Midnight Club II - PS2

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Also for: PC, Xbox
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Racing: Car
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Rockstar San Diego Soft. Co.: Rockstar
Publishers: Rockstar (GB)
Take 2 (GB)
Released: 23 Apr 2004 (GB)
2 May 2003 (GB)
Ratings: 15+
Accessories: Memory Card, Steering Wheel
Connectivity: Network Adaptor (Ethernet) compatible
Features: Vibration Function Compatible, Analogue Control Compatible: analogue sticks only


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The problem with illegal street racing is that it’s illegal, and therefore offends the sensibilities of pretty much every industry that values its public persona, including vehicle manufacturers, which goes a long way towards explaining why all such games have unlicensed vehicles.

This can pose several problems, not least in alienating the key-target consumer – the car enthusiast. This being said, some games, such as Criterion’s excellent Burnout series, have overcome this obstacle with consummate ease, however others, including Rockstar’s original Midnight Club which was a first generation PlayStation 2 release, failed to capture that certain something.

Developed by Rockstar San Diego, Midnight Club II is a truly grown up sequel to the original. Gone are the days of struggling with PlayStation 2 coding-from-the-ground-up, replaced by the age of decent, sturdy middleware. Yay! MRII looks infinitely better than the original. It runs at a higher frame rate, it's more detailed, and the texturing employed now looks solid and much more realistic.

The concept however, remains faithful. You race, playing as one of 22 characters, to a pre-determined destination, taking any route you see fit. The concept of free-roaming, point-to-point racing is massively appealing, and comes well packaged in Midnight Club II.

There are just under 30 cars included and several bikes, with the cars made up of an impressive 5,500 polygons, twice as many as the original Midnight Club.

However, Midnight Club II really comes alive in two-player mode, with the development team shamelessly going for a Mario Kart-for-grown-ups package, and to great effect. As well as the standard races, you have capture the flag mode, offload the bomb, and circuit races in cordoned off sectors of the three cites, Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo, which have been included.

It’s going to be a while before you get to play Grand Theft Auto 4, so if you can’t wait for a fresh bout of Rockstar’s headline-grabbing gaming, get stuck into this!