Driver: Parallel Lines is the fourth video game in the Driver series. The game was released on March 14 (March 17 in Europe), 2006 on Xbox and PlayStation 2 consoles by Atari, Wii and PC on June 26, 2007 (June 28 in Europe) by Ubisoft.
Diverging from previous Driver games, Parallel Lines takes place in just one city, New York City, instead of multiple cities, but in the middle of the story you change to different eras of the city - 1978 and 2006. Due to the underwhelming performance of Driv3r, particularly the often-derided on-foot sections, Parallel Lines returns to the formula used in earlier games in the series, focusing on driving, although shooting remains in the game. The game was received better by critics than DRIV3R, but still was criticized, including its simple gameplay, hit-or-miss controls, and derivative storyline. This is the first game of the Driver series that does not follow undercover cop Tanner. The Kid aka TK, the new main character, received Game Informer's "Biggest Dork of 2006" award.
Driver: Parallel Lines takes place in an entirely open world environment. Instead of choosing minigames from a menu as in previous Driver titles, minigames are now accessed from the in-game world. Many changes have been made from DRIVER, including visible blood when someone is shot, a money system, fully modifiable vehicles, environment destruction (i.e., lamp posts can now be run over and fire hydrants can break, spewing water into the air), and a new felony system that differentiates between personal felony and felony "attached" to vehicles the player has used. If the player attracts police attention on foot or in a certain vehicle and then loses the police and enters a "clean" car, their wanted level will be suspended. It can be reactivated, though, by spending too much time in the sight of a police officer, who will eventually recognize the player as "wanted". The same principle applies to out-of-car activities, such as weapon use, and allows the player to holster a weapon in order to lose police attention until spotted committing illegal acts again. For the Wii version, the felony bar has been replaced with Grand Theft Auto-esque "stars" which light up when the player attracts police attention. Also, swimming and jumping abilities from DRIV3R, were removed.
The game was originally intended to include online multiplayer, but this was scrapped when it became apparent to the developers that they could not deliver a strong multiplayer mode and wanted to focus entirely on the single-player portion of the game. The instant replay film director mode of previous Driver games was removed from Parallel Lines. Instead, the only available cinematic mode is the fixed-perspective slow-motion "Thrill Camera".
New York City
The interpretation of New York City in Parallel Lines is not GPS street-accurate like Manhattan. Instead, the game presents a smaller but more stylistic version of the city that includes all the boroughs except Staten Island and parts of the New Jersey shore. The game's Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and New Jersey consists of 222.5 miles of roadway, larger than the combined total of all three cities (Miami, Nice, and Istanbul) from DRIV3R. The game's New York City is also more "life-like" compared to previous games in the series: vendors sell donuts, NPC pedestrians talk rather than simply grunting and screaming, and numerous side jobs (such as taxi driving and car towing) are available. Several things have changed in the game from real-life New York, for example, New York City Police Department has simply been dubbed into "City Police". However, the game completely lacks any kind of weather. The only atmospheric changes are the day-to-night cycle.
In 1978, the twin towers of the World Trade Center are present, along with New York City's many other landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Times Square, Central Park, and Flatiron Building in Manhattan. In Brooklyn, the player can visit Coney Island. The game features all of New York City's major bridges except the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the Whitestone Bridge, the Hell Gate Bridge, and the Throgs Neck Bridge. The player can traverse these bridges freely from the start. An elevated portion of the New York City Subway that runs from Manhattan to Coney Island is part of the game world, but the subway system is not accessible to the player as a means of transportation, unlike True Crime: New York City where you can access the subway. Trains do run on the above ground railway system.
In the 2006 era, when T.K. goes to his safehouse, there is graffiti on the wall that says "Tanner Lives". This is a nod towards Tanner, the protagonist in the previous three Driver games. It is also a possible solution to the cliffhanger ending of DRIV3R, where it is unclear if Tanner or the antagonist Jericho flatlines in a hospital following a shootout in Istanbul. There is also a dumpster in the game which contains copies of "Driv3r", alluding to the poor reception of the previous Driver game. Also in the 1978 bachelor pad, there is a poster for Stuntman, another game by Reflections.
Both eras included in the game have distinct styles of vehicles, although a few of the 1978-era cars do show up in 2006, and the cars from 2006 can show up in 1978 by using the all cars cheat code, however all cars in from 1978 are all accessible in shop in 2006. Although based on real automobiles, all vehicles in the game are fictitious, and are given fictitious names.
New to the Driver franchise is the ability to customize, or mod, the player's vehicle. Each vehicle can be upgraded numerous ways in Ray's Garage. Upgrades include custom body and paint jobs, although they are preset, increased engine power, nitrous boosters, bulletproof glass, window film and tunable springs, shocks, ride height, brakes, neon lighting, and downforce. A test track is available to "try out" the upgraded vehicles and making any necessary adjustments.
TK works as a getaway driver for a New York crime ring in 1978, like robbing liquor stores, racing over the city and the circuit tracks. His good friend Ray works as a mechanic in Hunts Point, where TK has a room. TK describes himself as "a country boy who wants to make good", and he moved from the country into New York. The story starts after another heist, where he escapes the police, and he is relaxing when Ray arrives and he considers going deeper into the criminal world, instead of "always robbing nickel and dime stores".
Afterwards, Ray introduces him to Slink, whom he does low-level work for. He proves himself for Slink with his driving techniques and shooting abilities. He is then introduced to two other prominent gangsters, "The Mexican" and Bishop. 'The Mexican' usually sets up races for him to prove his way as a driver. Bishop hatches a plan to break an associate, Candy, out of Rikers Island Prison, and gets jobs for TK so he can get access to prison, like stealing a prison van and scaring a security guard so he would let him in the prison. Afterwards, TK successfully breaks out Candy.
The gangsters form a collective, composed of TK, Slink, Bishop, 'The Mexican' and Candy led by a corrupt undercover detective, Corrigan. Corrigan's organization wishes to start distributing cocaine in New York City, but a prominent Colombian drug lord, Rafael Martinez already has a foothold, so Corrigan plans to have Martinez kidnapped. Candy here proves himself with his planning skills and orders TK to plant some bombs for him.
After setting up everything for the kidnapping, Candy lays out a large, detailed plan. The next day, TK arrives with his role to make sure Martinez's convoy is going exactly where they want, with blowing a sign to block a bridge tunnel, a convoy car to weaken the convoy, another train bridge to force them to another street so they can then block and assault it. TK manages to kidnap Martinez, and he escapes the police and the rest of his gang, and takes him to a small warehouse.
As Corrigan planned, Martinez's henchmen offer the ransom money and TK collects it, but Martinez's henchmen arrive, setting a trap. However, he manages to drive a bike across the rooftops of buildings, and enters the back of 'The Mexican's' truck, and they drive to a warehouse meeting point. After counting the money, Corrigan changes the plan and shoots Martinez dead. Figuring that TK is insignificant, and that they need somebody to set up, Corrigan shoots him at the same time and leaves him to be and charged with kidnap and murder. TK is sentenced to 28 years at Sing-Sing prison.
While at Sing-Sing, TK plans vengeance upon each of the men who betrayed him. While he was incarcerated, Slink became a drug producer and a porno director and Bishop became a drugs kingpin who cooperates with Slink. Corrigan is now the Commissioner of the fictitious "City Police" and Candy became a gangster who runs a prostitution ring. They are all wealthy, except 'The Mexican', who has become a low-life and alcoholic working in a arcade room.
TK is released in 2006, now aged 46. With Ray's help, he immediately tracks down and kills 'The Mexican'. His corpse is thrown out of TK's car in front of Corrigan, who immediately recognizes him. Afterwards, Ray introduces him to Maria Cortez, an ally of Candy. TK does jobs for Maria in the hope of reaching him. He also gets info on Slink and Bishop to destroy their business to reach them as well.
After destroying Slink's pornography and drugs outlets, TK kills Slink in a car-chase. For Bishop, TK disrupts his smuggling operation. Bishop phones TK and offers him a chance to duel one-on-one, but turns up in an army tank armed with explosives. TK succeeds in blowing up the tank and killing Bishop. While on a job for Maria, TK finally gets to meet Candy, but he is quickly apprehended by Candy's henchmen and drugged. TK manages to break free however and kills Candy in a car-chase.
Corrigan then turns up at Ray's garage in Hunt's Point. He reveals that Ray has been working for him, and Ray set up the assassinations of Candy, Slink, 'The Mexican' and Bishop, but only to secretly help Corrigan erase all of his connections to the 1978 kidnapping, so he couldn't be charged with anything in case one of the other four was arrested. Ray did this in exchange for money, because of his gambling problem and subsequent debt. Corrigan kills Ray then tries to shoot TK, but is saved by Maria who turns up armed. Corrigan escapes. Maria reveals she is actually the daughter of Rafael Martinez, the assassinated Colombian drug lord, and that she worked for Candy to track the killer of her father. She figured it out that Corrigan killed Martinez, and that TK was sentenced by Corrigan, and tells him that they should work together to catch Corrigan. It is also revealed that Corrigan figured it out that 28 years passed, and that he got out, so he carried out an assassination on TK, starting with blowing a car in front of Ray's Garage when they were going to meet Maria, another time when Ray built a car for TK to destroy Slink's business, once when TK was going to meet with Maria to prove her his driving skills by doing a job, and once when he sabotaged Bishop's drug operation.
They put a Cop Car with Candy's body in his parking space, blew up his office, put Slink's body in the trunk of his limo and killed his body guards. Maria tells TK that Corrigan is in Witness Protection. TK arrives in front of his hiding spot, shoots the guards, but Corrigan escapes by helicopter. After blowing up a tunnel with TK in it, with TK narrowly escaping, he shoots down the chopper. Corrigan survives, and starts crawling over the street, but TK arrives with a gun pointed at Corrigan's head. Maria tries to stop him from pulling the trigger, telling if he wants Corrigan to suffer, he should give Corrigan to Maria, who wants more revenge than TK. in the end, he accepts, and Maria's henchmen take Corrigan into her SUV, and TK holsters his gun and walks away.
The game was intentionally set apart from the other Driver games.
The game got mixed reviews. IGN rated it 7.2, praising the return of the series to its roots, and mentioned that "It's still not perfect, but it's not broken either."
Eurogamer gave 6/10 mentioning that "There's not too much shame in trying to do what GTA does, of course (and at least it's not about bloody gang warfare for once), but while this is definitely a solid improvement on its dreadful predecessor, it needed to achieve a basic level of competence and build upon it, and it only does that to a very limited extent." Gamespot gave it 6.5 calling it a competent GTA clone, but it's far from being recommendable.
Driver: Parallel Lines features a mixed licensed and original songs soundtrack consisting of over 70 songs, ranging from 1970s-era rock and funk to modern alternative rock, downtempo electronic and hip-hop/rap songs. The songs play while the player is in a vehicle, as if they were on the radio. Notable groups featured on the soundtrack include Funkadelic, Can, Suicide, The Stranglers, War, Iggy Pop, Blondie, David Bowie, Parliament, The Temptations, Average White Band, Public Enemy, The Roots, TV on the Radio, The Secret Machines, Kaiser Chiefs, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and LCD Soundsystem. There are also many made up bands in the soundtrack performing fictitious tracks from the 1970's. All music licensing and ingame compositions was done by Nimrod Productions.
It must be noted that the Wii and PC version have a few songs cut, probably due these versions being released by Ubisoft. Also, in the PC version, most of the songs have a slightly higher pitch in-game than in the console versions, but this does not apply to cutscenes.
A limited edition version of the game was released along with the regular version. The special edition, costing $10 more, includes an extra DVD containing information about the production of Parallel Lines as well as in-game videos and character profiles. Also included with the limited edition is the official soundtrack, including twelve tracks from the game. The UK version is dubbed "Collectors Edition", and does not contain the DVD, instead only providing the soundtrack CD and a metal case.
- The subtitle "Parallel Lines" is taken from Blondie's 1978 album, Parallel Lines, from where one of the songs, "One Way or Another", is featured in the soundtrack.
- Parallel Lines and Driver '76 are the only games in the franchise where the protagonist is not John Tanner.
- This is also the only Driver game where the protagonist only appears in his own game.
- This is the last Driver game to be published by Atari before Reflections was bought out by Ubisoft. Coincidentally, both Driver 76 and the PC/Wii versions of Parallel Lines are the first Driver games to be published by Ubisoft.
- Parallel Lines contains several similarities to some Grand Theft Auto games:
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City - Both games involved the protagonists (TK and Tommy Vercetti) getting imprisoned for at least 10 years at a younger age (Tommy at age 20 and TK at age 18) and are released as Tommy at age 35 and TK at age 46). The only difference is that Vice City started after Tommy's release while the first half of Parallel Lines started during TK's Youth Arrest while the second half started following his release. Also, both games featured supporting characters getting killed during the events of both games and reappearing in their respective prequels as the playable protagonists.
- Grand Theft Auto III and Liberty City Stories - the final missions of all three games(plus the prequel Driver 76) involves the protagonists destroying a helicopter that the main antagonist is in. The only difference is that Parallel Lines is the only game where the antagonist (Corrigan) does not die unlike Catalina, Massimo Torrini and Jimmy Yip. Also, GTA III and LCS take place in a fictionalized New York City while Parallel Lines and 76 take place in the city itself.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - Both games' respective main antagonists are policemen. (Corrigan and Frank Tenpenny) Plus, some of the songs from the 1978 era were also featured in GTA San Andreas.
- The game files show some pedestrian avatars for a possible New Jersey state trooper model. It was not included in the finished game, which instead just has the NYPD patrol New Jersey.
- IGN: Driver Skids to Wii
- Ubisoft Third Quarter Sales Report, Ubisoft Corporate Website, January 23, 2007
- http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps2/driverparallellines?q=driver%20parallel%20lines Metacritic score: 69
- Douglas C. Perry, Driver Parallel Lines: Progress Report, IGN, January 12, 2006
- Driver: Parallel Lines is not Driver 41UP video interview with production manager Gareth Edmondson in which he tells us that Driver: Parallel Lines is not Driver 4.
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|Games||Driver · Driver 2 · Driv3r · Parallel Lines · San Francisco · 76 · Renegade 3D · Speedboat Paradise · Vegas · L.A. Undercover|
|Characters||Bishop · Jericho · Tanner · Pink Lenny · Solomon Caine · The Kid · Tobias Jones|
|Other Media||Driver: Nemesis novel|