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Retro Recap: Need for Speed Underground 2

We indulge in our Need for Speed

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As far as genres go, racing simulators have always been dominated by a select few series. Gran Turismo was arguable the first and with Forza Motorsport on the scene now, many up and coming racing titles are pushed aside in favour of the graphically superior. Yet one series has always remained on the fringe of popularity. This week’s retro recap focuses on one of their more noteworthy installment, Need for Speed Underground 2.

Need for Speed has been around since the early days of gaming. Stemming from an early PC game, and then transitioning to the console platform, the series has, unfortunately, always been outclassed by its competitors. However, the franchise has stuck around through thick and thin and occasionally produces one of the most satisfying experiences a racing game can provide. Underground 2 was definitely one of those titles.

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During the first instalment of Underground, naturally your ruled the streets with your Nissan Skyline, but shortly after, you and your car gets wrecked by a well thought out car crash. Of course, as with any street racers, your goal is to be the number one racer, however Underground 2 add a slightly deeper layer of vengeance to the mix. You start with a very mediocre vehicle (supposedly as compensation for your Skyline, why not another one?) and you work your way up via street races. These just aren’t limited to conventional sprint and circuit races though, with the inclusion of drag and drift races, Need for Speed likes to throw you the odd curve ball every now and then. As well as the various races, an open world is your oyster, driving around the city of Bayview in your chosen vehicle, something which seems to have been neglected in more modern racers.

Want some fun fact about Need for Speed Underground 2? Of course you do:

  • NFSU2 sold around 2.1 million units on the PS2, making it the third most successful Need for Speed game on the Playstation 2 platform, behind Most Wanted and its predecessor Underground
  • If you take a look at garage door in your rear view mirror, you’ll notice that does not render at all
  • Not much of a fact, but the soundtrack was pretty darn sweet.

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NFS Underground 2 was quite the unique experience for me as it was the first time I really got into the whole customisation aspects of the game. From the engine power to the brake traction, NFS gave more control over the way we played the game. Had a vehicle that incredibly fast, but terrible on those sharp corners? Sacrifice some speed and tune up your handling. Always beaten on those long straights? Crank up the juice and improve your vehicles Nitrous capabilities. Personally, I enjoy racing games because they’re not as involved as other games. They’re a genre that you can throw on anytime, have a quick race, then move onto something else, yet Underground 2 gave you so much more. I definitely spent much longer playing this game each time I put the disk in than I intended to. Oh, there were also SUV’s as well. They were there. Good times.

Do you still enjoy playing the Need for Speed games, or have you moved on, but the memory will always remain? Let us know what you think about the franchise in the comments section below!

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