Midtown Madness 3 consists of three basic gameplay modes, all of which take place in the famed City of Lights–Paris. The first choice, career mode, is split up into two submodes: paramedic and delivery guy. In paramedic, you’re behind the wheel of an ambulance. You have to dash all over the city, picking up patients and bringing them to the hospital before your time limit expires. You get to drive a Mini Cooper in delivery guy, where you must race a rival delivery woman to a series of drop zones. The second major mode, checkpoint, is a straightforward series of races through a number of ordered checkpoints (surprise!) against two other drivers. Blitz, the final gameplay option, is another basic race, except that you can take your route of choice through the checkpoints, which are all present on your radar at the beginning of the race.
Each of these major tasks–paramedic, delivery guy, checkpoint, and blitz–comprises four missions/races, representing a grand total of 16 different levels. You’re assigned your vehicle for the first two tasks, but you have a choice between the ambulance, the Cooper, and two unlockable sports cars in checkpoint and blitz. Each of these cars has an appreciably different feel, top speed, and mass. For instance, the ambulance has the lowest top speed of the four, but it’s big enough to knock traffic out of the way without even slowing down. Minis, on the other hand, are extremely nimble, which is good, because if you run into anything, you’ll come to a crashing halt. It’s a lot of fun to switch up your ride between levels to see which vehicle will give you an optimum time or provide you with a bit of extra challenge. The game’s driving mechanics are generally very good. Your car zips around with a nice sense of speed; cornering works pretty well; and the controls are simple to a fault. There are some occasional troubles with getting hung up on walls, especially when you’re trying to take shortcuts through narrow alleyways, but this is a minor blemish on a solid gameplay model.