Need for Speed: Carbon

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Need for Speed:Carbon
Need for Speed Carbon Game Cover.jpg
European cover art featuring a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX and a Dodge Challenger drifting through the corner
Developer(s) EA Canada
EA Black Box (PC)
Rovio Mobile (Mobile)
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Composer(s) Trevor Morris
Series Need for Speed
Engine EAGL 3
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Mobile phone, Zeebo, Arcade[1]
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Racing, Open world
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Distribution CD-ROM, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Wii Optical Disc, GameCube Game Disc

Need for Speed: Carbon, also known as NFS Carbon or NFSC, is an Electronic Arts video game in the Need for Speed series. Released in 2006, it is the tenth installment, preceded by Need for Speed: Most Wanted, succeeded by Need for Speed: ProStreet in release order and succeeded by Need for Speed: Undercover in chronological order. This was the first game in the series to gain the PEGI rating of 12+.[citation needed] The game is a sequel to 2005's Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The locations of both Most Wanted and Carbon (Rockport and Palmont, respectively) are featured in the 2010 MMO game, Need for Speed: World.

The PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions of the game are called Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City, set in a fictional city named Coast City with a significantly different storyline and also featuring different AI teammate abilities.[2] In 2009, a version of Own the City was also released on the Zeebo as a pre-installed game.[3]


The gameplay is similar to Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Underground 2, but based upon rival street racing crews instead of individuals. Players run a crew and can hire specific street racers to be in their crew and the active friendly racer is known as a wingman. Each employable street racer has two skills, a racing skill (scout, blocker, and drafter) and a non-race skill (fixer, mechanic, and fabricator). Each skill has different properties from finding hidden alleys/back streets (shortcuts) to reducing police attention. Cars driven by the wingmen are also different; blockers drive muscles, drafters drive exotics and scouts drive tuners (although the first two unlockable wingmen (Neville and Sal) drive cars according to the player's chosen car class at the start of the game). Car classes are Tuners, Muscles, and Exotics, and are associated with their own borough and Boss (Tuners/Downtown/Kenji, Exotics/Fortuna/Wolf, and Muscle/Kempton/Angie).

Players must choose a class when starting Career Mode, which will be permanent throughout the career. Each choice starts in a different district, with corresponding initial car choices and unlocks as the game progresses (there is a test drive option at the beginning). As the game progresses, players may choose from any class of car as the game progresses. Players can also unlock cars that are reserved for Quick Races as the players progress throughout the game and earn Reward Cards.

In Career Mode, races cannot be redone for the same purse; if won, the purse is only $500. It is necessary to plan carefully which cars you will buy and upgrade, to avoid running out of money. There are phone calls, texts and emails to go along with the storyline. Winning races causes new races to show up on the map. All gameplay takes place at night. As in Most Wanted the player can use Nitrous and Racebreaker, which accumulate simply from driving, not from specific skill use to earn them.

Gameplay control methods vary from console to console. The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 control steering through the control pad, while acceleration, braking and other controls can be configured and mapped to the different buttons on the controllers. The Driving Force GT and G27 racing wheels can be used, and this is the first Need For Speed title to implement force-feedback and the 900 degree turning radius. On Windows, joysticks and wheel controllers are supported, as well as those that support force feedback. The Wii lacks online play, but fully supports the use of the Wii Remote.

NFS Carbon was the first NFS game to feature online exclusive game modes. Players can upload in-game screenshots to the Need for Speed website, complete with stats and modifications. The Pursuit Knockout and Pursuit Tag game modes are modes that allow the player to play as either a racer or a cop. Pursuit Knockout is essentially a lap knockout with a twist. The racers that are knocked out of the race come back as cops and it’s their job to try to stop the other racers from finishing the race through any means necessary. The player that finishes the race wins. Pursuit Tag begins with one player as a racer and the rest of the players as cops. It is the cops' job to arrest the racer. The cop that makes the arrest then turns into a racer and has to try to avoid the cops. The player who spends the most time as a racer wins.

Race Modes[edit]

Unlike Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Underground, Carbon has no drag racing. However, Carbon features the return of drift racing, a mode that had been included in two previous installments Need for Speed: Underground and Underground 2, but omitted from Carbon '​s predecessor, Most Wanted. Other familiar race forms return, such as Sprint, Circuit, and "Tollbooth" (renamed "Checkpoint"). There are no Street X or Knockout races, and winning Outruns (renamed "Rival Crew Challenges") is not necessary to complete the game as it was in Underground 2.

Most of Carbon's focus lies through various Canyon Events, based on Japanese Touge races. There are four types of Canyon Events: Canyon Duel, Canyon Sprint, Canyon Checkpoint and Canyon Drift. Canyon Duels have two stages: In the first stage, the player chases the rival and accumulates points faster the closer they stick to the opponent. In the second stage, the roles are reversed and the player's points decline faster the closer the opponent is. If anyone falls behind or is overtaken and passed, without regaining the distance, after ten seconds they lose. You can also lose by going over the cliff edge. Some races have broken, lit-up guardrails which you must be careful not to crash through, and some have solid walls.

In Career mode, players have to race tracks and win to conquer territories, and then face off against bosses to conquer the first three boroughs. To challenge Darius (Boss of the fourth borough) and win the game, you must defeat the three Bosses in two final races and defeat Darius in a Circuit race and a Canyon Duel. Throughout the race, as the player accumulates territories, the minor crews (Black Hearts and Kings, who drive exotics, Inferno and Los Colibres, who drive muscles, and Rotor 4 and Scorpios, who drive tuners), might attack the player's owned races/territories. The player can then either accept the challenge, and keep the race if they win it, or decline, in which case, the minor crew will automatically retake the race, and the territory if too many races are lost.

Carbon also features Quick Races modes (including 2 player) and Reward Cards, in which card pieces are won by achievements in and out of Career Mode. Once a card is fully won, new cars, parts, or other features are unlocked. The Challenge Series is a set of 36 events (12 categories with 3 skill levels). Finishing a Challenge category also unlocks features.


As with Most Wanted, cops are everywhere in Carbon. Police chases can break out at any time, including when in Free Roam mode, when racing, or just after a race is completed. The background music and most of the radio dialogue is the same as in Most Wanted. Canyon Races and Checkpoint Races have no risk of police pursuit. As with Most Wanted, there are 5 conditions/heat levels and players should be careful to avoid getting pursued by state or federal authorities. The Collector's Edition features three additional heat levels.[citation needed]

Although the pursuit system is similar to Most Wanted, this feature has been reprogrammed in Carbon to ensure that police are not too dominant in arrest tactics in high pursuit levels. Unlike in Most Wanted, it is possible to evade the police after running over a spike strip by using nitrous. At the same time, some of the police tactics (such as the spike strips) are used in ways that make pursuits much harder to escape, and the police cars are much harder to disable. Using Pursuit Breakers no longer guarantees the blockage/destruction of every pursuing vehicle. However, police can see you without pursuing if you are not breaking any laws—unless you have a warrant (evaded a previous pursuit).

Customization Features[edit]

A heavily modified Audi Le Mans Quattro is compared to a stock Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, showing the "Autosculpt" feature of the game.

Need for Speed: Carbon features a new car customization option called "Autosculpt", enabling players to utilize aftermarket car parts and shape/mold the parts to their liking. Players can also have multiple customized vinyls as well, which can be moved, resized, or skewed, which offers unlimited design possibilities.

Performance tuning has been redone so that players, as upgrades are purchased, can tune the car for a number of different properties, such as higher top speed or higher acceleration. Unlike Most Wanted, all of Carbon's performance tuning/enhancing and car customizing is done inside the Safe House. A new "optimize" feature has been added for players who just want the best options without spending too much time tuning and configuring.

Players can choose from many licensed cars divided into three classes as follows: Tuners, Muscles, and Exotics. Each car has its own characteristic ranging from easy cornering to well-balanced road performance. For example, Tuners are good in handling and tight corners, Exotics can rev up to very high speeds, and Muscles can accelerate fast in a short amount of time. In Career Mode, you must choose a class at the beginning, but this does not limit your later car purchases.

Own the City[edit]

For portables, the Own the City version has many differences. There are new game modes, like Escape where the player must escape from a rival crew's territory, Delivery where the players and their crew have to deliver a package to a designated area in first place to win, and Crew Takedown, where players have to eliminate a set number of rival racers to win. Crew management allows hiring of up to 5 wingmen per crew, with 2 active for racing. Players can use the crews for all races except for Lap Knockout, Escape and Crew Takedown modes. The city is also divided into many areas, some together into a district owned by one crew, with a total of 6 districts and 13 areas. Every area conquered gives new unlocks and new wingmen. Wingmen also have three different classes; a brawler that takes down racers, a drafter that drafts racers to give speed boosts, and assassins that deliver spike strips the player needs to avoid that can blow a car's tires, aimed for enemy cars. "Own the City" also allows free roaming with crates scattered throughout the whole city that when broken, give special unlocks ranging from cash to game art. Police chases are only available in free roam, and are not available in races.



The game is set in the fictitious city of Palmont. There are three major canyon areas in Palmont: East, West, and Carbon Canyon. The southwestern border of the city features a sea coast. The city also includes several rivers and a lake near Carbon Canyon. It resembles very much to its predecessor Need For Speed: Most Wanted. Palmont is divided into four boroughs at the beginning of the game: Kempton (southeast industrial area), Downtown (east metropolitan area), Fortuna (west residential area) and Silverton (north casino & resort area) ; one for each of the major crews. A highway system extending through the middle of the city is the main connection between the boroughs. All boroughs except Silverton are initially accessible to the player; access to Silverton is unlocked only after beating the crews in the other three boroughs. There is an additional area named San Juan which is located east of Silverton, but just like the canyons, it's not connected to the boroughs of Palmont. The game is set inside the fictional city of Palmont which exists alongside of Rockport, which was used in Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Bayview, which was used in Need for Speed: Underground 2, and Olympic City, which was used in Need for Speed Underground. Palmont is also featured in the massively multiplayer online racing game Need for Speed: World, along with Rockport of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. In the early development stages, Palmont was a lot bigger and it had a canyon track inside it, which you could access in the free roam mode, and the San Juan area was also a part of the original city. You can find the original map in the Demo version of the game, but you only have access to the San Juan area.

Need for Speed: Carbon[edit]

Following the events of Need For Speed Most Wanted, the player is seen driving his BMW M3 GTR through Carbon Canyon on his way to Palmont City. A flashback reveals his former race against Kenji, Angie, and Wolf, until a police incident forces the player to escape Palmont City without hesitation. In the present day, former Rockport Police Department officer, Cross (Dean McKenzie), now turned a bounty hunter, pursues the player down in his modified Chevrolet Corvette Z06,[4] shortly resulting with the player wrecking his BMW. Cross attempts to arrest the player, but Darius (Tahmoh Penikett) and his crew arrive. Darius pays off Cross, and Nikki (Emmanuelle Vaugier) arrives on bad terms.

Darius advises that the player must regain control over the three territories of Palmont City. Winning races one by one, the player eventually acquires territories from three crew bosses: Kenji (Downtown (Bushido), Angie (Kempton (21st Street), and Wolf (Fortuna (TFK). Defeating them allows the player to meet up with a former member of a boss's crew, who wants to join the player after telling their stories regarding the player's escape.[5]

After conquering all three territories, the player is called over to Darius, who reveals that he was using the player all along to conquer the territories, and that he brought Cross to arrest him. Darius leaves the player arrested by Cross, but Nikki arrives and frees the player, and admits that she now understands what really happened after piecing together her story along with the other crew members.[6] When Darius finds out that Nikki is working with the player, he hires Kenji, Angie, and Wolf into forming his new crew, Stacked Deck. Having realized that Darius was responsible behind the incident that caused the player's escape, the player progresses to conquer Silverton as a way to get revenge on Darius.[7]

After conquering the final area of Silverton, the player is entered to a race against Stacked Deck before going after Darius. After the player beats Darius in a canyon duel, Darius gives up his Audi Le Mans Quattro to the player for defeating him. The game ends when Darius says, "...enjoy it while it lasts, there's always someone out there who's a little faster than you are, and sooner or later they're gonna catch up...".[8]

Need for Speed: Carbon: Own the City[edit]

The player flashbacks to a race where in he, his brother Mick and a couple of other racers are racing to decide who owns the city. But a terrible car crash ruins the competition, leaving the player in the hospital with amnesia and Mick dead. The city is also divided back into different crew territories. Upon waking up, the player is greeted by Mick's girlfriend, Sara and Carter, Mick's wingman, as they visit Mick and help the player return his memories.

The player is set to find out who killed Mick, and goes on different races to beat different crews, regain territory and see if they know anything about the accident, where each crew boss then describes what they know about the accident that killed Mick. The player soon find out that the crash was caused by a kid named Buddy, and after a visit to a crew boss called EX where he explains, Sara is seemingly caught in an explosion. The player is driven further to find out who caused the trouble, and soon confronts Buddy. Buddy then reveals that he was hired, and hands the player his phone. The player continues, and meets MK, an undercover police racer, after defeated by the player, who then helps with his police abilities to find out who planned the murder, through Buddy's phone.

It is revealed that EX was the one who planned the crash, and the player goes after him, with MK's police forces in the end apprehending EX after defeated by the player. Sara appears, and tells the racer to race her, which she in the end reveals the truth: the player hired EX to get rid of Mick due to Mick's monstrous personality that hurt Sara and the player, which EX hired Buddy to crash Mick's car, the "accident" resulting in Mick's death. It was indeed, all along the player's plan, where Sara was promised to be freed from Mick by the player. Sara then hands the player Mick's watch, saying that he is different from Mick, and that she is free, now together with the player.


By default, hip hop/grime songs are played when the player is driving an exotic car, electronic songs are played when the player is driving a tuner car, and rock music is played when the player is driving a muscle car, though, this setting can be turned off. These songs were released by EA in very limited quantities on a special edition disc. The songs played within the safe house and other game menus, as well as a small number of races were composed by London techno act Ekstrak, and was released widely by EA, and is available from online retailers such as iTunes, as well as hard copies. Other music, most played in major races, such as Race Wars and Canyon Battles have been widely released akin to the Ekstrak release. This actual soundtrack consists of music composed by Trevor Morris, who has gone on to work with Steve Jablonsky for the 2007 EA RTS game, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars.


Need for Speed: Carbon was first shown in EA's montage at Nintendo's E3 2006 conference and booth and was the cover story in the Game Informer magazine issue of July 2006. In the early development stages, the graphics were more eye candy and the city was bigger. Carbon is the first in the Need for Speed series to be released for all seventh generation consoles. Carbon features some of cars of its predecessors; namely Need for Speed: Underground 2 and Need for Speed: Most Wanted, but also incorporates many new additions including the Audi Le Mans quattro, the Chrysler 300C SRT 8, Chevrolet's Chevelle SS and the Alfa Romeo Brera. Carbon features the Canadian actress and model Emmanuelle Vaugier as Nikki, the player's main source of help and ally in the Career storyline. The game is available for use with Mac OS X.[9] Need for Speed: Carbon debuted at number one on the UK All Format Gaming Chart on its first week of release, beating Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer.[10]

The Need for Speed: Carbon Collector's Edition features 4 exclusive cars, 10 pre-tuned cars, 6 new races, 3 unique challenge events, 10 unique vinyls and a Bonus DVD showing the making of Carbon and showcasing all the cars used in the game. The Collector's Edition also features alternate box art and a metallic-finish sleeve encasing the case of the game. Although the Mac edition doesn't display the Collector's Edition title, it contains all Collector's Edition features. The downloaded version of the game features the Ultimate Performance Kit, 2006 Pagani Zonda F and the 1971 Dodge Challenger. An arcade version of the same name was released by EA Arcades in 2008.[1][11] The Collector's Edition is not available for PS3.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 78.47%[12]
(X360) 77.51%[13]
(PS3) 76.26%[14]
(PS2) 75.04%[15]
(GC) 74.25%[16]
(Xbox) 73.28%[17]
(PSP) 71.00%[18]
(GBA) 69.33%[19]
(NDS) 66.50%[20]
(Wii) 65.39%[21]
Metacritic (PC) 78/100[22]
(X360) 77/100[23]
(PS3) 75/100[24]
(GC) 75/100[25]
(PS2) 74/100[26]
(Xbox) 74/100[27]
(PSP) 73/100[28]
(NDS) 70/100[29]
(Wii) 67/100[30]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot (PSP) 7.9/10[31]
(PC, X360, Xbox & NDS) 7.6/10[32][33][34][35]
(PS3, PS2 & GC) 7.4/10[36][37][38]
(Wii) 7.1/10[39]
(GBA) 6.5/10[40]
IGN (PC) 8.2/10[41]
(PS3) 7.9/10[42]
(GC & Xbox) 7.8/10[43][44]
(NDS) 7.5/10[45]
(Wii) 7.4/10[46]
(PSP & GBA) 7.0/10[47][48]
Play Magazine 76%[49]

Need for Speed: Carbon was met with generally positive reviews. IGN gave the PC version an 8.2 out of 10[41] and the PlayStation 3 version a 7.9 out of 10[42] citing "It's not revolutionary, it's not brilliant, but it's good, deep racing,". GameSpot gave praise for adding more movie clips, customization and solid gameplay but was critical about frustrating boss battles and under utilizing police chases.

Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an average score of 8.0.[50] Hyper's Daniel Wilks commends the game for its "large gameworld" but criticises it for its "easy, drift course mechanics suck [and] cutscene 'actors'".[51] The Australian video game talk show Good Game gave the game a 5/10.[52]

Compatibility issues[edit]

The unpatched Windows version of the game has compatibility issues when playing under Windows Vista and crashes after the EA Logo screen, however most issues have been resolved in patch version 1.4.[53] according to EA's Website Support page.[54]


  1. ^ a b "Arcade Machines - Driving Arcade Machines - Need For Speed Carbon Twin Driving Arcade Machine". Monkey Gamesroom. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Need for Speed Carbon: Own the City Review". IGN. 2008-11-01. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  3. ^ Alexander, Leigh (2009-05-27). "Zeebo Officially Launches In Brazil With FIFA, Need For Speed, Brain Challenge". Think Services. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  4. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). "Need for Speed: Carbon". PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon Career Introduction Cutscence 
  5. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). "Need for Speed: Carbon". PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon various cutscences after unlocking Sal, Colin of TFK, Yumi of Bushido, and Samson of 21st Street. 
  6. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). "Need for Speed: Carbon". PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon cutscene after beating the last crew. 
  7. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). "Need for Speed: Carbon". PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon Cutscene after unlocking Nikki. 
  8. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). "Need for Speed: Carbon". PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon Cutscence after beating Darius. 
  9. ^ "EA > GAMEFINDER > Need for Speed Carbon". Retrieved 2008-12-30. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Christmas charts take shape". 2006-11-13. Retrieved 2006-11-13. 
  11. ^ "Need For Speed: Carbon - Standard Model". PrimeTime Amusements. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Aggregate score for PC at GameRankings". 
  13. ^ "Aggregate score for Xbox 360 at GameRankings". 
  14. ^ "Aggregate score for PlayStation 3 at GameRankings". 
  15. ^ "Aggregate score for PlayStation 2 at GameRankings". 
  16. ^ "Aggregate score for GameCube at GameRankings". 
  17. ^ "Aggregate score for Xbox at GameRankings". 
  18. ^ "Aggregate score for PlayStation Portable at GameRankings". 
  19. ^ "Aggregate score for Game Boy Advance at GameRankings". 
  20. ^ "Aggregate score for Nintendo DS at GameRankings". 
  21. ^ "Aggregate score for Wii at GameRankings". 
  22. ^ "Aggregate score for PC at Metacritic". 
  23. ^ "Aggregate score for Xbox 360 at Metacritic". 
  24. ^ "Aggregate score for PlayStation 3 at Metacritic". 
  25. ^ "Aggregate score for GameCube at Metacritic". 
  26. ^ "Aggregate score for PlayStation 2 at Metacritic". 
  27. ^ "Aggregate score for Xbox at Metacritic". 
  28. ^ "Aggregate score for PlayStation Portable at Metacritic". 
  29. ^ "Aggregate score for Nintendo DS at Metacritic". 
  30. ^ "Aggregate score for Wii at Metacritic". 
  31. ^ "PlayStation Portable review at GameSpot". 
  32. ^ "PC review at GameSpot". 
  33. ^ "Xbox 360 review at GameSpot". 
  34. ^ "Xbox review at GameSpot". 
  35. ^ "Nintendo DS review at GameSpot". 
  36. ^ "PlayStation 3 review at GameSpot". 
  37. ^ "PlayStation 2 review at GameSpot". 
  38. ^ "GameCube review at GameSpot". 
  39. ^ "Wii review at GameSpot". 
  40. ^ "Game Boy Advance review at GameSpot". 
  41. ^ a b "PC review at IGN". 
  42. ^ a b "PlayStation 3 review at IGN". 
  43. ^ "GameCube review at IGN". 
  44. ^ "Xbox review at IGN". 
  45. ^ "Nintendo DS review at IGN". 
  46. ^ "Wii review at IGN". 
  47. ^ "PlayStation Portable review at IGN". 
  48. ^ "Game Boy Advance review at IGN". 
  49. ^ Play magazine review, issue 151, Imagine Publishing
  50. ^ "Need for Speed: Carbon PC Game, Need for Speed: Carbon". 
  51. ^ Wilks, Daniel (December 2006). "Need for Speed: Carbon". Hyper (Next Media) (158): 72. ISSN 1320-7458. 
  52. ^ "Good Game stories - Need for Speed: Carbon". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2006-12-05. 
  53. ^ "ELECTRONIC ARTS New Zealand File downloads - Need for Speed Carbon v1.4 Patch". Electronic Arts New Zealand. 2008-03-24. Retrieved 2008-03-24. [dead link]
  54. ^ "EA Customer Support Page Is my game supported on Windows Vista?". Retrieved December 21, 2006. 

External links[edit]