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Midnight Club 2

Score: 75%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Rockstar
Developer: Rockstar
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:

With large parts of 3 major cities accurately laid out, the developers at Rockstar knew that the level of detail had to be on par with the amount of content. City blocks are not laid out in cookie cutter fashion here; these are real locations that are unique from one another, and locals from these cities will quickly find themselves at home.

While cruising around downtown Tokyo, L.A. or Paris, you'll hear both chatter from fellow racers as well as hip-hop beats that fit the scenes perfectly. There is only a slight amount of monotony in the audio effects, which may start to gnaw at some players after a while, but this flaw is easily looked over if you're not the type to be quickly annoyed.


Midnight Club II is a racing game with an edge. It pits you in the driver's seat of a tricked out car, and throws some of the toughest underground racers your way. The only way to compete with better racers is to acquire new vehicles, including both car and motorcycle. This is the sole purpose of racing on these mean streets, as your victories will grant you a new and better set of wheels each time.

MCII appears to be slightly linear at first. You race against an opponent, you win and get his car, or you lose and try again. However, after the first few races you'll find yourself cruising around the streets looking for other drivers to race. A convenient map on your screen will tell you where some of these racers are, and to challenge them you simply give a quick flash of your brights, and then you're off.

Well, maybe it's not that simple. You have to follow your challenged opponent to a specific location on the map (which can be quite a drive in some cases). Here you will take part in one of a variety of races. Each race will have you hunting down check points, whether they are set up sequentially or they are scattered around, and it is up to you to find the fastest path. There are also one-on-one battles where the situation turns mono a mono. Whatever the challenge, there is enough variety here to keep things fresh.

A career in illegal street racing is not the only option you have in MCII. There is also a handy Arcade mode which allows you to race at any location you have unlocked. Accompanying this is a race editor that gives you the chance to set up specific types of races and alter the checkpoints on them. You can take on these custom tracks with either AI opponents, or other friends in online play.


The challenging aspect of Midnight Club II comes from the initial decision of what vehicle you will race with. As you gain more automobiles, you can use them interchangeably throughout each race. Racing around the different locations is no more difficult than dodging traffic and taking turns on two wheels, but don't worry, these skills come with but little practice.

Game Mechanics:

As a racing game, Midnight Club II is best controlled with a steering wheel. It's not impossible to play through the game with just the mouse and keyboard (thankfully the controls can be altered), but the addition of a steering wheel peripheral will more than double your enjoyment of playing this game.

The customization of vehicles in MCII may be non-existent, but the joy does not lie in tweaking these high end pieces of machinery. What you can do with them is far more important. Most cars come standard equipped with nitro boost, a nifty little gadget that comes in handy when you find yourself losing. Also, you can shift the weight around in your car when taking high flying jumps, enabling you to land flat and lose little speed.

MCII is a nice step up from its prequel, but it may not offer the type of gameplay that car fanatics want. It's no Gran Turismo, but it is racing with an attitude. If you're in the mood to try a spin off of an old genre, and a rather good one at that, check out Midnight Club II.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2K/XP, 800 MHz Processor, 128 MB RAM, 4 Speed CD ROM, 1600 MB Free Hard Disk Space, 32 MB Video Card

Test System:

Windows XP, 1.4 AMD Athlon Processor, 256 MB RAM, 128 MB GeForce FX 5200 Video Card, 40 Gig Hard Drive

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Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated