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PC / Review / Midtown Madness 2
Midtown Madness 2
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Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Angel Studios
Release Date: Available Now
ESRB Rating: R/P
Graphics: 4.0
Control: 4.0
Click here to view Midtown Madness 2 screens!
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Review by: Brian Wright
Posted: 09/29/00 [view screens]

Why waste your time racing around an oval track when you can fly through the streets of San Francisco in a '68 Mustang Fastback like Steve McQueen in Bullitt!

Midtown Madness 2 offers up more of the same great no-holds-barred smash-em-up urban street racing action that made the original so much fun. This time around, two huge cities (London and San Francisco) are the backdrop for the driving mayhem, each with its own unique attributes. San Francisco's steep hills make for awesome muffler-smashing jumps, while London's curvy streets, narrow alleys, and roundabouts (that's Brit-speak for traffic circles) provide plenty of side-swiping action and multi-car pileups.

These are no walled-off racetracks, either. In Midtown Madness 2, you're free to drive anywhere in the city you like, including through parks and on sidewalks, provided you pass through all the designated checkpoints. Blitz mode has you racing through checkpoints across the city to beat a particular time. Checkpoint mode is the same idea, but instead of racing against the clock, you're up against a group of competing drivers. Circuit involves racing multiple laps on cordoned-off tracks throughout the city. All of these events are a blast, and if you grow tired of racing, you can enter Cruise mode and take a tour through the cities at your own leisurely pace.

New to Midtown Madness 2 is the Crash Course mode. Similar to Gran Turismo's license tests, Crash Course has you taking on the role of either a London cabbie or a San Francisco stunt driver and working your way through a series of challenges while learning advanced driving techniques. Challenges range from easy (jumping your cab across an open drawbridge) to rather difficult (putting another vehicle out of commission by smashing it with your car), but all of them are fun, and as a reward you get access to new cars and slick new paint jobs.

Along with all the cars from the original game, including the Cadillac Eldorado and Mustang GT, a range of new vehicles are offered, from a Mini Cooper to a double-decker bus. The different cars handle appropriately; the London Cab turns like a bulldozer in mud, and the busses feel like they're going to topple over around every corner.

Your cars, as well as those of your competitors look great, with reflective surfaces and relatively realistic damage. The ambient traffic isn't as detailed, which isn't surprising considering its density, and building textures are pretty blurry when viewed up close, but you'll barely even notice as you fly by at 90 miles an hour.

Music is absent from the game, but you probably won't notice that either with the sounds of revving engines, squealing tires, and flying trashcans filling your ears. The announcers are a mix of British and California stereotypes and while some are mildly amusing, others are downright annoying.

If you want to feel the thrill of speed and release some pent-up road rage in the process, Midtown Madness 2, with its many challenges and hours of destructive racing goodness, is about as much fun as arcade racing gets.

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