Need for Speed Underground came out in 2003. It is the seventh game in the Need for Speed series. Electronic Arts and EA Black Box worked together on making it. There were three games made: one for consoles and Windows, one for the Game Boy Advance, and one for arcades that was made by Global VR and published by Konami.
Even though the previous Need for Speed games had exotic and sports cars, Underground started the series all over again. It was the first game in the series to have both a garage mode where players could completely customize their cars with a wide range of premium brand performance and visual upgrades and a career mode with a story.
All of the games take place in the made-up Olympic City. Underground sold cars from the import market, not cars from other countries. Need for Speed: Underground 2 came out in 2004. It was made after the success of the first game, Underground.
Samantha wakes up the player by accident while he is racing in Olympic City in a modified Honda/Acura Integra Type R with wide body kits on. The player easily beats his competitors and wins the race.
In Olympic City, the player's friend Samantha shows him around the import culture scene and illegal street racing in the area. She helps the player buy his first car, but she makes fun of the car he chose by calling it "weak." The player also meets a number of street racing teams.
Some of them are Samantha's friends who become his friends after seeing how good he is at racing. She introduces him to her friend T.J, who tells him he will get a lot of upgrades and parts if he does well in races. The player races against other people and impresses them. Eventually, Eddie, the leader of the Eastsiders gang, and Melissa, his beautiful girlfriend, both notice the player.
Eddie, who is the best underground racer in Olympic City right now, makes fun of the player for how good he is at racing. He even jokes that the player should "take a taxi home" to get home faster, but the player shows that he is not a taxi driver.
Eddie challenges the player to a race because he is angry, and Samantha takes him up on the offer, which makes her even more angry. She loses the race when she wrecks her Honda Civic Si. Later, T.J. takes her car and damages it. Samantha pulls away from the player after T.J. stole her car and she was very upset about it.
In Samantha's absence, the player keeps winning races from her friends until she has to face T.J in Samantha's damaged Civic. T.J. doesn't win the race, so he gives the car to the player, who gives it to Samantha. Samantha tells the player that the best way to make up with Eddie is to race him and beat him once and for all.
Eddie challenges the player's team to a sprint race, which they lose. Just as the player's team is about to be happy about it, a strange grey Nissan 350Z challenges them to a championship race. As the other racers celebrate the player's win in the 350Z, it turns out that the car's driver is Melissa.
The player is now the best underground racer in Olympic City because of what happened.
Need for Speed Underground was made by EA Black Box, and EA Games released it for the PC, Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation 2 in November 2003. On the Game Boy Advance and in arcades, you could also play versions made by other developers.
For this review, I used the PC version. I did look at the game's PCGamingWiki page to see what I would have to do to make it work on a modern system. I put in place ThirteenAG's widescreen fix, which does more than just support higher resolutions. It improves controller support, adds icons for controller buttons, and lets the user change the controller stick deadzone, among other things.
I played the game with an Xbox Series X controller, and I'm happy to say that it worked perfectly. The one thing I don't like about ThirteenAG's update for Underground is what I think is debug text that shows up on the edges of the screen when I'm using the menus. I looked for a solution, but I couldn't find one that worked. The text doesn't show up during races, so it's not a big deal.
Underground is the name of the first "edgy" Need for Speed game. The best games in the series, like Underground, Underground 2, and Most Wanted, all came out during this time (2005). I don't know much about games that came out after Most Wanted, so I don't know if Carbon is one of them.
I played Most Wanted a lot when I was younger, and I liked its crazy style, cut scenes, and edgy characters. This edgy attitude was first seen in Underground, but it's not as common now. In the underground, it seems that style is more important.
Underground is the first game in the series to have a story. But I can't say that the plot is really good or interesting. In fact, I often forgot what was going on in the story. To become the best Underground racer in the made-up Olympic City, the player competes in different races. In the Underground mode, there are a few cut scenes that show some strange and crazy people, but most of the time you just go from one event to the next.
Underground is EA's attempt to give users a look into the import business and the illegal street racing that goes along with it. But I never felt like I was breaking the law because there were no police around. Underground is mostly about cars, racing, and making your own cars. The game also has a lot of style. You always compete at night, when the lights in the city make it look like the roads are wet. All of this makes for a really cool atmosphere.
Start by playing in the Underground mode. After you win the first race, you get to choose your first car, which is a dream. After that, you can start doing things to earn Style Points, which are kind of like money. Style Points are given to you if you win an event or if you drive safely and stylishly. Before an event starts, you can choose how hard it will be, and the harder it is, the more Style Points you'll get for winning.
Once you've earned enough, you'll be able to buy items that let you change how the game looks. There are even more style-related rewards, like being able to use one-of-a-kind cars in the Quick Race mode and seeing your car on the cover of a magazine. There are many things to unlock in this game. I felt like I unlocked something new after every event, which can be addicting.
You can change how each car in the game drives, how fast it can go, and how fast it moves. Even after accidents, they don't show any visible damage, and they still look pretty good. I've read, but plates and mirrors can come off. In the Underground mode, you can get new cars by completing certain challenges, and there is a lot of room to make the game your own.
You can add performance upgrades, decals, and up to four layers of vinyl. You can also change the wheels, paint job, and different body parts. There are an amazing number of ways to change how the game looks. Since your customizations stay with you when you switch cars, I would change them for each one I got. I spent about fifteen minutes with each car trying out different settings and combinations.
Most of the cars in the subway are Japanese and come from a number of different brands. In the Underground mode, you have to trade in your current vehicle to get a new one. This is a bit of a bummer for me. I like the idea of building up a collection of cars that I can swap out whenever I want. I always had enough Style Points in the bank to change my car whenever I wanted, and all of the unlocked cars, upgrades, and customizations carried over to Quick Race mode.
Underground has many different kinds of events, such as circuit races, sprint races, tournaments, lap knockouts, time trials, drift events, and drag races. You can also practice on any track you want in the Quick Race mode's Free Run event. The Drift competitions and Drag races stand out because they offer something different. Because the physics have changed, it's a little bit easier to avoid drifting. I got really hooked on these competitions. The goal is to drift around the course and get more points than your competitors.
In Underground, learning how to drag race is a big part of the game. You can only change lanes during a race, and if you do it too quickly, you could lose control. It's important to shift at the right time and use nitro when you need to, but you also have to watch out for cars coming the other way and cross your fingers that no cars will suddenly drive into an intersection.
After one accident, you're done for. Some of the paths in these races are so narrow that you also have to deal with other drivers and vehicles. Sometimes it felt like there was no way to stay out of harm's way, which is very frustrating.
How well you do on the road will depend on the vehicle you choose and any performance upgrades you add. I always had enough Style Points to replace my car with one that had better stats, and I always put in the newest performance upgrades, so I could always drive the best car that was available. Still, there is a lot of obvious rubber banding in the game, and the AI seems to work differently depending on the situation.
This means that sometimes it doesn't matter how fast or skilled you are; rubber banding and/or bad AI behavior can make races hard or frustrating no matter how fast or skilled you are. In the Quick Race mode, you can really get rid of the "catch up" option. However, you can't do that in the Underground mode. Lucky for me, I don't remember ever having to set the difficulty to Easy because something was too hard.
I did a lot of challenges on Hard, but most of them were on Medium. If I kept failing an event on Hard, I moved it to Medium, though sometimes there wasn't much of a difference. On both difficulties, I've been quickly passed by AI opponents at different points, sometimes even after I've crossed the finish line. I've also seen them speed through turns without stopping, and they slowed down a lot after I got in front.
I've also seen them fall down a lot and sometimes get back up really quickly. In some races, one crash can be the difference between winning and losing. I sometimes felt like I couldn't catch up when an opponent got ahead of me. I couldn't close the gap, even with nitro. Sometimes I would get a weird tip.
Most of the challenges come from the tracks themselves. There are many problems and things to stay away from, but there are also many ways to get around them. Since there is a lot of traffic on the roads, both the AI and I got into a lot of accidents. They often go into an intersection as you're coming up to it. So, how well you do in a race depends not just on how fast your car can go, but also on how well you avoid dangers and take shortcuts when you can.
I can only assume that my competitors crashed, maybe often, because every time I got a big lead—and I mean a big lead—it was because I avoided crashes, barriers, or other obstacles. Even if I drove right most of the time, rubber banding made sure that AI competitors were always close behind me or that they would act cheap by taking ridiculously fast turns in corners.
The biggest problem with Underground is that it doesn't have enough good songs. I don't like how the game only seems to take place in a small part of the city because you race on the same tracks and circuits over and over again. I love the city the developers made and the way it looks.
As you move through the Underground level, you'll unlock more and more tracks for the Quick Race mode. Most of these tracks are just different versions of the same ones. You'll drive on the same city streets, pass the same buildings, and take the same short cuts over and over again. Also, the only time you can race is at night, so there isn't much variety in the environment.
Underground has online multiplayer, but the servers have been shut down for a long time. There is a mod that makes LAN possible, for what it's worth. Underground has a lot of single-player content, which is good. Since everything you unlock in Underground is also available in Quick Race, the best time to play Quick Race is after finishing Underground. So, you'll have access to a wide range of vehicles and ways to customize them. In this mode, you can also save or store cars that you have customized.
One of the reasons Undeground is still unique today is the presentation. In fact, that was the thing I remembered most about the first time I used it many years ago. It still looks good and is smooth and nice to look at. When the game is run on a modern system, some parts of it look old, but overall, it still looks fine. The way it looks is pretty shiny.
When you're close to something, you can see some hazy textures, but when you're moving, it's harder to see because everything far away looks clear. Underground is another Need for Speed game with an EA Trax soundtrack. It is full of official music. As you speed up around the rails, the engines roar loudly, and the sound of metal scraping against metal is often heard during crashes and bumps. From a technical point of view, I didn't have any big problems.
I can say without a doubt that I liked using Underground. My favorite Need for Speed games are still the ones without cops, but I still enjoyed what I played. Even though the races are fun, I think I will remember everything else about it. the way it was presented, how it was done, and how it was personalized. The first thing that struck me was how it was put together. Underground is one of the more scary Need for Speed games because of this.
In a neon-lit city, it's very cool to use your own modified motorcycle to beat the other racers and weave through traffic in an illegal street race. You could easily spend hours making changes to your car. There are so many options that it might be hard to know where to start, but most of them need to be unlocked before you can use them. This makes it easier to get started. Simple changes can be made to improve performance. Most of my time was spent on things that looked nice.
Even though Underground is a lot of fun, there are some problems. It can be annoying that there aren't many different songs to choose from and that the CD is wrapped in rubber. Rubber banding isn't new to the genre, but racing on the same streets over and over can get boring. Even though it's hard to ignore, it would be worse if the game wasn't so stylish.
I think that racing game fans should check out Need for Speed: Underground. It's fun, has a lot of content, is still relevant, and if you look around, you can find a lot of high-quality mods. Underground is one of the most important games in the series and also one of the best. I wouldn't say it was a "reboot," but the series did get off to a new start.