Review by Kool Mr Bassman

"Someone's been watching too much "The Fast and the Furious""

When you hear the name Need For Speed what's the one thing that comes to mind? The exotic cars, the exotic locales, out-running cops, and the true sense of speed the name delivers. The series has been around now for almost a decade and if one thing, this is the most different turn the series has taken yet. It's a welcoming change actualy.

Need For Speed Underground (NFSU) takes all those fancy Ferrari's and so forth and puts the more economical cars into the spotlight by highlighting the aspects of Underground racing. There are no cups, and thropies to win here, all cash. No boring professional courses, it's all in the streets of the city in the middle of the night. No cops though however so anything goes in these streets.

Featuring 20 fully costomizable cars what you got here is a flat out thrills arcade racer. None of that simulation is present it's all out speed. Though more true to the name of the series NFSU definetly has the best sense of speed out of all the games in the series. The star of the show belongs to Underground Mode. You play the role of a small time driver starting out in the world of Underground racing. You start slow and relatviely boring. As you win more races you can sutomize your ride to the meanest thing in the streets. You can create thousands of customed cars. Change just about everything from visual to performance. Don't like your vinyls, customize it with hundreds of designs to choose from, change your car's whole body you name it you can do it. It's this true sense of customization that easily makes this game so appealing. Along with brand new modes like drag (drag racing NFSU style, 1 mile straight course with emphasis on correct timing chaning shfits) and drift (popular in Japan drift your car in a special course and earn massive points) you got yourself a wide variety of ways to play.

Outstanding visual presentation from Black Box studios. This game looks sleek. Your customized car looks like how you designed it with no loss of texture at all. And just wait till you use some of that Nitrious Oxide, one of the best effects I have seen. The courses are aranged in a Ridge Racer style, meaning the courses are inter-connected. The courses are detailed beautifully simulating a very cosmopolitan city. From the lights of downtown to the factories of the industrial zone this game clearly has the best tracks of any racing game.

Aside from the great visuals and engaging arcade gameplay the music in this game is poor. You got here is an awful array of songs featuring today's worst artists like Outkast, Lil John, Fuel, Lost Prophets and more. Not a single song in this game is actualy good. The sound effects are well done though utilizing the use of THX certified sound.

In the end this game is a racing fan's wet dream. From the intense standard races to the unique racing modes you'll find a ball with this game. Just turn off the music in the options screen. 7/10.

- Amazing sense of speed
- Great arcade style gameplay
- Fully customizable features for your car
- Outstanding visual effects

- Abyssmal soundtrack
- No custom soundtrack for Xbox
- Questionable AI on later challanges in Underground mode

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/27/04

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