Review by PoopinClumpin

"Mediocre Street Racing At It's Best"

Midnight Club II - PC Version

-Gameplay (7/10)
Overall, the game is fun, though repetitive. The play cycle consists of you starting in ''Cruise Mode'', then you drive around until you find an opponent racer. After a little cat and mouse chase initiated by flashing your high beam, you see a cut scene where you are verbally abused by the rival (this gets annoying really quickly). After the cutscene, you race. This process is repeated in various cities worldwide.
Theres a frustrating amount ''arcade'' style in the gameplay with not a whole lot of realism. Strategically placed buses, police cars, etc. inhibit much use any real apexed turns in the Career Mode as you're spending most of the race recovering from crashes. Most of the time, if you plan a nice clean arc through a turn, there ~will~ be a car just out of view somwhere along that line. Fortunately, these obstacles can be turned off in other modes.
The multiplayer mode is very basic. You probably won't be using this very much as it isn't that great. I get the feeling it was tossed in as an afterthought. Something about it feels unfinished. Network play is pretty easy to set up.

-Graphics (8/10)
The game has clean graphics with not much clipping or pixelation of textures up close. At least no more blockyness than you would expect from this engine. Slower PCs may experience slowdown at higher resolutions when there's many vehicles and pedestrians on-screen.

-Music (5/10)
Not much to talk about here. Though I wonder if Rockstar San Diego included so much sterotypical rice-boy music as a means of satire.
Much of the Electronic and Europop music tends to be boring, and the Rap/Hip-Hop is non-threateningly generic.
Luckily for us, the MP3 option is available for you to use your own music.

-Sound (6/10)
The gameplay sounds are pretty good. Though I had to subtract 4 points for the unbelieveably scripted, horribly abusive cutscene dialog and the ceaseless ''real-time'' taunting by the rivals during races. These taunts get old very quickly and are often used at inappropriate times. An example of this is when your rival proclaims victory over you two minutes after he crashed in the water and was disqualified.

-Play Control (7/10)
Standard gas/brake control for the cars and motorcycles. Some extra control features are unlocked after the first few races. For example, you can adjust the car mid-flight by holding a button (so you can land flat). Anyone familiar with the Grand Theft Auto series will be familiar with the controls. For accurate control, I recommend an analog control pad.
One note about the menus in-game, they are really bad. It took me about 15 minutes to figure out where to adjust the sound volume of the opponent's voice (for muting). It seems as though the menu system was not designed for use with a mouse/keyboard. I know this was a console port, but the addition of even rudimentary usable drop-down menus would have been nice.

Overall (6/10)
If you're done with Vice City and feaning for a weaponless drive around another set of interestingly lifelike cities then Midnight Club 2 will be your fix. However, if you're looking for realistic high-performance street racing, keep looking.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 02/13/04

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