Possibly The Greatest Movie Homage Ever Included In A Video Game

Forget what the Driver series has become over the years. When the first game was released, back in 1999, it had a very clear vision: take a badass movie and make a badass video game out of it.

But wait, was there a movie called Driver? No. There was one called The Driver, however, which Ubisoft’s Reflections studio lifted as much from as it could without having to actually pay for the licence.

The Driver was a 1978 movie starring Ryan O’Neal, Bruce Dern, and Isabelle Adjani. It was about a guy who drove getaway cars for bank robberies. And he was good. Very good. He also didn’t speak much, so if you were wondering whether this flick was also a big inspiration for 2011’s Drive (whose main character is often referred to only as The Driver), then yes, it probably was.

It’s a cool movie. Very “real”, with great car chases. It’s most memorable moment, however, is early on, when O’Neal’s character is put to the test by two prospective clients, who meet him in an underground garage and want him to show his stuff. Which he does. And then some. You can see the sequence above.

Driver, the game – which follows the spirit of the movie, if not the exact plot – pays the ultimate homage to this by lifting the sequence and turning it into the player’s tutorial. Which was brilliant. No stilted commentary here, or constant pauses for instruction. You’re dropped in an underground garage and asked to drive.

Listen closely (that’s it to the left) and you can even hear your passengers screaming and exclaiming, just like they do in the movie’s sequence.

If you haven’t played the original Driver, you really should. It’s got a simplicity to its design and vision (a lot of it based around copying this movie) that later games just completely lost track of. And if you haven’t seen the movie The Driver, you really should. It’s got some of the best car chases you’ll ever see.

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