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)
Global VR (arcade)
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts, Global VR (arcade)
Composer(s)Trevor Morris
SeriesNeed for Speed
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]
ReleaseArcade
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Need for Speed: Carbon is a 2006 racing video game, and the tenth installment in the Need for Speed series. Developed by EA Canada, Rovio Mobile and EA Black Box, and published by Electronic Arts, it was released on October 30, 2006, for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows and Mac OS X and in 2008 for arcades. The game sees players conducting illegal street races within the fictional city of Palmont City, with the game's main story taking place after the events of Need for Speed: Most Wanted and focusing on the player's character taking control of the city from various street-racing gangs. While gameplay is similar to its predecessor, Carbon introduced a number of new features, including crews and racing wingmen, Touge-styled racing events, and greater customization options.

Alongside console, home computer, and arcade versions, the game also received portable editions for the PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance,[2] Zeebo,[3] entitled Need for Speed: Carbon – Own the City. While the portable games featured similar gameplay to the console version, they included new/modified gameplay elements, a different setting and storyline, and a different selection of AI teammates.

Upon the release of Carbon, the game received positive reviews from critics, though faced some criticism over elements of its gameplay mechanics, including its lack of emphasis on police chases than its predecessor. A special Collector's Edition version of the title was developed for Playstation 2, Windows and Xbox 360, and included additional content including new cars, new customization items, and new events for two of its game modes. The game was later succeeded by Need for Speed: ProStreet in 2007.

Gameplay[edit]

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

In the game, players take part in illegal street races that focus on different styles of races, utilizing a variety of licensed real-world cars (available at the time of the game's development and release) that can be upgraded and customized with new parts, while contending with the involvement of the police in their efforts to impede the player. Racing Events focus on competitive races with other drivers on circuits or point-to-point routes, checkpoint races, and races involving sprints or drifting (the latter being absent in its predecessor), with players able to use Nitrous Oxide and Speedbreaker whenever needed - either to help win races or get out of tight spots - both of which recharge over time. The game itself features four game modes - Career, Quick Race, Challenge Series, and Multiplayer - with the latter featuring online gameplay available in all console and PC versions of the game, except the Wii's edition.

The game operates on the same gameplay mechanics used in previous entries in the series, including its predecessor Most Wanted, though Carbon introduced new elements. A new element exclusive to Carbon are Canyon events - special racing events styled after Japanese Tōge racing, in which player compete in competitive racing on canyon roads outside the game's main setting. These events consist of sprints, drifting and duel events, in which the latter two feature a majority of destructible guardrails that the player must avoid crashing through or risk losing these respective events as a result. Duel events on these circuits operate differently to events involving major rival racers in Need for Speed games, as these are conducted across two stages on a canyon circuit - in each stage, one driver acts as the chaser and pursues the other at close proximity, with the first stage seeing the player as the chaser and scoring points the closer they can tail their opponent, while in the second stage their opponent becomes the chaser and the player must keep as much distance as possible to avoid losing too many points before the stage is completed. At the end of both stages the car who took the lead wins if their score is positive, otherwise their opponent wins if they turned it negative. Apart from scores, an instant win is possible depending on which mode the Duel is conducted in - in Career mode, the player can win instantly if they can stay ahead of their opponent for ten seconds, but lose if they fall behind for too long; in Online Multiplayer, a player wins if their opponent crashes through a guardrail.

Police pursuits, a staple of the series, function similar to Most Wanted in that police can turn up at any time during a race and attempt to impede the player during the event, except in Canyon Race events and checkpoint races; in Career mode, the police can also turn up during Free Roam, but will not act against the player unless they have a warrant (for evading a previous pursuit) or committed an offence in their sight, whereupon they focus on blocking in and arresting the player unless they can lose them and find a safe spot to hide until they lose their heat. As the player is pursued, they can either attempt to evade the cops, or knock them out of action by ramming their cars or using destructible props called Pursuit Breakers to impede their pursuit, though extensive pursuits will cause the player's heat level to rise, leading to stronger pursuit tactics including spike-strips, road blocks, and the involvement of state/federal authorities. Carbon modified the pursuit function by making police less dominant in arrest tactics at higher heat levels, and reducing the chance a Pursuit Breaker blocks/destroys a pursuing vehicle.

Licensed real-world cars used in the game are divided into three tiers (performance level) and three classes - Exotic, Tuner, and Muscle. For example a Nissan 240SX is a tier 1 tuner car, while a Corvette Z06 is a tier 3 muscle car. Cars receive visual damage during the game, but no physical damage. Cars can be upgraded in performance through new components and fine-tuning of each component - such upgrades can help, for example, to improve speed, or improve braking. Carbon added the ability to customize visual parts via autosculpt parts, which allow adjustments of components for example, while adding flexibility with vinyls and decals by allowing them to be placed in layers over each other, with the ability to modify these in shape and size, and place them anywhere on the car. Additional cars and customization parts can be acquired through completing Reward Cards - each card consists of a set of challenges for the player to complete across the game modes, and reward the player either with a new vehicle to use or new parts for customization.

Career Mode[edit]

The game's main mode focuses on the player competing in races against rival street racing crews, instead of individual racers like in Most Wanted and Underground 2. When starting in Career mode, players must choose a class that is not only permanent for their playthrough in this mode, but also dictates which of the initial three districts in the game's setting they begin in and which racing events are available first. Additional cars and classes become unlocked as the player progresses in this mode; any cars earned from Reward Cards for Quick Race mode are also available, but without limitation. Players operate their own crew in Career mode, and can recruit AI wingmen to assist them, each of whom operates under a different role - Blocker, Drafter, and Scout - and speciality - Fixer, Mechanic, and Fabricator. The type of role and speciality that each wingman operate under dictates how they assist the player - some can find shortcuts during races, while others can help to reduce police heat - with their role also dictating which car they drive in; the first two wingmen the player unlocks have their cars match the player's chosen class. During races, players may use their wingmen for a period of time, after which they must wait a while until their wingmen gauge has recharged before they can use them again.

To win career mode, players compete in races against other crews to secure territory - each district has a number of territories, each controlled either by the district's main crew or a minor crew through a series of racing events. Winning a majority of the races in a territory converts control to the player's crew and unlocks additional races elsewhere. Races that have been won can be engaged again, but the prize money offered is reduced as a result. Taking control of all territories will unlock a duel event with the main crew's boss, in which winning the event will allow the player to unlock special rewards, in a similar manner to the rewards offered in rival events in Most Wanted. As the player accumulates territories, they can lose any earned by losing control over its racing events to minor crews, either by failing to defeat them in takeover challenges or forfeiting the right to do so.

Quick Race, Challenge Series & Online Multiplayer[edit]

Quick Race mode allows players to create custom events for single player or multiplayer - both splitscreen or online - making use of any circuit and cars in the game, and altering various factors such as difficulty of opponents, track conditions and so forth; what cars and circuits can be used depends on the player's progress in Career mode, though all players can be allowed to use wingmen they have unlocked in these events, provided this option is allowed.

Challenge Series consists of a series of racing events that are divided into 12 categories, each divided further into three difficulty levels. Each challenge event requires the player to complete a specific goal, depending on the type of event, using a set car on a specific course in the game. Players may chose any category to begin with, unlike in Most Wanted, but must complete in order of Easy to Hard. Completing all of the difficulty levels of a challenge unlocks either a new car or customization option for the player to use in other modes.

Online Multiplayer mode focuses on two exclusive events for multiple players - Pursuit Knockout and Pursuit Tag:

  • In Pursuit Knockout, players compete in laps of a circuit, with each player in last place being knocked out and returning as cops to hinder the other players. The winner is the player who ends the race in first place.
  • In Pursuit Tag, one player is a racer and must evade the others, who operate as the cops. If the player is arrested by another, they switch roles. The winner is the player who spends the most time as the racer.

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

Carbon takes place within the fictional city of Palmont City. The city encompasses four boroughs - Kempton, which houses the city's industrial complexes; Downtown, which houses the city's metropolitan and financial buildings; Fortuna, which houses the city's residential area; and Silverton, which houses the city's casino & resort facilities - all linked together by a highway system, with the player able to enter all boroughs except Silverton, it is locked at the beginning of the game, but becomes accessible once the player controls the other boroughs. The city is surrounded by three canyons - East, West and Carbon - each with their own layout of route, and which are inaccessible from the city. The game's events and story take place during a fixed point at night.

Story[edit]

Several years prior to the events of Most Wanted, the player competed in a race around Palmont City against three others - Kenji, Angie, and Wolf - for a considerable cash pot, only for the city's police to disrupt the race towards the end. While the player was forced to escape the city, with assistance from Darius (Tahmoh Penikett), another street racer, the police arrested everyone involved in the race, including the player's former girlfriend Nikki (Emmanuelle Vaugier); before leaving, she handed the player the bag containing the prize money, which in reality actually contained paper.

Following their time in the city of Rockport, the player returns to Palmont City, but finds themselves pursued along a canyon route by Nathan Cross (Dean McKenzie) - a former Rockport police sergeant turned bounty hunter, who seeks revenge on the player for making a fool of him during their racing against Rockport's street racers. The high-speed race between the player's 2001 BMW M3 E46 GTR and Cross' 2007 Chevrolet Corvette C6 Z06 culminates in the player totalling their car in a construction zone. Before Cross can arrest the player to collect their bounty, Darius arrives with his crew, the Stacked Deck, and pays him off, before offering the player assistance to start over in Palmont. Nikki, who now dates Darius due to her belief the player set up everyone in the race to steal the prize money, reluctantly helps on Darius' orders by introducing them to two crew members that can help in races, and providing them a safehouse to operate from.

Darius then advises the player to regain control of the different territories in Palmont, as each borough is controlled by a major crew headed up by one of the racers they competed against in the past, amongst a number of smaller crews - while Kenji controls Downtown with his crew Bushido, Angie controls Kempton with the 21st Street, and Wolf controls Fortuna with T.F.K. After defeating each crew's boss, a former member from their crew defects and joins the player's crew, revealing their observations the night the player was forced to leave Palmont, hinting that something was not right.[4] Shortly after all three crews are defeated, Darius calls a meeting with the player. Upon attending the meeting, Darius reveals that he was using the player to help his crew take control of the city, and betrays him to Cross to be arrested.

However, Nikki arrives to save the player, after making a secret deal with Cross. She immediately reveals that Darius had been responsible for the police disrupting the street race years ago - not only did he tip them off, he also switched out the prize money and let the player escape to set him up as the culprit for the police's sting.[5] Nikki reconciles with the player and joins their crew. Darius quickly finds out, and so hires the other bosses to join his crew and combat the player's own as they seek to take over the Stacked Deck's control of Silverton.[6] The player successfully defeats the crew, ousting their control of the borough, and defeats Darius in a final race to take control of Palmont and accord justice for his actions. Before he leaves the city, after surrendering his car, Darius warns the player to enjoy his victory before someone faster than them challenges their control.[7]

Development[edit]

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 had more detail and the city was planned to be bigger.[8] Also found in the game's files show that many of the game's features were scrapped such as being able to drift with other A.I. players, similar to Underground 2. What may appear to be an entire crew called "LeSamurai" was found in the game's files. "LeSamurai" may have taken a huge part in the game's plot as their crew logo is found in many various places in the city. However, the crew logo is not found Downtown. "LeSamurai" may not be the official crew name, but it's the name of some of the contents in one of the game's files. Carbon is the first in the Need for Speed series to be released for PlayStation 3 and Wii seventh generation consoles and also the final in the series to be released for Xbox, GameCube and Game Boy Advance. 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]

Carbon was also the first game in the series to feature detailed character animations for the Windows and seventh-generation releases using facial motion capture, where ingame models of characters such as Neville, Wolf, Angie and Kenji appear in realtime cutscenes taunting or remarking the player in a race or at certain points.[11] This has however been omitted on the sixth-generation and Wii versions due to platform limitations.

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][12] The Collector's Edition is not available for PS3.

The arcade version was developed by Global VR.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings(PC) 78.47%[13]
(X360) 77.51%[14]
(PS3) 76.26%[15]
(PS2) 75.04%[16]
(GC) 74.25%[17]
(Xbox) 73.28%[18]
(PSP) 71.00%[19]
(GBA) 69.33%[20]
(NDS) 66.50%[21]
(Wii) 65.39%[22]
Metacritic(PC) 78/100[23]
(X360) 77/100[24]
(PS3) 75/100[25]
(GC) 75/100[26]
(PS2) 74/100[27]
(Xbox) 74/100[28]
(PSP) 73/100[29]
(NDS) 70/100[30]
(Wii) 67/100[31]
Review scores
PublicationScore
GameSpot(PSP) 7.9/10[32]
7.6/10[33][34][35][36]
(PS3, PS2 & GC) 7.4/10[37][38][39]
(Wii) 7.1/10[40]
(GBA) 6.5/10[41]
IGN(PC) 8.2/10[42]
(PS3) 7.9/10[43]
7.8/10[44][45]
(NDS) 7.5/10[46]
(Wii) 7.4/10[47]
(PSP & GBA) 7.0/10[48][49]
Play76%[50]

Need for Speed: Carbon was met with generally positive reviews. IGN gave the PC version an 8.2 out of 10[42] and the PlayStation 3 version a 7.9 out of 10[43] citing "It's not revolutionary, it's not brilliant, but it's good, deep racing,".[citation needed] GameSpot gave praise for adding more movie clips, customization and solid gameplay but was critical about frustrating boss battles and under utilizing police chases.[citation needed]

Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game an average score of 8.0.[51] Hyper's Daniel Wilks commends the game for its "large gameworld" but criticises it for its "easy, drift course mechanics suck [and] cutscene 'actors'".[52] The Australian video game talk show Good Game gave the game a 5/10.[53]

Need for Speed: Carbon has sold 3.2 million copies in the United States.[54] Its PlayStation 2 version received a "Double Platinum" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA),[55] indicating sales of at least 600,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[56]

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

Gameplay[edit]

Own the City features similar gameplay to the console editions, but while the Autosculpt function, Canyon Race events and drifting events are absent, the portable edition allows for free roaming around the game's setting of Coast City, offers three new racing events, and modification to some of the gameplay mechanics. The new events consist of Escape, in which players attempt to escape from a rival crew's territory; Delivery, in which players and their crew race to a designated area with a package and attempt to beat other racers doing the same thing; and Crew Takedown, in which players to eliminate a set number of rival racers to win. During free roam, the player can explore the city and seek out crates scattered across the game's setting, in a similar manner to the hidden package system in Grand Theft Auto, which when broken unlock rewards ranging from cash to game art. Police pursuits can occur in Own the City, but only in free roam; the player is not pursued during racing events.

Players can hire up to five wingmen for their racing crew, in which two members may be active for use in racing events, though like Carbon they cannot be used in the game's Lap Knockout, Escape, and Crew Takedown events. Wingmen are divided into three classes - Brawlers, Drafters, and Assassins. While the first two classes operate in the similar manner to Carbon's wingmen roles of Blockers and Drafters respectively, Assassins replace the console's role of Scouts, and can be used to take out multiple rivals with deployable spike strips. The game's main mode of gameplay requires players to take control of territory - unlike the setting of Palmont, Coast City feature around 13 areas of territory across 6 districts, with each area that is conquered unlocking new items for purchase and a new wingman for the player to recruit.

Plot[edit]

The player and their brother Mick compete in an illegal street race with two other racers, seeking to see who will own the whole of Coast City amongst them. However, the race ends in a terrible car crash that leaves the player in hospital with amnesia, while killing Mick. In the aftermath of Mick's death, his control over the city's territories is divided up between various street racing crews. Upon the player waking up, they are greeted by Mick's girlfriend Sara and his wingman Carter, who help the player to regain their memories of the race when visiting their brother's grave.

The player sets out to find out who killed Mick, forming a crew to help them race and defeat the other crews, regaining territory and asking the defeated crew bosses what they know about the race's accident. During this time, Sara disappears. Eventually, the player is informed that a young driver named Buddy caused the crash, whereupon a crew boss known as EX helps the player to locate Buddy. Upon confronting the driver, the player learns that Buddy was hired by someone to kill Mick, and hands them a phone. Upon completing more races, the player encounters and defeats an undercover police officer named MK, who uses his connection in the city's police to trace Buddy's employer. The player soon discovers that EX planned Mick's murder, and so pursues after and defeats him, leaving him to be apprehended by MK and the city police.

Sara soon returns and instructs the player to race her, whereupon she reveals that the player arranged for EX to kill Mick. Sara reveals that the player's brother had a monstrous personality that led to her and the player being hurt, so the player arranged for Mick to be killed in an accident during a race to be rid of him, thus allowing Sara and themselves to be free. Sara soon embraces her freedom, handing over Mick's watch and stating how different the player is to him.

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). Need for Speed: Carbon. PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon - various cutscenes after unlocking Sal, Colin of TFK, Yumi of Bushido, and Samson of 21st Street.
  5. ^ Electronic Arts (2006). Need for Speed: Carbon. PlayStation 2. Electronic Arts. Need For Speed Carbon cutscene after beating the last crew.
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External links[edit]