Will Hermes
May 09, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

GAME Midnight Club II [Rockstar; PS2, Xbox, PC] TRACKS BY Felix da Housecat, Golden Boy with Miss Kittin, Tommy Lee featuring Masta Ace, Art of Trance THEME Illegal racing on L.A., Paris, and Tokyo streets, with trash-talking to extend the fast and furious realism. Think Grand Theft Auto without the guns and murder. PLAYABILITY Thirty-eight tracks of hard rap and 160-plus-bpm electronica are guaranteed to tighten the vicelike controller grip required to outrun the cops and beat fellow road hogs. GRADE A

GAME NBA Street Vol. 2 [EA; PS2, Xbox, GameCube] TRACKS BY Just Blaze, Nate Dogg, MC Lyte, Dilated Peoples, Nelly THEME Another urban hoop dream. Only this version boasts more exciting players: Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, three Michael Jordans, and, uh, Nelly, who doesn’t exactly steal the show. Add hood rules and rude moves like the ”off the heezay,” where players pass the ball off an opponent’s head — and you get one of the best ballers to date. PLAYABILITY The sweet backing track, which includes a never-released Nelly cut, is punctuated by mini-DJ jams that accompany slam dunks and combo moves. Swish! GRADE A+

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