With single and multi-player modes, a huge number of unlockable vehicles and more laughs per square inch then a clown sucking helium through a straw, Midtown Madness is a joy to play. This is car racing at its lunatic, comic-book best. Based on the streets of Washington DC and Paris, MM3 offers a fairly standard selection of one-player modes including checkpoint racing, first to the finish line challenges and a leisurely cruise mode for Sunday drivers who can't be doing with speeds over 55 mph. For the third release in the MM series, Microsoft have added an undercover mode in an effort to give lone players a running goal to aim for--whether it's busting the mafia as an undercover investigator or playing bodyguard and minder for a famous racing driver. In reality the story modes are paper thin and the plotline (such as it is) is best ignored in favour of completing the missions themselves.
Where MM3 really shines is in it's online play modes where owners can take their favourite motors onto Xbox Live and tear up the tarmac against players from around the world. Anyone playing "Capture the Rabbit" will no doubt find themselves giggling with glee as they smash the bonnet from a really swish looking sportscar with a well-timed sideswipe--this is top stuff and comes close to ousting MotoGP 2 from its position as best racing game on the XBox.
It's not all good news though. Car physics really are cartoony and collisions can get very "interesting"--ever seen a Mini Cooper tip a bus over by slamming into the side of it? Also, the single-player mode can start to get repetitive after a while, so online play is a godsend.
All in all, if it's good old-fashioned racing fun you're after, with more than a dose of humour thrown in, Midtown Madness 3 is a must-have. --Chris Russell
Midtown Madness 3, the latest in Microsoft Corp's popular Midtown Madnessfranchise, allows gamers to get behind the wheel of more than 30 vehicles while competing in exciting race modes such as Blitz, Checkpoint and Cruise. With a robust Career mode featuring 14 driving careers, Midtown Madness 3 delivers the rush and excitement of street racing while challenging gamers to put their driving skills to the ultimate test.