Midnight Outlaw: Illegal Street Drag – Six Hours to Sunup

This is a review that I originally wrote for this site back in 2005 that I also posted on Stage Select.


This Might Have Been the Worst $5 I Ever Spent
Score: 4 /10
(submitted by: basscomm ), 11/29/2005 10:29:45 PM

Do you ever get the feeling when playing a game that the CEO of the company you gave your hard-earned cash to is sitting in his overstuffed office chair laughing maniacally while you try in vain to extract any joy from the steaming pile they shoved in the box? This game makes me feel that way.

I really don’t know what Midnight Outlaw is all about. The two-sided card that came with the game decided to give me hints relating to the install process rather than mention anything about the game I was about to waste my time on. The back of the box proudly proclaims:

“Enter and explosive world where nitrous erupts and rubber burns. You live your life one race at a time and from midnight to dawn, the adrenaline is on. Feel the raw power of your super-charged engine as you punch the accelerator for cash and hard-won respect.”

Sounds sufficiently vague to base a game on.

You have three main activities in this game: you can complete races in the story mode, you can drive around the city gaining ‘fame’, or you can play with your car.

In story mode you will predictably race for various reasons around some random city in Southern California. Most of the time it doesn’t even matter if you win, since you will more often than not clear the mission anyway.

While slogging through the game, I was momentarily distracted from the white-knuckle racing by the streets with no pedestrians and the almost completely indestructable scenery. There is almost nothing in this game that you can damage, and of the stuff you can damage, it doesn’t really matter. Your car can take all the punishment you can dish out and the only negative effects will be that your speed is temporarily reduced to zero miles per hour while the camera pans to an allegedly more interesting angle and if you hit enough stuff your hood will eventually fall off.

Control is horrible. I could have probably gotten better control by plugging a banana into my computer and using that instead of my keyboard. The cars control like elephants on ice skates. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow I go, the car takes its time when it considers your suggestion that you might want it to change direction. Instead, your car will delight in hitting just about every stationary or moving object it can find both on and off the road.

Other cars on the streets are placed in the optimal path around the courses, ensuring collisions. They normally move down the highway at about 3 MPH or are parked… right in the middle of the freeway. But all of that doesn’t really matter, since no matter how damaged your car is, it’ll be fully repaired after the next cutscene.

From what I can tell, the majority of the tracks in this game take place on the same set of roads, just with differing routes sectioned off. They’re not sectioned off in a way that makes sense or is sane. In the races there are large blue triangles indicating the direction you are supposed to go. If you for some reason decide that you want to go some other direction, like turning left instead of right, what looks like a large red plastic square will slide over from the side of the road and impede your progress. The other cars on the road are not affected by these, so I can only assume that my car was built by Superman and the barriers are made from Kryptonite and Lex Luthor is forcing me to race down the roads he chooses.

Thankfully, through the alleged 50+ courses, there is only one song that plays in the background. You are treated to the same BOOM-CHA-BOOM-CHA-BOOM-CHA-*garbled female voice*-BOOM-CHA-BOOM-CHA-BOOM-CHA-BOOM-CHA-BOOM-CHA… etc. While I was digging through the sound files for the game, I came across a sound called Silence.wav. It was the best sounding file in the game.

I was never able to figure out what the ‘fame’ was for. I’d get fame for spending my ’scrilla’ on ‘bling’ to put on the car, I’d get fame for completing missions by losing, and I’d get fame for slipping and sliding around corners and managing to not hit anything. I took all the fame I got throughout the game and planted it in a hole I dug out in my back yard. I’m hoping that one day I’ll have a new fame tree out there and I can just go and pick all the fame I want.

Now we all know that people don’t play games like this to experience the driving or the storyline or anything else that could possibly be fun or interesting. They play it for the customization. You can customize your Phat Ride(tm) to the nth degree by selecting such options as hood color and window stickers. Of course the only thing in the shop worth purchasing is ‘Da Boosta’, which is apparently a gauge at the top of your screen labeled ‘NOx’ and lets you press the space bar to access what I like to call Disco Mode. In Disco Mode it looks like the ‘NOx’ gets injected directly into the passenger compartment since the colors go all streaky and I lose the ability to turn left until I crash into something, run out of ‘NOx’, or I “overheat my engine”.

This game is so bad, I need to go and invent a machine that will let me unplay it.

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