Hard Drivin'

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HardDrivin Title.png
Hard Drivin'
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Tengen
Original system(s): Arcade boards
Publisher(s) of original games: Atari Games
Developer(s) of original games: Atari Games
Sound driver: Tengen/Lisa Ching
Genre: Racing

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥5,9005,900 T-48013
Sega Mega Drive
$54.9554.95[1] 301017-0150
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive

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Hard Drivin' (ハードドライビン) is a 1988 arcade driving game developed by Atari Games and later ported to numerous consoles and computers including the Sega Mega Drive. The name of the game makes reference to its unfair difficult due of the bad controls.


As an arcade game, Hard Drivin' emphasized the use of three-dimensional polygon graphics and (relatively) realistic physics largely unseen in video games at the time, as opposed to longevity. There is only one course which is divided into two tracks; a "race" track which emphasizes speed and a "stunt" track which has the player negotiate jumps and loops. The race is timed, with players having to reach checkpoints to keep play going, and the game ends when the counter reaches zero.

The player can crash into objects and opponent cars, which in turn leads to a loss of time. Likewise if the player strays off road for too long, this is registered as a crash. Crashes are followed by third-person replay, again novel for the time. Completing the stunt track within a certain time allows the user to race against an opponent car, the "Phantom Photon".

The Mega Drive version adds nothing to the experience, instead aiming to be a direct port of the arcade version. While reasonably accurate, fewer polygons are used in-game and the frame rate is much lower (albeit not as low as seen in some other ports of the game). The draw distance is also shorter, and the move to the Mega Drive's D-Pad sees a loss of the analogue steering seen in the arcade version.



One of Hard Drivin''s sequels, Race Drivin' also made it to the Sega Mega Drive in 1992. Race Drivin' includes all the content seen in Hard Drivin', but adds extra courses and vehicles.

Hard Drivin' stands as the first Mega Drive game to feature a full 3D world built with polygons.

Magazine articles

Main article: Hard Drivin'/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Main article: Hard Drivin'/Promotional material.

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
78 [4]
73 [5]
52 [6]
75 №119, [1]
84 [7]
86 [8]
60 №2, p37
70 №1991-01, p43
72 №13, p126
32 №5, p92
50 [9]
50 [10]
51 [11]
69 [12]
86 [13]
40 [14]
81 [15]
86 №18, p66
81 [16]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
19 reviews

Mega Drive, US
HardDrivin MD US Box.jpg
HardDrivin MD US Cart Alt.jpg
HardDrivin MD US Cart.jpg
Cart (alt)
Mega Drive, US (cardboard)

HardDrivin MD US Cart.jpg
Hard Drivin' MD US Manual (cardboard).pdf
Mega Drive, EU
HardDrivin MD EU Box.jpg
HardDrivin MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
HardDrivin MD JP Box.jpg
HardDrivin MD JP CartTop.jpg
HardDrivin MD JP Cart.jpg
Hard Drivin MD JP Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, AU

Mega Drive, BR
HardDrivin MD BR Box.jpg
HardDrivin MD BR Cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 3225baaf
MD5 2c1cd69c1c3ff24d5f4cb617fc0d5309
SHA-1 e15a3e704900b9736bc274bcb49d4421f4a3605b
256kB 1990-08 Cartridge (US/EU/JP)