Midtown Madness is one of the first classic PC games that offered an open world experience to drive in. I remember playing this game for countless number of hours just cruising through the city of Chicago. It was an escape from reality for me and to this date I can pick this game up anytime and start playing almost endlessly. So in this post I would like to talk more about this game and what made it so fun to play.
What makes this game so fascinating for me personally is that I recently found out that the game was actually developed by Rockstar Games San Diego branch. Rockstar Games is one of my most favourite game developers and their game GTA Vice City changed my life. I have written an entire post for this so you can check that out. Anyway, so that’s about the development tidbit. Let’s come to the gameplay aspect.
This game was launched in 1999 which made it a transition from the 90s to the 2000s. The game had 4 game modes: Blitz, Circuit, Checkpoint and Cruise. My favourite mode out of these was the Cruise mode. This mode allowed you to roam the entire city freely without having any restriction on time or without being forced to participate in any races.
You start off with 5 cars and 5 more are available to unlock. Unlocking these cars require you to complete certain set of tasks such as coming in the top 3 positions in certain game modes and stuff like that. There are two Ford Mustangs in the game, one is a cop car and another is a civilian car. The civilian Ford Mustang was my favourite car in this game as it’s controls felt great.
There is also a dashboard camera view of the game that added in another layer of authenticity to the driving aspect of the game as it felt quite as if you actually in the car while driving around. My favourite dashboard view was of VW Beetle as it also had a small flower on it’s dashboard and looked quite clean as well.
The weather system of this game was perfect. In Cruise mode you could actually set the time of day to play in as well as the weather. You had sunny, rainy, cloudy and snowy weathers and could play during sunrise, afternoon, sunset and night time. Blitz, Circuit and Checkpoint modes have their own specific time of the day and weather to play in.
Midtown Madness included an option to remove pedestrians, as they do not alter gameplay but may affect system performance when in a group; The best part about this game is that it does not require a 3D graphics card either.
The absolutely amazing aspect of this game was definitely the ability to be able to drive around anywhere freely in the Cruise mode. It was also reported that the developers of this game asked Chicago residents to actually play test the game to ensure that the city was recreated faithfully. However, of course, there are certain buildings that we slightly relocated in order to enhance gameplay.
Some of the cheats of this game were also quite hilarious. There was this cheat through which you could turn all the trains into flights and flights into UFOs as well. There was also a cheat code that allowed you to throw mailboxes every time you honked.
I also had a lot of fun driving my car on top speed and jumping from over the bridge that used to open and close. If you failed to cross the bridge and fell into the Chicago river then you were shown a message of “Sleep with the fishes!”. Sometimes I used to purposely used to find specific angles to launch my car into the water if my car got damaged a lot.
I also remember playing this game with my cousins. In vacations they used to come over at my place and we used to take turns playing in the cruise mode. Whenever the car got completely damaged we passed on the turn to the other person in sequence. It was a ton of fun to play this way and we used to make wacky commentary while the other person was playing in order to make them laugh so they would crash their cars faster.
All in all this game was an extremely delightful experience to play through. This game is all about having fun while driving. You can try out some challenges through Blitz, Checkpoints and Circuit mode to unlock various cars but even if you don’t do that it doesn’t matter. The game’s city environment is modeled after Chicago, including many of its landmarks, such as the ‘L’, the Willis Tower (then known as the Sears Tower), Wrigley Field, and Soldier Field. The streets feature a number of objects into which the player can crash, including trash bins, parking meters, mailboxes, and traffic lights.
That’s it about Midtown Madness. The Cruise mode that allows you to play without any restrictions in regards to any time limit or even map exploration area is what makes this game a lot of fun to play. Are you a fan of Midtown Madness? Which is your favourite car in this game? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
Also, if there is some game you’d like me to talk about then let me know that as well. I’ll try to cover that in my upcoming posts.
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This is Nikhil signing off, na shledanou!