Last year, there was much hype going towards two auto-related movies:
Driven and The Fast and the Furious. It was strange for people to lump
these two films together considering the immense disparity between them.
Driven was much more about professional racing and on the simplest
terms, Driven had turns while The Fast and the Furious featured mostly
straight lines. Many people criticized Driven's director for
emphasizing too much on flashy camera shots and they claimed the actual
races were hard to follow. In the GBA rendition, there is a heavy
emphasis on the concept of team-oriented driving. This does not mean,
however, that if you get into the groove of things that you can simply
coast your way to victory. Driven is as much about high speeds as it is
about timely braking and tight cornering.
The title is separated into various modes from quick start Arcade
modes to a Story or campaign mode where you must re-enact some of the
events that happened in the movie. These include finishing first, of
course, but they also include being second while supporting another
player. For example, as Burt Reynolds says in the movie, you'll find
yourself in positions where you have to "hold up traffic". Still, in
general, there isn't much more to the touted simulation. Sure, there
are instances where you get to work with your teammates but like real
life, most people would rather be number one than number two.
There have been several pseudo 3D titles and interesting racing games
for the GBA. Driven, however, goes back to the tried and true top down
view, albeit with a twist. It is slightly skewed but the top down camera
doesn't exactly follow from the back of your car. It moves along the
track and at times, makes the more complicated tracks harder to follow
than it should be. That isn't to say avid racers won't be able to get
tracks down pat but I hardly thought a title of this calibre would
involve people memorizing things. This isn't to say the game moves at a
slow pace. The scenery, like much of the movie and actual races, zips
by briskly and the effects are not disorienting.
There are several game-related designs that help boost the fun factor of
this title. When you're in your vehicle driving around, the more tight
turns you are able to pull off and, in general, the better you drive,
you max out on a 'zone' indicator that is like a power-up meter in a
fighting game. The best way to imagine this is a lighter version of the
kudos system in Project Gotham Racing / Metropolis Street Racer. When
the meter is full, you receive a temporary boost to your attributes.
You can also select amongst six teams that come with a variety of
attributes. Perhaps the most entertaining portions of the title come
when you get to race in the city; complete with civilian traffic.
Cruising around at breakneck speeds in an urban metropolis has to be an
adrenaline rush on any platform.
All in all, Driven is a decent title. Despite its claims to be a
simulation, I found the overall feel of the racing to fit mostly towards
the arcade racers. However, the visuals are slightly lacking and
especially deficient for that crowd. It is ironic that Driven's film
franchise aimed to show what happens in-between driving in the
professional racing circuit but little of this has translated to the GBA
format. This lack of depth pulls it away from becoming an exemplary