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Need for Speed: Underground (PlayStation 2) artwork

Need for Speed: Underground (PlayStation 2) review

"The Need For Speed series has always been about exotic cars on sunny, scenic roads. However, straying far from the beaten path, this installment takes you to the cold, underground world of street racing. "

The Need For Speed series has always been about exotic cars on sunny, scenic roads. However, straying far from the beaten path, this installment takes you to the cold, underground world of street racing.

You start out as a rookie driver, taken under the wing of a young woman. Under her guidance, you're lead to your first few races. Your car in the beginning is a stock, plain-jane POS, but as you progress, more cars and parts, such as custom bumpers, side skirts, light covers, after market performance parts, and colorful vinyl patterns will be unlocked, allowing you to customize your ride into the ultimate street machine. The way to unlock some of these parts range from winning races to earning style points.

Style points are earned by doing specific things in a race, such as power sliding your car. The cooler your car looks, the more points you get. When the race ends, a small bars fills, and when it gets full, you'll unlock something cool, such as a new vinyl type (like flames or stripes) or a special tribute car . As you unlock more and more things, you'll be able to personalize your machine to your heart's content.

The game also offers various modes of play, such as drag racing, circuit, sprint, and the all-new drift mode. The controls are sleek and arcade like, sliding away from the simulation craze that has recently been all the rage. The main difficulty isn't in controlling your car, but rather in dodging traffic and keeping your eye on your opponents. The racers here are very aggressive, smashing you to the wall whenever possible.

The graphics here on the cars are astounding. The shine and luster look exactly as they should. The only real problem to note is the traffic cars are bland and too small. Last time I checked, Mazda Miatas aren't bigger than full sized pick-up trucks. Other than that little glitch, the graphics are on par with the best.

The music here is a bit of a mixed bag. It ranges from rap music to hard rock. The opening main menu screen can get annoying after awhile, but thankfully, it can be turned off. During races, the music sets the perfect mood and may have you rocking along with it.

The bottom line is, this is a pretty good racer that adds something new. It may not be Gran Tourismo, but it should be pleasing nonetheless. 8.5

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Community review by heroofthewinds (July 23, 2004)

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