Driver 2 for the GBA feels a lot like its Playstation sequel. This game is decent at best due to a good game concept but is flawed by bad programming. There are plenty of different types of missions but more often than not, you’ll hit a bug along the way.
The first Driver appeared on Game Boy Color where the player used an overhead view of the city. Unlike the first segment, Driver 2 uses a more realistic approach by using a camera behind the car third person view. Once again you assume the role of a professional driver named Tanner. Like in the Playstation version, Tanner can now get out of his car and roam freely on foot. This game takes place in a couple of cities and the player is given the freedom to travel wherever he wants. A free roaming feel and the ability to travel on foot brings in a sense of Grand Theft Auto, but falls short due to the absence of weapons and items. This game is based on completing many different driving missions, not shooting people. When playing this game you will not be worried about the story, as you will just feel the need to go from one level to the next.
The play control in Driver 2 needs some work. The “A” button is the accelerator, “B” is the brake and reverse, “R” is the hand brake, “L” is a horn, and Start brings up a wide view of the map. However, to enter a nonmoving vehicle, the player must press the strange button combination of “Up” and “R”. Instead of using this awkward button setting, the programmers should have used the Select button as it holds no purpose in the game. Or they could have gotten rid of the “L” button horn because it really doesn’t serve a purpose also. The instructions state that you can honk your horn at other drivers or at pedestrians to get them to move out of the way. However, no matter what you do, you can’t run over any pedestrian as they will always run out of the way whether you honk at them or not. The “L” with “R” combo lets the viewer see what is directly behind them. This is a good feature to keep an eye on the cops as they follow directly behind you. Also, there are many on screen meters that will help you with your mission. A radar is always on screen at the upper right. This small map is necessary as you will be constantly looking at it to find your way. The Damage and Timer meter are self explanatory while the Felony meter rises when you commit a crime in view of a cop. The more crimes you commit, the higher the bar will raise and the more cops will show up. The police AI can be extremely rough in most missions but you can tone it down slightly via the options menu. One of the biggest problems in this game is when you perform a turn, every single street junction is either parallel or perpendicular (bends at a 90 degree angle). Since all the turns are essentially the same shape and curve, the hand brake will be used most often. Because there are no curved roads, the game begins to feel a bit repetitive. As if the turning wasn’t bad enough, the camera begins to fail if you drive close to a building. The player will lose sight of his car and he will just have to guess at which way he is facing. To add the imperfections, one mission in the game is to pick up some clients then drive them to a destination. Immediately after picking them up, the game told me “my passengers fled.” I did absolutely nothing wrong, but the game seemed to think otherwise. I tried this level over many times but I still got the same response. This is just one of frustrating glitches that you will find in this game.
The music and graphics are nothing special. The sound effects and music remain very basic and plain throughout the game and don’t deserve any kind of special recognition as they don’t stick out in any way. The graphics, although slightly better than the sound, still falls a bit short. I give Atari compliments on making a free roaming game for a handheld console but the buildings and pedestrian cars repeat constantly. With only a slight change in color, more cars and different building structures would have been great.
The game does offer a multiplayer mode but each player will need a copy of the game. Cops ?N’ Robbers is a mode where one player is selected by the computer to be the robber. This selected player must drive away from the others while avoid being rammed off the road. In Checkpoint mode, each player must reach each checkpoint in the shortest amount of time. X-Town Race offers a race across a town where the fastest time wins. And a demolition derby style game is available in Free 4 All. All these multiplayer games are fun, but lose interest quickly if played with a limited number of players. This is best played with four people.
Should you buy Driver 2? I would say yes if you can find it for ten bucks. It is not worth $30 as there are so many more quality games out for the system. However, Driver 2 does offer some great new advances in the GBA’s history as it is one of the first games to offer a free roaming aspect. But the turning and camera are flawed while the graphics and sound don’t stick out in anyway. The multiplayer is fun but it is difficult to find another person with a copy of the game. Despite the glitchiness, Driver 2 isn’t that bad of a game if you can find it cheap.