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Underground Edit

Need for Speed: Underground is the seventh installment in the Need for Speed series, and was developed by EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts in 2003. It is the first game in the series to use the THX technology.

Underground rebooted the franchise, ignoring the previous Need for Speed games which featured sports cars and exotics. It was the first game in the series to offer a career mode featuring a storyline, and a garage mode that allowed players to fully customize their cars with a large variety of brand-name performance and visual upgrades. All races take place in a generic city at night called Olympic City, though the city bears some resemblance to New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rather than exotic cars, Underground featured vehicles associated with the import scene. Underground was commercially successful, and inspired a sequel.

Plot Edit

The player starts straight into the action, at a circuit race driving a uniquely styled Acura Integra Type R with a Mantis wide body kit, easily winning over his opponents... only to be woken up by Samantha (Cindy Johnson) from his daydreaming.

Samantha is the player's friend in the new environment; she shows the player how the console with the races works, who's who, and makes fun of the player's starter car. Eddie (and his orange-metallic Nissan Skyline), is the leader of the Eastsiders and current top racer of the streets, and Melissa (Amy Walz) is his girlfriend.

Time passes, races are won. The player meets other racers, and eventually gathers a small list of nemeses that continually challenge him and are defeated. He is introduced to TJ, who promises unique performance upgrades in exchange of beating time trial challenges; Samantha does the same from time to time, offering unique visual modifications instead.

The player's successive victories do not impress Eddie. First, he mocks the player's skill, saying he has a long way to go to 'roll his streets'. Later in the game, the player builds enough hype to be too hard to ignore, so Eddie challenges him to beat Samantha in a sprint race before coming after him; the player's willingness in going for it infuriates her. Samantha totals her Civic's engine trying to beat the player, unsuccessfully. TJ takes the junked car for himself after the event.

When the player comes close to reaching #1 in all kinds of races, Eddie tries to once again get rid of his rival. Around the same time, the Player sees TJ in Samantha's recovered car, now working again, but has been vandalized. Both run a circuit race worth the other's vehicle, which the player wins. The player returns the car to Samantha to make amends, and she gives the player a choice of a wide body kit for his car.

Right after the touching moment, Eddie challenges the player and loses, like everyone else who ever challenged the player so far. Before any victory can be sung, a mysterious, legendary silver Nissan 350Z challenges the player for a last run through the Market Street circuit. A challenger who, after being beaten by the player, is revealed to be Eddie's girlfriend, Melissa.

That event solidifies the player's status as the new best underground racer in the city.

Gameplay Edit

A circuit race with a Honda Civic, PC version

Circuit is a standard race that involves racing with up to three opponents' cars around a loop track for one lap or more, and is the main mode of the game. For about the last 4 races of underground mode, the number of players decreases to only 1 rival, and the number of laps reach up to seven (endurance race).

Knockout Mode is similar to previous Need for Speed titles, and involves "knocking out" the last racer who passes the starting line in each lap until the final leader of the race remains, and wins the race. In the case of Underground, Knockout sessions have a maximum of three laps for four racers.

Sprint mode is a variation on the Circuit mode, where the contestants race in a point-to-point track instead of loop tracks. These races are typically shorter than "circuits" (with a maximum of 8 km in length), so players are required to be more cautious of any mistakes during racing.

Drifting is the most challenging and technical aspect of the game. Drift mode consists of one player in a short loop track, where the objective is to collect as many points as possible by drifting along the track. The player competes with three other contestants, who appear to accumulate scores along with the player during the drift session. The player would be required to beat these scores in order to obtain top positions.

Bonuses are awarded for players who drift in the outer borders of the track, drift vertically, or perform chained-drifting (continuous drifting by constantly steering the vehicle during drifts to maintain speed); if the player succeeds in ending a drift without collisions onto the sides of the track, the collected points are added into the score, otherwise, the collected points are cancelled.

Drift mode is the only type of racing where time taken to complete the track does not matter, since players are given the freedom to complete the allocated number laps at their own pace. This may explain the absence of nitrous oxide in this mode, since it serves no apparent purpose in this situation.

Drag racing is the second most technical form of race in the game. It involves racing against one or three cars on typically straight tracks, and attempting to obtain top positions to win. In order to master Drag mode, players must employ good timing and reflexes for gear shifting, redlining, overtaking, and the use of nitrous oxide boosts. Because the player is going to put the engine to its limits the mode places particular emphasis in monitoring the tachometer during races, which is enlarged and situated on the leftmost portion of the screen. Steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for lane changes, while the computer handles the steering along the lanes, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car.

Two conditions will result in players being forfeited during a drag race: head-on collisions with an opponent, barriers, traffic cars or dividers (being 'totaled'); or blown engines as a result from prolonged redlining and the subsequent overheating of the engine.

Car customization Edit

In the car customization menu, cars can be altered with performance upgrades and visual upgrades, such as paint colors, vinyls, neon, custom front and rear bumpers, custom side skirts, spoilers, custom hoods, exhaust tips, roof scoops, and wide body kits.

Players have the ability to increase their car’s performance by applying performance upgrades to the car. The player can upgrade their car’s engine, drivetrain, suspension, tires, engine control unit (ECU) as well as add nitrous oxide, turbo chargers and reduce the car’s weight (in the form of “weight reduction packages”).

Underground 2 Edit

Need for Speed: Underground 2 is a cross-platform racing video game and the eighth installment in the popular Need for Speed driving game series published and developed by Electronic Arts. Released in 2004, it is the direct sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, and is part of the Need for Speed series, available on Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS and Mobiles. Like its predecessor, it was also commercially successful, and sold eleven million copies worldwide.

The game entails tuning cars for street races, resuming the Need for Speed: Underground storyline. Need for Speed: Underground 2 provides several new features, such as a broader customization, new methods of selecting races, the "explore" mode (just driving around freely, like the Midnight Club series, in a large city known as "Bayview"). The City Center was based on Philadelphia, Beacon Hill was based on Beverly Hills and Coal Harbor was based on Camden, New Jersey, and Bayview as a whole is a microcosm of the west coast of the United States. Underground 2 also introduces several SUVs, which could be customized as extensively as other Underground 2 vehicles and used to race against other SUV racers. Brooke Burke is the voice of Rachel Teller, the person who guides the player throughout the game.

The game has been ported to PlayStation Portable, under the title of Need for Speed: Underground Rivals. The Nintendo DS port introduces a new feature in which the player is able to design custom decals to adorn any vehicle in the game.

Gameplay Edit

In-game Need for Speed: Underground 2 screenshot, in which races are roughly similar to that of Underground and still revolve around import culture.

In addition to the racing modes included in the previous Underground game (Circuit, Sprint, Drag and Drift races), four new variations of races have been provided in Underground 2. One racing mode was dropped, this being the Knockout competitions. Still, a Lap Knockout option is available when racing Circuit in non-career races. Underground 2 is unique among the games in the Need For Speed series in that it requires players to drive to a certain place in the city in order to begin a race (other games allow the player to select a race from a menu). Most races are marked on the in-game radar, but some are hidden and the player must search for them, should he/she decide to play them.

A circuit race is a standard race that involves up to four cars driving around a track that loops back to the start line of itself. A circuit race is typically a maximum of four laps and minimum of 2 laps. A sprint race is just like a circuit race except that the track does not loop back to the start line. It's a race from A to B involving a maximum of four vehicles, and because of the track design there is only one lap. Street X races are similar to Circuit races, but they take place on closed courses similar to Drift races.

Drifting is one of the easier types of racing (depending on difficulty level) in Need for Speed Underground 2. One difference to the drifting mode compared to the original Need for Speed Underground is that the player drifts with the other competitors at the same time. Players race against a maximum of three competitors. Points are awarded when the player successfully slide the car and finishes the drift without hitting any walls or traffic. Like the Street X mode, no nitrous oxide is allowed. There are also some special downhill drift races where the player starts at the top of a hill and has to slide down from top to bottom, a drifting equivalent of a sprint race (from point A to point B). In these races, there are no other racers, however there is normal city traffic. Players increase their points by sliding past city cars. Drag racing is a point-to-point race that forces players to use a manual transmission. Steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for lane changes, while the game handles the steering along the lanes, and the player focuses more on maintaining an optimum speed for the car. The Nitrous Oxide meter is enlarged and displayed on the left side of the screen.

The Underground Racing League (URL) is a set of tournaments which takes place in a specific set of closed tracks outside city streets - either actual racing circuits or airport runways. URL tournaments typically consist of one to three races, with the player racing against five opponents. In tournaments with two or more races, a points system is used. At the end of each race, drivers receive a specific amount of points according to their standing in a race. The total score at the end of these races determines the winner of the tournament.

While cruising around the city, players can challenge other cruising opponents in a one-on-one race (these are called "Outrun Races"). The leader is given the freedom to pick his/her racing route, and must attempt to outrun the opponent and distance themselves from him/her to as much as 300 metres (1,000 feet) to win. Winning these outrun races may get the player some bonus unique upgrades. This racing formula is similar to that of Tokyo Xtreme Racer and Wangan Midnight video games, which uses health bars instead of distance to determine the winner. Once a certain amount of victories have been won by player in certain levels, the player is awarded a unique part free of charge by another racer. These parts are necessary to achieve 100% completion of the game.

Cars Edit

As in Need for Speed: UndergroundUnderground 2 continues to offer similar vehicles for purchase and modification, most of which consist of Japanese models, with a sizable number of European and American models. In addition, Underground 2 is the first game in the Need for Speed series to offer three SUVs as racing vehicles, which may be modified more extensively than their compact counterparts. Also, it is the second game in the Need for Speed series after Need for Speed: Underground to offer a Korean-made car (Hyundai Tiburon) as a racing vehicle. A total of 29 cars are available for both versions of the game plus 2 unique for each of them: the PAL version of the game includes the (Peugeot 106 and Vauxhall Corsa).

Customization in Underground 2 was significantly expanded compared to previous iterations from the series. Visual customization has expanded with the ability to customize the car's front and rear bumpers, side skirts, spoiler, hood, exhaust tips, doors, roof scoop, wheels (including the ability to put on spinners), headlights and taillights, side mirrors and paint. Vinyls and decals can also be added, as well as car stereos (speakers, amplifiers & subwoofers), hydraulics, nitrous bottles and under glow neon. Most visual modifications to the car have no actual effect on vehicle performance. The sound systems, for example, could be put in the trunk of cars, but served no purpose other than visual cues. Hydraulics can be used in combination with nitrous at a start of a race which can cause a car to do a wheelie and for some cars get a better launch. The performance and handling of the car is affected by cosmetic modifications like spoilers and hoods, which affect the downforce of the car. All of these modifications are required for game completion.

The car's performance can also be enhanced by upgrading the car's engine, engine control unit (ECU), transmission, suspension, adding nitrous oxide, tires, brakes, reducing the car's weight, and adding turbos. The player has the ability to either upgrade the performance through upgrade packages or by purchasing individual parts of each performance category. NFS: Underground 2 also introduces a dyno-tuning system which allows players to specifically tune certain aspect of the car such as suspension springs, front and rear shock absorbers, gear ratios, aerodynamics, brake bias, individual tire grip, etc. The player could then test the setting via a dyno test at which point they would be given specific information such as 0–60 mph (0–100 km/h) time, max torque, etc.

SUVs, also known as sport utility vehicles, were a new element added to Need For Speed: Underground 2. In this mode, players could modify, tune, and drive SUVs in the same manner as they could with normal cars. Players could choose to race in an event with SUVs only, or in a mix of cars and SUVs. Like cars, users are able to add on parts to SUVs to increase their performance and handling. However, the added weight of SUVs make them much harder to maneuver, especially at higher speeds. SUVs were not featured in any later editions of the Need For Speed series (except as non-playable police vehicles) until 2012 with the remake of Most Wanted.

Multiplayer Edit

Need For Speed Underground 2 had online multiplayer capability on PS2, PC, and Xbox, however by 2010, EA Games had shut them down, rendering the feature inoperable.[2][3]

Plot Edit

The player races around in his Nissan Skyline GT-R over Olympic City, the setting of Need for Speed: Underground. He then receives a race challenge from a rather ominous personality who offers him a spot on his crew, but "won't take 'no' for an answer". The player races off — Samantha calls the player to inform him about the party — only to be ambushed by a mysterious driver in a black Hummer H2, who blinds the player with his headlights, then totals the player's Skyline, and the flashback fades out.

Fast forward to the present, the player arrives in Bayview with the keys to a Nissan 350Z, which is waiting for him outside the airport. The Player is able to complete a few number of races before returning it to Rachel. After he arrives at the car lot in the city core district, he takes one of the cars for free, as it was paid for by his damaged Skyline.

It is then that the player embarks on a quest to become the top racer in Bayview and eventually take down the man who sabotaged his ride months ago. After winning many races and getting many sponsorships, the player runs into a street racing crew called The Wraiths. After winning against them, the player progresses until he hears more about the Wraiths, who have been manipulating sponsor deals in their favor (and against both the player and Rachel), before a URL (Underground Racing League) race. The player challenges them to a series of URL races and eventually gets to Caleb, who is the man responsible for wrecking the Skyline in the prologue. After the player beats The Wraiths in yet another URL race, an infuriated Caleb with his modified GTO challenges the player to one final race. The race is a 5-lap circuit race and only appears when you finish the last URL event. After Caleb is defeated, the player gets his role back as the best driver in Bayview.

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