Review by Steel Falcon

Reviewed: 01/02/04

Is this a tune-up shop or a racing game?

The world of street racing is idolized in many movies, notably The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious. Now, the verifiable art of tuning has been brought to console and PC gamers everywhere in Need for Speed Underground. But is this a mechanic's shop, because I thought it was supposed to be a racing game. But the racing has been stopped by many walls, poles, signs, cars, etc. both in-game and in the game itself. If only a little more time had been spent making the game a racing game, it could've contended with one of the better racing games of the genre.

-Car tuning is easy to learn and awesome to use.
-The music is good (if you like hip-hop/rap/etc.).
-The sounds of the cars are superb.
-The car variety is great.
-The visuals are stunning, pure eye candy.

-Sometimes reverting your car back to STOCK helps you win races... so tuning really can have absolutely no effect.
-Racing is... oh my God, this game at the root of a racing game sucks. First off, as I said, stock cars can sometimes do better than the most beefed up rides. Walls, even edges you can't SEE will bring your car to a dead stop. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most street racers close streets so there's no traffic? Oh Lord, the traffic. Always comes out at the right time just to hit you. Than even when you opponent hits it, they bounce right back but somehow the car lands right on you. Oh yeah, and you opponents. They seem to be able to recover in a split second from even the worst wrecks, catching up extremely quick. You crash, a lot of times it's over. And the AI is awful. The drivers have just lined runs to follow. That's why they will randomly smash into cars or walls they could've easily avoided. And it seems to me like something was put into the game to make the chance of a wreck more likely in the last few laps of a race. It's just not a very good RACING game.
-The tracks are cool at first, but get boring. Quick.
-The pearlscent paint covers your decals/vinyls. WTF?

Sound: 8
Graphics: 9
Gameplay: 3
Fun Factor: 6

The Bottom Line
While tuning the car is great and a sure-fire bet for the street-racer in all of us, the racing is where it hurts. Shoddy AI and even worse racing physics make the game more of a tuning shop than the drag race it should be.

Score: 5/10

Rating:   2.5 - Playable

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