Need For Speed: Underground

December 10, 2003

[floatleft][/floatleft][author]Snowcone[/author][i]Snowcone Note:[/i] We here at Snackbar Games do not condone Pretzel’s unhealthy obsession with The Fast and The Furious and we are actively trying to help him through this addiction so if you could bare with us as we work through this time with him. Thank you. 😉

“…ROME!! ONLY MY HOMEBOYS CALL ME ROME… PIG!!” 2 FAST… 2 FURIOUS… DROP IT LIKE ITS HOT!!! That’s right; It’s Pretz droppin you some 2 Fast 2 Furious lines in this review. I have to tell you that I am not at all a racing fan, but after watching the trailer to NFS: Underground, it totally took me back to Paul Walker in 2 Fast 2 Furious. I have to say that the sequels to the movie and the game were much better than their predecessors. At first I really didn’t think of even giving it a try considering that it’s a racing game, but in all honesty I love decked out supped up cars. So why the hell not, I tried it out and was addicted. However, there are flaws to all games and I will get to those very soon, but first to the good stuff.

Underground provides you with different types of races just to mix it up a little. For your enjoyment, there are drift races, drag races, sprints, and circuit tournaments. Circuit tournaments can vary from lap knockouts to free run. Lap knockouts consist of four racers and three laps. The racer who ends up last after each lap, gets knocked out. Drift races are races where you have to slide your car before hitting the wall. Prevent hitting the wall and you will get mad style points. The more style points, the more things you can unlock. Drift races are very difficult I might add. Style points can also be unlocked by getting airborne during races, sliding, avoiding traffic, finding shortcuts, and drafting. In order to become skillful in drifting and drag racing, tutorials are provided for you. If you’re like me you won’t take the time to look at the tutorials, and you’ll just race. One of the solid aspects of Underground was the controls. The layout of the controls is super simple for even the first time racer. You are given the option to steer with the toggle stick or directional pad and your throttle is the right trigger and the brake is the left trigger. Pretty simple right?

[floatright][/floatright]Like I said before, the more points the better. The only way you can unlock more tracks is by winning each race by getting 1st place. 2nd place is just not good enough. Every time you win a race you get more points and unlock “stuff”. Now the “stuff” you unlock is what you need to pimp out your car. You can unlock vinyl, decals, nitrous oxide, performance mods, and much much more. Trust me when I tell you, you can mod your car up about a thousand different ways. It’s endless how you can make your cars look. Speaking of cars, Underground provides twenty of the hottest cars out today. Choose from a Honda Civic, Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Eclipse and a Lancer and plenty more. One thing I liked about the car customization menu was that it had so many different options. If you are knowledgeable about performance parts, then you will know what parts to get. There are so many manufacturers to choose from so I just picked the ones that sounded cool. I think I must have changed the look of my car over a dozen times. I started with a Honda Civic and then I traded it in for a WRX which let me tell you is freaking sweet.

Having customized my car and put it to the test I have to say that the graphics in Underground are just beautiful. The city is just gorgeous at night and seeing the skyline from a distance is just tremendous. Not to mention the small intricate details added to the streets, and buildings when zooming past them. I really think that EA has out done themselves with this title. The graphics are very superior to most of the racing games that I have played in the past. I would have to say that Underground rises above the rest of the wannabe racing games out there. One aspect that EA decided to add that puts this game above the rest was the special effects once you use your NOS. The world around you just seems to become a blur and it feels as if you are going the speed of light.

Now I must come down from cloud nine and mention the games flaws. Being very few, these flaws are what keep it from being a legendary game in my book. One thing that frustrated me about the games realism was that fact that it was non-existent when it came to wrecking. At the end of every race you are congratulated and greeted by the spectators watching the race. After an intense race through the city, you will no doubt experience many slams against walls, rails, cars and any other objects you find in your way. Many times you will find yourself in an uncontrollable mid air spin caused by incoming traffic. Now in reality, the effects of driving 149 mph would result in dismemberment, being disabled, and probably death. After every race you will pull up in your ride good as new with no scratches, dents or anything. Where is the realism in that?

[floatleft][/floatleft]Something else that really annoyed me was the lack of variety in race tracks. Most were just different tracks mixed into one. The same goes with music, if they would’ve had about sixty more artists and songs in the mix I believe sound wise it would’ve been suitable. The featured artists in Underground are Crystal Method, Mystikal, Nate Dogg, Rob Zombie and many more. The sound effects made by the cars are very well done in Underground. The screeching of tires, the NOS firing, the clicking of shifts, all very well executed, but I was just hoping a larger overall collection of music for the soundtrack.

“THE POT HOLES IN THE STREET JUST BENTCHA RIMS, TELL ME WHATCHA GONNA DO? ACT A FOOL!!” Some Ludacris for you peeps, just watched 2 Fast 2 Furious and the cars in that movie truly remind me of the cars in the game. This game leaves a lot of room for creativity for the gamer. With an endless amount of different visual customizations, everything is left up to your creativity and imagination. Depending on how good you do in races, you might just end up on the front cover of racing magazines. Overall, NFS Underground provides great challenging races, beautiful graphics, an unlimited amount of visual customizations, and purely fun gameplay. For you folks that have not been able to find an outstanding racing game, I most definitely suggest getting this game.