Midtown Madness

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 84% (based on 35 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 40 ratings with 9 reviews)

Rampant fun, but little else

The Good
If you have a force-feedback steering wheel, this game is an absolute blast!

The ability to drive wherever you want. Sprawling pedestrians trying to get away from my driving. Smacking into other cars as you race through soldier field or a shopping mall. Flipping over police cars as they try to spin you out or chase you down.

Technically the game has "good" graphics, but see below for more on this topic.

The sound is really good, and the music can really put you in a mood. You can also play your own CDs (try popping in Rage Against the Machine or Nine Inch Nails while playing) just like a real car. It's a nice feature that is totally appropriate.

The challenges and races are really good at the beginning. They don't require a professional race driver, yet they aren't so easy they're boring.

There's actually some places you can interact with by driving on or through.

The Bad
Rule number one: Don't attempt this without a steering wheel. It adds a whole other dimension to the game. You can play the game without a steering wheel, but you just won't get the right amount of control over the car, and you'll wonder why it's so difficult to steer.

The graphics had some problems. Glitches and skipped frames are the norm on slower PCs, and even sometimes on faster PCs.

The later races get really tough, and the rewards you get for completing them is sometimes an after-thought.

How long can you drive around Chicago before things get a little old?

The Bottom Line
This is a blast of a game, and if you can find it at a discount, go all out for it. It's not worth $40 (the original price) because there isn't a lot of replay value, but it's always fun to sit someone down at a steering wheel for the first time and watch them struggle to go straight, let alone avoid other cars.

If you have a force-feedback steering wheel, and can't find Midtown Madness 2, this will wet your whistle until you can find it.

Windows · by Cyric (50) · 2001

Fun game, but something is really missing... The rewards

The Good
Variety of vehicles, authentic environment (Chicago actually is mostly there), lots of AI cars following traffic rules on the streets, multiplayer racing and other games

The Bad
AI cars looks far too bland, you can NEVER flip over (you always fall right-side up), some vehicles are just there as novelty factory (like the bus and the Freightliner), AI too brutal in some challenges, improper reward (spend all your time and you only get a few vehicles unlocked), lousy physics model

The Bottom Line
Midtown Madness is a game that is initially fun, as you get to play with cars that you'd never have chance to driving. But as time wore on, and you've tried all the different scenarios and challenges, you realize that the designers does not really seem to understand how to reward the players properly for their achievements. While there are lots of vehicles, most of them are not fit for racing. The only cars suitable are Ford Mustang, Ford F-350 Truck, new VW Bettle, and Panoz Roadster. The othere vehicles are useless (city bus, Freightliner, etc.) This then begs the question... Why are they even included? Just for the novelty factor? There's a few cars you can unlock by winning, but that doesn't really add much to the game.

As a single-player game, MiM is quite boring. However, in multiplayer, when you have plenty of opponents on the map, then things become more interesting. Not all the multiplayer involves racing, and there, the innovation shows through.

Overall, if you get this game, then you HAVE to go online and play. If you don't, you'll be bored with this game in no time.

Windows · by Kasey Chang (4601) · 2000

Nice city racing, but poorly executed

The Good
The idea about cruising and racing around town is very nice, as at the date of publishing there were not many games with city racing theme that allow freedom of movement. The challenges are quite difficult and you have to make a lot of tries before you can win all the races.

The graphics are nice and the game allows you to use higher resolutions, so it can look nice at the present time. The choice of cars cover different types from different periods. It is also possible to drive with a bus or a big truck, but these cars are unusable in races. You can just drive through city and nobody can stop you.

The Bad
The game is absolutely ruined by the cars physics. There are settings from arcade to realistic behavior of the cars, but the only thing changes is the grip of the tires. For example at most arcade settings, the car turns like hell but if you have a mustang, bus or truck and drive more than 20mph, your car will flip on its side in the first turn immediately. Most realistic settings means no turning at lower speeds - practically, when you skid and find your car not in the right race direction, the race is over, because you'll never get the car into the right direction. The turning ability is bounded somehow to speed (at faster speeds turning is better). I used a joystick, maybe it's better with a wheel.

And another thing I didn't like were the cops, when in pursuit - they fly around you like some turbo-fly and it looks very funny, but not realistic.

The Bottom Line
Midtown Madness is nice game ruined with poor execution. If you like a challenge - try it. If you want good racing game and fun - avoid it.

Windows · by Silmarillion (70) · 2008

At last... freedom to drive wherever you want.

The Good
The graphics are beautifully slick, and they run so well. I can run this game at 1600x1280 res with no problems, whereas most driving games get run at 640 or 800 if I'm lucky.

You can tell this game was designed with the MS Sidewinder wheel in mind. It's absolutely perfect with the wheel. You get a gte sense of feel and control, with the ability to precisely place your car on the road - damn handy when you're tanking down the freeway at 120mph.

The racing games are fun, and they are enough of a challenge to make it worthwhile. The cruise mode is stunning, allowing you the freedom of the city. You can either play your own games in this mode, My favourite is Speed. Get the bus, start out on a loop of the city, and keep your speed above 50 - see how many laps you can do. It's amazing that stuff like this doesn't even get boring.

The Bad
The car handling is a little suspect. If you turn down the physics realism, the the Mustang becomes a real handful. Turn a corner too hard and you're on two wheels every time. Although the cars themselves can take damage, nothing else does, except cops.

And speaking of cops, when cruising around obeying the rules, they'll come at you for any minor infraction and try and destroy you (a bit like Driver). Break the speed limit by 1mph and they try and kill you? Hmmm....

The network game is a joke. The collision detection is atrocious, and the way the other cars jump around the track shows up some bad coding. The set races are OK, but there's no league so you have to keep starting new races. The other games are really lame - the cops and robbers games get really dull after you realise there's only a few places the 'gold' will appear.

The Bottom Line
As a network game it sucks, which is a pity because it could be really good. As a single player game, it is fun, but the races/leagues don't last that long. This game would have a lifespan of a few weeks, if it weren't for the fact that it is so wonderful to drive.

Here's hoping they fix all this for the up and coming Midtown Madness II.

Windows · by Steve Hall (329) · 2000

"The Crazy Taxi of PC Gaming!"

The Good
Where to start. The best thing about this game is the fantastic Cruise Mode in which you just roam around the city at full speed without having to worry about destroying your vehicle. The selection of cars is pretty cool and I loved powersliding a Century big rig. Also, the game features awesome net play modes via MSN Gaming Zone: Cops 'n Robbers mode is VERY exciting with eight people.

The Bad
Not too much. There were some physics flaws but for this kind of game I really didn't mind. Also, a replay mode like Driver had would have been great.

The Bottom Line
You know you want to plow through traffic at 80 mph without a care in the world. Everyone does, and this is the type of game that satisfies those hungering for destruction. Not only that, but it manages to be GOOD (ahem, Carmegeddon).

Windows · by Unrealist (103) · 2000

A good but flawed driving experence

The Good
You get to drive around Chicago without and don't even have to obey the speed limits (though the police in the game might not agree with that!) and some fun single player racing modes.

The Bad
Somehow one city to drive through is not enough, I mean after a while it gets dull driving speeding your way through Chicago over and over, and there are hardly any secret routes to take which makes it a bummer. Furthermore some of the cars are hard to unlock because the difficulty in the single player modes can get way hard unless you know what you are doing.

The Bottom Line
A good alternative to Driver though it will get old fast. But in short a good game.

Windows · by Grant McLellan (584) · 2001

A fun racing game.

The Good
The curise mode. You can just travel around the city, no holds bar, being able to rush head on to traffic is fun, jumping draw brides is a blast, and running from the cops. Good race modes to.

The Bad
Not enough cops, you rarely get chased. Can't run over people, and can't reck the cars, they always wind uo right side up.

The Bottom Line
A great game, which lets you expereince road rage, without worring about the cops.

Windows · by Blackhandjr (89) · 2000

A fun racing-style game

The Good
I like that this game is rather fun just driver around in Chicago, a well-detailed Chicago, in a matter of fact.

It is fun racing too, with it's 3 racing-modes.

The Bad
I don't like that it's impossible to do a burnout without the panoz GTR-1.

The Bottom Line
I would describe this game as a fun racing game, but it's rather boring that it's some kind of traction control and ABS in every car, except at the winter...

Windows · by Thomas Backman (20) · 1999

Mid town WHAT?

The Good
I think that that the graphics are not bad, gameplay fair, looking at the Sears Tower a real hoot and when you have jumped over one of the swing bridges hearing the voice man sound funny! Perhaps driving along the highway and seeing the Observatory near the sea great, but thats about it!

The Bad
WELL PLENTY ACTUALLY! This game has got to be one of the most worst car racing car games I have ever played! For starters there is not enough races, the city of Chicago IS NOT one of the most exciting cities in the world as far as I am concerned, it is very boring actually except for the odd landmark here and there to look at. I also think that the sound is not very good and what is the point having a train when you cannot even smash into the bloody thing! Another thing is you cannot dive into the sea where the boats are (only the river - with no boats - BORING!) The blitz races all have 4 checkpoints on them - crap and also there is no crash course to add to the excitement. I mean come on guys what the hell are you playing at - the demo mode may not suck but the main game does!

The Bottom Line
Compared to MM2 this game is rubbish! I give this game maybe 3 out of 10 and MM2 9 out of 10, the latter being much much better!

Windows · by jay marsden (4) · 2001

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Alsy, Patrick Bregger, Cavalary, Scaryfun, Plok, jean-louis, Jeanne, vedder, Wizo, nyccrg, Klaster_1, OFF, oct, lights out party, COBRA-COBRETTI, Kevin Puschak.