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November 17, 2003

Need For Speed Underground

After the release of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for Playstation 2 and the two Fast and Furious flicks at the movies, the racing genre took a turn for the illegal. Normal everyday vehicles just weren’t exciting to play with anymore, gamers needed to race around the city at night with modified Japanese cars (commonly known as “rice rockets”), save up money to buy new parts and work their way up secret rankings. Rockstar Games discovered this and developed Midnight Club for the Playstation 2 (and soon one will be out for Xbox), therefore pleasing all the “underground” racing fans who owned the console. However, that left the GameCube out of the picture. EA is taking care of that with Need for Speed Underground, the first urban street racing game for Nintendo’s console.




There will be four modes at your disposal in Underground: Circuit, Story, Drag and Multiplayer. With Circuit mode you can race on some very intense tracks inside a fictional city. Black Box, developers of this title, decided against the in-game rendering of an existing location (like London with The Getaway), so they made up their own. This probably saved some valuable time and left them with more creative space to make their customized courses.

Drag mode is an even more forceful and brief way of driving your cars. Since you only go straight (hopefully) on these specialized tracks, much of the strategy simply focuses on picking the right moment to give your vehicle that accelerative boost. Nonetheless it sounds fun when playing multiplayer, which allows up to two players on the GameCube.

By choosing the Story portion of the game, you start off by selecting a vehicle amongst a list of rather simple cars; Peugeot 206, Honda Civic, Mazda Miata, VW GTI, Dodge Neon. Once you start winning races, you obtain cash to pay for custom body kits and various parts, slowly turning your ride into the ultimate dream machine. Doing all this tuning will be familiar thanks to the use of recognizable companies such as NOS, MOMO, NX, GReddy, HKS, AEM, and other acronyms that make you sound like you know what you’re talking about.

Judging by the screenshots, EA did a wonderful job with the graphics; the city looks absolutely stunning, all the beautiful lighting effects integrated into the title by Black Box make it look like you’re in an actual racing movie. The cars are beautifully designed also, and look just like their real-life counterparts. Ford Focus ZX3, Acura Integra Type R, Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX, Nissan Skyline R34-GTR, Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS, Toyota Supra are some of the vehicles that you will be using to cruise around the city. No more Ferraris or Porsches in this edition, now you can play with cars that are actually affordable. Furthermore, EA’s latest trend to include hoards of great songs hasn’t been left out. It is rumoured that the soundtrack will be composed of 80 songs.

word on the street


press release notes

  • Feel speed like never before. Graphics that obliterate the envelope and turbocharged physics make this the fastest gameplay experience ever.
  • Choose from 20 elite licensed tuner cars from Mitsubishi, Toyota, Subaru, and more.
  • Fully customize your car with hundreds of aftermarket parts from top-name manufacturers. Change your car's appearance to fit your personality, change its performance to fit your driving style.
  • Huge, highly detailed environments push your gaming hardware to the absolute limit as you battle to own the streets in your urban street machine.
  • Race hard and win upgrades, including weight reduction kits, turbo, suspension kits, tires, wheels, and nitrous.
  • Set the asphalt ablaze in a variety of game modes including Drag, and Circuit.
  • Go underground and become the ultimate street racer in the epic Story mode.


Believe it or not, Need for Speed Underground is going head-to-head with another racing game this holiday seasons; as a matter of fact they are both coming out on the same day. However, can you even classify Mario Kart as being in the same genre as Need for Speed? While one is focused mainly on extremely fun gameplay and well-known characters, the other takes the gamer into a world of street racing that he has often dreamed about recently. Hopefully EA’s Underground world will not go unseen in the upcoming months.

Staff Avatar Gualtiero Forte
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"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome."

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