Midtown Madness 2
|a game by||Angel Studios|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 5 votes|
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Grab the wheel and take to the streets again in Midtown Madness 2 -- the madcap racing sequel from Microsoft and Angel Studios featuring two all new cities and nine hip new roadsters for your racing enjoyment. Add two new single-player missions (a Hollywood Stunt Driver school and the Imperial Cabbie Academy) and you'll find more mayhem than you can shake a stick at.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
One of the first things I said wanted when I started playing the original Midtown Madness was a chance to drive around San Francisco. Midtown Madness 2 offers just that, along with the foggy alleyways of London. The heart of both cities has been rendered with impressive detail -- famous landmarks such as San Francisco's Lombard Street, Golden Gate Bridge, and Fisherman's Wharf or London's Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace are all there, just waiting for you to careen around at top speed. You can even race in London's subway system, just keep an eye out for oncoming trains.
Some artistic license has been used to make everything fit, but overall you'll be impressed. The one really glaring problem I found was the fact that in London the stop signs and traffic lights were often placed on the right hand side of the road, rather than on the left where they belong. Much of the scenery is destructible -- you can knock down signs, scatter change from parking meters, and crash through glass windows in buildings. As in the original, the destruction extends only to the landscape; pedestrians always jump out of the way as you barrel down on them.
There are plenty of vehicle options -- all the cars from the original are present, along with a slew of new vehicles including the Mini Cooper, a classic London black cab, a double-decker bus, a hot Audi TT, and a Hummer-style Light Tactical Vehicle. Each car is beautifully detailed, with at least four or five paint jobs to select from. Choose the classic British flag paint job for your Cooper Mini (a la the British TV show "Butterflies") and tour London's narrow alleys or take a flower power VW Beetle for a spin down Lombard Street.
The physics aren't exceptionally realistic -- stunts like a 180-degree turn in a double-decker bus at 90 miles an hour or leaping off the top of Nob Hill and landing blocks away at the San Francisco waterfront just don't happen in real life. But despite the fanciful handling (or perhaps because of it) you will find it challenging to pilot your way around the cities.
Single player play is much improved. The cruise mode, blitz and checkpoint courses, and circuit races found in the original are still present, but two new 'school'? modes have been added. Put your hands on the wheel of a classic London Black Cab and enroll in the Cabbie Training course or hop in a classic 70's street rod for a Hollywood-style stunt driving course in San Francisco. Both schools offer unique challenges. I found the 'Follow that car'? challenge in the Cabbie course to be lots of fun and the classic movie chase scene (with you on the run from the cops) was masterful. The AI of the computer drivers is topnotch, providing a varied challenge each time you play.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics have the same flavor as the original, but there are lots of improvements lurking under the hood. Support for the features on newer 3D accelerator, added detail to both the scenery and vehicles, and the expanded damage model combine to make Midtown Madness 2 a definite step above its predecessor.
The audio has also seen improvements from the improved engine sounds to the squealing of tires as you round a corner. The graphics and audio aren't a revolutionary upgrade, but they are very well done.
Pentium II 233 or faster, 32 MB RAM (64 Recommended), Win9x/2000/ME, and a DirectX Compatible 3D Graphics Accelerator.
If you're looking for realistic racing try the Gran Turismo series. For an accurate city driving simulation take a look at Driver. But if you want no-hold-barred fun combined with destructive vehicle mayhem then Midtown Madness 2 is exactly what you're looking for. Building on the fantastic gameplay of the original with new cities, cars, and racing modes, Midtown Madness 2 will blow your socks off. Head to the store, grab a copy, and take to the streets at top speed -- you won't regret it.