Need for Speed Underground Review

Developer: EA Publisher: EA
Release Date: November 17, 2003 Also On: GCN, PC, PS2 and Xbox

If you think going out to Chino, CA, watching the street races and running from the cops is the perfect weekend, then go buy this game. The odds are you probably don’t, so I’ll explain to you why you should anyway.

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

This game plays out like the movie Fast and the Furious and the heart of the game is in the Underground mode. This is a series of 111 races that will unlock parts, body kits, paint and other accessories for your car. There are basically three different racing modes to keep you entertained. It’s broken down into Race, Drift and Drag. Every mode has enough meat to it that they could all be games unto themselves.

NFSU has the best physics engine I’ve ever seen in an arcade racer. Your car feels like it’s able to turn on a dime, but heavy at the same time. The controls are great, after a few hours you won’t even realize what buttons you’re pushing; you’ll just be doing it.

The main reason for racing all 111 races though is to unlock all the parts for your car. It seems as if there’s an endless amount of customization available to you. Not only do you have 20 cars to choose from (Nissans, Hondas, Toyotas, Mitsubishis, etc.), you literally have millions of combinations to equip them with. You can go for an over the top gaudy racer or a sophisticated, smooth looking ride. It’s up to you, and that is one of the things that makes this game great.

Underground has some of the best graphics I’ve seen on the Xbox. The races are all at night on wet streets and everything is believable. Lights reflect off the ground, the exhaust throws out realistic looking flames, and the courses are extremely detailed. The best example of the graphics is when going down a straightaway at over 150 miles an hour: the screen starts to blur and tear and I’ve never before seen the effects used so perfectly. A minor complaint with the graphics though, the races are always at night on wet streets, it’s beautiful but I want more variety.

Black Box mic’d up real cars and sounds so everything sounds realistic. Nos burning, cars crashing and the roar of the exhaust all works so well with the game that it flows in seamlessly. The soundtrack is decent and includes over 25 bands but I still wish EA would allow for custom soundtracks for us X-box users.

I’ve been playing this game since the day it was released and still love it. Endless customization leads to endless replay value. Even after finishing Underground mode, you can still have fun with your friends in the 2-player multiplayer mode, though XBL would have been great.

This is the best arcade racer for the X-box. If you like any type of racing games, from Mario Kart to Gran Turismo, I urge you to buy this game. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 9.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.8
Written by Chris Review Guide

Leave a Comment