Midtown Madness 3

Cccrrraaaazz-ooh, no, sorry.

Source // Moby Games

Racing games come in all kinds of flavours, and I tend to categorise them in my head as 'Games I've played', 'Games I've heard of' and 'Games with such silly titles they couldn't possibly be worth my time, could they?'

That's all I think about when I see Midtown Madness 3 written down in front of me. "What a silly name. And there are now three of them? Do you guys just churn them out or something?"

There was no chance of me coming across the first two PC titles, and by the time this third one game out exclusively on the Xbox, it was still so far off my radar that I don't know what the game is about to this day. Is it even a racing game?

Source // Moby Games


Sadly, I can't find out first hand right now, but I do have an awful lot of the Internet available to me to try and piece together what it is I'm missing.

With gameplay in the background and screenshots at the ready, I can safely say that Midtown Madness 3 is a little bit of Crazy Taxi, a little bit of Driver and some of the lighter ideas of Grand Theft Auto, all rolled into one open-world driving game.

Source // Moby Games

The single-player mode has you driving undercover, performing various car-based jobs for caricatures of people. Picking up such and such, delivering it here or there, outrunning other people who want it... If you were told to fill the streets of Paris or Washington with car-based missions, I'm sure you could imagine the bulk of this game.

Source // Moby Games
Source // Moby Games

There are races, sure, both against the clock and against AI opponents, and it looks somewhat arcadey, despite all the fancy graphics that these screenshots show. They're fancy enough graphics to show off some licensed and recognisable cars, so if you really want to tear through the streets of Paris in an Audi, knock yourselves out.

Source // Moby Games
Source // Moby Games
Source // Moby Games

I don't particularly feel the need to do that myself, though. Midtown Madness 3 comes across as something you'll play because there's nothing else to play right now. There's no story to follow, it's just you and lots of traffic, smashing through the scenery and scaring the citizens as you skid through checkpoints for one reason or another.

But, take it online, and apparently, you're in for some fun times. Not that I'd know.

Multiplayer races are obvious, but modes like capturing the flag, games of car tag, and even a pursuit mode where police-players hunt down and convert the other players into more pursuing police cars in a city-sized game of car cat and mouse might make Midtown Madness 3 bubble up to the surface just a little.

Final Word

At least, back in 2003, it might have. I don't know how best to experience Midtown Madness 3 these days if it's the multiplayer mode that shines. There is a simple split-screen offering, but it's not the same as a full 8 player pursuit or something.

The graphics aren't to be scoffed at, arcadey though they are in places, but the sound effects and music give off the impression that this game is a little cheap. Time and effort go into all video game development, I'm sure, but it feels this one had a low bar to reach, and just aimed for it, rather than above and beyond.

I don't know. Maybe I'm too harsh on it. I've not played it, so perhaps it's one of best feeling racers out there, I just wouldn't know. From what I can see, though, it's not making me curse my younger self - or my older self - for not getting an Xbox to play it on.

The best thing about it is that it exists, and that if you want a bit of Crazy Taxi, Driver, and GTA, you can find them all here, as well as racing. That's a nice package for a quick little pick-up and play title.

Perhaps one day I'll be able to actually pick it up and play it.

Fun Facts

The game expanded itself with downloadable content, which console gamers of the time would soon start to see more and more of...

Midtown Madness 3, developed by Digital Illusions CE, first released in 2003.
Version watched: Xbox, 2003 (Just another gamer)