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Need For Speed Underground

Written by VEmir Rahaman (SideSwipe)

You've seen the Fast & Furious movies. Now, it's your turn to be 2 Fast 2 Furious. The seventh installment of the Need For Speed franchise takes a new direction to the rest of the series. Instead of putting you behind the wheel of an exotic supercar, it gives you 20 licensed and fully customizable streetcars, with aftermarket parts available from a large variety of manufacturers and drops you in a gritty night-time urban environment. Modify your car true Fast and Furious style and then take your machine out on the streets to prove yourself.

Below are some known facts about Need For Speed: Underground.

The available cars include:

* Acura RSX
* Dodge Neon Coupe (1999)
* Ford Focus
* Honda Civic Si
* Honda/Acura Integra
* Hyundai Tiburon
* Mazda RX-7
* Mazda RX-8
* Mazda Miata
* Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX (1999)
* Mitsubishi Lancer
* Nissan 240SX (Silvia S13)
* Nissan 350Z
* Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)
* Subaru Imprezza 2.5 RS Sedan
* Subaru WRX
* Toyota Supra (1998)
* Toyota Celica GT-S (2003)
* Volkswagen Jetta (?)

Aftermarket parts available from:
Audiobahn, Bilstein, Dazz Motorsport, DC Sports, Eibach, Enkei, GReddy Performance Products Inc., HKS, Holley, Injen, NOS, AEM, Jackson Racing, MOMO, Neuspeed, Nitrous Express Inc., O.Z., PIAA, Skunk2 Racing, Sparco, Streetglow, Turbonetics Inc. and NX.

Electronic Arts promises four exciting game modes:

  • Drag Racing where you race your opponents down a straight stretch of road in the city. Let's see how fast that car is on the quarter.
  • Street Racing where you have an open city course with a variety of routes to take to get to the finish line. Try to bring the car back in one piece. Please?
  • Story Mode where you buy a car and work your way through the game. Race, earn cash and upgrade your car. Don't forget to prove yourself on the road while you're at it.
  • Multiplayer where you have support for up to 4 players to race against. On the PC and PS2 this is done via internet hookup. The PS2 edition will require a broadband adapter.

Alright, now that those feature lists are out of the way, let me give my first impressions. The graphics look spectacular. The reflections do seem overdone at times, but it is certainly a beautiful game to look at. The HUD while racing looks original and easy to read. Definately different, but effective. In any case, if it doesn't suit you I'm fairly sure you can customise this. The motion blur at high speeds. Yeah, like in the Fast and Furious movies. I don't know, I don't like the idea of it, but you know what? Maybe it will be great while playing. If not, I hope it can be turned off if desired.

The level of detail in this game is amazing. The car models are well done and the environments seem very detailed and simply beautiful to look at. The large variety of parts available together with the choice of cars promises a unique ride for everyone. The tracks are animated, which is definately a good thing. For instance, a trolley car may cross the road as you approach, or it may not. On one lap you may need to jump a drawbridge, but on another it may be down and you can cross it normally.

Essentially, Electronic Arts have taken our favorite racing game in a brave new direction. This is not a game for the supercar enthusiast or the the muscle car fan. However, for the casual streetracer or a fan of the Fast and Furious movies, this game is for you. This game is all about taking one of the cars that a fairly average guy can own, modify it in any way you like and then take it on the streets and show just how fast you are. EA promises a beautiful game with Hollywood style effects and script, a lot of cars and the potential to create your very own custom racing machine. Just watch out for those speedbumps when you're done lowering your car, they're not very healthy for the bodywork.

Developed by Black Box and published by Electronic Arts, expect this title to be available on PC, PS2, XBOX, GC and GBA sometime before Christmas 2003.