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Product: Midtown Madness 2
Company: Microsoft
Website: http://www.microsoft.com/games
Estimated Street Price: $39.99
Preview By: Alex Harris

Midtown Madness 2 delivers even more mad-cap racing excitement with all the wild and hair-raising racing challenges you've come to expect! Midtown Madness 2 features two all new locations (London & San Francisco) and 9 hip new urban roadsters!

Plus, Midtown Madness 2 features the new single-player Crash Course mission mode where budding drivers can learn and master the tricks of Madness racing as a Hollywood Stunt Driver on location at a San Francisco movie set or as a Cabbie Trainee at the East End Cab Company School of Driving in London!

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The Features

Two New Cities to Race & Explore! Midtown Madness 2 features two all new fully-living and interactive cities each with accurate street maps and accurately rendered landmarks: London Tear across Hyde Park and take a snap-shot of Buckingham Palace as you race in the twisting streets of ole' London town! Or dash your car into the 'Tube' for a quick short-cut… Just look out for that train!!! San Francisco Lombard Street and Union Square ain't seen nothing yet as your car leaps from hill to hill in San Fran's suspension bustin' streets. Look out for that Street Car!!!

10 all-new vehicles to smash and crash! Midtown Madness 2 puts you in the driver's seat of 10 all new campy urban roadsters ranging from the Aston Martin Vantage DB-7 to a cherry-red Freightliner Fire Truck in addition to the madcap assortment of cars and trucks from the original (like the VW Bug and Ford Mustang)!

New Crash Course Mission Mode. Jump in the drivers seat as either a Hollywood Stunt Man on location in your latest action-thriller in San Francisco or as an aspiring Cab Driver just entering the hallowed halls of the East End Cab Company School of Driving in London. Crash Course mode features a series of skill-building scenarios where drivers can master the challenges of Madness Driving in addition to unlocking cool new races, vehicles and Easter Eggs galore!

Improved Driving & Racing Performance. Midtown Madness 2 builds upon the groundbreaking physics engine of the original allowing drivers all new racing challenges like power slides, mastering the hand brake, and more. In addition, damage modeling has been improved allowing breakaway parts and even better damage detail.

Race how and where you want! Just like the original, Midtown Madness 2 lets you chart your own racing course in two all new fully interactive and explorable cities! Careen down a packed avenue in downtown San Fran taking out a garbage can or two or zip down a back-alley while pedestrians dive out of your way in London - the choice of where and how you want to race is yours in Midtown Madness 2!

Same Great Racing Excitement to Cure Your Commuting Blues! Midtown Madness 2 features the same great racing modes as the original including Blitz, Check-Point, Circuit and Multiplayer Capture-the-Gold in two all new cities with 10 fabulous new urban racers.

Improved Muliplayer and Community Features. Midtown Madness 2 will be optimized for full LAN, and Internet based multiplayer gaming via the MSN Gaming Zone for stable and competitive multiplay for up to 8 racers.

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Gameplay

Although never playing the original game when released, I had seen it running. I was pleased when the game arrived because it was something that I was looking forward to trying out and having a go at. When you start the game up you get a choice of training by going through one of the two training schools, either as a Hollywood Stunt Driver at a San Francisco Movie set or Cabbie Training at an East End Cab Company in London.

To start with I decided to go with the training, since this is the first time I have ever really sat down and played this. Since I am in the UK I choose the London Cab school. It takes a few goes to get use to the car, and a bit of playing with the camera to get the view that is right for you. One of the hardest thing I found in the game was getting the speed and cornering right, especially in some of the lessons where you have to not go below 40mph and go through some sharp turns. But you do find that after a few goes that you start to get a feel for the car and the course so you can anticipate what turning is coming up. With the school mode if you really want, you can just go off and explore. The worst thing that can happen is that you will have to restart the lesson.

Once you have had your fun with the very comprehensive learning side of the game, you can then go through some of the races. I am sure they have increased the amount of cars that you can choose from, but they now range from your standard Mini to a fire truck!

The races themselves are fun, but after a while you can get a bit sick of them. Luckily there is a multiplayer option where you can go online and test your skills against other gamers to see how much your training had rubbed off on you. Sadly for me, not much of the skill had rubbed off on me and I did not do as well as anticipated.

The game features the same great racing modes as the original, including Blitz, Checkpoint, Circuit and Multiplayer Capture-the-gold. It also builds on the groundbreaking physics engine of the original by allowing all new racing challenges like racing on two wheels, mastering the hand brake, power slides and more.

Final Comments

Midtown Madness 2 looks like a worthy successor to Midtown Madness one. They have tweak the graphics, and added a lot more content to the game. Very comprehensive training modules help get the player ready for the upcoming game. All in all a good game.

Screenshots

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Specs & Package
Version Reviewed BETA Refresh
Release Date October 2000
The Good Points Great Graphics
Great Sound
Fun Gameplay
Great Multiplayer
The Bad Points Single Player might get boring after a while
Similar To Midtown Madness
Reviewers PC Setup Pentium III 450
Windows Me
240 Meg SD-Ram
Matrox G400 32MB AGP Graphics Card
DirectX 7a
SoundBlaster Live! Platinum
19" Daytek Monitor
Microsoft Force Feedback Pro
Microsoft Game Pad Pro (USB)
Microsoft Digital Sound System 80
Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer
PC Required Windows 95/98
Pentium 300
64 mb ram
4x cd rom Drive
Mouse and Keyboard
640*480 video card with 2mb ram
Windows compatible sound device
212 mb free hard drive space

 

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