Midtown Madness 2 Review
By Contributing Writer Chris George
Midtown Madness 2 is a great racing game because it offers two very
important things that too many racing games don't: Freedom and variety.
The only thing you really have to do is reach the finish line and/or
complete the mission objective; how you go about doing it is completely up
You have the freedom to go wherever you want in huge replicas of San
Francisco and London as you knock other cars out of your way, elude the
cops, and make pedestrians flee for their lives in terror. There's never a
shortage of variety because Angel Studios and Microsoft came up with lots of
creative variants on the same basic gameplay formula.
All of the gameplay modes are fun in their own unique ways. The Cruise
Mode lets you drive around the city with no objectives or time limit,
allowing you to concentrate on causing total chaos throughout the city.
The multi-player game gives you access to all of the single-player modes,
plus an additional mode called Cops & Robbers (which is Capture the Flag
with a piece of gold instead of a flag). The classic CTF gameplay formula
works brilliantly within the context of a driving game.
The best new addition to the game is the Crash Course mode, which
drastically increases the depth and replay value of the experience. You
basically go through training to become a cabby or stunt driver, and Angel
Studios did a commendable job of making the entire process fun from start to
finish. You complete missions, take exams combining multiple missions into
one big task, and unlock new cars and paint jobs along the way. The tasks
are hard enough to give the game some lasting power, while still never
becoming so hard that they make you want to stop playing.
The graphics are marred by some minor slowdown and clipping problems, but
are otherwise polished and nicely detailed. The sound effects are realistic
and funny at the same time, with lots of nice little touches like people
yelling at you as you hit their car and continue driving like nothing
Like any other game, Midtown Madness 2 does have a few problems. In this
case, they're enough to prevent it from being a Game of the Year candidate
and getting an Awesome rating, but they're still minor enough to ensure that
the game is loads of fun. Your car acts like it's on ice sometimes, which
makes the control a bit of a chore. It's very upsetting when you're near
the finish line and you graze a curb, causing your car to spin out of
control and allowing the other cars to pass you.
The game also has its fair share of glitches, but no more than is to be
expected from a PC game. The traffic AI can seem more than a little stupid
when you see civilian-controlled cars remain motionless after the light
turns green. Also, in certain multi-player games, my car sometimes gets
stuck to the ground and someone else has to kill me in order for the game to
The innate gameplay magic from the original Midtown Madness is back and
better than ever in the sequel, which is one of the most enjoyable racing
games released so far this year. Here's hoping that Microsoft brings this
series to the Xbox in time for the system's launch.
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