Midnight Club II
Midnight Club 2 markets itself as Grand Theft Auto III meets The Fast and the Furious, but it lacks the sleazy and varied gameplay and cool environments of the former andâ€¦ well, it actually gets some of the illegal street racing part of the latter right. It certainly emulates the movie in many ways. In addition to the usual pseudo-Japanese cars spruced up with all manner of wings and spoilers, thereâ€™s even an old-school muscle car that Vin Diesel would no doubt be proud of driving.
While the look and structure is somewhat reminiscent of Grand Theft Auto, itâ€™s really just window dressing for what is a fairly straightforward race game. While you can drive around town, a career mode is the main draw. A character tells you about the next race (and badgers you with incessant chatter throughout), and if you get through those checkpoints first, you progress to the next one.
You â€œwinâ€ new carsâ€”i.e. unlock themâ€”though once you get a motorcycle, thereâ€™s little reason to choose anything else. You also unlock new cities: Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo. With checkpoints through each populated city, the racing does get quite, er, â€œfast and/or furious,â€ though the grating music only induces the â€œfuriousâ€ feeling.
The handling is interesting in Midnight Club 2, in that the cars are all capable of making 90-degree turns at any speed if you’re playing with the keyboard. Because of the embarrassingly arcade feeling to the steering, itâ€™s incredibly easy to control with a keyboard, but the shell interface enters entirely new realms of horribleâ€”just trying to do simple things like change the resolution is counter-intuitive and reminds you that you’re stuck in console land. And itâ€™s not just its general console-ness getting in the way, as reviewers of the PS2 version hate it equally.
Midnight Club 2 certainly isnâ€™t bad. It has plenty of gameplay and the races are pretty intense. Itâ€™s just not particularly inspired. Itâ€™s also amazing how much licensed cars are missed; driving a Saikou XS just isnâ€™t quite the same as a VTEC Civic, even if it has fake badges.
System Requirements: Pentium III 1 GHz, 128 MB RAM, WinXP