Need for Speed: Underground 2 (NFSU2) is a multiplatform racing video game published and developed by Electronic Arts. Released in 2004, it is the sequel to Need for Speed: Underground, and is part of the Need for Speed series, available on GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance and Windows. It was developed by EA Black Box.
The game is based around 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, similar to Grand Theft Auto, in a large city known as "Bayview"). 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 you through the story.
On the Nintendo DS installment, users are able to design custom decals to adorn any vehicle in the game.
Need For Speed Underground 2 takes place in Bayview after the events of Need for Speed: Underground. The prologue begins with the player driving in a Nissan Skyline R34 in Olympic City (though the racing scenes are actually in Bayview), the setting of NFSUG. 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 — despite Samantha's warnings — to find the guy only to be ambushed by a mysterious driver in a rage that totals his Skyline. The driver, who has a unique scythe tattoo, makes a call confirming the accident, and the flashback fades out.
Fast forward to the present day, where we see the player arriving in Bayview via airplane, with a note from Samantha referring him to her friend Rachel (Voiced over by Brooke Burke), who will set the player up there. He also has the keys to Rachel's Nissan 350Z, which is waiting for him outside the airport. The player then has the option to complete a few races in the car before inevitably returning it to the car lot, where Rachel will allow him to choose his first vehicle. This one is free, as it was paid for by the player's insurance from his totaled 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 in the flashback, who turns out to be Caleb. After winning many races, the player runs into Caleb's street racing gang, the Street Reapers. The gang has the same vinyl, paint, and rim set. The player challenges them to a series of URL races and eventually gets Caleb's second in command, Nikki, to join his side. Rachel tells the player that Caleb has been manipulating the sponsorship deals throughout Bayview towards him. After the player beats the Street Reapers, an infuriated Caleb challenges the player to one final race in his custom Pontiac GTO. The reward for beating the game is all cars and parts. If the player beats the game 100%, he gets Caleb's car. But, in order to beat the game at 100%, you must go back and race the events on the World Map in your Garage.
Bayview City Edit
Bayview is the fictional city that the racing and freeroaming takes place in. Its located on the west coast and features racing in all from high hills to industrial land. To enter a race, you must first find the race in this huge city. As you win races and earn reputation new parts of the city will be unlocked and new events and shops will be to find.
The city can only be explored at night. The city has a great amount of skyscrapers, neon lights and casinos; each of these is placed strategically to remind the player of Las Vegas.
|Rachel||Samantha's best friend and the player's helper, mentor and part time agent. Rachel will call the player, via SMS, throughout the game letting the player know about unlocks, upgrades, sponsorships, and racing tips. She drives a Nissan 350Z|
|Caleb||A dangerous street racer who totaled the player's car and leader of the Street Reapers. Caleb controls most of the underground racing in Bayview. He drives a Pontiac GTO.|
|Nikki||A female Reaper who will join the player after he beats her in a URL race. She drives a Modified Ford Mustang GT. It is undeclared whether this is the same person that appeared in Need for Speed: Carbon|
In addition to the racing modes included in the previous Underground game (Circuit, Sprint, Drag and Drift races), 4 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.
A circuit race is a standard race that involves up to three AI 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. It involves a maximum of three AI cars.
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 you are drifting 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. Like the Street X mode in Underground 2, no nitrous oxide is allowed.
There are also some special 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 bottom right of the screen.
While cruising around the city, players can challenge other cruising opponents in a one-on-one race. The leader is given the freedom to pick his/her racing route, and must attempt to outrun the opponent and distance itself from him/her to as much as 300 meters (1000 feet) to win. 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.
SUV's, also known as Sport Utility Vehicles, was a new element added to Need For Speed: Underground 2. In this mode, players could modify, tune, and drive SUV's in the same manner as they could with normal cars. Players could choose to race in an event with SUV's 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 makes them much harder to maneuver, especially at higher speeds.
The following vehicles were featured:
SUVs were not featured in any later editions of the Need For Speed series, thus making them exclusive to Need For Speed: Underground 2.
Street X involves bumper to bumper racing against three other opponents on a short and small circuit based on the Drift tracks from Need for Speed: Underground, except these tracks no longer induce excessive drifts. Instead, this mode emphasizes precise braking and gear-shifting in order to obtain shorter lap times and win races. Like the Drift mode, no nitrous oxide is allowed. This is reminiscent of the Canyon races in Underground 2's successor, Need For Speed Carbon, where 3 opponents (and the player) race in a tight canyon trail, without the use of nitrous oxide.
Underground Racing League (URL)Edit
The 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.
Need For Speed Underground 2 had online multiplayer capability on PlayStation 2's with broadband connections, and Xbox using Xbox Live. The online servers for PlayStation 2 are not up, and EA has shut down servers for Xbox and PC, making this feature disabled, as well as causing disappointment to many loyal fans of the game.
As in Need for Speed: Underground, Underground 2 continues to offer similar vehicles for purchase and modification, most of which consist of Asian models, with a sizable number of European and American models. In addition, Underground 2 is the only game in the Need for Speed series to date to offer three SUVs as racing vehicles, which may be modified more extensively than their compact counterparts. A total of 29 vehicle models are available for both versions of the game plus 2 unique for each of them, the PAL version of the game offers an additional two cars that the NTSC version doesn't have and vice-versa.
|1||2003 Peugeot 206||1|
|2||2003 Ford Focus ZX3||1|
|3||1986 Toyota Corolla||1|
|4||1992 Nissan 240SX||1|
|5||1999 Mazda Miata||1|
|6||2004 Hummer H2 (SUV)||2|
|7||2004 Lincoln Navigator (SUV)||2|
|8||2004 Cadillac Escalade (SUV)||2|
|9||2003 Hyundai Tiburon||2|
|10||2003 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec-V||2|
|11||2003 Toyota Celica||2|
|12||2002 Lexus IS300||3|
|13||1998 Toyota Supra||3|
|14||2003 Volkswagen Golf GTI||2|
|16||2004 Audi A3||3|
|17||2003 Acura RSX||3|
- The Doors featuring Snoop Dogg - "Riders On The Storm" (Fredwreck Remix)
- Capone - "I Need Speed"
- Chingy - "I Do"
- Sly Boogy - "That'z My Name"
- Xzibit - "LAX"
- Terror Squad - "Lean Back"
- Fluke - "Switch/Twitch"
- Christopher Lawrence - "Rush Hour"
- Felix da Housecat - "Rocket Ride" (Soulwax Remix)
- Sin - "Hard EBM"
- FREELAND - "Mind Killer" (Jagz Kooner Remix)
- Paul Van Dyk - "Nothing But You (Cirrus Remix)"
- Sonic Animation - "E-Ville"
- Killing Joke - "The Death & Resurrection Show"
- Rise Against - "Give it All"
- Killradio - "Scavenger"
- The Bronx - "Notice of Eviction"
- Ministry - "No W"
- Queens of the Stone Age - "In My Head"
- Mudvayne - "Determined"
- Septembre - "I am Weightless"
- Helmet - "Crashing Foreign Cars"
- Cirrus - "Back on a Mission"
- Spiderbait - "Black Betty"
- Skindred - "Nobody"
- Snapcase - "Skeptic"
- Unwritten Law - "The Celebration Song"
Reception and criticismEdit
Reviews were positive, but many elements were criticized, such as having to drive excessive amounts to get to specific races, bland voice acting and strong product placement for companies with no connection to auto racing, such as integrating the logo for Cingular, an American wireless communications company, into the game's messaging system and displaying it on-screen for much of the gameplay. The GameCube version was also bashed for its unstable frame rate and inferior graphics. The hip-hop slang used by the characters (such as calling the money "bank") and the comic book cut scenes were also criticized. Also the lack of police was criticised.
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