Microsoft Midtown Madness - Page 2

What Rigs And Races Can I Choose From?
There are 10 vehicles to choose from, 5 of which are available to you at the start and the rest to be “unlocked”. There are also 9 other tracks to “unlock”. In Amateur mode, you can “unlock“ 4 of the vehicles and the 9 tracks. The last vehicle, the Panoz GTR-1, can only be “unlocked” in the Professional mode through the accumulation of points.

Admittedly it was disappointing that there was such a limited range of vehicles to choose from. I would have liked something zany like a tank, a motorbike (maybe even a bicycle), or a dragster with afterburners. I’m sure your imagination can think up of many others that you would have liked to drive amok on the streets. In addition, there are some vehicles in the list that you will probably seldom take for a spin because they are just so similar. Examples are the Cardillac Eldorado and the Ford Mustang GT.

360 Degrees Turn And Burn!

To unlock the rest of the vehicles, you have to do some serious racing in three different areas: The Blitz Race, the Checkpoint Race and the Circuit Race. The Blitz is just that; You blaze your way through specific checkpoints in the traffic-filled city within a time limit without totaling your vehicle and you win the race.

Looks like the Pawn Shop isn't open today!!

The Checkpoint Race and Circuit Race are both checkpoint specific race categories which pits you against computer opponents. The Checkpoint Race offers more freedom as it allows you to freely find the shortest path to your checkpoints with no traffic. The Circuit Race is supposed to be path specific with barricades molding the circuit, but you can always cut-corners by bashing through the barriers. Traffic is also present in the Circuit. And of course, there is also a Cruise mode where you can get a feel of the roads and vehicles by driving uninhibitedly through the city.

Hard to Port!

What Kinda Options Do I Have?
There is a range of options available to customize your controls and tweak gameplay performance and the scenery on the streets. Getting the best visuals is processor intensive and moderate settings are advised if you’re running on a Pentium 200 processor or below. No doubt you don’t get the tastiest eye candy, but at least it is smooth. Playability will be noticeably degraded if you go for the best visuals without at least a Pentium II-400. The minimum requirements stated on the box are a Pentium-166 or a Pentium-200 with 32MB of memory but I would seriously recommend at least a Pentium 200 with 64MB for minimum “playability”.

Pasta Break!

During Cruise mode or a replay of any of the tracks you have won in, you can set the weather, time of day and the density of vehicles, pedestrians and cops (yes, there are police in the game. Crime does pay). If you want to have a rush hour traffic scenario, just slide the vehicle and pedestrian density bar all the way to the max with an evening setting. It looks surprisingly realistic. However, this is a serious hog on the hardware due to the drastic increase in polygon counts and even my Pentium II-333 (o/c to 416mhz) dropped enough frames for gameplay to be jittery.

You can also customize your controls, including steering sensitivity and dead-zone. Force feedback is also supported. You can even set the collision intensity and road force intensity for your vehicle.

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