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XBox  Review: Midtown Madness 3


Midtown Madness 3 Screenshots

The Final Say!

Midtown Madness 3
 - reviewed by Alex Cuming
Review Date: 01 July 2003
Review Score: 7.9/10
Not based on an average 
Distributed By:

Ever wanted to drive like a maniac through the streets of Paris and Washington.  Well now you can with this title from Microsoft Studios.  There seems to be no laws governing the way that you drive in this game.  Whether itís driving on footpaths, where the pedestrians acrobatically get out of the way, travel over parks and take shortcuts wherever possible.  All the scenery can be smashed including shops, traffic lights, and other vehicles.  To add to the fray you can also drive around in the fastest sports cars over jumps and over rivers dividing the cities with the camera zooming out for cinematic effect. 

Midtown Madness 3 Features

  • Players 1-2
  • Genre: Driving
  • Rating: G8+
  • Custom Soundtracks
  • In Game Dolby Digital
  • System Link 1-8

There are many missions to be completed such as Taxi driver, chauffer, courier, police jobs and undercover agent jobs.  There are many missions to be done and it all is a challenge.  Even the earlier jobs are quite a challenge forcing the player to practice many times on the earlier tracks before getting the hang of it, or otherwise fluking your way to victory.  But soon the skill will start to shine and it becomes more fun than ever.   

There is a lot of chatter from people over the radio telling you where to go and how to do it.  There are many nationalities of people to work for including Italian, french and you guessed it an Australian Taxi job coordinator.  His accent leaves a little to be desired of course but is to be expected from the voice actors.  But this is all part of the comedy and feel of the game. 

Many missions require the player to be first through all the checkpoints starting in a preset car which can be changed once the later levels are completed.   There are also missions where you must protect pizzas and fragile cargo with a meter showing how much damage is sustained to the vehicle and cargo.  Full depletion of this meter will result in the inevitable mission failed screen.  The challenge of all the missions is exciting because a lot of the time if you can remember where to turn and it can be done at a frenetic pace, knocking over rubbish bins, pedestrian gates, street lamps and traffic lights.  There is no animation for hitting the trees, which the car seems to travel straight through.  This is good in a way because you certainly do not want to be slowed down by anything.  What will slow the driver down though is hitting a building, car or other solid object.  The buildings are the most frustrating because when colliding with them the player will come to a complete stop.  This is only minor though and the game comes into its own the more it is played. 

The physics engine is superb and driving cars has never been so easy especially the later sporty numbers.  The cars that are seen early on are suited for beginners where the handling is mostly accentuated at the expense of speed and acceleration.  The only way to race I found was with automatic transmission otherwise the game seems very difficult.  This feature is only handy for the more seasoned gamer wanting a real challenge and the benefits of doing this is, of course, better acceleration and control through turning. 

The graphics are without a doubt superb with great use of light effects to make the scenery just that much better.  The buildings for both cities look well rendered and obviously a lot of money has gone into this production. The best parts of scenery are without a doubt the Eiffel tower and the Atres Triumph.  These spectacular details will make you want to get your mates over and see it.  There are only a handful of views available to the player, including bumper bar, driverís seat, just behind the car and a further behind the car view.  There is no camera above the car enough to give the best vantage point but the views available are enough to give the player the best view of the cars behind and directions where to go.  Maybe there is a cheat to give more camera viewpoints because the game is a bit limited in this area. 

The only trouble I had was turning in the right positions, the map rotates and there are arrows to guide you but you canít look at everything at the same time especially if you are driving manually.  The Left trigger is both brake and reverse which is handy, the right trigger for accelerate and the face buttons are for changing gears, horn and handbrake. 

To fans of racing this title comes highly recommended because this title is undoubtedly a lot of fun.  Other than the clipping problems previously mentioned there are plenty of factors that are brought together well.  If there was less repetition in the game of getting between checkpoints then it would score higher but as it is still solid.  Another disappointing trait of the game is that the music is very poxy and cheap.  The sound effects are good with plenty of voice acting with variable quality.  In an attempt to be amusing all the actors put on outrageous accents to make it more appealing.  Sadly the only audience that it would appeal to is younger gamers.  The quality is no Vice City but does succeed in different ways to create a quality visual presentation.  Does it succeed in presenting a more slick eye candy for the gamer than Midnight Club 2 it surely does by only just 5 times (intended sarcasm).  

Midtown Madness also comes with the option to go live with friends over XBox live to lengthen the game's already impressive longevity.  The loading times are fast and the player hardly has to wait long before it is time to play. 

- Alex Cuming

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