Video Game / Midtown Madness

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/midtown1.jpg
"Forget everything you learned in Driverís Ed. Run every stop sign, drive the wrong way, or gun-it to jump a drawbridge. No-rules racing means doing whatever it takes to win."
Midtown Madness: Chicago edition box description.

Midtown Madness is a series of racing games based on street racing which includes:

  • Midtown Madness: Chicago Edition
  • Midtown Madness 2
  • Midtown Madness 3

Developed for Windows, the first title was released in april 1999 (while its demo was it in May), followed by a sequel, released in september 2000; this two were developed by Angel Studios and published by Microsoft. Midtown Madness 3 arrived in June 2003 as an Xbox exclusive.

Across the games the goal is run through various races to obtain new vehicles.

Tropes appearing:

  • Artificial Stupidity: Midtown Madness 3 has some the dumbest cops ever. Drive into a body of water while the cop cars are chasing you in cruise, the cops will follow you. Then, they will respawn right near the water and drive into it again and again and again, even when you drive away from the water when you respawn.
  • Big Badass Rig: Yes, we got one!
  • Buses Are for Freaks: Drive at Chicago in a city bus or visit the major landmarks of London in a Double Decker in the way you wish!
  • Bus Full of Innocents: On the first two games crashing any bus could lead to randomly listen frightened people from them! Speaking of safety driving.
  • Capture the Flag: Multiplayer Cop & Robbers mode. Take the gold and head it up to your or team hideout.
  • Checkpoints: Present all the time, except for cruise mode.
  • Cool Car: Most of the cars indeed. Then you got the fastest: A Panoz Esperante GTR-1.
  • Console Cameo: In Midtown Madness 3, certain pedestrians can be seen carrying boxes branded with the original Xbox logo.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Some racing modes involve competing against computer-controlled cars, and since you are always in danger of smashing into vehicles or obstacles, it helps greatly that they are too (not to mention that it's gratifying to see them smash head-on into oncoming traffic or miss a critical turn). Except that if they ever leave your immediate surroundings and end up in a part of the city of Chicago that isn't currently being "simulated," they go into cruise mode and move quickly and safely wherever they are meant to go next. In one of the races, a single computer car takes a very different route than the rest, meaning that in order to win you must be very lucky to have it crash during the parts of the race when it ends up being near you.
  • Dissimile: In Midtown Madness 3, each loading screen shows the race map and a caption. One caption says "It's like a square, only it's not."
  • Don't Try This at Home: Wise advise from one of the announcers from Midtown Madness 2.
  • Drives Like Crazy.
  • Excuse Plot:
    • Midtown Madness 2: Crash course mode takes the player to be a cab driver at London and a stunt driver at San Francisco.
    • Midtown Madness 3: Undercover mission at Washington D.C. and Paris.
  • Fragile Speedster: Both Panoz (GTR-1 and Roadster) have a very low durability.
  • Have a Nice Death: By driving or falling into the river (or the ocean) in Midtown Madness 1, it will appear at the screen the message: "Sleep with the fishes!". Also it does in the sequel, only in San Francisco; While in London it shows to the player: "More tea, vicar?".
  • Hippie Van: From Midtown Madness 2 some unlockable paintjobs show lots of bright colors; special mention to the hippie themed Light Tactical Vehicle.
  • Using the Mustang cruiser in Midtown Madness 1 allows the player to pass inadvertently from the cops, as if you were part of their force letting you going much more freely through the race or the exploration mode.
    • This is no longer a exploitable feature in the sequel.
  • Invisibility: Though it works better at night, the Panoz GTR-1 secret shadow paint job in Midtown Madness 2 makes the car transparent. Cool uh?
  • Invulnerable Civilians: The pedestrians have incredible dodging skills, though in the first game, you could turn the weather to snowy and drive down the sidewalks of Lakeshore Drive to force them to dive into Lake Michigan. They would welcome death after that.
  • In-Vehicle Invulnerability: It's averted in certain race modes, like Blitz and Checkpoint, where when the vehicle is totaled it is game over. Although, vehicles in game will show signs of damage (smoke of different shades or bumping tires) as the player go around, in other game modes, however, while you can ruin your vehicle as well, it will lead you to a "5 second damage penalty" to get your car repair, good as new.
    • This apply to your opponents as well.
  • Kent Brockman News: Midtown Madness 2 has at least one announcer like this (out of three or four); one of their race-opening lines ends in "... probably because I'm not wearing any pants!"
  • Lemming Cops: The cops in the series are ridiculously single-minded in their attempts to run you off the road, including crashing through other traffic.
  • The London Underground: Present in Midtown Madness 2.
  • Man in a Kilt: One of the random bits of starting encouragement dialogue in London in Midtown Madness 2 is a Scotsman saying "If you can't feel the wind under yer kilt ye aren't going fast enough! Whaddaya mean yer not wearin' a kilt?!"
  • Mighty Glacier: The humble City Bus; it may not accelerate as fast as the average car but in the right circumstances can clean the streets from everything in its way, specially your opponents.
    • The freightliner century class qualifies as this too.
  • Minus World: Using the drive on water and speed mods for Midtown Madness 2, one can explore areas beyond the roads of London and San Francisco. Because these areas were never meant to be explored, there are holes in the terrain, flat areas hidden from view during normal gameplay by buildings, and in the San Francisco map, part of Alcatraz and Marin can be visited using the drive on water hack.
  • New-Age Retro Hippie: One of the announcers from San Francisco in Midtown Madness 2 seems to be one.
    Hippie announcer: Dude, remember the 1967 summer of love?... me neither.
  • No Name Given: The player's default profile is just Driverx in the first two games.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: It is the player, a car and a big city to explore. Commentators are present to give ambience.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Averted completely. Even on circuit races.
    • Though, playing the demos subverts this, as you are limited to a certain area and a limited time that you can still explore.
  • Numbered Sequels.
  • Optional Traffic Laws: The game specifically has the pedestrians run out of the way if they're on the street, or flatten themselves against a building, making it impossible to run anyone over. If you do obey traffic laws (speed limit, lanes, lights, etc), you are left alone by the authorities. Breaking any of these laws results in the cops chasing you mercilessly.
  • Product Placement: It's visible in some vehicles like the playable city bus or npc taxis promotions of other Microsoft products, like the MSN Gaming Zone, Monster Truck Madness 2, Motocross Madness and their precision racing wheel. The developer, Angel Studios, also shows up.
  • Race Against the Clock: Blitz race mode.
  • Ramp Jump: The series has rising bridges that the player can jump over, as well as trailer ramps scattered throughout the cities.
  • Ramprovisation: In Midtown Madness 2, you can jump from one embankment of the Thames to the other by use of strategically placed ramps in the Tower of London, and a (convenient) boat in the middle of the river.
  • Shout-Out: The whole idea of driving at Chicago and then being chased by crazy cops from the first game sounds familiar to you?.
    • The Mustang Fastback from the first two games resembles the one from the 1968 film ''Bullitt''.
      • To complete the reference, in Midtown Madness 2, the new crash course mode, has the San Francisco course with the player involved as a movie stunt driver, driving a green Mustang Fastback.
  • Simulation Game.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Angelina from Midtown Madness 3 has some attitute.
  • Spiritual Successor: Midnight Club, developed by Angel Studios as well, which became Rockstar's San Diego division starting before Midnight Club II came out. Furthermore, the engine for the first Midnight Club was a heavily improved version of the Midtown Madness 2 engine, which later became the framework for the later Rockstar's RAGE engine.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Good luck trying to figure out the winning route; with all the checkpoints scattered, your opponents taking different ways and a direction arrow that only indicates where is the nearest checkpoint regardless of the actual layout of the streets. It doesnít help when the traffic is in a jam, the driver must be careful or say good bye to the race.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Subverted, even though the player can leave a path of chaos the game is designed to not hurt any pedestrian; instead, they scream, and jump away.
  • Wacky Racing: Depending on the driver.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Main selling point of the series; Going anywhere around, without any limits through real life cities.
  • Wreaking Havok: If you survive the race and get to the breaking point of your vehicle

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/MidtownMadness