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Midtown Madness ROCKS


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I changed the title of this thread since it's become a general discussion


There's no rule about posting entire articles here, right?


This is from IGN:


June 02, 2003 - Take a fire truck, a Cadilac Escalade, a cherry Mustang, and a Lotus, send them speeding down side streets and bolting toward ramps in the hopes of barreling into an opponent and snatching their gold or instantly transform the hunted into a hunter in a game of cat-and-mouse tag, and what have you got? The insanely frantic and already addicting Xbox Live experience of Midtown Madness 3, that's what.


IGN Xbox editors Aaron Boulding and Jon Robinson spent a couple of hours testing out the Live aspects of DICE's daredevil driver, and when it came time to finally drop the controller and step away from their machines, it left them both a shattered and stunned mess as neither wanted the game (and their new fix) to end. Below are some of their impressions on the various multiplayer modes available to the public when the game releases June 16th.


Jon's take


In Hunter, one car is randomly designated "The Hunter" and instantly turns into a police car, red lights, sirens and all. The goal of the hunter is to crash into all of the other players, transforming their rides from hot street racers to other cop cars and switching their objectives from running from the sirens, to chasing down the remaining racers and forcing them to become yet another victim of The Man. The game's fast pace is crazy, as you start out yelling at the cops "You'll never take me, pigs!" and then you get rammed by 5-0 and instantly start screaming to the remaining racers, "You can't run from the law!" It's awesome how even though you get caught, you really don't care, because being one of the cops and chasing down the other drivers is just as, if not more fun than running from the police. It's great to hear the cops talking strategy over the head set about getting into position and how they have you surrounded and then flying right over them as you hit a jump perfectly that sends you to your freedom?for the time being, at least. Definitely one of the best modes available.


Call Stayaway the Bizarro version of tag. Instead of one car trying to chase after the rest of the pack, in Stay Away you have the rest of the pack chasing one car. If you're that one car (designated with a bunny rabbit overhead), your goal is to avoid being tagged for as long as possible. If you're playing as one of the pack, you want to ram into the rabbit car, take the role (and the rabbit) away, then speed off before the pack catches up to you as now you're the car everybody is after. The action is fluid, as just as you're about to hit the chase car, another player might speed out from an alley or off a jump to hit the car before you, and by the time you slam on the brakes or try to turn around, the new chase car is out of sight and you'll have to use your knowledge of the map to cut him off in another part of the city if you want the glory of being the one everybody is following. A fun mode to talk smack, especially if you've been the rabbit for a while and no one can catch you. Watch out for driving on the grass, though, as a Lotus trying to make a sharp turn through the middle of a park can spin out of control faster than the blink of your eye, and it's things like that that can make the difference between a quick getaway and getting t-boned by a speeding Escalade.


Aaron's Take


Not to tip our hands or anything, but Midtown Madness 3 is a lot like MechAssault in that its Xbox Live multiplayer segments are the bread and butter that make this title worthwhile. It's a theme we're going to see continued in other first party Xbox Live games like Crimson Skies where online play is the whole reason for the game's existence in the first place. So it's a wise move on the part of DICE to include a nice menu of different game types, even if they are just variations of the same theme of keep away.


Tag is the more conventional version of Stayaway that "Leadfoot" Robinson describes above and that everybody should remember from childhood. That is, if you were allowed to go outside and associate with other human beings in your age group, wearing tennis shoes and smelling of Capri Sun and Rice Krispy squares. In our time with Tag it proved to be the gameplay mode that looks nice when filling out a game's feature set, but in practice, it might be the Xbox Live mode least likely to provide a heated match in MM3. Basically, you probably won't play Tag in Midtown Madness 3 for the same reasons you don't play it in real life with your buddies anymore: it's just not as fun because you're too caught up in the pursuit of alcohol, money and the opposite sex. So do with Tag what you will. Fortunately for all of us, Capture the Gold is where the money is: literally.


The slow pace of the single player game is blown away by the speed and recklessness you'll be getting out of Capture the Gold. Playing every-man-for-himself of team based Capture the Flag end up being more similar than not with everybody on the map gravitating towards the gold whether it's in motion or waiting to be picked up. The difference in the team-based game is when I'm leaving the crowd in the dust (as I tend to do), I know at least some of the cars chasing me are teammates trying to run the other team's guys off the road. Unlike those punk-asses in the trench run at the end of Star Wars, your teammates aren't just back there to get smoked to protect you. All they have to do is nudge the bad guys and they'll go flipping. You're all doing 100+ mph, remember.


The extra layer of strategy in Capture the Gold is you have to take the loot somewhere once you pick it. It's more or less a free for all --even in team games-- until the gold is picked up but after that it's time for some strategy. Faking sharp turns to throw off pursuers, making sure your car is in good health before trying something daring and knowing the map's shortcuts are advanced level techniques that'll keep MM3 fun for months to come. Like we see in MechAssault, destroying a crippled car that can't come anywhere near its legit speed or handling won't be anything to be ashamed of in MM3 because you'll get a brand new one. You don't want to be picking up the gold whilst driving a smoldering heap. And importance knowing the DC and Paris maps like the back of your hand can NOT be understated. Nothing will make you curse quicker than the gold carrier bending a corner, hitting a ramp and jumping over a river just as you're about to smash into him and make him give up the loot. DICE even modeled Paris' underground rail system so you can transport gold in the relative safety of underground while your pursuers complain about their locator maps being broken since they're above ground and still can't see you.


The biggest surprise we came across in Midtown Madness 3 is that you can join games in progress. You'll be thrown into the game at a time and place that makes sense for you and all of the players already in the game, so there'll be no instant spawning on top of the gold or anything like that. You'll also be able to watch as a spectator when you're eliminated from a game like Tag.


The set of options in all of the games allows for the host to set the types of vehicles in the game and the weight of the gold to be captured. You can have a game made up of all diesels where fire trucks, buses and dump trucks lumber around town. Making the gold light means the carrier can reach his top speed while making the gold heavy means he won't come close. You can even determine if you want to play on the full city map to allow for maximum freedom and exploration or on a smaller chunk of the city that's been walled off by giant Matrix-like forcefields to allow for maximum framerate. Going for the smaller, framerate friendly option didn't hamper the fun and really keeps MM3 looking gorgeous with the same lighting, damage effects and responsiveness of an offline solo game.


IGN will have more on Midtown Madness 3 as we come up on the game's June 16 release date.


-- Aaron Boulding and Jon Robinso

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The biggest surprise we came across in Midtown Madness 3 is that you can join games in progress. You'll be thrown into the game at a time and place that makes sense for you and all of the players already in the game, so there'll be no instant spawning on top of the gold or anything like that. You'll also be able to watch as a spectator when you're eliminated from a game like Tag.


That part sounds great.


But is there no straight checkpoint racing in crowded, or closed streets in this game? Is it all about tag and gold capture modes??

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Oh bugger. Sounds like I'm buying MM3, a broadband connection and Live, then. I absolutely adored the first two, and what little multiplayer I got in on them (between the pain of trying to get MSN Game Zone connections to work and my rubbish bandwidth on dialup) was really good fun when it was working.


Far more than stuff like RTCW, this is why I wanted an XBox and Live.

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Well, the only problem with getting Live and it straight away is that its released the Monday before my Wife's birthday. Having enough cash left over after present buying to buy a broadband connection, Live and the game itself would NOT be a clever idea...

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OK, does anyone know what's going on with the release date for this?


Play.com had the UK release as Monday 16th June. Now its showing the following week.


Meanwhile, elsewhere suggests the US don't get it until July or August.


Anyone know? I'm getting disturbingly eager for the game.

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Anyone know? I'm getting disturbingly eager for the game.


Well, I returned some games to EB and put in a pre-order for MM3 yesterday and the guy said they already had it in stock (i tried to talk him into sneaking me one, but he didn't go for it).


So unless he's off his rocker, it should be out here (US) on the 17th.

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I caught the EB near where I live selling MM3, so I got on the subway to visit the one where I pre-ordered it, and they weren't selling it!


So I told the guy I just saw it for sale at another EB, he calls them, and they seem fairly clueless that it's not supposed to go on sale until Wed. Anyway, the guy sold me one ("don't tell anyone") because the other store was :-) I just got home, I'll check it out soon. It still had the big orange sticker on top DO NOT SELL BEFORE 6/17/03

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Holy crap is this game fun! Ruffneck hosted a great game of hunter/prey (or whatever it's called) followed by some capture the gold. Pretty much complete mayhem and destruction.


The car handling is quite nice, very arcadey, but enough realism to keep it interesting. The environments are chock full of movable/destoyable objects. The cars take damage nicely and if you're too abusive, eventually your car will 'damage out' which basically means that you have to wait about 10 seconds for it to respawn shiny and new.


The maps are stellar, lots of places to take shortcuts to try and head people off.


I can see I'm going to spend a lot of quality time with this game... :D


About the only negative thing was a major freeze in the game when someone joined, I was frozen in my tracks for about 10 seconds. But it only happened once.


Oh, and it's not clear just how hard you need to hit someone to grab the gold. I got hit pretty good by somebody, but I retained the gold, seemd like a bug but I'm not sure. Bu generally the game ran very well.

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Ed and Chris, I hate you both :wink:


Aw, don't hate us because we're having more fun than you are!


Anyway, soon enough you'll be able to take out your hatred by ramming your favorite high-powered spors car right into the windsheild of mine...you'll be feeling better in no time! :lol:

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I hate you soo much ;)


I really, really want this right NOW.


As you've got the game, I don't suppose you could confirm what the situation is with 16x9 and custom sountracks?


Quite apart from getting a serious Midtown jones (I'll have to play 1 and 2 again when I get home, I think), racing through the centre of Washington to the tune of "Mona Lisa Overdrive" of the Reloaded score would be just too cool.

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No 16x9 or so I've read. I don't have a 16x9 TV so I'll leave this up to other people to fully confirm.


Custom soundtracks are in. Although I've heard from people on Xbox Live that there's a bug that only lets one song be played repeatedly. I've only heard of that while on XBox Live, so I don't know about custom soundtracks during the single player game.

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I can live with that, I think. Most of the time I just turn the volume down on the music and play stuff through the stereo with sound still coming from the TV, so thats no biggie.


Also, hardly any of my games are 16x9, so I'm used to it.

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Yeah, I definitely kept hearing the same track, but not always. My suspicion is that it starts with the same track each time you start a new race, but if the song ends before the race it goes on to the next one.


Kind of a big oversight, IMO...it's very noticable. Maybe there's a way to fix it that I'm not aware of.


BTW, I was online with several UK folks on Saturday night, it was great.


So far, I think I like Capture the Gold most...seems particularly good with teams, trying to block opponents when your teammate has the gold (and a left-click mutes the other team so you can strategize in private). But the other modes are fun too, Stayaway is great...trying to be the 'rabbit' the longest.


Tag and Hunter are fun as well, hunter is interesting because the dynamic changes dramatically as the game progresses. At the start there's only one hunter, the rest are prey, but soon enough the hunter hits a prey and converts it to another hunter. So eventually the prey are outnumbered by the hunters and running for their lives. One thing I think is odd is that the last person who is prey (the last one not hit by a hunter) is the winner, but the race doesn't actually end until that person is hit...even though the outcome is decided. Maybe there's an option for the host to end the game as soon as there's one prey left, but as it is, it seems a bit anti-climactic to convert the last prey since they have already won...they were the best at avoiding the hunters.


The time-limit in Tag makes it fun. Once you're 'it' you only have a set amount of time (around 3 minutes, but I think this is set by the host) to tag someone else or you're out of the race, and whomever you are nearest to becomes 'it'. Once you're out, the fun isn't over because you can then spectate on any of the remaining racers..which is quite fun too.


I like how in every mode, the map is tweaked a bit to keep gameplay balanced. When you are prey, for instance, you only see the hunters appear on the map for about a second every 10 seconds or so...so you need to keep watching the map for that moment when they appear, and then react.


IIRC, in Stayaway, if you're the rabbit you only see the rest of the players flash on the map for about the same time as the hunters in that mode.


The only bad things I've found in the game (other than that freeze, which only happened once) is that there are areas, particularly in Washington, where you can get stuck, areas with short walls that can be very difficult to find your way out of. In one game of CTG, the guy with the gold got stuck in one of these areas and it took a good 5 minutes for him to find his way out...which completely stopped the game.

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Got Midtown Madness 3 in two days early


Just put it in finally


Played it for 10 minutes


Drove through a tree


Delivered a pizza


Wondered if the tree thing was just a minor game glitch as I endured some of the worst voice acting in videogame history


Drove through another tree


Endured even more horrible voice acting


Drove through eight more trees


Got horribly offended


Took the game out


Found the receipt


Should be getting my refund from EB tomorrow

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Ever played ANY of the Midtown Madness games? You could drive through trees in both of the previous games.


If you go slow though, you hit them. If you're going fast, you "bounce" when you go through them. My guess is because the game is so fast paced, they don't want you spending half your time backing up, and turning when each time you hit one of the numerous trees on each level, and you WILL hit them while you're playing.


Did you even bother trying it online, which IMO makes up for the rather simplistic single payer game?

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