when a crash occurs, but without an instant replay).

How to play:

↑ = up
→ = right
↓ = down
← = left

Z = A Button
X = B Button
A = X Button
S = Y Button

Q = L Button
E = R Button

Shift = Select
Enter = Start

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