Developed by: Angel Studios
Published by: Microsoft
Release Date: June 1999
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We're On a Mission From God
I have to admit, I wasn't all that thrilled when I received the beta disc of Midtown Madness, a new 3D racing game from Microsoft. I'm not that big into racing games - the last one I played was probably Mario Kart for Nintendo 64! But hey, a beta is a beta, and there's just something satisfying about playing a game that not many other people have the chance to play yet. But enough gloating, what's Midtown Madness about? Midtown follows a series of other "Madness" racing titles from Microsoft, like Monster Truck Madness and Motocross Madness. Unlike the previous "Madness" titles, Midtown takes you out of the dirty arenas of monster truck rallies and motobikes, and into the streets of Chicago, which, depending on your point of view, is still a dirty arena (no offense, Chicagoans).
Drive to Wrigley Field in a Beetle
That's right folks, the developers at Angel Studios have created a virtual Chicago, complete with landmarks like Miracle Mile, the El-Train tracks, Sears Tower, Wrigley Field, Soldier Field, and more. They even tested the game with natives of Chicago who were amazed at how closely the 80km of roads resembled real Chicago streets. But what's a city without traffic, people, and more? The "virtual Chicago" in Midtown Madness is complete with working traffic lights, traffic cars that use turn signals and obey traffic laws, police who'll chase you down, and pedestrians walking the sidewalks. You'll even see draw bridges, mailboxes, trash cans, newspaper dispensers, and parking meters, all of which are interactive (read: you can knock all this stuff over!). The living city is definitely a highlight of Midtown Madness, as I spent quite a bit of time just driving around aimlessly.
Soldier Field, home of "da Bears."