Need for Speed: Underground - GameCube

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Need for Speed: Underground (GameCube)
Also for: PC, PS2, Xbox
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Racing: Car
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Electronic Arts Soft. Co.: Electronic Arts
Publishers: Electronic Arts (GB)
Released: 21 Nov 2003 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Accessories: Memory Card


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To say that the folks responsible for bringing us this game have been influenced by the film The Fast and the Furious is a given. That film was enough to get anyone excited about racing fast cars through regular city streets – not something you should do in real life, obviously, but try and stop yourself from doing it in Need For Speed: Underground. It’s impossible – you have to go fast. And the consequences if you lose a race or crash out? Just a matter of your pride being crushed by the game’s AI, or a faster, better human opponent. And three cheers for the lack of cringe-worthy dialogue too. Hip-hip, hooray etc.

Need For Speed: Underground invites you to take your basic car and customise it to within an inch of its life. As you progress, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your car with authentic parts such as weight reduction and suspension kits, tyres and wheels from well-known manufacturers, and to give it a paint job that reflects your personality and the way you drive. There are 20+ cars available – models from Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and more are included – and the game modes are varied enough, with Drift, Drag and Circuit the main attractions. Drift gives you extra marks for power-sliding your car as near to kerbs and rails as possible; Drag is a flat-out, straight-ahead race from a standing start; Circuit is a multi-vehicle race around the streets of the city.

The real deal in Need For Speed: Underground is the Story mode. Getting used to the game in a number of quick races is the best preparation for this, as you choose a basic car, take to the streets, and try and make it as the ultimate boy racer. The more success you gain, the bigger the rewards.

And the best thing about it is that you can do it all in the midst of some of the lushest visuals we’ve seen on the Cube. Looking back at some of the other games in this long-running series, it’s amazing to see how far things have come. Need For Speed: Underground shimmers, and when you put your foot down, it sounds fabulous too. If you still have that certain need, NFS Underground should satisfy.