Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Aug. 11th 2003

Midtown Madness 3 is the console follow-up to the successful PC versions of the past, and it works like a charm on the Xbox. Never taking itself too seriously, Midtown Madness 3 offers more entertainment value to a car game then any I can think of in the past.

The Game
The gameplay in Midtown is split up into different categories, adding a lot of diversity to the gameplay itself. There is something for everyone and if you don’t want to play the single player modes, there is always multiplayer via Xbox Live.

To touch on the single player game, the main catch of the game is the Career mode titled ‘Work Undercover’. With a title like Work Undercover I bet you can guess what you have to do. Right, work under cover. The game is broken up into two cities Paris and Washington DC which has been modeled street by street after their real counterparts. In each mode you have two paths to go down, either city one or city two. In Paris mode you start off doing missions such as a Taxi Driver, Delivery Guy and Chauffeur and you work your way up to Paramedic, Police Officer and the impossible Special Agent. Washington works you to the tread as a Pizza Guy, Rental & Car salesmen and works its way up to Stunt Car Driver and Private Eye. The sad thing about this part of the game is that it starts off moderately easy and half way through jumps its difficulty curve high. The game just gets a lot tougher, which does give it a more challenging edge, but it might be a little bit over challenging for the average players. The story mode in Work Undercover is loosely thrown together with a few humorous characters, but overall is better ignored.

The other modes are single race where you have three options. Cruise, where you just check out the city on your own time and look for hidden paint jobs. Blitz where you have to race through a number of checkpoints against the evil clock. And last there is Checkpoint where you race against other cars of the same class through checkpoints. This mode is a lot of fun and I suggest just once trying to race through the narrow streets of Paris in the Bus.

Now to the transportation and there is wide range of assortment in Midtown boasting over 30 vehicles. They range from the slow and abnormal City Bus and Garbage Truck to the small compacts PT Cruiser, Fle, Mini Cooper to the sportier Corvette z06, 1967 Mustang Fastback and Doge Viper SRT-10. Each car has there own statistics and handles like its real life counterpart.

The delightful treat I discovered in Midtown Madness was the Xbox Live action. I have never had as much fun on X-Live then I have with Midtown. Maybe I am getting old to the senseless violence (doubtful) or maybe it’s that they balanced the game well, and made some killer online modes because this game is fun. Capture the Gold is a great way to pass some time, and if you don’t feel like competing online… you can always go into Cruise mode and just take in the sites and have a conversation. Whatever you’re vice, Midtown works flawlessly on live.

The only real problems I came across was the jump in difficulty half way through the game, some collisions questions (what is up with the trees?), and the poor story that they through together. All of those problems can be and are overlooked because this game is just so much fun.

Graphics & Sound
Midtown is impressive, the city is alive. There is a lot going on graphically in this game, but the main emphases has been on making these two cities feel and breath like the real cities. They have added many little touches that make these possible, with the addition of a wide range of different pedestrians and little extras like mail boxes, garbage containers, and historical landmarks… the get the job done bringing life into the game.

If the city wasn’t so busy, and if you weren't’t rushing around so much, the car models would play a biggest part in Midtown. The physics of the cars are excellent, but the actually car graphics are just average. They could have polished them up a bit more, but considering the size of the game, they can be forgiven.

The sound in Midtown is sweet, and you can use the custom soundtrack feature in the game. The music that they provide is just average, buts that are why they implemented the custom soundtrack. This game has to be played in 5.1 the only way to play games. The voice over's are good for a few laughs in the Work Undercover mode, and the cars sound excellent. Its awesome whipping though the streets of Paris racing against a group of Mini Coopers hearing the engines pan from side to side. Above average sound detail.

Midtown Madness should be implored for its dynamic use of Xbox live for a racing game. Simple because you can do a little more than race. This game really has done a huge jump considering the other midtown madness games, but compared to other racers this one gives you entertainment, fast action and humor all wrapped in a nice package. Overall there is no car customization, but it’s an arcade game in many ways, it doesn’t need those details. Midtown holds its own.

Midtown Madness has some mojo locked under its engine. Rushing down the streets narrowly missing cars, hitting poles, jumping over bridges, gives Downtown a jolt. The game could have had a few more cooler cars and less of the clunky Garbage Trucks. No one has ever fantasies about drinking a stinking garbage truck. Overall racing Vipers, Mustangs and Mini Coopers is fun, lots of mojo and exhilarating online play.

Midtown Madness is a well rounded arcade style racer that can hold your attention for a while. The Xbox Live aspects are top notch, easy navigation and interesting and fun live modes. While the game isn’t overly technical it, gives you a few funny spots and a lot of fast city racing; with a variety of different vehicles. This game is worth the bucks, and if you have live I would strongly suggest Microsoft’s Midtown Madness 3.

Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 8. Final: 8

  • Wide-open racing in two living, breathing cities. Highly detailed, fully researched renditions of Paris and Washington, complete with ambient traffic and animated pedestrians, await gamers in Midtown Madness 3. Hidden routes, shortcuts and hideouts are encountered throughout each of the cities, showcasing the incredible depth of these environments.
  • Career mode. Players work through more than 50 missions across 14 careers, including a limousine driver, pizza deliverer, taxi driver, secret agent and police officer. New careers, vehicles and challenges are unlocked as players complete a series of missions to progress through the game.
  • Diverse vehicles. Gamers have the opportunity to put their driving skills to the test across a wide assortment of fast and fun vehicles. Racers can select from more than 30 vehicles, including licensed cars from top manufacturers and vehicles such as city buses or taxis.
  • Online play. Gamers can challenge friends and others with online play and downloadable content (online play details to be disclosed at a later date).
  • Advanced graphics and audio. In leveraging the audio capabilities of Xbox, Midtown Madness 3 delivers traffic, pedestrians, voice-over effects and ambient sounds peculiar to the cities and neighborhoods in which play takes place, providing a fully interactive racing experience.

Madness 3

Digital Illusions
June 2003