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Septembner 25, 2003
Need For Speed Underground - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price
21/11/2003EA GamesBlack Box Games1-4 $99.95

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The car detail is stunning.
The Need For Speed racing brand used to be king of the road on the PSOne and PC in the mid 1990's. Later that decade the status of the series declined somewhat as titles such as Gran Turismo, Colin McRae Rally and Burnout hit their mark. In late 2002 Electronic Arts hit back with Need For Speed Hot Pursuit 2 a game which recaptured much of the series' former glory. Now Electronic Arts look set to forge ahead of the competition with Need For Speed Underground - a game which has many improvements and additions over the previous game - including online gameplay.

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The reflections look awesome.
Need for Speed Underground allows you to take on today’s most popular tuner cars from Mitsubishi Motors, Ford, Honda, Subaru, Toyota and many more, building the ultimate street machine by earning cash to pay for custom body kits and a host of licensed car performance mods. Most interstingly the developers have dumped the more "upper class" cars such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Jaguar, and Aston Martin instead relying on more street styled cars as seen in the 2 Fast 2 Furious movie. This game includes a number of diverse events set in gritty, nighttime environments make up the heart of street competition. Players become complete street racers by perfecting skills in each event by nailing the perfect shift in drag racing and by putting their street cred on the line, racing through the city streets at all hours of the night.

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Jumping the train.
As with previous games in the series there are plenty of cars to choose from. In fact this game includes twenty fully customizable, licensed cars are included in the game from Mitsubishi Motors, Subaru, Toyota, and many more. As you can see from the surrounding screenshots these cars have been reproduced with stunning authenticity. Of course upgrading you car is an essential option and the developers have incorporated hundreds of ways to customize your ride. Pick from major aftermarket parts manufacturers including AEM Inc., Audiobahn, Bilstein, Dazz Motorsport, DC Sports, Eibach, Enkei, GReddy Performance Products Inc., HKS, Holley, Injen, Jackson Racing, MOMO, Neuspeed, Nitrous Express Inc., O.Z, PIAA, Skunk2 Racing, Sparco, StreetGlow, and Turbonetics Inc. Basically if you want it, this game will have it. Cash is earned in the game by over 100 unique events during the game including winning races or completing tasks.

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Check out the backgrounds.
The variety of game modes is certain to keep you entertained for some time. These features include drag racing which is a blast from the start line to the end. First over the line wins the loot. Street Racing sees you racing through city streets to the finish line. But this isn't just straight racing as you can take one of many routes to the finish line. A story mode is also included to keep you occupied for extended periods of time.

As you can see in the surrounding screenshots the graphics in this title are quite amazing. Electronic Arts have certainly exploited every ounce of power out of the Playstation 2 with stunning results. The game should also retain a healthy frame rate as the previous title in the series did.

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Yet more stunning detail.
One key feature if this game is the online support. Need for Speed Underground will allow up to four players to race online in all four of the game's driving modes: drag racing, sprint racing, circuit racing, and drift racing. Players will be able to take the cars they've customised offline into the online arena to show off their tricked out rides and show up the competition. A comprehensive ranking system tracks the top 100 riders, top lap times, and more for the ultimate in bragging rights. Need for Speed Underground will also offer cross-platform online play, allowing PC and PlayStation 2 gamers to seamlessly compete online for the first time.

Need for Speed Underground is one of the most stunning looking titles ever seen on Playstation 2. The amount of details on the cars is impressive, but it's the background detail and lighting that is going to make this game stand out. Electronic Arts recently pushed the release date for this game up from 2004 to November 2003 showing that development at Black Box Games is progressing well and that big things are expected of the title. At this stage it looks wonderful.