Review by Schnapp

"For a fun week, this is the game for you!"

Need for Speed: Underground is a fast-paced, high-octane, intense game intended to give you the feel of the street racing set. It does a wonderful job however, there is little you can do once you beat it.

Gameplay: 9.5/10
There are 3 major game modes. The first is to Go Underground where you take a stock model of one of five cars and you compete in multiple styles of racing. The first one is Circuit which is a normal style race consisting of multiple laps of a simple course. Then there's sprint, which is a race from start to the finish way on the other side of the map. Drag is just a simple drag race where you must watch a couple of things like traffic, your RPMs, and other obstacles you must avoid all while making sure your engine doesnt burst into flames. Drift is like a style game. You must rack up the most style points by spinning sideways up down and all around a specified track. The more speed and the bigger angle you get, the more points you tally just as long as you dont hit a wall. Lap Knockout is last and this is just a normal circuit race with one can't be in last place on any lap. If you are in last place while everyone finishes that lap, you are knocked out, making this a bigger challenge. You play through 112 missions and earn rewards along the way so that you can customize your machine in any way you like. It can get a little challenging at times, but then what isn't?? The 2nd mode is Quick Race/Split-Screen Mode. This is just an opportunity to earn more rewards by playing any type of race listed above or just going on a free run on any course you like so that you can get the feel of things. last is the customize car option. During Underground mode, you unlock many accessories and different options to suit your car to your liking. Here you can make and store and car you wish. I don't know exactly how many cars you can store but this is just a blank canvas for you to work your magic on and show off with to your friends.

The graphics in Underground will blow your mind. The detail is amazing down to the very smallest bit. When youre goin 200 MPH down a straightaway and you hit the N20, it'll make you feel like your heading into lightspeed on the Millenium Falcon. The nightlight of the city zips past you as you race to victory. The scenery is awesome however, there is only one city, so after a while it seems like you can guess what's coming from 2 miles away. But in my opinion, you're very first race will seem like you died and went to graphic heaven(if there is such a place.) You won't be disappointed here. Everything runs smoothly and there are no skips or glitches in the game. During collisions or jumps, you will see a little cut-scene of your car in mid air on its way to the ground, leaving you guessing(and hoping) that it will land on the ground with all wheels down. After a while it can get a little frustrating so don't throw anything when you see your car doing 10 flips in slow motion while your opponents zoom past you.

Sound: 9/10
The music in the game is excellent for the racing fan. It provides good beats for cruising and hard rock for the high-speed fans. Artists like Static-X, Mystikal, Lostprophets, Story of the Year, and many more lend their talents to the game and it shows. You can customize your listening experience to the T. While you are racing, the cars may sound a little sketchy but you usually drown them out while you listen to the great tunes available.

Replayability: 6.5/10
After you complete Underground mode once, there's really nothing left except to customize all you cars and race them in quick race or split-screen mode. To go Underground again, you need a new profile and a new car to start with. Its not very exciting to do the missions all over again. The only reason i would say to do it is so you can unlock every magazine. If you missed a few of them, then by all means try again, there are a few hotties on the covers.

Controls: 9.5/10
For the Automatic driver, the controls in this game are a cinch. You only need to worry about racing. For the Manual driver, it really isnt much different than what you're used to from other games. You still need to manually shift and work your magic all while racing, and while this sounds complicated, it really shouldn't be to the experienced Manual driver. For beginners, i would suggest Automatic transmission.

For die-hard racing fans, Need for Speed Underground is a must-have. You will live out your wildest fantasies(racing ones) on the streets. You can trick out your car to the max and have fun showin your ride off to your jealous friends. For the avid racing fan just looking for a good time, i would suggest renting it, because you will have the time of your life, beat it in a week, and will find yourself with nothing left to do but twiddle your fingers and wait for something new to pop up on the main screen.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/22/04

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