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midtown madness 2
Your free will gets exercised with your choice of car, too: You
can get behind the wheel of officially licensed versions of the Ford
Mustang Fastback, Audi TT, Aston Martin DB7 Vantage, and VW New
Beetle, plus fire trucks and city buses (the double-decker type in
London). Since their size makes the latter vehicles harder to
control, playing with them makes the already crazy world of Midtown
Madness 2 even more chaotic. Every vehicle has a car horn, but, like
the brakes, it's a feature you probably won't bother with much.
When you're playing alone, there
are three different ways to race: In Blitz Races, you speed to all
the checkpoints designated in the city before the clock runs out.
Checkpoint Races is similar except that other vehicles, driven by
the computer, compete against you to reach these checkpoints.
Circuit Races is a traditional racing game where cross streets in
the city are blocked off to form a circular track for you and your
computer-operated opponents to race on.
Two training modes called Crash Courses help you build up your
driving skills. The London Crash Course casts you as a London
cabdriver trainee who needs to learn how to weave through obstacles
and speed from landmark to landmark. In the San Francisco Crash
Course, you're taught the unsafe driving skills seen in movie chase
scenes -- losing the cops, leaping off ramps and ramming into other
cars are part of the lesson plan here.
Up to eight people can compete in multiplayer versions of the
single-play races, either on a LAN or on the Internet. There's an additional game exclusive to multiplayer
that's quite fun: Everybody races to pick up a gold bar located
somewhere in the city. If you manage to grab it, you have to take it
back to your hideout while eluding your opponents. A team-play
version of this contest divides the players into two groups that
compete to grab the most gold bars for their team.
Anyone who has navigated the streets of San Francisco or London
will appreciate how faithfully the cities have been reproduced in
this game. For me, it's probably best that this game didn't exist
before my first visit to San Francisco, or I'd be a smear on the
side of a cable car.
Howard Wen is a frequent contributor to Playboy.com.