Midtown Madness

Genre: Racing
Release Year: 1999
Developer: Angel Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Age Rating: Everyone
Playability Status: Fully playable (minor issues only) (Windows 7), Playable (with significant issues) (Windows 8) (Windows 10)
Tested On: Windows 10 x64, Windows 7 x64, Windows 8 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Out of print/unavailable

Before Burnout popularised insane street races through city traffic, Midtown Madness was giving PC gamers their own high octane thrills. Players can choose from a variety of cars (and even a bus) and dash haphazardly through Chicago, vying to beat their opponents to the next checkpoint.


The game should install without any issues on a modern PC. Simply place the CD into your computers optical drive and follow the on-screen prompts. If the autorun installer does not start automatically, browse to the CD in Computer/This PC and manually run the setup.exe program.

During installation you will be asked what type of installation you want to do, we recommend choosing “Full” installation for best results.


Before you try to play the game, there are two patches you should install. A small update to the games DirectPlay software (a now depreciated networking protocol) can be downloaded here (link broken? Let me know here). Secondly, you should install the Midtown Madness XP compatibility patch, which you can download here. Both of the patches download as zip files, so it’s just a matter of extracting them from the zip folders and then running them, patching should then be automatic.

Configuring graphics

Getting the best visual quality from Midtown Madness can be tricky. The game itself includes functionality that is supposed to detect your graphics card and set the visual quality accordingly. The problem is that the auto-detect software doesn’t seem to work properly on more modern versions of Windows. Luckily there’s a user created patch we can use to work around the problems. To get started, disable any secondary monitors you have attached, then start Midtown Madness. You should see the window shown below.




Click on “OK” and the screen will flicker a little. The game will then start. Watch (or skip, by pressing the Escape key) the opening movie and you should then be at the games title screen. Click the close button at the top right of the screen and quit back out again.

Now, download the Midtown Madness Video Patcher from this page (link broken? Let me know here). Again, the download comes as a Zip file. Simply open the Zip file and copy the videopatcher2.exe file from inside the zip file to your Midtown Madness game folder. Now, run the videopatcher2.exe file. The window shown below should then appear.




Using the patcher is a two step process and it’s pretty easy. First of all, you need to click on “Browse…” and point the program to your Midtown Madness video.cfg file. This should be in the root of your Midtown Madness game folder (C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Midtown Madness by default). Once you have selected the file, click on “Repair”. A sub-window will open and ask you to choose your “Renderer” and “Resolution”. For renderer, you should select “Hardware Renderer”. You can try “Hardware Renderer (T&L)” but it won’t work on many machines. For resolution, choose whatever resolution your monitor supports. While the game was never designed for widescreen monitors, you can run it in widescreen modes without too much distortion so simply choose your monitors native resolution. In the picture below, we’ve configured the tool for our PC running on our 1080p television.




Click on “OK” now and the tool will go ahead and patch your video.cfg file. If the patching process fails, see the troubleshooting section under “problems saving games and configuration files”.

With the video.cfg file patched, you can go ahead and start Midtown Madness again. There are a few in-game visual settings you might want to change before you start playing. From the main menu, go to “Options” and then “Graphics Options”. The screen shown below should then appear.


midtown 2014-12-11 13-51-39-59


Since this is such an old game, you should have no trouble turning all the settings up to max even on a relatively modest modern PC. Just configure the settings as shown above then click on “Done”. You’re now done setting graphics options.

Configuring sound

To configure sound settings, go to the Options menu again but this time select “Sound Options”. There aren’t an awful lot of sound options to configure in this game. If you have a sound card with multiple outputs (e.g Optical and Analogue) you might want to check that Midtown Madness has selected the correct output as for some reason the game does not always choose the system default one.

Configuring controllers

Controller settings for the game can be configured from the options menu under “Control Options”. For such an old game, Midtown Madness actually supports game controllers fairly well. There are some limitations however:-

You cannot use the analogue triggers on the Xbox 360 pad for acceleration and braking – For some reason Microsoft configured the Xbox 360 pad driver so that the analogue triggers share the same axis when playing older (direct input) games. This can confuse lots of driving games and prevent others from working properly (since touching both the accelerator and brake at the same time is impossible). Midtown Madness simply won’t work with the 360 controller in this configuration. As a work around, you can use Xpadder and map keyboard commands to the analogue triggers, though of course this means they then become entirely digital, with no difference between slamming the brakes on hard and braking gently.

D-Pad cannot be defined – The game controllers D-pad can’t be redefined in the game. Again, Xpadder can come to the rescue here.

Steering may be over sensitive – We found that the cars steering was rather sensitive when used with the 360 controller and for some reason the option to change sensitivity was locked out.

For reference, the Xpadder control scheme we used for the game is shown below.




Pretty much as simple as it gets, S and W were assigned to the analogue triggers for accelerate and brake. Enter was mapped to the controllers A (Green) button. This makes it so you can navigate most of the games menus without reaching for the mouse. Finally the arrow keys were mapped to the D-pad, again to make it so that the menus could be navigated. With Xpadder configured like this, it’s just a matter of configuring the rest of the controls in the game to match the inputs you have assigned here, and then configuring the remaining functions (such as steering and the cars horn) using the games own controller configuration settings.

With all the options now configured, you’re ready to race. Have fun with this classic little racer and of course don’t try any of this on the real road!

Windows 8 problems

Under Windows 8 we were only able to get the game playing in 640×480 software mode. When we configured the game using the video patcher tool, everything appeared to work, but we were not able to select options from the games main menu.

Windows 10 problems

For reasons unknown, the game ran at a totally unacceptable frame-rate in Windows 10 no matter which options we tried.


Black screen instead of menu – Sometimes when the game starts, rather than display a menu all that appears is a black screen. This can usually be fixed by a simple reboot.

Midtown Madness is already running. please activate it from the task bar – This can happen if the installer or the game doesn’t exit properly. To cure the problem, start Task Manager and look for a process called “midtown.exe” “midtown.exe *32” or “MIDTOWN.ICD.”. End the process then try starting the game again.

Music doesn’t play, or stops playing – Midtown Madness uses CD audio for its music. In order to hear the music the CD must be in the optical drive that is first alphabetically. So if you had two CD/DVD drives in your PC with the letters E: and G:, the Midtown Madness CD must be in the drive with the letter E:. You may also find that the CD audio does not loop correctly while you play the game, leaving you with no music. Unfortunately there’s no known workaround for this (the game is not compatible with the _inmm.dll tool).

Problems saving games and configurations – Like many old titles, Midtown Madness saves its game data and settings into the same folder as the game itself. In some instances on more modern versions of Windows, this will mean that save games and configuration files cannot be written. To solve this problem you can either run the game as administrator (right click on the games icon and choose “Run as administrator”) or, better still, set the permissions on your Midtown Madness game folder so that your user account has full control/read write permissions. You can find a tutorial on how to configure folder permissions here. The games default installation directory is C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Midtown Madness.

Virtual machines – Midtown Madness is not compatible with Windows XP running on Virtualbox or VMWare.

Can you submit a fix?

Do you know how to get this game working in Windows 8? Help the community by submitting a fix in the comments below.


Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.


The game as most players will remember it

The game as most players will remember it

Playing the game in 1080p, impressive for such an old title.

Playing the game in 1080p, impressive for such an old title.


  1. VirtuaIceMan says:

    Interesting, I’ve just been trying this. I have a patch which contains various fixes + DirectPlay updates already, called the “Microsoft® Midtown Madness™ Version 1 (Chicago Edition) Patch”.

    However the resolution patcher above is useful, definitely.

    I do have an issue on my PC, may be caused by Nvidia drivers, not sure; in all the menus the text (when entering keyboard controls or selecting graphics options) is skewed at 45 degree angle, making it really unreadable in the menus :-/

    Otherwise it’s playable fine… odd…

  2. Jonathan says:

    If you cant upload it somewhere and dont have a link to it. Please send it
    to me by email if you can, please!

    My email is: That’s actually not a good idea unless you want an inbox full of spam, besides e-mailing a file that large is impractical.

    I need the patch too!


  3. Jonathan says:

    You can use dropbox to upload large files.

  4. VirtuaIceMan says:

    The patch is only 2.4MB actually. Microsoft refer to it as the Multiplayer patch here: however the download no longer exists.

    But I found the file again, over here:

  5. Jonathan says:

    I have tried the multiplayer patch and after I have applied the patch when I run midtown.exe I get a message which says: Please insert the correct CD-ROM, select OK and restart application. Before I applied the patch, the game works without insert the disk. I have lost my original game disc for Midtown Madness so I dont know if the patch solve my problems or not. Please help!

  6. Jonathan says:

    I have got a new computer. And Midtown Madness 1 lags on the new computer. It works fine on the menu but it lags when I start a race.
    I have:

    Windows 8.1 64-bit
    12 gb ram
    Intel core i7-4700HQ CPU 2.40 GHz
    GeForce GTX 860M

    Is it any patch available anywhere to solve the problem?
    If yes, where can I download the patch?
    If no, can anyone create a patch or give me a tips?

    The game works fine on my old pc.

    I am able to select hardware mode the game lags if I use hardware mode. It works fine if I use software mode. On my old pc can I run the game even in hardware mode and the game works fine. But I want to play the game in hardware mode on the new pc without lag. I wonder what the problem is because the new pc has better cpu and video card than the old pc.
    I wish also a patch so I can read the text and get the text normal.
    On my new pc, I am able to select hardware mode but the game lags if I use hardware mode. Even if I use the resolution 640×480. My video.cfg contains hardware mode already so the videopatcher doesnt help. Can anyone create a patch so I can run the game in hardware mode without lag? I know the problem is anything with ddraw.dll. I need to update DDRAW.DLL.

    Please help!

  7. Levee says:

    My game downloads fine and when i go to open it it only shows a black screen than turns off. I have changed the compatability to windows 98 but still won’t open. Any ideas?

  8. Jonathan says:

    Use compatibilitymod and check disable scaling on high DPI.
    I dont know if it works for you but try it!

  9. Muki says:

    links are dead :( dont now how to get patches. Anyone can help?

  10. FDK says:

    i use windows10 i bought the game couple of days befor and it installed perfekt but i cant open it, can some one help me pls?

  11. RBsTechCorner says:

    Tips on getting MM1 running well (with some drawbacks):

    OS Reqirments: WIndows 7, 8/8.1 or 10
    Hardware: GPU with Hardware support for DirectX11 (Tip: Recommend ATI/AMD or Nvidia GPU… don’t know about Intel support)

    1) – Install MM1 to My Docs or a another HDD, but not to default installation location (unless you want to right click and click on “Run As Administrator” every time). (PS – There’s an easy fix for that, just change folder permissions).

    2) – Download the latest dgvoodoo2 program from here: (Copy and paste into web address bar)

    3) – Extract dgVoodooSetup.exe & D3DImm.dll and DDraw.dll from the folder “MS” to the root directory of Midtown Madness 1.

    4) – Run dgVoodooSetup.exe at least once (you could also make changes from within the program if you want, although no promises that any of your overrides or forced changes will work). One thing to do when dgVoodoo2 is running is to go to the DirectX tab and change the VRAM setting to 128~256MB to function best. After that, save your changes and exit dgVoodoo2Setup.exe.

    5) – Run Midtown Madness!

    Note: Cruise Mode works fine, but the frame rate drops with ANY hud displaying (rear view mirror, map, speed o-meter, etc) so, disable all of them to get good FPS. Also, doing any races leads to FPS slow down, again, to the HUD display (timer counter, etc). For anyone who would like to see these steps demonstrated, I will be doing a tutorial for this game (and many other “Old” games on my YouTube page RBsTechCorner. I will post a link for the tutorial as soon as I get the video recording/editing done.

    Disclaimer: I am not the developer of this software, I’m just informing people how to use this amazing software. Credit goes to: Dege. Thanks!

  12. Jonathan says:

    I have tried to download the latest dgvoodoo2 program but my antivirus
    says it contains viruses. I use Norton 360.

  13. PaRappa333 says:

    I Cant Find My CFG File. HELP!

    • RBsTechCorner says:

      Hi there! The reason you can’t see .cfg after the file labeled “video” is because file extensions isn’t turned on, but you don’t need to do that. Just look for the file named “video” (without the quotes). Hope this helps.

  14. luxuray says:

    after installing the 2 patches and running for the first time, the screen flickers (as it should) but then says “no suitable video boards found, application cannot run”. am i doing something wrong or is it just being dumb? i’m running windows 7 ;/

    • RBsTechCorner says:

      This issue is most likely due to newer video cards/ video card drivers (although, I had played MM on Win7 years ago, but with older hardware… now play MM on Win8.1 with newer hardware). The industry is not interested (nor Micro$oft) to preserve legacy compatibility for old games. I suggest using dgvoodoo to solve the issue of MM detecting a “suitable” video card. Please check out a posting from RBsTechCorner (my first post up on this page), which gives you a run down to getting MM up and running. Not every aspect of MM works, but I guess better than nothing. Another option is if you own Midtown Madness 2, you can download a ported Chicago map from MM and play it in MM2. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Also, anyone interested in downloading addons (extra cars, tracks, and mods for MM, check this site out: Hope everything goes well.

  15. SkyRaider98 says:

    I can’t get Midtown Madness to run, I’ve installed the xp patch, tried the videopatch, changed the compatibility settings, but it still won’t run.
    It goes like this: I start the game, the opening Microsoft logo and Angel studios logo play, then the game crashes and I get the error “Dubug Assertation Failed”. I can’t seem to get around it, and I can’t even figure out whats causing this to happen, and I can’t find any helpful info online. It’s not a matter of adjusting the graphics in-game, I can’t even get to the menu screen. I’ve also tried re-installing the game, and tried vgvoodoo as well. If anyone could help it would be very much appreciated.
    Computer Specs:
    Windows 7 64
    8GB of Ram
    Nvidia GT740
    AMD Phenom II

    • SkyRaider98 says:

      I should also mention that I have been able to play the Midtown Madness demo on this same computer with no issues.

    • RBsTechCorner says:

      Unfortunately, I have not much to offer except what I researched on the web. Various people suggest using debugging software, but I won’t try to show how to do this due my inexperience with this area. But before diving into debugging, try a few things first. You didn’t state what you changed in compatibility settings, but since you’ve installed the XP patch, ethier set the compatibility to Windows XP or disable everything in compatibility settings all together. Also, make sure to have Windows up-to-date, hardware drivers updated and install the lastest DirectX software. That’s about all I can offer. Hopefully you’ll find the answer you’re looking for.

  16. RBsTechCorner says:

    Just for anyone who is interested, I found a work around on PCgamingWiki that should work for someone. .

  17. Jonathan says:

    I have tried the fix for Midtown Madness 1 which says in PCgamingWiki and it doesnt work for me. The game lags when I use dgvoodoo. What I do wrong?

    But, dgvoodoo 2.42 work for Midtown Madness 2 except, I cant see the intro videos.
    Instead of an intro video, I see only a black screen but I can hear the sound. Why I only see a black screen instead of the intro videos? Is it any settings I have wrong or what is the problem?
    Please help!

    • RBsTechCorner says:

      I believe this is due to a missing video codec. I would suggest to just delete the intro video to eliminate the issue entirely.

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