Need For Speed Underground 2 is a wild thrilling racing game that will keep you coming back to unlock more of it.
Final Score: 8.7/10 (B+)
I wasn't a big fan of simulation racers before Underground 2. Gran Turismo for the awesome Playstation in my opinion was overrated because of control issues. San Francisco Rush for the incredible N64 had the same problems, and in addition to poor physics, dragged the fun down. So when I sold one of my two Super Mario 64 cartridges to a friend in exchange for this game, I didn't think I would love. This was initially when I realized you use the R button to drive instead of the A button, which tok me a while to figure out. But once I got past that, I was in for a treat. Not only are the controls really well done, but the racing is addicting and easy to figure out.
When I first turned on the game, i hear this actress telling you to drive safely. When you hear that, you knwo this game rocks!! The first thing I wanted to do was do explore mode. To my surprise, this acted a lot like Diddy Kong Racing on the N64. Then I hear this whiney woman who's trying to direct me to where I'm supposed to go. Thankfully, navigating the city (you heard me right, CITY!!) is easy and well done, since you use a GPS system to navigate. Races have a holographic image when you find them. Navigating them isn't as bad as most critics say, and I really didn't mind it at all.
The racing in this game is absolutely fun. The circuit mode is basically the traditional laps around the path style racing, and get this, there are only 2 LAPS!! You can customize this in the options, but is awesome when you only have to do 2 laps, especially considering the races are pretty long. The races themselves are high speed and never frustrating. Oh sure, you crash into a lot of cars, but these crashes are hilarious. You can even customize the TRAFFIC!! That is amazing! You don't get big air like San Francisco Rush, but arrows indicated where you're supposed to go, and even though I crashed into the walls a lot, the races are pretty easy and fun to play. Once you get nitro, you can conquer your racing league. After winning a certain number of races, you can compete in the URL, a racetrack with four laps. I found this a little more challenging than circuits, but still very fun and well designed.
That's not all you can do. You can get your car ona magazine, sign contracts to racing companies, and even fully customize your car, down to the side parts and hoods and mirrors. Power sliding gets you more nitro, as well as finding shortcuts and avoiding accidents. There are a lot of "that was so close" moments in Underground 2, but you'll be glad to experience each one of them.
The game seems to get repetitive, but I never get bored of it ever. Since the races are fast and furious, you'll always be going back for more. I also found that before a race, two girls who make the checker flag actually hug each OTHER!! How did this get past EA?! They're not even hot!! Oh well, you can't have everything.
I have a few complaints. The people in the game look HORRIBLE, and would fit a N64 game. That's not bad in my opinion if it was on an N64, but on the gamecube it's unacceptable. The drag racing is pretty complicated, with looser controls and different schemes. Apparently, you press the R button, and then press the Y button once you think the arrows you see will turn green. I had no problem with the first one, but the second one is pretty hard. I also find it stupid that you have to let other racers in outrun races (one on one) go ahead of you and then catch up to them to let you win.
The graphics are slower than the other versions, but still look damn good. The beautiful scenery offers neon lights and awesome looking cars. The people look ugly, but since they don't appear that much, who's complaining. I find it awkward that after you crash into someone, their car doesn't move! The audio for the car is awesome, with thrilling sounds so good, you feel like you're actually racing. The music, however is CRAP!! Who the hell at EA even likes death metal?! The only bands I recognized were Queens Of the Stone Age and Snoop Dogg, but it's pretty annoying. You can turn it off, and I prefer this. Still, I guess awesome bands like the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Blink-182, Radiohead, The Killers, and Stone Temple Pilots weren't around int his era, because apparently there is a DEATH METAL CRAZE!! Who the hell is Helmet?!
Even so, Need For Speed Underground 2 is a wild thrilling racing game that will keep you coming back to unlock more of it. There are dozens of races, most fun, some frustrating. Even so, I was surprised that this wasn't what I had in mind, and that is having poor controls. Racing fans like myself should make this a must have for the Gamecube.