The world has its share of crazy drivers but most of them aren't tearing up the lawn of Buckingham Palace with a big red fire truck or launching an Austin Mini over the hills of San Francisco. The craziest of drivers, no doubt, are those who drive the wrong way on a major highway.
So, what do you do? You one-up them by driving a flatbed truck on the wrong side of the Golden Gate Bridge -- at rush hour!
Midtown Madness 2 delivers the same fiendish, insane glee derived from crazy driving stunts, insanely fast cars and flying pedestrians. We're talking Panoz roadsters, Austin Minis, London taxicabs and city buses. Landmarks abound in Midtown Madness 2 and not just the world famous kind.
The environments are much more than quickly thrown-together mock-ups of real places and are quite accurately detailed models. People who have visited Hyde Park, Big Ben or the Golden Gate Bridge will recognize not only the landmark but the streets and buildings along the way.
This is the sort of detail that impresses before the racing even begins. Once you do, that's when the fun starts.
Midtown Madness 2 does not stray much from the path of its predecessor in terms of gameplay modes. The designers can't be blamed since Midtown Madness offers such a wide variety of race types. The sequel gives you all the same race types and drops them throughout the two cities, London and San Francisco.
Though the race concepts are still the same, depending on the mode, the new cities and vehicles available keep it all new. However, this does not mean you're limited to only the old courses!
One of the most fun new modes is the crash-course mission. The challenges here are, at times, insanely difficult. Players who complete the crash-courses, however, become much better Midtown Madness 2 drivers. The crash-course missions emphasize pure, straight up, crazy driving. Using power slides, handbrakes and jumps, the courses teach controlled mayhem that is easily transferred to the racing modes.
For example, one crash-course mission is reminiscent of the movie Speed in that your vehicle cannot drop below a certain speed as you fly around corners and through checkpoints. In another, you find yourself literally flying through San Francisco to catch your boat -- after it has left the pier.
The physics model for Midtown Madness 2 has definitely been tweaked, allowing players to use power slides and handbrake maneuvers, but also still allows for odd movement at times. The best way to describe some of the physical features is "slightly unrealistic." This works completely for the game at times (e.g., when you're sitting in a multiplayer game with a bunch of friends) but makes you grind your teeth in frustration when you're looking to unlock a new vehicle at the last blitz race.
Midtown Madness 2 has a ton of goodies to unlock such as new vehicles, new missions and fun additions like alternate "skins" for vehicles (the hippie double-decker bus or the anti-war light tactical vehicle!). Some vehicles, such as the fire truck and double-decker bus, are useful only for sadists who enjoy plowing through traffic and some of the crash-course missions. It goes without saying that the fastest and most dexterous cars on the road have a distinct advantage during races (and even multiplayer games) which is really too bad.
Multiplayer is great and presented absolutely no problems at all with players on my home LAN. Internet play through the Microsoft Gaming Zone ran extremely smoothly on my cable connection.
One area that would enhance the game would be expansion city packs. The game is incredibly fun and is limited only by the fact that only two cities exist. This suffices for the single-player modes but limits the potential of multiplayer and cruise modes.
Is the game worth your money? Will you find yourself playing it in the wee hours of the morning, yelling at the injustice of commuter traffic before you even leave home? You bet! Midtown Madness 2 can be recommended as one of the better Arcade-style racing games made for the PC.
Graphics: Fantastic modeling of the city with very realistic environments. The maps have been expertly crafted. Poor textures at times plague some of the beautiful environments which is really too bad. Given all that has to be rendered at once, though, it is completely understandable.
Sound: Right from the original! Locale specific voices have also been added for London and San Francisco. The vehicles all sound terrific.
Enjoyment: Lots of variety from which to choose including different types of races and non-races (like the cruise mode). The game is wide open and limited only by the number of city maps available.
Replay Value: The multiplayer addition creates a new game every time. The wide variety of "unlockable" material in the game will keep you coming back for more. Fantastic replay value.
People who downloaded Midtown Madness 2 have also downloaded:
Midtown Madness, Motocross Madness 2, Monster Truck Madness 2, Monster Truck Madness, Motocross Madness, Driver (a.k.a. Driver: You Are the Wheelman), Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Need for Speed Underground 2
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