All the rice-burning fun you'll ever need, without hearing Limb Bizkit's Rollin' until your ears bleed. That rhymed and you know it did.
Yes, indeed it is possible for a racing game to be fun!? Personally, I've never been a big fan of the racing genre, the only racing games I've played and enjoyed were the Mario Kart and San Francisco Rush series. And while Need For Speed: Underground has no weapons, powerups, wings, crazy shortcuts, or midget wrestling cut scenes, it's still a deeply involving and fun game. With 20 cars to choose from and a nearly limitless amount of ways to customize them, Need For Speed: Underground provides a fairly unique racing experience.
NFSU, while being highly customizable and fun on its own just to go from point A to point B, includes a number of other modes of play to keep the game from getting boring quickly. Lap races, knock-out races, sprints, tournaments, drag races, and drift races all make up 'The Underground' in which you must complete each level to earn upgrades and progress further into the game. This makes the game a lot more involved then just entering tournament after tournament. You have to make money and upgrade your car to compete with the faster cars that await you in the levels above. Things like new engines, tires, drive trains,nitrous tanks, and magic spoilers that make you go faster somehow! At least so I've been lead to believe.
On each level you are allowed to choose your difficulty setting. Easy, Normal or Hard to determine not only how hard the race is (derp) but also how much money you'll make for completing it. This not only gives you an incentive to race harder modes, but also makes the game more interesting if you decide to start again from the beginning.
The music seems to be a big part in the overall feel of NFSU. While the music is the expected popular songs by today's rap and rap-metal artists, most of it doesn't get on your nerves. The music played depends on what you're doing within the game. Through all menus and customization areas, various rap songs are played while crazy people make crazy noises with their crazy mouths. While racing, however, generic rockish music is played to better suit the face paced action. As long as Limb Bizkit's 'Rollin' and Saliva's 'Click, Click, Boom' were absent though, I didn't care what they played.? While none of it is particularly good, there is one song that annoys me to no end while playing this game. A "song" by Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boys that's played every time you start the game. This track consists of someone (Lil' Jon?) repeating "Get lowww." over and over again while people (Eastside Boys?) in the background go "vroom vroom!", "eyaaa!", "zah zah zah", or other strange noises that make my brain go not good no more. I nearly turned off the game and never played it again because of intense annoyance from this song.
While NFSU sets itself from other racers with modes of play and customization alone, the graphics are nothing to scuff about either. And I scuff about stuff all the time. Why, just today my friend came up to me and said, "Murph, you scuff far more often than I'd like to see." I replied, "I only scuff because without scuff, there would be chaos." Then ensued the adventure of a lifetime! And oranges. Big ones.
Oranges aside, NFSU's graphics are not only the best I've seen in a racer, but possibly the best I've seen in just about any car based go fast game. Namely the lighting and speed effects, which make the game seem to come out of the screen at you. But do not be afraid, for they are friendly effects, programmed by man only to please and never harm the human race. Until Y3K when I predict that lighting effects will become so advanced that they will rise to rule us all.
My biggest scuff with NFSU is that while I understand most street races use imports, I would like to see some?more domestic vehicles. The occasional muscle car would be fun in a way that would make me go whee! The controls are tight and very responsive, easy for anyone to just pick up and play. But, to master modes like Drift and Drag, it'll take a LOT of practice. All in all, NFSU provides a unique experience that has more than just mindless tournaments. Even if you're not a fan of racing games, I would give this game a try and a half. Just try to endure the Eastside Boys. Lil' Jon, why must you be so Lil' Jon?
|Gameplay||Fun, with so many modes of play that all work very well.||4.5|
|Graphics||Incredible lighting effects and models.||5|
|Music/Sound||Generic, sometimes annoying, but not TOO annoying.||3.5|
|Replay Value||TONS of stuff to unlock and customize, as well as online play.||4.5|
|Originality||Racers have always been around, but not with this much depth.||4|
|Control||Easy to get used to but difficult to master.||4.5|
|Final Verdict: 4.33|