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Platform

PlayStation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Rockstar Games

 

Developer

Rockstar San Diego

 

ERSB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

April 2005

 

 

- Has the DUB stamp of approval which is an impressive accolade

- Easy to pick up game with plenty of depth for patient gamers

- Mindblowing sense of speed. You cannot find better anywhere else

- Great attention to detail spent on cars

 

 

- The locations are not very diverse

- Too many necessary moves and too few controller buttons

- A few graphical glitches experienced (Including one time where I turboed sideways off a ramp and into a wall)

- Just feels like it could have been more and something really special

 

 

Review: Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition (Xbox)

Review: Midnight Club II (PS2)

Review: Midtown Madness 3 (XB)

Review: Midnight Club II (XB)

 

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Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition

Score: 8.9/10

 

Rockstar Games returns with Midnight Club 3 - the third addition to the esteemed franchise. It is very apparent that they wanted to go all out this time and be the only game to really represent the street racing and tuning culture. Rockstar went straight to the experts and got DUB Magazine involved this time out, and I will go into some background information on DUB very soon. My overall impression of Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition is that it is a very good game that just falls short of being great.

 

midnight club 3 dub edition review          midnight club 3 dub edition review

 

Now onto the DUB run-through as I promised. Not knowing about DUB does not detract from the game a single bit if you are worried. In the game, all you will think of DUB is that it is just some company that makes sweet cars. However, in real life that is not the whole truth. DUB Magazine is a high profile automotive lifestyle magazine. They showcase the vehicles of a wide range of celebrities and more specifically the modifications made to said vehicles. The majority of the people DUB features are hip hop artists and athletes. This is because their extravagant wealth and creativity make them pioneers in the vehicle tuning scene. DUB Magazine has featured celebrities like Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant and Missy Elliot and their current issue features NBA star Carmello Anthony of the Denver Nuggets.

 

DUB is not only famous for just covering the urban automotive scene but they are part of it. DUB modifies several high class automobiles with their own unique style and flair. The newest DUB edition vehicles are the Chrysler 300C, the Dodge Magnum and the Dodge Charger. The Chrysler 300C is actually available in game 'dubbed' out. It is not perfect however as there are many things that DUB adds to their vehicles that are not available in-game. Nonetheless the presence of DUB adds a distinct flair of authenticity that is not present in most street racing games.

 

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A total of over 60 different vehicles are present in this game. They each fall into the different classes of Tuners, Muscle Cars, Classics, SUVs, Trucks, Sedans, Choppers, Bikes and Exotics/Concept. There are class specific races in the game so it is generally advisable to have at least one car from each class in the game. Most of the races however are open to any type of car.  Each class also has one of 3 special abilities available to them: Zone, Roar and Agro. Zone is a special move that slows 

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down time for a few seconds allowing for easy maneuvering and is invaluable in high traffic spots. Zone is available to Tuners, Sport Bikes and Exotics. Zone gets charged by driving without collisions. Roar is a special move that sends a powerful sound wave that knocks around the cars surrounding you. It can clear the traffic out of a congested area or impede your opponents. Roar is available to Muscle Cars and Choppers. Roar gets charged by drifting. Finally Agro is a special move that makes your car incredibly strong for a short period of time. In Agro, your car is impervious to damage and easily deflects any car you hit. Agro allows you to drive straight through traffic and knock around your opponents. Agro is available to Sedans, SUVs and Trucks. Agro is chargeable by hitting vehicles and other objects. Special moves available to all cars are a nitrous oxide boost and a slipstream turbo. The nitrous oxide boost can be activated by pressing the R3 button if your tank is full. The slipstream turbo is activated by pressing the R3 button after riding an opponent’s tail and filling up the slipstream meter. These two moves are crucial to catching up to opponents or extending your lead over them. All these special moves can easily be the difference between a glorious victory or a disappointing second place.

 

You can choose to jump straight into a career or just play Arcade where you play single races but you pick the type of race and several details associated with it. There are a number of race types to choose. The basic one is 'Ordered Race' where you have to pass through certain checkpoints in order to finish the race. Another choice 'Circuit Race' where a series of checkpoints constitutes a lap and you repeat those checkpoints for how many laps the race runs for. 'Capture the Flag' is another option at your disposal. It can be team or single player based. Just drive through the flag checkpoint and try to get it back to the winning checkpoint. Another familiar game is 'Paint'. In Paint, you can also play as a team or a single player. By going through a checkpoint, you paint it. You can paint over previously painted checkpoints. Winner is decided by a specified percentage of checkpoints painted. A unique addition to Arcade is 'Frenzy'. The object is to get a target score.  You get one point for each car you pass. There is also a small time limit which can be extended by passing checkpoints. These checkpoints will add seconds relative to the number of cars you passed since you passed your last checkpoint. One problem I found with Arcade was that you do not get to see your car when you pick it - you just see the name. In order to see it and compare it to other cars you have to pick it and navigate back to the garage. With all the loading involved, it is a tedious and unnecessary process.

 

midnight club 3 dub edition review           midnight club 3 dub edition review

 

A big gripe I have with this game is the controls. It is not an issue with bad controls however but an issue of not enough.  The controls work great in this game and the response is lightning. However there are too many necessary buttons you need in game and too few controls for it. This problem only is apparent when you drive using manual transmission but that is the best way to excel at this game. I have devised a makeshift solution by reassigned one of the music cycling buttons but it still is not perfect.

 

Midnight Club is known for its visuals and the third installment does not disappoint. Chrome rims, flashy paint and all other aspects of car modifying are present and true to life. On a game based solely on cars, they did a fine job of making them look great. The environment could use additional work but that is due to the choices of location they made. I will go into that later on. Graphically, Midnight Club 3 passes the grade.

 

The Career mode in Midnight Club 3 does not have a deep and engrossing storyline. It seems like an afterthought. You are simply a nameless aspiring racer that rises through the ranks by winning races. You have friends in garages but they only appear in special cutscenes which unlock new races. There is a cruise aspect to Career as you can drive around the city picking races at your leisure. There are no special events that happen as you drive around however. Tournaments become available during career mode after winning certain races. They consist of a series of several races and cannot be resumed halfway through. The prize for these tournaments is a specialized souped up car. Most of the prizes are DUB cars. Overall Career mode is impressive but there is room for improvement.

 

Midnight Club 3 takes place over 3 locales: San Diego, Atlanta and Detroit. These 3 locations, while different, also seem similar. It is hard to have distinct locations when you situate them in the same country as Rockstar did. The car tuning and racing world is global in reality and the game should reflect it. In Midnight Club II, the races took place over extremely different cities in Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo and it made for a great experience. That is the biggest thing that Midnight Club 3 is lacking. You do not get the aura of the city no matter where you race. It all feels like the same place and that really detracts from the experience of racing.

 

The soundtrack is also exceptionally done in MC3. There is a wide range of rock, hip hop, rap and techno music. You can set the playlist to play only a specific genre if you like. You cannot specifically customize that playlist however and must go through the entire list in-game if you want a specific song. I believe the music does have an impact on the game itself.  Whether you buy into my beliefs, it does not matter but hear me out. I am undefeated when 'Sunshine' by Twista featuring Anthony Hamilton plays. I do not know why but when that song plays, I go into this zone and race the absolute perfect race. Throughout the 40+ hours I have invested into this game, I have never lost with that song. Not once. If anybody ever challenges me to this game, I will throwdown as long as Sunshine plays. I have never experienced something like that in videogames and thus Midnight Club3 has a special place in my heart now.

 

Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition fulfils what a sequel should be. It tweaks all the nuisances present in the previous game and improves on the best qualities. It does have its own nuisances, however, but they are not major. It does prevent MC3 from getting an outright 9 although MC3 is still a good game. If you are not big on racing, MC3 does still provide an enjoyable experience. For pure racing enthusiasts, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is a better choice than Need For Speed Underground 2.  On the other hand, NFSU2 has the edge in storyline and depth. No matter what though, you cannot go wrong by picking up a copy of this game.

 

-Stefan Shetty

(May 14th, 2005)

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