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Need for Speed Underground (Windows)

81
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Riamus (8121)
Written on  :  Dec 03, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful

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Summary

Make your car look great, then show everyone who owns the roads

The Good

First of all, I like the ability to really customize your car. There are so many combinations you can have for your car's looks that it would be very difficult to ever find someone with a car just like yours. You have the ability to not only customize various performance parts on your car (engine/exhaust, turbo, nitrous, tires, etc), but also how your car looks visually.

After choosing your car, you can change the hood, the front and rear bumpers, the spoiler, the roof scoop, and the ground effects along the doors. You can also change the head lights and tail lights, the muffler, and rims. After all that, you get to paint your car from a wide choice of colors, tint the glass, add neon ground effects, and add vinyls and logos. The vinyls can be four layers deep... and there are many different styles of vinyls, such as flames, lightning, "wild", logos such as HP Racing, and Unique vinyls such as a purple rose, a racing skeleton, and more. Within those styles, there can be up to around 20-30 different kinds of vinyls. Overall, there are way over 100 different vinyls to choose from to make your car unique.

After customizing your car, you get to race. This is where you get even more choices. Rather than a single kind of race that you see in many racing games, you have many choices. You get to choose from circuit (multiple lap races), drag racing (shift at the right times to win), sprint (start to finish; no laps), drifting (slide your car around the track to get points... don't hit the walls), and knockout (be the last standing). You are also able to take part in tournaments in the campaign mode as you work your way up. In this campaign mode, you are able to get your car pictured on the covers of tons of magazines. So get your car looking great and then get on those magazines!

Besides single player modes, which include the campaign (underground) and the quick race, you can also race online with your friends. However, you'll need to unlock the cars and tracks in the single player mode first or you'll be limited on what you can do.

The game tracks also your stats, which lets you keep track of how well you do in the different types of races you enter.

One other thing I really enjoyed with the game was the graphics. The reflections were well done and the cars just look great. The only bad thing is that you appear to always be racing on roads that were just rained on.

The Bad

The game is completely arcade-style racing. There is no damage to your car in the game. The closest thing to damage is if you're in drag racing -- if you crash, your car is said to be totaled. Other than that, you can flip, roll, crash, and still have a perfect-looking car. Although this can be fun, I enjoy having damage affect the car's performance... and seeing pieces flying off your broken car would be great.

Also, the cars tend to handle more like you would expect in arcade... at least whenever you hit anything. For one, you really can't land on your roof (at least I've not been able to...), also you tend to bounce off things when you hit them. You might end up flying through the air, but it's still unrealistic. Besides those, you will be very hard-pressed to spin out an opponent. You can slam into the back corner of their cars and it won't spin them out. You are left to run them into objects that will stop them.

Another bad part is that the opponents appear to cheat. You can slam the opponents into stuff causing them to stop until they get going again, and run a close to perfect race, yet very often the car(s) you crash into stuff are right on your bumper, or ahead of you, when you finish the race. Yet if they are ahead of you, their cars are not any faster than yours.

Finally, you are racing in the streets... where are the cops? I have never heard of people racing 120mph and higher down city streets, jumping drawbridges, jumping over cars on hills, and more without a cop noticing. There should have been cops in the game, in my opinion... even if they were optional.

The Bottom Line

This game is a great addition to the Need For Speed series of games. The Need For Speed series really has not been that great since the first Hot Pursuit. That was a great game, and then the rest of the series that came out were good, but nothing really special. This game lives up to the series name.

Although the game is arcade-style racing, with no cops, everything else about the games is great. If you enjoy racing games, and especially if you enjoyed the 2Fast 2Furious movies, this is a must-have game.