Click above for high-res gallery of MC:LA event

We got a look at a pre-production version of Midnight Club: Los Angeles back in August, and it definitely whetted our appetite for the real thing. Well that time has come, and the latest racing sim is now available in stores. Rockstar Games, the publisher of MC:LA, recently invited us out to Willow Springs Raceway to play the final version of the game and experience some of the actual cars on track including the Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi R8 and Saleen S302 Extreme Mustang. While it's hard to beat the real thing, MC:LA does a decent job of making a unique driving game with an incredibly real driving environment. We generally prefer more realistic racing simulators like Gran Turismo or Forza, but we also enjoy being able to drive on recognizable streets in LA and had fun tuning and customizing the cars in the game's performance shop. You can get full details on the MC:LA in the press release after the jump, and be sure to check out the galleries from our day at the track and plenty of screen shots from the game.


The release date of Midnight Club: Los Angeles has been pushed to October 21st.


The entire city is your playground as you speed through the streets, parking lots, and back alleys in Midnight Club: Los Angeles, all on your way to becoming the most notable racer in the city. As a new arrival on the racing scene, you're going to need to earn REP for others to take you seriously, and earn cash to upgrade your ride or purchase an even better one. Reputation Points can be earned by completing any task or race in MC:LA, regardless of what position you finish.

Vehicles: Midnight Club: Los Angeles features over 40 vehicles from 4 different classes. Tuner, Luxury, Exotic and Muscle cars as well as Bikes will all be available to race throughout the game.

Cars shown during your hands-on demo included the Mazda RX8 "Shinka" (tuner); the Aston-Martin V8 Vantage Roadster (Exotic); and the 1969 Mustang Boss 302 (muscle).

All cars can be fully customized in one of two garages found in the game.

The Performance Shop will allow you to customize areas of your car such as: Acceleration, Handling and Speed through the purchase of upgrades to categories like air intake, exhaust, brakes, nitrous, electronics and many more. Name brand parts will be interchangeable and upgradeable in all of these categories.

The Interior/Exterior portion of the garage will allow you to get the look of your ride just right. With the ability to customize everything from the hood, doors, bumpers, headlights, rims, as well as the new addition of fully-customizable interiors, you'll be able to design almost any car you can imagine in MC:LA.

The Vinyl Editor is another brand-new addition that will allow you to take full advantage of up to 64 layers of art on the top and sides of the car, and 16 on the front and back to create a distinct look that will set you apart from the rest of the pack. You can manipulate any number of the shapes, symbols and graphics that we've provided, or create your own.

The MC:LA Paint Shop offers some new options this time around. Utilizing the color wheel for any color you'd like, finish your car in classic gloss, and matte paint or use some of the more exotic options like metallic, sparkle, and cross fades. You can even paint specific car parts if you don't want to paint your entire ride one color or with one paint type.

Special Moves return from Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition, but with a twist. This time around you'll be able to choose any special ability to outfit your car, rather than linking abilities to car types as we did in the past. The classics like Zone, Agro and Roar are joined by a newcomer, EMP.

- Zone allows you to slow down time in order to take sharp turns or weave in-and-out of traffic like a champ!
- Agro will give your car added strength and the ability to damage opponents faster, or sometimes knock them completely out of the race.
- Roar sends a shockwave that clears your path by pushing cars off to the side of the road.
- EMP is an electromagnetic pulse that shuts down the engines of the cars around you, bringing them to a complete stop.

Races can be started by cruising around the city until you spot a competitor and flashing your headlights at him. Once you do, you'll be competing in a short sprint to the beginning of the race. You can skip these at anytime with a button press, but you'll earn a bit of rep if you stick it out. Throughout your demo you saw ordered races that had you hitting a number of checkpoints on your way to the finish line, but there are many other types of races, and variations on the ordered race as well.

Circuit Races: These are ordered races with multiple laps.
Unordered Races: Checkpoints in these races can be cleared in any order you want. When all checkpoints are cleared, a final red checkpoint will appear. First one to the final checkpoint wins.
Freeway Races: Freeway racers exclusively race on freeways. You simply need to match their speed and flash your lights to immediately start a race.
Time Trials: These are events where the same vehicle is used to set the best time for a particular race.
Tournaments: A tournament is a multiple racer event where points are awarded depending on how each opponent finishes. At the end of the tournament, the racer with the most points wins.
Red Light Racer: Red Light Races are one checkpoint races that start at the nearest red light and finish at a landmark on the other end of the city. There are no checkpoints, and racers can take any path they choose to the finish.
Series Races: Series Races are collections of races run from Hangouts across the city. The first racer to win 3 races wins the series.
Wager Races: These races are a way for the player to bet money on races. The amount wagered will set the difficulty of the race. Wager races are one-on-one races.
Pinkslip Races: Pinkslip races allow you to bet your vehicle against opponents. You cannot engage in a pinkslip race unless you own more than one vehicle, and if you lose, you can always win back up to three of your vehicles from the Hangout.
Delivery: Deliver cars from the Hollywood Garage to their owners within the target time to receive your payment. Be careful not to damage the car though, as the damage you take will affect your delivery fee. A perfect delivery will double your payment.
Payback: Help the mechanic pay back clients who have come up short on their bills. Borrow the mechanics vehicle from the Beach Garage and inflict damage on the target's vehicle.
Telephone Challenge: These challenges are received on your T-Mobile Sidekick. If you accept the challenge, you get to see the details and layouts of where to race through your GPS. The challenger will meet you there.

The races that you saw in your demo were Sand and Surf, Mulholland and Beverly, and Macarthur Cut, before finishing up with a dynamic freeway race.

Sand and Surf is a frantic race up along the Santa Monica Coast and onto the beach past the Santa Monica Pier before heading through the city and up onto the freeway.

Mulholland and Beverly begins in the winding Hollywood Hills before dumping you out on one of its best known streets, Beverly Drive, after navigating the city you're sent back up into the hills to finish out the race in the Valley.

Macarthur Cut shoots you downtown and climaxes with a jump into the LA River that culminates on the freeway.

Once on the freeway, you can cruise along until you find a "freeway racer." These races are indicative of the driving force behind Midnight Club with their seamless, rolling starts and frantic traffic-dodging finishes.

After being introduced in Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition, the POLICE are back and far more varied and dynamic than before. From the moment they're introduced to you in the game, police will be out patrolling the city...and looking to bust up any street races that come across their radio. They'll be looking to bust you, and your fellow racers throughout the game, so speed is key. Get busted and you'll be forced to pay a fine, but elude the cops and you're looking at a healthy reputation boost.

Midnight Club Los Angeles online offers seamless integration between Multiplayer and Singleplayer by way of a "Quick Cruise". With the press of a single-button, you'll be taking your custom ride online to cruise the streets of LA with up to 7 friends (for a total of 8 players.)

At any time, a racer may propose a challenge via their in-game T-Mobile Sidekick. You can battle friends and foes in 10 different modes to find out who really is the king of the streets.

In addition to your Ordered, Circuit and Landmark Races, you can also battle head-to-head in Base Wars, Keep Away and Capture the Flag game modes. You can race straight up, or throw Power Ups into the mix to sabotage the other competitors and give yourself an extra advantage.

A checkpoint to checkpoint race through the city. The first player to the final, red checkpoint wins the race.

A circuit race is an ordered race with one or more laps. Players can set this to "last man out", where the last player of each lap is eliminated. The end of each lap is marked with a green checkpoint and the number of laps is displayed on the HUD. The first player to the final, red checkpoint wins the race.

Checkpoints are cleared in any order you want. When all checkpoints are cleared, a final red checkpoint will appear. First one to the final checkpoint wins.

A Landmark Race is a single checkpoint race from one side of the city to a landmark on the other side. The first racer to the landmark checkpoint wins.

Players must race to collect a flag and return it to a drop off while other players try to steal the flag for themselves. Once the flag has been dropped off, a new flag and dropoff will appear and the players will repeat the process. The player who either meets the score limit first, or has the most captures when time runs out, wins.

A splitbase capture the flag is a team based capture the flag, in which each team has a base. A neutral flag spawns between them. The goal is to acquire the neutral flag and bring it to your own base. The first team to meet the score limit, or have the most captures when time runs out, wins.

A basewar capture the flag is a team based capture the flag, in which each team has a flag that spawns in their base. The goal is to acquire the other team's flag and bring it back to your own base. The first team to meet the score limit, or have the most captures when time runs out, wins.

Free for all stockpile is very similar to Free For All Capture the Flag. Instead of only one flag spawning, a cluster of them spawn. The cluster size is one less than the number of players in the game. Players can score a flag, then steal or acquire another flag that has not been picked up from the cluster. Once all the flags in the cluster have been captured a new cluster will spawn. The player who either meets the score limit, or has the most captures when time runs out, wins.

In a stockpile, each team has a base and a neutral cluster of flags that spawns between them. The goal is to acquire the neutral flags and bring them to your own base. Players can score a flag, then steal or acquire another flag that has not been picked up from the cluster. Once all the flags in the cluster have been captured, a new cluster will spawn. The first team to meet the score limit, or have the most captures when time runs out, wins.

In a keepaway, a single flag spawns, and players must race to acquire it. Only the Player who has the flag acquires Flag Time while they have possession of it. Once you acquire the flag, flee pursuers so they cannot steal the flag to gain Flag Time themselves. The player who meets the score limit, or has the most Flag Time when the game ends, wins the match.

Players may also enter an online race editor and create races while in the game with other players, once finished that player can then invite players to play that race within the same session.

Powerups include:
DISRUPTOR – Gives targeted opponents a distorted view
ICE – Targeted opponents slide out of control
NITRO – Additional nitrous boost added to reservoir
PULSE – Oppenent is tossed up in the air as if exploded
REVERSE STEERING – Opponent's steering instantly reverse
SHIELD – Makes player immune to enemy power ups
STEALTH – Player is invisible for a few seconds
STOP – Target opponent will suddenly engage in both brake and handbrake
MIRROR – When activated all power up effects are reflected back to attacking opponent
AGRO – Increases vehicle mass and damage reduction without speed penalty
RANDOM – Mystery power up that only reveals itself once collected

The game also allows players to purchase and rate the vehicles of others via Rate my Ride. Individuals can use the vinyl editor to create custom cars and then have them rated by the online community as well as sell them through the game. The person purchasing the vehicle pays the cost of the car plus an extra $10,000 of in game cash which goes to the seller. The seller does not lose the vehicle, it remains in their garage as well.

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