Written by  :  Steve Hall (352)
Written on  :  Nov 08, 2000
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
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A massive game - huge storyline, huge choices - everything Midtown Madness should have been.

The Good

It's big. I mean really, really big. The four cities are obviously greatly simplifed (every bend is a right angle for example), but they are big. The main game is the undercover section, which is a well-written, in-depth story spanning all four cities. I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't got that far, but it's big.

There are so many sub-games to choose from, each has its own unique challenge. In Pursuit you have to tail another car as long as you can; in Trailblazer you have to follow a course knocking over cones to gain time; in Survival you have to survive as long as you can against a whole bunch of homicidal cops; in Carnage you get to see how much damage (in dollars) you can cause in one minute. Each is quite tough in its own way, and damn fun to do. With a whole group of high score tables you also feel a pressing urge to try to better your previous best.

The graphics in this game a pretty good, even at lower resolutions. The cars, both yours and the others are well-drawn and easily recognisable for what they are. None of them a painted stupid colours (as with Midtown 2), so the whole scene has a sense of reality about it.

There is also a very well developed replay mode, allowing you to replay a particular incident (or the whole race) in close detail. Choose from a huge variety of camera angles, and create a little movie! There really are some quite spectacular crashes, which can be a lot of fun to replay over and over.

Unlike Midtown, this game is a constant challenge, and it will take quite a while to get through everything. Occasionally it can get a little frustrating, but it is always worthwhile.

The Bad

The graphics are good, but you'll need a good spec PC to get the most out of it. If I connect my steering wheel, the frame-rate drops a long way, making the game almost unplayable, which is a pity.

The cops are complete lunatics. Even one minor infringement, and they will do all they can to destroy you. Doing 56 in a 55 zone? If they see you they will come after you and not quit until your car is wrecked. This can be a little annoying at times.

The car handling is very loose. This is the style of the game, and attempt to recreate Hollywood style car chases of the 70s, but it can be bloody annoying to drive when you have no grip and super-soft suspension.

The cities are vastly simplified, but that's not really a problem. It's not that kind of game. But why is it always night-time in LA?

The Bottom Line

Brilliant. Lots of fun, great story, great action. Not as much fun to drive as Midtown, but it beats it in almost every other area. And it's really big. This game will keep you busy for weeks.