Need for Speed Underground 2

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Minimum System Requirements

Processor : Core 2 Duo
Graphics Card : Built-in
RAM : 2 GB
Setup Size : 1 GB
Genre : Car Racing
Release Year : 2004

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Need for Speed Underground 2 is a cross-platform racing video game and the eighth installment in the Need for Speed series, the direct sequel to Need for Speed: Underground. It was developed and published by Electronic Arts in 2004, for Microsoft WindowsGame Boy AdvanceGameCubePlayStation 2XboxPlayStation PortableNintendo DS and mobile phones. Like its predecessor, it was also commercially successful, selling around 11 million copies worldwide and breaking sales records in the United Kingdom.

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 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 the Stadium area was based on Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Brooke Burke is the voice of Rachel Teller, the person who guides the player throughout the game. The game’s storyline is presented in a comic book strip.

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.

The game was followed by Need for Speed: Most Wanted in 2005, featuring a plot unrelated to the Underground games.

Plot

The story begins after the player has beaten Eddie and his street gang – “The Eastsiders” along with Melissa in Olympic City and is now revered as the best street racer in Olympic City. After a race, the player is called by an unidentified man with an “invitation” to join his team and that he “is not taking no for an answer.” The player ends the call without giving an answer and starts driving to a party but is ambushed by a Hummer H2 that rams his Nissan Skyline GT-R, wrecking it (the previous game utilizes a chosen car to beat Eddie rather than the actual one). A man with a scythe tattoo on his hand calls to confirm that he “took care of a problem.”

Six months later, the player boards a plane to Bayview with a good luck note from Samantha that also refers to her friend, Rachel Teller. The player arrives in Bayview, buys his first car using the money provided by the insurance on his totaled Nissan Skyline, and starts racing again. The player soon gains fame and sponsorship deals from winning races and gets the attention of “The Wraiths” and their leader, Caleb Reece. Caleb is revealed to be the driver of the Hummer that wrecked the player’s car in Olympic City.

Rachel reveals to the player that Caleb is attempting to take control of the racing scene in Bayview by manipulating the sponsorship deals in his favour, threatening the player’s livelihood, and Rachel’s liaison with the sponsors. Caleb attempts to have the player lose an Underground Racing League tournament by placing Nikki Morris, a Wraith member, in the same tournament as the player’s. This ultimately fails, and Nikki leaves the Wraiths after Caleb berates her for losing; she then joins Rachel and the player’s side. Nikki warns them of the consequences of Caleb’s plan if he takes over the city’s street racing scene.

Desperate to stop the player, Caleb eventually puts all of the remaining Wraiths members in an Underground Racing League tournament against the player, which fails and after losing another sponsor, Caleb challenges the player to a final showdown. The player wins the race and celebrates with Rachel and Nikki while Caleb is left insolvent and defeated.

That event solidifies the player’s status as the best Underground racer in Bayview.

Gameplay

In-game Need for Speed: Underground 2 screenshot using a modified Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII in a circuit race, in which races are roughly similar to that of Underground and still revolve around import culture.

Racing modes are roughly similar to Underground; one racing mode was dropped, this being the Knockout competitions. Yet, a Lap Knockout option is available when racing Circuit in non-career races.

  • 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 has typically a minimum of 2 laps to a maximum of 5 laps.
  • Sprint race is a point-to-point race involving a maximum of four vehicles.
  • Drifting is one of the technical aspects of Underground 2. On the “parkade” tracks, the player drifts with up to 3 other competitors at the same time on the parkade tracks. Points are awarded when the player successfully slides the car and finishes each drift without hitting any walls or traffic. No nitrous oxide is allowed. There are also downhill drift events where the player drifts the car while progressing down the course from top to bottom. In the downhill drifts, there are no other racers, but there is normal city traffic. Players increase their points by sliding past city cars.

Unlike Underground, time plays a crucial role here, especially in parkade tracks; if the opponents end up crossing the finish line way before the player, a 30-second timer will start within which the players will have to accumulate drift points until the timer runs out or they cross the finish line.

  • Drag racing is another technical aspect of the game; a straight-line race that forces players to use manual transmission. Like Underground, steering in this mode is simplified to simply allow for lane changes, while the game handles the steering along the lanes. The Nitrous Oxide meter is enlarged and displayed on the left side of the screen. The players’ positions will get forfeited if they collide into traffic or barriers, or overheat their engine due to prolonged redlining.

Apart from these, four new race variations have also been provided in Underground 2:

  • Street X mode is similar to circuit races, except that they take place in closed and tight tracks. A maximum of 4 racers participate in this event. Like drift mode, this mode disables the use of nitrous oxide.
  • 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 up to six cars (both in career mode and online). In tournaments with two or more races, a points system is used. At the end of each race, drivers receive a specific number of points according to their standing in a race. The total score at the end of these races determines the winner of the tournament.
  • Special events – these are similar to sprints, with the goal to reach a target point on the map, which is a “photographer”, and the player needs to reach the target within a specific time limit. Achieving this will reward the player with a magazine cover.
  • Outruns – while in free roam, the player can challenge specific opponent cars (an outrun opponent car will have bright tail lights, similar to the player’s cars when they use nitrous oxide) in an “outrun”, where the goal is to start an outrun and then distance their car from the opponent’s car by 300 metres (1,000 feet). The player can choose when to initiate an outrun, and can take any path and/or use tactics to achieve this goal, provided they are in the lead. Each stage, including stage 1, has a limited number of outruns a player can win. For example, in the intro stage where the player is driving Rachel’s car, 3 outruns can be won. After winning the number of outruns allowed for a stage, the outrun opponent cars cease to appear. After completing career, there is no limit to the number of outrun wins allowed. Depending on the stage, after winning some number of outruns, the player is rewarded with a unique part. Some stages allow a player to do a series of outrun sequences, rewarding the player with multiple unique parts (one for each series of outruns won). The outrun mode is similar to that of Tokyo Xtreme Racer and Wangan Midnight video games, which uses health bars instead of distance to determine the winner.

The races are divided into 5 “stages”. Once any stage is completed, the race locations of that stage will be replaced by the counterparts of the next stage. A “World Map” feature includes a menu of races for all prior stages, denoting races that have been completed and yet to be completed. After completing stage 2 through stage 5 (these stages require completing some number of “DVD” events), there will always be 8 sponsor races that will not be completed, since a player has to choose a single sponsor per stage and can only run 3 out of 11 unique sponsor races, leaving 8 sponsor races incomplete at the end of each stage. These can only be run using World Map. Due to a game bug (at least on PC version), if running a non completed race from the World Map, no credit (cash or rep) will be awarded unless the player restarts at least once after the race starts.

Underground 2 is unique in the Need for Speed series in the sense that it requires a player 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 they decide to play them. The following features aid the players in this regard:

  • Cell phone / SMS system – During game play, the players will occasionally receive phone calls or text messages. The game maintains a list of messages and game info that can be reviewed via a menu system.
  • Cash and info icons – Each stage, including the intro stage, includes a set of hovering icons scattered throughout the game world. As the player explores the map in free roam, the player receives a cash reward and/or info as the player discovers and drives through each of the icons.