Midnight Club Street Racing Review

For PlayStation 2

By Contributing Writer Chris George

Rating: Good
   Despite some glaring shortcomings, Midnight Club Street Racing is much 
better than Angel Studios' other PlayStation 2 launch game, Smuggler's Run.
The sense of freedom given to the player is what made Angel's Midtown 
Madness series so great on the PC, and it also helps to ensure the success 
of Midnight Club.
   This game always moves at blazing speeds with no slowdown whatsoever.  
Even with the huge amount of different things going on at the same time 
(including weather effects), the frame rate never slows down a bit.  While 
certain areas of the environments have a tendency to look bland, the overall
city designs are very impressive.
   There are a lot of secrets to unlock in both the Arcade and Career modes.
The Arcade Mode has a wide variety of options that are suspiciously similar 
to those in Midtown Madness, but they're still fun.  These include Cruise 
Mode and Capture the Flag, which is an absolute blast with two players.
   In the Career Mode, you play the role of a New York cab driver.  As you 
might imagine, you start out with a crappy car and earn new ones by beating 
other drivers in races.  What I like the most about this mode is that it 
never breaks down into mindless action.  
   There is always that little bit of strategy and quick thinking to keep 
you on your toes.  For example, if your opponent takes a quick turn down an 
alley that seems impossible to pass, what do you do?  Do you play it safe 
and keep going as you were, or do you take a risk and try to find out where 
the heck he's going?  Both are viable options that will present you with 
unique challenges.
   Much like Smuggler's Run, Midnight Club eventually becomes so hard and 
frustrating that it makes me want to throw my controller against the wall.  
Also like Smuggler's Run, it's not the kind of difficulty that keeps you 
coming back for more, it's the kind that reveals the low quality of the 
Artificial Intelligence.
   The enemy cars often seem invincible because they can go through the same
exact crash as you do, but somehow take much less damage.  They can also 
pull off miraculously perfect turns that will leave you baffled and upset.  
This isn't bad enough to completely ruin the Career Mode, but it does go a 
long way towards making it less entertaining.
   Angel Studios gets another thumbs-up from me, although it's a slightly 
less enthusiastic thumbs-up than Midtown Madness 2.  While it can be 
irritating at times, Midnight Club Street Racing is still a solid launch 
game that deserves a look from any fan of racing games.

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