I was first exposed to the Need For Speed series in 1987. It was at a huge party, and a couple of my mates were racking up massive lines of this white powder I’d never seen before…
Hang on…wrong, very wrong…I’d have only been six or seven in 1987…
That’s right! I was first exposed to EA’s Need For Speed in 1996, when I bought Need For Speed SE for the PC. I couldn’t get over the amazing graphics (which is what always catches your eyes first when you’re young and vulnerable) and the massive amount of cars available (eight, if my memory serves me correctly). But then I took a long break from the NFS series, only picking up Need For Speed Underground 2 much later in a spur-of-the-moment Fast and the Furious mood.
I love racing games, I love pimped-up cars, and I love slick graphics. Call me shallow, but hey, this game covers it all for me. Straight off the bat, I loved it.
There’s a massive lineup of 30+ cars to choose from (after earning the good ones, of course), which range from the ho-hum pretty crappy, to the damn fine sexy-ass bitches! You start off with a stock, standard, not-too-hot car, then you beef the absolute hell out of it. You chuck in a turbo, bit of nitrous-oxide, fat-ass rims, and of course, a sick-ass stereo, to name a few upgrades. You can do pretty much anything to your cars that you can in real life! But you gotta earn this, see? You gotta beat the other beyatches in some pretty nasty races and competitions, which include Drag Races, Drift Racing and the usual Sprint racing. This can be a bit monotonous after a while (there isn’t as much emphasis on exploration as I hoped), but you can always stumble across a new upgrade or two by finding a hidden garage.
The graphics can be described in one word: Goddamn mother-fuckin’ nice. I’ve been told the GameCube version isn’t the best version for framerate, but damn, it does me fine! The attention to detail is amazing: the reflections on the road, the rain, the motion blur when you crank the NOS…niiiice. There are also little replays whenever you go flying through the air (either intentionally or because you crashed), but this can piss you off more than a little bit when you’re fully concentrating on overtaking the bastard you’re racing.
The sound is nothing completely amazing; pretty standard stuff for a racer. Not to say that it’s anything bad—far from it. The soundtrack has a pretty good variety of tunes to crank up, including a Snoop remix of “Riders on the Storm” (by The Doors…duh!) There are some nice little touches, like the whistle of your nice new turbo, and each car has its own distinct sound (which changes when you get a nice new fat-ass exhaust, for example).
The controls are pretty infallible, the cars have a nice weight about them, and any time you roll the bitch, it’s most probably your fault (unless one of the other pricks you’re racing against RAMS you into a wall on the LAST LAP, dammit!). You can’t go flying around corners and not expect your car to slide like a bastard or smash into a wall, slowing you down enormously so the other gits go flying by…damn game. Sometimes you’ll be nearly breaking your thumb pushing the analog-stick, trying your hardest to get the car to turn a little bit tighter, but that’s your fault for not turning earlier!
Overall, I’d have to say that if you don’t like racing, then you’ve no reason to play this game. But if you’re the sort of person that gets turned on by a 20LB NOS bottle, then you better get help—getting turned on by a bottle of liquid, no matter how fast it makes your car go, ISN’T HEALTHY! Seriously, this game is pretty damn addictive, if repetitive at times. There are only so many times you can compete in the same style of racing before you get sick of it. But there’s always the motivation that winning one more race will get you that nice new set of chromes, or fat-ass 12″ subs. And that’s the annoying thing—it’s so bloody MOREISH, DAMMIT!
Damn game. Gonna finish this now so I can beef up my sick-ass Lexus.