MIDNIGHT CLUB 2: PARIS GUIDE
Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather
Initial Version Completed: April 12, 2003
Version 1.0 Completed: April 12, 2003
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Spacing and Length
SPACING AND LENGTH
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When I learned that a sequel to the original Midnight Club:
Street Racing was in the works, I knew that I would buy it,
as I had purchased the original game at the North American
launch of the PlayStation2 and absolutely loved it :-) But
when I learned that Paris would be one of the locales in
Midnight Club 2, I instantly rushed to pre-order it... about
six months before the game's release. Having lived in Paris
in the mid-1990s, the city still has a definitely attraction
to me, even in game form, and given what the developers had
done with New York City and London in the original Midnight
Club: Street Racing, I knew that I would definitely enjoy
Midnight Club 2 even more :-)
This guide does not cover the races specifically held in
Paris during Career Mode. This guide is intended more as an
overview to the city, with translations of signs and
pedestrians' catch-phrases. Some tips for navigating Paris
are also provided.
The original Midnight Club: Street Racing became unexpectedly
popular at and following the launch of the PlayStation2.
Taking place in New York City and in London, the game
presented excellent, fun, challenging racing - including the
ability to target pedestrians, by accident and otherwise -
while still remaining generally faithful to the presentation
of both cities.
This time taking place in Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo,
Midnight Club 2 takes all the elements of the original
Midnight Club: Street Racing, greatly improves the graphics
and sounds, and adds motorcycles into the mix. The result is
a spectacular blend of faithfulness to the locales and a
powerful continuation of what has come before in the series.
Paris itself is extremely breathtaking, especially for me
personally as I once lived in The City of Love. While the
version of Paris presented in Midnight Club 2 is both massive
enough and detailed enough to convincingly present the French
capital in the game, it is somewhat of a disappointment to
see the city 'reduced' to its size in the game. For example,
walking from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame takes FAR longer
than it does in the game!!!
Of course, some things must be changed in the translation
from reality to game. One of my favorite places in Paris is
the set of narrow streets to the left of Sacre-Coeur (as
looking at the front entrance of the cathedral). These
streets, also perched high upon the hillside, contain
numerous cafes, a small but elegant square where merchants
and artists often sell or perform, and breathtaking views of
the city far below when glimpsed between buildings.
Unfortunately, this area of the city - like so many other
intimate spots which are not very likely to be known to the
average traveler - is eliminated from the game :-(
The general 'construction' of Paris in Midnight Club 2 is
itself quite faithful to the real-world city. Le boulevard
peripherique (or simply 'le peripherique') is a highway which
encircles the city, generally forming its border; thus, it is
not surprising that there is really only one place to get
'out' of Paris in the game, and even that is a long tunnel
loop linking the two-lane roads running along the Seine
River. The main landmarks of Paris are all in place in the
game, and those highly familiar with the main roads of Paris
in reality will have little or no trouble navigating the
city. The many traffic circles can definitely be annoying,
especially when driving around them at high speeds while
drifting the rear of the car and still trying to avoid
collisions with the slower mundane non-competitor traffic.
Adding a sense of realism to the game, Midnight Club 2
presents a number of small shops throughout the city. Some
of these are designated by names or initials, likely as an
electronic tribute to those involved in the game's creation.
However, most of these are more 'generalized' with French
words indicating the type of shop for each - 'marche,' or
'velos,' or 'glaces,' for example.
While there are a number of such shops along the main
streets, there are also many small shops in the alleyways of
the city; this is quite true of the real-world Paris as well.
In fact, many of the best shops and cafes in Paris are
located 'off the beaten path,' and are generally not known to
travelers; even some of the best movie theaters (cinemas) are
located well away from the main streets of the city, both in
reality and in the game.
Not surprisingly, the pedestrians in Paris also often yell
things in French. Exactly what they yell at the player is
selected at random. Unfortunately, however, their catch-
phrases seem to be biased toward the use of English rather
than French, at least in the North American version of the
game. Nonetheless, the use of French does help to localize
the game, thus creating a more convincing gaming experience
for the player.
Overall, the Paris experience in Midnight Club 2 is an
excellent introduction to the city for those who have never
lived in or visited the capital of France. Certainly, there
are many things from the real-world city missing from the
game city - such as the boat traffic on the Seine River. Of
course, true to the Midnight Club series, there are numerous
places to jump between or over buildings, and even several
river jumps. The inclusion of the catacombs is a great
addition to the game, even though navigating through the
catacombs is extremely frustrating at best. If only it were
possible to also race through the Paris subway system.......
Paris in Midnight Club 2 attempts to further localize the
player's experience with pedestrians and rivals in Paris
sometimes speaking in French. For the rivals, some of these
catch-phrases are pre-determined and come during the
cutscenes before or after races, while others are used at
random during the races themselves. For the pedestrians, all
sayings are randomized, with a noticeable bias toward the use
of English (in the North American version of the game).
This section of the guide provides translations for the
French-language sayings in the game. This is not meant to be
a comprehensive listing, since so many of the catch-phrases
are randomized; it is quite possible that there are more
French-language catch-phrases than I have heard in my
experience playing in Paris in the game.
As the Internet is heavily dominated by English-speakers,
standard text-only documents are not designed to handle
accents. Therefore, to avoid a document full of strange
characters, accents have purposely not been used,
necessitating some knowledge on the part of the reader to
visualize the accents where they belong.
Translation is FAR from a precise science. For example,
consider the controversy over the U.S. Government's official
translation of the Osama Bin Laden videotape found in early
December 2001 in a home in Afghanistan (the videotape
advanced by the government as the ultimate proof of Bin
Laden's involvement in the terrorist attacks on the United
States on September 11, 2001) and the more specific
translations offered by CNN and other news organizations in
the days after the videotape's official release. There are
certainly many more potential translations which could be
made for each phrase beyond what I have provided here; the
translations given below are simply meant to give a general
Please note that some of the phrases include swearing. While
I try to accurately present the idea of the speaker with each
translation, I also do not wish to offend anyone by
translating 'in full.'
Tu me fais chier! You make me want to s***!
Parfait (name) Perfect
C'est pas vrai! - Literally: It's not true!
- Colloquially: This can't be
J'ai perdu mon auto! I lost my car!
Garez-vous maintenant! Pull over now!
Aie! Ca fait mal! Ow! That hurts!
Attention! Be careful! / Pay attention!
Ca n'va pas, non!?! That isn't right, is it!?!
Mais non! - Literally: But no!
- Colloquially: That's wrong!
Oh, merde! Oh, s***!
Oh, regarde! Oh, look! (This is used in
the familiar form here, so
the pedestrian is pointing
out the player's reckless
driving to a friend.)
With the signs in the game, meaning is generally much more
fixed than with the characters' catch-phrases. While this
information is certainly not essential to the game, as
players are not required to go to a specific shop in a given
area, it could nonetheless be useful information to know.
Again, accents have purposely not been used here. Also,
there are likely other types of stores that I have not
noticed while roaming the city.
bon bons candy store
boucher butcher shop
cadeaux gift shop
change a place to change money
chaussures shoe store
chocolat chocolate shop
cinema movie theater
coiffure hair dresser or barber shop
crepes a place selling crepes, thin pancake-
like food which can be topped (or
filled, when rolled and eaten by
hand) with various items such as
bananas, chocolate sauce, whip
cream, strawberries, etc.
cuirs leather shop
femmes women (used in the game in the red light
district near Sacre-Coeur - rather
ironic, but true to life - to help
glaces ice cream parlor
jouets toy store
librairie bookstore (NOT library; this is a false
marche small market
patisserie pastry shop
peep peep show (again, seen only in the red
pharmacie pharmacie, or drug store
poisson fish shop
tabac tobacco store
toilettes public toilets (generally requiring
some form of payment)
velos bike shop
vins wine shop
While some may find it rather awkward to go do some real-
world research to better enjoy a game, a player can
definitely benefit from finding one or more maps of Paris to
study. This will help the player to gain a better overall
feel for the layout of the city, which can in turn provide a
better chance of getting from Point A to Point B in a hurry.
Granted, the player will rarely be able to simply follow a
single street from Point A to Point B (to reach the next
checkpoint, pick up a flag, etc.). However, it is often best
to avoid the narrow and twisting streets and alleyways in
favor of the wider streets and boulevards; even if it means a
longer traveling distance, it is often easier to attain fast
speeds on these wider streets and boulevards and also to
corner quickly with less need for precision.
To the extent possible, use le boulevard peripherique to get
from one side of the city to the other in a hurry. This may
be the 'long way' from Point A to Point B, but there is no
cross-traffic, and the right-most emergency lane is rarely
ever blocked by a parked vehicle, so the player can attain
insane speeds here (especially if using the nitrous, if
available) while rivals are colliding with each other and
with other vehicles on the surface streets.
Tunnels are generally well-marked on the map in the game.
However, the catacombs are NOT indicated on the map.
Therefore, it is best to learn where the catacomb entrances
are located. This can also mean AVOIDING the many immovable
columns - of which there are far too many for comfort - in
Save the nitrous until it is absolutely necessary. There are
a few jumps - notably some jumps across the Seine River -
which will require an unfathomable rate of speed to complete
successfully, and suddenly hitting the nitrous may be the
only option for a player to successfully complete such jumps.
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