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Need for Speed: Underground

aka: Jipin Feiche: Dixia Chehui, NFSU1
Moby ID: 11175
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Description official descriptions

Need For Speed: Underground is the seventh game in the long running Need For Speed racing series.

The game revolves around illegal night time street racing with heavily modified import cars and has been greatly influenced by the movie the Fast And The Furious and its sequel. Players get the chance to build their own racing machine almost from the ground up, with hundreds of real licensed parts and lots of licensed cars, including the Mazda RX-7 and the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The game also features over 100 single player races and a hip hop/hard rock soundtrack including artists such as Mystikal, Rob Zombie, and the Crystal Method.


  • 极品飞车:地下车会 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

328 People (318 developers, 10 thanks) · View all



Average score: 82% (based on 52 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 132 ratings with 7 reviews)

An embarrassing indictment of how out of touch EA actually is with reality.

The Good
Underground is graphically competent featuring some nice little trickery like reflective surfaces (that don’t reflect anything other than a pre-defined light map) and decent car models. The city itself you find yourself driving through is a garish, neon jungle with enough lights and flashy things to keep the un-evolved mind occupied.

Driving actually feels alright when you first begin, cars handle responsively and the inclusion of Nitrous Oxide for a quick speed boost in a pinch is a nice touch.

Underground features several different game play modes to keep you interested including but not limited to drag racers, sprints and drifting competitions. There are over 100 events to compete in meaning there is a lot of content for you to wrap your gums around.

The Bad
Alright, I’ve been diplomatic enough. The beauty of Need for Speed: Underground lies in how mundane it all is. It’s a game about illegal street racing, coming from squeaky clean, appeal to everyone EA. This should disqualify it immediately from any sort of credibility it could possibly have garnered on the “street.” What you get in this, laughably G rated experience is a super diluted Disney version of illegal street racing. In reality illegal street racing is a violent, intimidating affair. The people who do this are the kind of people who will stab you on the street because you accidentally looked in their general direction. Illegal street racing is just that, illegal, and the people who engage in it are criminals. They are the kind of people with no regard for the law, no regard for other people’s safety and with their sights set primarily on fulfilling their unbreakable addiction to adrenaline. So if you’re coming to Underground expecting a game with a sophisticated, crime thriller storyline and mature dialogue you’re going to be vastly disappointed.

Need for Speed Underground is let down entirely by its laughable presentation, that and a close to broken engine, which I will get to later. You are herded from flimsy character to flimsy character, each giving you a heaping bowl of ‘tude. They all sound like they are poorly written characters from an after school special from the early 90’s, their poorly acted “attitudes” are nothing more than a vague threat that amounts to about 5 seconds worth of useless dialogue.
The final straw however is the fact that all of the EA Trax music in the game are radio edits, with all the bad words edited out. This game is so devoid of attitude and any sense of danger and excitement that it could proudly sit alongside Super Mario Kart as one of the most inoffensive racing games ever produced.

Each race is an almost identical tribulation against 3 other mid sized family sedans with neon stripe and tear decals splashed across the sides. The physics engine is laughable, with your car flying ten feet into the air if it even barely clips traffic and coming to a complete, frustrating halt if it hit’s a pole or cement block. So, even with a crappy physics engine as long as the car handles alright this shouldn’t be an issue right? Wrong. Your car fishtails so easily that it isn’t even close to funny. It doesn’t matter what you are using if you over steer by even the slightest of margins you’ll begin to fishtail and power slide uncontrollably. This isn’t so much of an infuriation when you’re racing however in Drift mode it makes you want to snap your controller in half as you’ll constantly have to hit restart as your car hits boundaries and the several thousand points you’ve just accumulated disappear. Drag mode is totally pointless. The races are often over in around 30 seconds, which although might be the nature of drag racing, is totally redundant in a video game. On top of being short and pointless it is also laughably easy, requiring maybe one or two runs to know the lay out of the strip and then the difficult task of pressing the shift button at the right time begins…for 30 seconds. It is virtually impossible to lose these races. They shouldn’t be here. The AI in the regular races uses rubber banding to catch up to you, no matter how you are doing. How does this archaic method of conveying artificial intelligence still exist? This is a relic and should be banished to hell. In any case, you’ll be driving along, totally smoking the competition when the car you passed five seconds ago suddenly rockets up beside you for absolutely no reason. It’s cheating, plain and simple. It makes you feel like no matter how well you’re doing, no matter how good you get at the game it doesn’t matter because the game will just cheat and make you look like you suck.

Graphically this is a weak game. At first the gaudy neon lights and slick roads will put a smile on your face, however if you stop to smell the roses now and then you’ll see bland, blurry textures on the buildings and horrible, jutting geometric shapes that are supposed to pass as fountains and arches. There is no real time reflection and a cardinal sin in the form of aliasing on the cars. Then the repetitiveness of the environments will begin to get to you. No matter how much you block roads off to make alternative routes you’re still going hell for leather down the same road you were going down at the beginning of the game and it becomes tiresome.

Sound? The music is a bizarre mixture of generic tracks aimed to placate everyone. There is some gangster rap, disco metal, rock music and electronica. The selection of music is terrible, limited and full of radio edits to avoid anything even mildly offensive infiltrating this already bland, inoffensive Frankenstein of a game. As I’ve already mentioned the voice over work is terrible. The dialogue is full of weak, forced attempts at conveying attitude while trying to skirt around rightly offending anyone. It’s like Marv from Home Alone is talking to you through your TV every time someone opens their mouths.

The Bottom Line
Need For Speed: Underground isn’t a particularly terrible game. It is fun to some degree for a little while however it is just impossible to take it seriously. EA has tried to give us an insight into underground street racing however by diluting it, censoring it and neutering it they simply demonstrated that they know next to nothing about their source material. They think underground street racing stops at applying decals to your car and using Nitrous Oxide. This game had the potential to be gritty, sophisticated and mature however in an attempt to appeal to as many people as possible EA churned out another limp wristed game that not only disgraces the name of the franchise, but the entire scene it is trying to represent.

GameCube · by AkibaTechno (238) · 2010

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.

Windows · by Riamus (8448) · 2003

Oh Need For Speed, where have you gone?

The Good
Lots of customization for your car, which is really the high point of the game. You do races, earn reputation points based on your stunts and uh, how phat your car looks.

Nice visual effects.

Great soundtrack, if you're a fan of that kind of stuff (I am not).

The cinematics were nicely done.

The Bad
Need For Speed was a great series. It steadily climbed from its meager start in Need For Speed, and look a giant leap with Hot Pursuit. It raised the bar even more with High Stakes, but it was around Porsche Unleashed that it began its decline. Since then, it's been tumbling downhill at an ever increasing speed, and Underground is just another hole for the franchise to fall into.

The game itself is fun enough, but that's only due to its simplicity. Pick a car, race, customize your car, race, pretty lights, race, MTV, pretty lights, drag race, blah blah blah. There are no cops, no damage, simple, unrealistic physics...the game plays like a prettier, but dumbed down Project Gotham Racing.

Also, someone explain why I spent a thousand bucks on computer upgrades only to have a whopping twelve frames per second on highest detail? Come on, even the X-Box can pull that crap off.

The Bottom Line
The series ended with Porsche Unleashed. If you cared for Hot Pursuit 2 (which I actually liked, due to the Hot Pursuit mode which kicks ass no matter what, really) and want to try it with a "phat MTV 2 Fast 2 Furious nigga ho mary jane underground" feel to it, you can't really go wrong with this game.

Windows · by kbmb (416) · 2003

[ View all 7 player reviews ]



EA astonished the entire gaming world by supporting online gameplay in the Windows version of Need for Speed UndergroundNFSU, but leaving out LAN play. Often, games only get LAN play because developers don't want to deal with latency issues and different networks. EA on the other hand, developed a "Cross Platform Online Gaming" feature, which allows gamers to compete online on different platforms (e.g. PS2 vs PC), but there's a catch: no LAN play on PC. This means that players have go through an external network connection just to join a server sitting right next to them.

Soon after the game's release,a tool making LAN play possible appeared on various fansites. It also features an option to play over the Internet without using EA's server.

Server shutdown

As of 13th January 2006, The EA servers for the game are no longer in service. Of course this does not effect peer-to-peer games. The PS2 servers were closed on 1st November 2007.


  • 4Players
    • 2003 – Best PC Racing Game of the Year
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2004 (Issue #236) – Racing Game of the Year
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • February 13, 2004 - Best PC Sports Game in 2003 (Readers' Vote)
  • PC Games (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2004– Best Sports/Racing Game in 2003 (Readers' Vote)
  • Shacknews
    • 2003 - WTF!? Award (more details in "Multiplayer" section)

Information also contributed by Mr._Sefe.

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Need for Speed II: SE
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Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit
Released 1998 on Windows, PlayStation
The Need for Speed: Special Edition
Released 1996 on DOS, Windows
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2
Released 2002 on PlayStation 2
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed
Released 2000 on Windows
Need for Speed: High Stakes
Released 1999 on Windows, PlayStation
Need for Speed: Underground 2
Released 2004 on Game Boy Advance

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Mattias Kreku.

GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox added by Corn Popper.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, tarmo888, Sciere, Aaron A., Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, Victor Vance.

Game added December 2nd, 2003. Last modified October 20th, 2023.