Need for Speed: Underground

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Need for Speed: Underground
Nfsu-win-cover.jpg
PAL region cover art of an orange Nissan Skyline for Windows
Developer(s) EA Black Box
Publisher(s) EA Games
Series Need for Speed
Engine EAGL
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance
Release date(s) NA 20031117November 17, 2003
EU 20031121November 21, 2003
EU November 28, 2003 (PC)
NA December 18, 2003 (GBA)
JP 20031225December 25, 2003
EU January 16, 2004 (GBA)
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Need for Speed: Underground (also known as NFSU or Need for Speed Underground J-Tune in Japan) is the seventh installment in the Need for Speed series, and was developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts in 2003. Its the first game in the series to use the THX technology.

Underground completely rebooted the franchise, ignoring the previous Need for Speed games. It was the first game in the series to offer a career mode featuring a storyline, and a garage mode that allowed players to fully customize their cars with a large variety of brand-name performance and visual upgrades. All races take place in a generic city at night called Olympic City, though the city bears some resemblance to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rather than exotic cars, Underground featured vehicles associated with the import scene. Underground was commercially successful, and inspired a sequel.

Plot[edit]

The player starts straight into the action, at a circuit race driving a uniquely styled Acura Integra Type R with wide body kit, easily winning over his opponents...only to be woken up by Samantha from his daydreaming.

Samantha is the player's friend in the new environment; she shows the player how the console with the races works, who's who, and makes fun of the player's starter car. Eddie (and his orange-metallic Nissan Skyline), is the leader of the Eastsiders and current top racer of the streets, and Melissa is his girlfriend.

Time passes, races are won. The player meets other racers, and eventually gathers a small list of nemeses that continually challenge him and are defeated. He's introduced to TJ, who promises unique performance upgrades in exchange of beating time trial challenges; Samantha does the same from time to time, offering unique visual modifications instead.

The player's successive victories don't impress Eddie. First, he mocks the player's skill, saying he has a long way to go to 'roll his streets'. Later in the game, the player builds enough hype to be too hard to ignore, so Eddie challenges him to beat Samantha in a sprint race before coming after him; the player's willingness in going for it infuriates her. Samantha totals her Civic's engine trying to beat the player, unsuccessfully. TJ takes the junked car for himself after the event.

When the player comes close to reaching #1 in all kinds of races, Eddie tries to once again get rid of his rival. Around the same time, the Player sees TJ in Samantha's recovered car, now working again, but has been vandalized. Both run a circuit race worth the other's vehicle, which the player wins. The player returns the car to Samantha to make amends, and she gives the player a choice of a wide body kit for his car.

Right after the touching moment, Eddie challenges the player and loses, like everyone else who ever challenged the player so far. Before any victory can be sung, a mysterious, legendary silver Nissan 350Z challenges the player for a last run through the Market Street circuit. A challenger who, after being beaten by the player, is revealed to be Eddie's girlfriend, Melissa.

That event solidifies the player's status as the new best underground racer in the city.

Gameplay[edit]

A circuit race with a Honda Civic, PC version

Circuit is a standard race that involves racing with up to four opponents' cars around a loop track for one lap or more, and is the main mode of the game. For about the last 4 races of underground mode, the number of players decreases to only 1 rival, and the number of laps reach up to seven (Endurance Race)

Knockout Mode is similar to previous Need for Speed titles, involves "knocking out" the last racer who passes the starting line in each lap until the final leader of the race remains, and wins the race. In the case of Underground, Knockout sessions have a maximum of three laps for four racers.

Sprint mode is a variation on the Circuit mode, where the contestants race in a point-to-point track instead of loop tracks. These races are typically shorter than "circuits" (with a maximum of 8 km in length), so players are required to be more cautious of any mistakes during racing.

Drifting is the most challenging and technical aspect of the game. Drift mode consists of one player in a short loop track, where the objective is to collect as many points as possible by drifting along the track. The player competes with three other contestants, who appear to accumulate scores along with the player during the drift session. The player would be required to beat these scores in order to obtain top positions.

Bonuses are awarded for players who drift in the outer borders of the track, drift vertically, or perform chained-drifting (continuous drifting by constantly steering the vehicle during drifts to maintain speed); if the player succeeds in ending a drift without collisions onto the sides of the track, the collected points are added into the score, otherwise, the collected points are cancelled.

Drift mode is the only type of racing where time taken to complete the track does not matter, since players are given the freedom to complete the allocated number laps at their own pace. This may explain the absence of nitrous oxide in this mode, since it serves no apparent purpose in this situation.

Drag racing is the second most technical form of race in the game. It involves racing against one or three cars on typically straight tracks, and attempting to obtain top positions to win. In order to master Drag mode, players must employ good timing and reflexes for gear shifting, redlining, overtaking, and the use of nitrous oxide boosts;Because the player is going to put the engine to its limits the mode places particular emphasis in monitoring the tachometer during races, which is enlarged and situated on the leftmost portion of the screen. Steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for lane changes, while the computer handles the steering along the lanes, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car.

Two conditions will result in players being forfeited during a drag race: head-on collisions with an opponent, barriers, traffic cars or dividers (being 'Totaled'); or blown engines as a result from prolonged redlining and the subsequent overheating of the engine.

Car customization[edit]

In the car customization menu, cars can be altered with performance upgrades and visual upgrades, such as paint colors and body kits.

Players have the ability to increase their car’s performance by applying performance upgrades to the car. The player can upgrade their car’s engine, drivetrain, suspension, tires, engine control unit (ECU) as well as add nitrous oxide, turbo chargers and reduce the car’s weight (in the form of “weight reduction packages”).

Since Underground is street racing and tuner-themed, the player also has the ability to customize their car visually.

Soundtrack[edit]

The game's soundtrack features a variety of licensed music, from bands such as Story of the Year, Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz, Overseer, The Crystal Method, Rancid, Rob Zombie, Asian Dub Foundation, Fuel and Blindside.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS2) 84.29%[1]
(GC) 83.73%[2]
(PC) 82.29%[3]
(Xbox) 81.76%[4]
(GBA) 77.33%[5]
Metacritic (PS2) 85/100[6]
(GC) 83/100[7]
(Xbox) 83/100[8]
(PC) 82/100[9]
(GBA) 77/100[10]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 7/10[11]
EGM 8.67/10[12]
Eurogamer 7/10[13]
Game Informer (PS2) 9.5/10[14]
(Xbox) 9.25/10[15]
(GC) 9/10[16]
Game Revolution B[19]
GameSpot 8/10[20]
(GC & Xbox) 7.9/10[21]
(GBA) 7.7/10[22]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[23][24]
(GC & PC) 4/5 stars[25][26]
GameZone (PS2) 8.5/10[27]
(PC) 8.1/10[28]
IGN (PC) 9/10[29]
(PS2) 8.9/10[30]
8.8/10[31]
(GBA) 7.9/10[32]
OPM (US) 4.5/5 stars[35]
OXM 8.6/10[36]
PC Gamer (US) 88%[37]
The Village Voice 8/10[38]

Need for Speed: Underground received positive reviews. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 84.29% and 85 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version,[1][6] 83.73% and 83 out of 100 for the GameCube version,[2][7] 82.29% and 82 out of 100 for the PC version,[3][9] 81.76% and 83 out of 100 for the Xbox version[4][8] and 77.33% and 77 out of 100 for the Game Boy Advance version.[5][10]

In the UK, Official UK PlayStation 2 Magazine gave the PS2 version a score of nine out of ten and made much of the illegal nature of the gameplay. They praised the speed, but said that it was, "at heart, just another driving game with added Hollywood sparkle."[39] In Japan, Famitsu gave the GameCube and PS2 versions a score of two eights and two nines, bringing it to a score of 34 out of 40.[40]

Underground sold 15 million copies worldwide.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for PlayStation 2". GameRankings. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for GameCube". GameRankings. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for Xbox". GameRankings. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for Game Boy Advance". GameRankings. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for GameCube Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. 
  9. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Need for Speed Underground for Game Boy Advance Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  11. ^ Edge staff (December 25, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground". Edge (131): 115. 
  12. ^ EGM staff (January 2004). "Need for Speed Underground (GC, PS2, Xbox)". Electronic Gaming Monthly (174): 118. 
  13. ^ Reed, Kristan (November 26, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground (PS2)". Eurogamer. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  14. ^ McNamara, Andy (December 2003). "Need for Speed: Underground (PS2)". Game Informer (128): 126. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  15. ^ Zoss, Jeremy (December 2003). "Need for Speed: Underground (Xbox)". Game Informer (128): 172. Archived from the original on February 2, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  16. ^ Mason, Lisa (December 2003). "Need for Speed: Underground (GC)". Game Informer (128): 159. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  17. ^ Four-Eyed Dragon (November 18, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground Review for PS2 on GamePro.com". GamePro. Archived from the original on February 23, 2005. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  18. ^ Four-Eyed Dragon (November 18, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground (GC, Xbox)". GamePro. Archived from the original on February 9, 2005. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  19. ^ White, A.A. (December 2003). "Need for Speed Underground Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  20. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (November 21, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground Review (PC, PS2)". GameSpot. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  21. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (November 17, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground Review (GC, Xbox)". GameSpot. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  22. ^ Provo, Frank (January 26, 2004). "Need for Speed Underground Review (GBA)". GameSpot. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  23. ^ Williams, Bryn (November 20, 2003). "GameSpy: Need for Speed Underground (PS2)". GameSpy. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  24. ^ Williams, Bryn (November 20, 2003). "GameSpy: Need for Speed Underground (Xbox)". GameSpy. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  25. ^ Williams, Bryn (November 20, 2003). "GameSpy: Need for Speed Underground (GCN)". GameSpy. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  26. ^ Osborne, Scott (December 14, 2003). "GameSpy: Need for Speed Underground (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  27. ^ Bedigian, Louis (November 30, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground - PS2 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  28. ^ Aceinet (December 7, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground - PC - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on November 8, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2015. 
  29. ^ Mirabella III, Fran (November 14, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground (PC)". IGN. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  30. ^ Mirabella III, Fran (November 14, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground (PS2)". IGN. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  31. ^ Mirabella III, Fran (November 14, 2003). "Need for Speed Underground (GCN, Xbox)". IGN. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  32. ^ Harris, Craig (February 2, 2004). "Need for Speed Underground (GBA)". IGN. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Need for Speed Underground (GC)". Nintendo Power 177: 119. March 2004. 
  34. ^ "Need for Speed Underground (GBA)". Nintendo Power 177: 120. March 2004. 
  35. ^ Davison, John (January 2004). "Need for Speed Underground". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Archived from the original on December 4, 2003. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Need for Speed Underground". Official Xbox Magazine: 108. December 2003. 
  37. ^ Mahood, Andy (January 2004). "Need for Speed: Underground". PC Gamer: 118. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  38. ^ Catucci, Nick (December 2, 2003). "Big Pimpin' Poppas Trick Out Their Autos for City Streets". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Need for Speed Underground". Official UK PlayStation 2 Magazine (Future Publishing) (41). December 2003. 
  40. ^ "Need for Speed Underground (GC, PS2)". Famitsu 785. January 1, 2004. 
  41. ^ Kollar, Philip (17 June 2015). "Need for Speed lets you drive how you want, and future NFS games probably will too". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 22 August 2015. 

External links[edit]