By: Jared Black
was a terrible movie, and the PS2 game bearing the same name was
even worse in comparison. While it was technically sound (but not
spectacular), some questionable design decisions and a lethal
combination of sim and arcade aspects resulted in a big unplayable
mess. Luckily for GBA owners, this version is a whole lot better
than that wreck, but itís not without itís own problems.
The main reason
that this version succeeds where itís PS2 brethren fails is
because it keeps things simple and focused. Gone are any attempts at
making a sim (unless you count actually having to use the brakes),
and instead Crawfish focused on making a pure arcade racer. In fact,
the only real similarity that this version shares is that itís
based off of the same subject material. On the GBA, Driven is a
top-down racing game with simple controls Ė A is the gas, B works
the brake, and the d-pad steers your car. As you bump into things,
parts of your car will go flying off. Take too much damage, and your
car crashes forcing you to wait a few precious seconds before a new
one is placed on the track. Gameplay-wise, thatís really all there
is to it.
And yet, at the
same time this is a fairly deep game thanks to the varied gameplay
modes and the "Zone" feature. It has all the modes youíd
expect to find in a game of this nature (Arcade, Single Race,
Testing Session, Multiplayer via Link Cable, and Championship (w/
battery save). These all provide depth (especially the different
multiplayer options for one or multiple carts), but the one mode
that really stands out is the Story Mode. Itís much the same as
the PS2 versionís, in that youíll have to complete a variety of
tasks to advance the story. These can range from things as simple as
completing a lap in a certain amount of time while collection coins
to racing against an arch-rival through the streets at night.
Providing different goals (which donít always involve finishing
first) adds a lot of strategy and depth to an otherwise simple game.
The Zone feature
works a lot like the PS2 version, but for once thatís a good
thing. If you race well for an extended amount of time, eventually
your zone meter will fill up and youíll enter the
"zone". Once there, your car becomes engulfed in flames
and your driving abilities improve dramatically. Itís a temporary
boost, but one that can mean the difference between victory and
defeat. My only complaint with it is that it seems to only track
speed (and not damage) when determining when the player enters the
"zone", but itís still a great addition to the game.
shines. Crawfish continues to impress graphically on the GBA with
some very detailed courses that still run at breakneck speed.
Objects are found all over the side of each course that includes
individual people cheering the player on. Car sprites are detailed
enough for a racing game of this type, but are a bit small due to
the overhead perspective. When a car crashes, the game truly shines
as many (albeit generic looking) parts of that car will go flying
and rolling down the track. Unfortunately this graphical splendor
comes at a price, as the framerate will drop frequently (even when
the player is the only car on the screen) and very noticeably. This
never interferes with the actual gameplay, but itís nevertheless
The sound is
nothing to write home about. The music is cheesy, but that can be
forgiven since the movie itself was. The sound effects are merely
average for a GBA title; definitely better than a GBC game but not
on par with a lot of other notable GBA efforts.
- The game is
super-fast, and provides an alternative to all of the Mode-7
racers currently on the market.
- Itís much
better than the PS2 version, and will appeal to fans of the
perspective is definitely an acquired taste, as it requires
different steering and driving techniques than most racers. If
you disliked games like RC Pro-Am, you wonít like this.
problems throughout the game, although they never interfere with
tired of Mode-7 racers and want a Micro Machines/RC Pro-Am
type racer for your GBA, or if youíre a big fan of the movie, then
this is a good game to pick up.