One of the first U.S.-developed PS2 games comes from Angel Studios. Midnight Club is based on the not-entirely-legal nocturnal races held in cities throughout the world. Start as a cabby and work your way up to the big time, going from New York all the way to Tokyo your quest for supremacy. The hours upon hours of research put into this title is very evident in the detailed city models.
Download Midnight Club
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
With Smuggler's Run getting most of the press leading up to the launch, I have to say my expectations weren't too high for Midnight Club. I was pleasantly surprised by what's offered from Rockstar's second PS2 title. Angel Studios comes through again and delivers huge racing environments based on real cities like New York and London, complete with working traffic lights, loads of buildings, pedestrians and other commuters. The first thing you'll notice after getting over the coolness of being able to go anywhere and pretty much destroy anything is that this game is hard! Not only is it kind of difficult to chase down your opponents, once you actually get them to commit to a race expect to spend a good hour beating them. Well, at least in the later levels. I guess it's better than being guaranteed a win every time you put your foot to the floor, but the frustration it causes may lead you to break your very first Dual Shock 2. Midnight Club's got hardcore race fan written all over it. The presentation ain't too shabby, either. Even with that huge surface area, loads of cars and people to keep track of, the game never slows down. As you unlock more cities you can cruise through them at your leisure or challenge a buddy to a friendly race. The two-player mode is merely decent, though. Nonetheless, this is a racing game that's entirely unique, very challenging and thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
From the folks bringing you Smuggler's Run comes an equally colorful title with the same law-breaking, high-speed action. It's hard to find things to complain about in a game where you can drive onto center court of Madison Square Garden in a low-rider you just won from a trash-talking street punk, but I'll mention a couple. I found the backgrounds a little basic and stale at times, and a tad more variety in the car designs would edge out some of the monotony. Otherwise, Midnight Club is a fantastic realization of a street racer's dream, and will provide tons of fun for any reckless driver who wants a little more than your average racer can offer.
A game setting where you cruise around city streets with a gang of street racers and challenge them to high-speed pursuits sounds pretty cool. The game's dark-and-gritty atmosphere looks spectacular too, taking advantage of the PS2's boffo graphic capabilities as far as any game yet. But though MC delivers some high-speed exhilaration, I still felt like a rat trying to find his way out of a high-res maze. The margin for error in racing the gang is too thin, but the game always drew me back for more because it's so darn pretty. MC is a nice first attempt and a fresh angle on racing games, but it doesn't have the necessary stuff to define a new genre.