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Battle of the GTA clones

Driver: Parallel Lines
Atari | PS2, Xbox

The setup: Ditching the series' cop-hero Tanner, Parallel Lines is the story of The Kid, an up-and-coming getaway driver in 1978 New York who falls in with a bad crowd. After he's framed and sent to prison, the plot turns into a murder-revenge story when he regains his freedom in 2006 and sets out to murder the ones who wronged him.

The rides: A bunch of era-appropriate muscle machines. We especially like the 1970s cars, as their powerful engines pack a roaring, visceral kick that lets us know this game was created by true car fetishists.

The violence: Fairly low-key, but the game does have its share - particularly when the second half begins and The Kid sets out on a quest for bloody revenge after he's freed from prison. The actual gunplay wouldn't be half-bad if it was a little more discriminating about whom you were locked onto.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.