Driv3r (PC, PS2, Xbox) | Atari | 2004
The original PSone Driver was a classic. The asphalt-based, cop-evading action was fast, carefree and unapologetically fun. We still retain some gilt-edged memories (memory number 94, in fact) of recklessly racing around San Francisco's rolling roads, leading SFPD on a merry, tire-screeching dance.
The wheels went a bit wobbly for the next installment - largely thanks to technical issues and terrible on-foot sections - but when Driv3r, which Atari had thrown considerable amounts of money at, finally spluttered into the arena the entire chassis fell apart in comical clown car fashion before being bombarded with custard pies from most quarters of the media.
The game actually sold pretty well and even topped the charts in some countries (including the UK), but while some gamers did manage to find the odd spot of fun amongst the rust, Driv3r will be remembered as a game that spectacularly failed to live up to its hype, not even recreating a windscreen wiper's width of the original's appeal.
Above: Undercover cop Tanner looked OK on a bike, but on-foot he moved like someone had jammed a prop shaft up his ass
And Atari did shout from the mountaintop...
"DRIV3R is an action-packed driving adventure game that recreates the excitement of a Hollywood blockbuster car chase and plays like an interactive movie... DRIV3R stays true to its roots, incorporating the cinematic gameplay and gritty street crime of its predecessors with ground breaking graphics and three mammoth, wide-open city environments."
Lo, the critics were sad and did spit fire and brimstone...
IGN: "Even if Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, The Getaway and True Crime didn't exist, DRIV3R would be a disappointment."
PC Gamer UK: "A ferry I found at sea was empty of life. My murdering dozens of joggers in a busy plaza was met with indifference, and no police response. A man dragged from his car strolled away happily while I made off with his wheels. This is not a living city, it's a zombie town."
PSX Extreme: "In the end, all Driver 3 does is prove that a huge budget, tons of development time, Hollywood voice acting, and all the PR in the world don't necessarily mean a game's going to be good."
PC Zone: "While nowhere near as bad as the baying nerd community would have you believe, it would appear to be th3 3nd of th3 lin3 for th3 s3ri3s."