SYSTEM
PS2

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
Angel Studios

PUBLISHER
Rockstar

RELEASE DATE
10/00

Midnight Club: Street Racing Review

By: John Doe


The streets of New York and London used to belong to an exclusive group after midnight; subway urinaters, thugs, hookers, psychotics, drug dealers, the homeless and video store employees. Now Rockstar Games adds a new element to the Late Night Festival of the Damned with Midnight Club: Street Racer. It's a hard rocking, fast paced and illegal pursuit of passion for the racing enthusiast. All this and a lot of jerks too.


Highs:
Lows:

More bad attitudes here than backstage during the aftermath of a local beauty pageant. The people you encounter are so rude and condescending, you'll feel like your right at home, if you happen to live New York or London. Thanks to the PS2's extensive processing capabilities, Midnight Club is not just about racing, it's about everything about racing. Midnight Club does an excellent job of capturing the atmosphere and nuances of the sport, the very variables which fuel the desire to take to the streets in an assortment of vehicles with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

In addition to being able to customize just about every aspect of your vehicle, from the stereo to the hubcaps, you will interact with more people than you probably know in real life. Passersby, competitors or victims of your bad driving will entertain you with insults, taunts, criticisms and witticisms. Some of those barbs can really hurt a fella, who's driving a decked-out Double Decker bus through the streets of London. Those English may seem the model of decorum and refinement but underneath they're all just a bunch of hate-inspired, venomous seething, rotten toothed bastards. It feels really good to take aim with your two-tiered monolith and send a few of those mouthy Limeys to the 'ospital.

I like a good race game, that's no secret. But I can't stand a game that goes too far or not far enough. A simple race game is fine as long as the physics feel good and there is some challenge involved. But throwing all kinds of options, tracks and diversions will not help a badly designed game. I don't think that stopping to record an album with Uncle Jessie would make the Duke of Hazard a more interesting game. Know what I mean? Should I use the analogy of sugar sprinkles on a piece of poop? Well in my opinion, Midnight Club is one of the few games to get it all right. Everything is cohesive, and considering the number of elements to this game, the programmers must have been working lot of overtime - and probably charging a lot of take-out food and call girls to the company. In any case the result is worth it, the game looks great, sounds great and is fun to play.

Get some two-player action going in Arcade mode or take the in-depth challenge of the Career mode where you begin on the streets of New York attempting to win vehicles from your opponent. Every win gets you one of your challenger's vehicles, 17 in all, including customized pick-up trucks, taxis, police cars, busses and what appears to be an assortment of Japanese imports such as Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans. As you move on to face the next challenger you will be expected to have improved your skills accordingly as the difficulty increases with each new foe. Once you have taken on all the top racers in New York, you will have to face a new level of experts in London where the driving is done on the opposite side of the road. So you can expect to knock a few folks to the pavement. They shouldn't be out at this time of night anyway.

This game is all about developing skills. It's not about memorizing patterns because each race takes you through an entirely different route through the city. Get used to the E brake, this is one piece of equipment you will need to take corners quickly while travelling at top speeds.

The maps are laid out almost exactly like the city they represent and they are huge. It took me days to see most of New York. The streets also contain landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, located exactly where you would find them in real life. Shortcuts and secrets are offered on these mean streets for you to take advantage of. You will find that glass doesn't prevent much of an obstacle and neither do mailboxes and lampposts. Underground parking lots can be used for shortcuts and oddly enough you can even travel building to building by traversing the rooftops.

Games such as Capture the Flag, Cruise and Head to Head can be played in the Arcade mode. I suggest you grab a partner and start your introduction to the game in this mode. You will find it much easier to get the skills you need when playing with another beginner. Otherwise you're just going to get your ass smoked in the Career mode.

The pulsating machine-like groove of the techno and trance tracks compliment the sounds of revving engines, screeches and crashes for a truly unique cacophonous symphony. It's guaranteed to annoy virtually anyone within earshot. Every game can have its own industrial-sounding track depending on your style of play. Burn a greatest hits CD of your very own dance and crash tunes and bring it for DJ Masta' Doop to play at the club.

This is definitely an impressive debut game for the PS2 and it's bound to make a lot of friends. If games of this quality can be upheld or even surpassed, I swear I will never get a chance to grow up. Highly recommended!

OVERALL
9.0

GRAPHICS
9.0

CONTROL
8.5

MUSIC/FX
9.0

FRUSTRATION
7.0

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