What DICE should do now….Remake ‘Midtown Madness 3’!
Over the last year, HD remakes have seemingly been either praised or dismissed. Some, for example ‘Halo Anniversary’, have been given both a new coat of paint and the chance to be introduced to a new potential market; especially given that some gamers today may have been too young to experience the watershed moment that the original was back when it launched aside the original Xbox in 2001. Others, such as the ‘Splinter Cell’ and ‘Prince Of Persia’ Trilogies make a nice addition to a fans library (and I personally love those games), but are seemingly unnecessary, partly because they aren’t that old, and also since they’ve just been up-scaled to HD, with no real love or care put into the project unlike Bungie’s benchmark shooter.
These remakes have seen differing types of releases, both in retail and via digital distribution. Retail on one hand gives a lot more exposure for the title, and usually requires a bigger marketing push. Digital Distribution on the other hand (as seen by BG&E) is a perfect platform, usually priced much more reasonably, but it seems to be harder to get the word out about the release.
What DICE should do next!
Given that DICE has now wrapped up its work on Battlefield 3 (with more than likely a small team continuing to produce DLC), it seems like the perfect time for them to get into this HD Remake game with a title that some of you may have forgotten. Sure, I was saddened to learn that I’d never be able to play such Xbox Live titles as ‘Halo 2’ and ‘Rainbow Six 3’ when they switched off the network for the original Xbox, but there was one title I was really going to miss….
’Midtown Madness 3’!
This title will always remind me the reasons of why I love online gaming, and few games since then have captured the same variety of tension, action, humour and just plain fun that ‘Midtown Madness 3’ was.
Ok, yes there was a single player game, and from what I can remember involved performing stunts for some sort of film director, alongside the obligatory checkpoint races and what not. When you entered the online space however, it became an entirely enthralling experience, it was hard to let go.
The expansive amount of game modes made sure that everyone was catered for. While ‘Free Roam’ was for the casual driver, the more competitive ‘Checkpoint’ races turned out to be pretty intense. Out of all the online game modes, ‘Hunter’ was my game of choice. Playing as a cross of ‘The Italian Job’ with the Infection/Zombie mode seen in many modern shooters, you were tasked with staying ‘alive’. One player spawned as a cop car, the other 7 as a car of their choosing (though sometimes locked by the host), and simply when the cop car touched then, they became one too. So essentially, the last one standing won. Pretty simple mechanics you say, but how about having a whole city as your playground. You could of course have zoned off areas, usually leading you to come up to a dead end and forced into a game of chicken with the law.
Empowering the Community
I made some great friends playing online in MM3, some of which I still play with to this day. Racing games such as Forza 4 include many community inspired game modes such as ‘Cat and Mouse’ (a popular choice in PGR2), and these ideas of innovative game modes were definitely prevalent in MM3. Once we tired of the primary game modes we would begin to set our own limitations in the heart of Paris and Washington DC, one of my favourites being ‘Subway Hunter’. Using the ‘Hunter’ game mode, you’d organised everyone to head to the subway tracks (a nice loop underneath the city streets) …after a little discussion of the rules, head off round the loop, one cop going one way, everyone else, the other.
Now I don’t really need to say what happens around the halfway point, except that it’s worth mentioning that the tunnel itself had curved edges, meaning that with a steady thumb on the stick, you could wall ride for a significant time. As you’d approach the cop car coming in the opposite direction, you’d start thinking of which way you were going to go, and as expected, hilarity ensued!
This game mode was just as fun above the tracks as it was below. After a long time driving the streets, you’d find loads of hiding spots which a car like the Mini Cooper S could get to…but it wasn’t so simple for the cops, well, not without a lot of hassle. Using these to your advantage was the key. How about all 7 of you bombing it up to the top of a multi-storey car park (just adjacent to a raised highway), waiting an watching as the arrow beneath you (signifying the cop car) got ever closer and closer, and then just at the last minute jumping the barrier with your fellow Coopers with something that looked like it was ripped straight out of ‘The Italian Job’
DICE are clearly a multiplayer focused company, and saw great success with the release of Battlefield 1943. MM3 would be a great change of pace, perfect for a multiplayer only downloadable title (with added free-roam). While of course the likely hood of this is very low, I can’t help but wish.